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To discover Africa’s biodiversity, look to the soil

January 16th, 2017 / AllAfica.com

South Africa is finally embarking on a long-overdue initiative: mapping the incredible biodiversity in Africa’s soils. It will document the microbial life hidden in the ground in sub-Saharan Africa, and the data it derives could help solve the continent’s crisis of hunger and food insecurity, and give birth to a …

African countries should access economic benefits of biodiversity

January 6th, 2017 / Leadership, Nigeria

The 13th Conference of Parties (COP-13) to the UN Convention on Biodiversity (CBD), held recently in Cancun, Mexico. It also featured two sub-conferences aimed at protecting the world’s natural habitat and maximising it’s economic benefits. Executive Secretary of the CBD, Braulio F. de Souza Dias in this …

Safeguarding of biodiversity must be integrated across agricultural sectors

December 23rd, 2016 / Zimbabwe Star

Governments from 167 countries have given unprecedented recognition to the need to protect biodiversity across the agricultural sectors as a key action to achieve sustainable development, including ensuring food security and addressing climate change.
Meeting in Cancun, Mexico at the UN Biodiversity Conference (CBD COP13) which ended on 17 December, governments …

The (shrinking) garden of Earthly delights

October 31st, 2016 / Claudia Canales, B4FA

This periodic blog will discuss food security, with a specific focus on how plant genetic research might contribute to addressing the challenge of feeding a fast-growing global population in increasingly uncertain climatic conditions.
Achieving food security is a complex problem that goes far beyond just producing more food. Its realisation …

GMOs=Monoculture=Bio-disaster? Time to revise simplistic ideological narrative

October 28th, 2016 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Anti-GMO activists have long claimed that genetic modifications are responsible for the extinction of species and losses of diversity that have been plaguing the planet for some 10,000 years now. They pushed through a critical set of precautionary principle-based claims critical of GMOs at the Cartagena protocol on biosafety to …

African livestock breeds in trouble of extinction

September 16th, 2016 / African Farming, UK

FoodTank have released a scathing report on the state of many of Africa’s cattle breeds. The not-for-profit has recently released a list of 35 species which are about to become extinct. In addition to this, according to the U.N Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), close to 17 per cent of …

Protecting crop and feed diversity enhances food security while reducing GHGs

March 3rd, 2016 / ILRI, Ethiopia

Crop diversity can be conserved and shared. Scientists know how to do it and at a very limited cost to the world community. It requires global leadership and stronger partnerships and the building of capacities of scientists in the developing world. No country is self-sufficient; successful breeding is highly dependent …

Help improve online data on agricultural biodiversity

October 26th, 2015 / Biodiversity International

In 2015, the GBIF Secretariat and Bioversity International created a ‘Task Group on Data Fitness for Use in Agrobiodiversity’ to improve the quality and quantity of data on the GBIF portal that are important to agricultural biodiversity research and policy communities. These include data on agricultural biodiversity monitoring, gaps in …

Banana extinction is on the horizon once more

October 19th, 2015 / Food World News

Until 1965, the Gros Michel banana cultivar was the world’s most popular, but it became commercially extinct because of the virulent Panama disease. Today’s most popular commercial banana, the Cavendish, was quickly adopted worldwide due to its immunity to Panama disease, but its lack of genetic diversity makes it vulnerable …

Biodiversity reduces human, wildlife diseases and crop pests

June 21st, 2015 / Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, US

With infectious diseases increasing worldwide, the need to understand how and why disease outbreaks occur is becoming increasingly important. Looking for answers, a team of biologists found broad evidence that supports the controversial ‘dilution effect hypothesis,’ which suggests that biodiversity limits outbreaks of disease among humans, wildlife and crops. …