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IITA unveils digital tools for agricultural transformation

November 6th, 2019

The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) on Friday unveiled suite digital tools that are helping in transforming farming, improving yield and livelihoods of farmers.

The digital tools include the cassava, Goseed and yam seed trackers; Akilimo, IITA Herbicide Calculator, e-commerce site and IITA News App.

Dr. Nteranya Sanginga, IITA Director General …

Why food systems need to change

November 5th, 2019

An interview with UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP) food systems expert James Lomax.

Before joining UNEP, I worked in commercial food production and farming in both Europe and East Africa. The underlying ethos of this work was sustainability within a commercial setting. We had outgrower groups supplying fresh produce for the market. …

Eavesdropping on soil insects could aid pest management

November 5th, 2019

Insects in the soil are difficult to monitor, but listening in on the noises they make could help farmers detect pest infestations and improve estimates of biodiversity.

Carolyn-Monika Görres laughs at the seeming improbability of her own research. She never expected to find herself eavesdropping on beetle grubs living in the soil, …

Global consensus finds neonicotinoids not driving honeybee health problems. Why is Europe determined to ban them?

November 4th, 2019

One of the more intriguing subplots in the melodramatic debate over neonicotinoids and the ‘future of bees’ is the apparent divergence of viewpoints by risk and regulatory agencies on the potential threat to pollinators posed by the insecticide.

There is no question that the health of bees is an issue––mostly, entomologists say, because of bee …

How dysfunctional regulation has decimated entire sectors of biotechnology

November 4th, 2019

“To observe government is to observe the absence of accountability,” James Freeman wrote in the Wall Street Journal.1 That’s certainly true of unwise regulation of many innovative technologies; and modern biotechnology, also known as “genetic engineering (GE)” or “genetic modification (GM),” perhaps along with civilian applications of nuclear power, could be the poster …

Robust evidence of declines in insect abundance and biodiversity

November 1st, 2019

There are certain times in life — whether in our relationships, personal health or scientific research — when we think that we know something but the evidence is less than conclusive. An accumulation of clues or symptoms might suggest a particular interpretation without being strong enough to clinch the argument. …

AI for development

November 1st, 2019

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has enormous potential for global development and is already being widely explored as a means to tackle poverty and boost economies. In the health sector, AI technology is used to diagnose diseases such as dengue and zika, while in agriculture it is helping farmers identify pests and take action before …

Developing climate smart grain value chains in East Africa

October 31st, 2019

Grain demand is booming in East Africa – but supply is threatened by climate change

The grain sector, and its entire value chain, play an important role in enhancing food security, household incomes and job creation in East Africa. This is especially important given the rapidly increasing Sub-Saharan population. However, the …

Biotech soybeans now cover 50% of the world’s biotech crop area

October 31st, 2019

The four major biotech crops — soybeans, maize, cotton, and canola — were the most adopted biotech crops by 26 countries in 2018, according to the ISAAA report, Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops in 2018. Soybeans lead at 95.9 million hectares, followed by maize (58.9 million hectares), cotton (24.9 million), and canola (10.1 million hectares). Based on …

Can TELA maize solve the acute food shortages in sub-Saharan Africa?

October 30th, 2019

Sub-Saharan Africa remains the most food-insecure region in the world, with an estimated 237 million throughout the region suffering from chronic undernutrition.

Frequent droughts are partially to blame for the persistent food shortages and the dry conditions make farming particularly challenging for the region’s smallholders. The TELA Maize Project has been working …