In the news...

Take a look at some of the billions of organisms that keep our soil healthy

September 11th, 2018 / Ensia

Soil is filled with more biological diversity than any other habitat on Earth. Its food web consists not only of worms and beetles and other well-known, easily visible animals, but also microscopic organisms from bacteria to fungi to protists. They all play a vital role in keeping soil healthy. Read …

Cherishing the ground we walk on

July 18th, 2018 / FAO

Soils do amazing things for us that we sometimes take for granted. They sustain food production, filter our water, are the source for our medicines and help us to combat and adapt to climate change. Here are reasons we should appreciate the ground beneath our feet. Read …

How Chinese millet gives Ugandan farmers hope

July 16th, 2018 / Observer, Uganda

A Chinese company with a farm in Luweero district has been involved in reproduction of foxtail millet seeds and distributing it to farmers. The new crop varieties have shown quick results. Improved food crops, for instance, have increased crop yields and enhanced farmers’ incomes. Such crops and technology transfer, once …

Reviving bananas with indigenous wisdom

July 13th, 2018 / SIANI

Monoculture of Cavendish bananas has taken over most of Costa Rica, but there is a rising awareness that Tropical Race 4 is spreading in Africa and Southeast Asia. In 2014 FAO urged to step up global efforts in monitoring, reporting and prevention of the Panama Disease. Meanwhile, promoting indigenous underutilized …

Madagascan bananas may soon be extinct

July 12th, 2018 / CABI

A wild banana (Ensete perrieri) has been classified as Critically Endangered by the IUCN. These are only found in Madagascar, where there are just five mature trees left in the wild. In light of this, scientists are advocating its conservation as it may hold the secret to saving the Cavendish banana. …

Saving the seed: A bank that secures the future of agriculture

July 12th, 2018 / Mongabay

Stashed away in earthquake proof and environment-controlled vaults in south India are stockpiles of seeds of crops important to semi-arid tropics covering Asia, much of southern and eastern Africa, and Latin America. This fortified archive at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) headquarters at Patancheru near Hyderabad is …

Is agricultural diversification necessary for achieving global food security?

June 1st, 2018 / Malabo Montpellier Panel

Professor Sir Gordon Conway writes:
“Growing more, growing better for Africa’s food security”
The combination of population growth, urbanisation, climate change, and – in some countries –conflict, is placing increasing pressure on Africa’s food systems. By 2050, Africa’s population will top 2.5 billion, 55% of whom will be in urban areas. To …

How rice became one of the world’s most important food crops

April 24th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project

Rice is a world food staple with an incredible story. Susan McCouch from Cornell University has been studying rice genetics for decades, and directs efforts in rice education in conjunction with the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines. This episode of the Talking Biotech podcast features stories about rice …

Maruti, the pigeonpea saviour

April 24th, 2018 / CGIAR

A direct release of the pigeonpea variety ICP 8863, also known as Maruti, from the ICRISAT genebank helped revitalize the pigeonpea industry in Karnataka, India. Maruti was released in 1986 at a time when the pigeonpea industry in parts of India was being hit hard by Fusarium wilt. Within a few seasons, Maruti …

What is biodiversity and why does it matter to us?

March 15th, 2018 / The Guardian, UK

The air you breathe, the water you drink and the food you eat all rely on biodiversity, but right now it is in crisis – because of us. What does this mean for our future and can we stop it? Read more …