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Cassava coalition calls for transformation of cassava in Africa

February 9th, 2018 / Dispatch, Uganda

The Global Cassava Partnership for the 21st Century (GCP21) has called on policy makers and donors to support the transformation of the Cassava crop in Africa.
The call made ahead of the international conference on cassava comes amidst concern over the decline in harvests per acre of cassava in Africa compared …

Study suggests root microbiome key to drought resistant plants

February 8th, 2018 / University of Toronto, Canada

Just as the micro-organisms in our gut are increasingly recognized as important players in human health and behaviour, micro-organisms are critical to the growth and health of plants, a new study by a University of Toronto researcher has found.
For example, plants that are able to recruit particular bacteria to their …

High adoption of biotech crops recorded in 2016

February 8th, 2018 / ISAAA, US

In 2016, the global area of biotech crops reached 185.1 million hectares, according to a research paper authored by Drs. Rhodora Aldemita and Randy Hautea of the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA). The results of their study are published on February 2, 2018 in GM Crops …

Global experts release guide on fall armyworm management

February 8th, 2018 / CNBC Africa

To combat the spread of fall armyworm across the African continent, international experts gathered together to produce a new comprehensive integrated pest management (IPM) guide to help scientists, plant protection organizations, extension agencies, research institutions, and governments working with farmers tackle the voracious FAW.
Fall Armyworm in Africa: A Guide for …

CONNECTED – a new network to tackle vector-borne crop disease in Africa

February 7th, 2018 / Cabot Institute, UK

This major new network brings together UK scientists with colleagues from across Africa to co-produce innovative new solutions to vector-borne crop diseases. And it turns out, there are a lot of them.
Almost every major crop in Africa is affected by disease.
Yams, cassava, soy bean, cocoa, maize, coffee, bananas and many …

Agricultural education and training: The landscape, challenges and opportunities

February 7th, 2018 / BizCommunity, South Africa

Africa abounds with wrecked projects designed with the best intent for the upliftment of its people through boosting agricultural production. Many projects designed in developed countries have failed when advice and training rely solely on information dissemination, without effective knowledge transfer as the main driving force. Irrespective of how the …

Consumers more concerned about GMO crops’ environmental impact than health worries

February 7th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

According to a study from Germany, health risks were generally perceived to be lower for bioenergy than food whenever full commercialization was pursued. Furthermore, full commercialization of genetically modified food prompted higher concerns about personal health, whereas use of crops for bio-energy production was broadly related to higher levels of …

The rise and rise of African agri-tech

February 7th, 2018 / Disrupt Africa

Agriculture is big business in Africa. The sector employs 65 per cent of the continent’s labour force, and accounts for 32 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP), according to the World Bank.
Yet it is beset by problems. Africa’s population is growing – it is projected to reach two million …

Evidence patchy on value of mobile apps for farmers

February 6th, 2018 / SciDev.net

A review of research on how information services based on mobile phone technology can improve the lives of farmers has found only patchy evidence of success.
The review, which looked at 23 studies of such services in Africa, Asia and Latin America, found that although users often reported improvements, these were …

The future of farming

February 6th, 2018 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow, Michael Ssali writes:
Land disputes are getting more frequent as population pressure on land builds up. The population is increasing at the same rate as the struggle for people to get farming space.
Chunks of natural forests and wetlands have been turned into farmlands. In the majority of cases …