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How ancient crops could counteract climate change effects

May 7th, 2017 / Phys.org

Farmers who grow single crops are particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, but now researchers are resurrecting ancient crop varieties to encourage diversity and offset the risks of extreme weather.
Intensively growing single crops for commercial purposes is the most common farming practice in Europe. These so-called cash crops …

Huge opportunities in agriculture and agribusiness for graduate African youths

May 7th, 2017 / AfDB.org

There are huge business opportunities for graduated African youths in agriculture and agribusiness. That’s was the consensus of the two-day African Youth Agripreneurs Forum held in Ibadan, Nigeria, from April 25-26, 2017.
However, helping African youths to invest in agricultural production and the agricultural value chain is all too often discussed …

If we develop Africa’s bioeconomy it will be as transformative for us as digital has been

May 7th, 2017 / Quartz Africa

The late 20th century was a period of unprecedented advancement in information and communications technology. The rapid adoption of mobile phones in Africa laid the groundwork for a digital economy.
According to a new study by the Stockholm Environment Institute, Creating Sustainable Bioeconomies: The Bioscience Revolution in Europe and Africa, new …

Secrets of tea plant revealed by science

May 5th, 2017 / BBC, UK

Botanists have unlocked the genetic secrets of the plant prized for producing tea.
A team in China has decoded the genetic building blocks of the tea plant, Camellia sinensis, whose leaves are used for all types of tea, including black, green and oolong.
The research gives an insight into the chemicals that …

Modified soybeans yield more in future climate conditions

May 5th, 2017 / Phys.org

By 2050, we will need to feed 2 billion more people on less land. Meanwhile, carbon dioxide levels are predicted to hit 600 parts per million—a 150% increase over today’s levels—and 2050 temperatures are expected to frequently match the top 5% hottest days from 1950-1979. In a three-year field study, …

Biotech/GM crops at a new peak of 185.1 million hectares worldwide

May 5th, 2017 / Business Wire, US

The International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) released its annual report showcasing the 110-fold increase in adoption rate of biotech crops globally in just 21 years of commercialization – growing from 1.7 million hectares in 1996 to 185.1 million hectares in 2016. ISAAA’s report, “Global Status of …

Maize scientists vow to intensify research on armyworm invasion in Africa

May 3rd, 2017 / PAEPARD, Kenya

Nairobi. Scientists from the global maize research center vowed to intensify eradicate fall army worms that had invaded hundreds of farms in various regions across Africa. This two-day meeting was attended by 130 experts and stakeholders from African governments, international and national agricultural research organizations, non-governmental organizations, national plant protection …

Cassava is genetically decaying, putting staple crop at risk

May 3rd, 2017 / Phys.org

For breeders of cassava, a staple food for hundreds of millions in the tropics, producing improved varieties has been getting harder over time. A team at Cornell used genomic analysis of cassava varieties and wild relatives to make a diagnosis: Mutations have corroded the genome, producing many dysfunctional versions of …

Barley genome sequenced

May 2nd, 2017 / New Atlas

Sequencing the entire genome of an organism is no easy feat, but the benefits can be as important as saving species from the brink of extinction, fighting cancer, getting rid of pests – and now, brewing better booze. After a decade of study, an international team of scientists has finally …

Does plant patent system restrict innovation and hurt small breeders?

May 2nd, 2017 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

In order to feed the world, and to do so in an increasingly sustainable way, we need continuous agricultural innovation. Plant breeding is at the basis of such innovation. Its intellectual property (IP) needs to be protected. But a one-size-fits-all approach, that would impose the patent protection system on agriculture …