In the news...

Plants love microbes – and so do farmers

August 10th, 2017 / UQ News, Australia

Increasingly, farmers want to capitalise on beneficial microbes to support their crops, and science can assist the design of effective crop probiotics to make crops healthier, hardier and more productive, by increasing their resilience to pests, diseases and environmental stresses, and improving access to nutrients. Read …

Ethiopia: new directive breaks ground to incentivize commercial farmers

August 10th, 2017 / AllAfrica.com

The Board of the Ethiopian Investment Commission (EIC) has approved a directive that was designed to incentivise commercial farmers by providing lower lease fees and extended contract periods.
The directive that was approved last week was drafted by the Ethiopian Horticulture Development & Agriculture Investment Authority (EHDAIA), which was established six …

Multi-nutrient rice to fight malnutrition

August 10th, 2017 / Genomics Research

ETH researchers have developed a new rice variety that not only has increased levels of the micronutrients iron and zinc in the grains, but also produces beta-carotene as a precursor of vitamin A. This could help to reduce micronutrient malnutrition, or «hidden hunger», which is widespread in developing countries.
Nearly every …

Smallholder farmers are investable

August 9th, 2017 / Impact Alpha

Inclusive agriculture is defined as agricultural markets and value chains that are inclusive of the world’s half-billion smallholder farmers. Such models link these farmers with larger economic actors, ultimately improving agricultural productivity, expanding markets and trade, and increasing the economic resilience of vulnerable rural communities.
A recent review by the Initiative …

Making a difference through agriculture

August 9th, 2017 / News Day, Zimbabwe

While a lot of resources continue to go into African agriculture, those supporting the sector are still to figure out at what point they will be sure to have made a difference through agriculture. To what extent can increasing yield per hectare or kilogrammes of meat per feed or litres …

Nigeria looks to ‘white gold’ for economic recovery

August 9th, 2017 / BizCommunity, South Africa

Rising rice production is one of the few positives of Nigeria’s recession, which is the West African country’s worst in 25 years. Today about 5.7 million tonnes of rice are being produced every year – three times as much as a decade ago.
“We are now living a white gold revolution,” …

25 environmental benefits of GMO sugar? Industry launching ‘fresh look’ education campaign

August 9th, 2017 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

To try to change consumers’ understanding and perception of GMO crops, the nation’s sugar beet industry is preparing a $4 million online campaign that will launch [fall 2017].
The campaign will introduce those consumers to some of the 25 environmental benefits of GMO crops that the sugar beet industry documented and …

When genetic engineering is the environmentally friendly choice

August 7th, 2017 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Which is more disruptive to a plant: genetic engineering or conventional breeding?
It often surprises people to learn that GE commonly causes less disruption to plants than conventional techniques of breeding. But equally profound is the realization that the latest GE techniques, coupled with a rapidly expanding ability to analyze …

The missing link in global food security

August 7th, 2017 / Agri-Pulse

The African Union is urging all countries to devote at least 10 percent of their respective budgets to agriculture. The African Development Bank has placed a priority on providing capital for agriculture production. The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, AGRA, is focusing on seed development, improving …

Capitalize on African biodiversity

August 4th, 2017 / Nature, UK

Artemisinin, ginkgolides, quinine, reserpine, scopolamine, paclitaxel. What do these molecules have in common? They are all extracted from plants and transformed into useful drugs, treating conditions including malaria, nausea, cancer and high blood pressure. None of the plants is from Africa.
Almost 60% of commercially available drugs are based on molecules …