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How tiny microbes are revolutionizing big agriculture

January 27th, 2017 / The Conversation, UK

Mathew Wallenstein of the Innovation Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Colorado State University is part of a new crop of scientists who are harnessing the power of natural microbes to improve agriculture. In recent years, genomic technology has rapidly advanced our understanding of the microbes that live on virtually every surface …

Natural killers: developing better biopesticides

January 26th, 2017 / Global FoodSecurity, UK

As armyworms return to devastate crops in Africa, Lancaster University’s Professor Ken Wilson reports on renewed efforts to bring a sustainable solution.
The pressing need for alternatives to chemical pesticides was the subject of a recent GFS workshop and blog post: How would we cope with a post-pesticide world?
As harmful …

Potential impact of environmental tipping points on food system

January 26th, 2017 / Global Food Security, UK

The Global Food Security (GFS) programme has published a new report providing evidence for the existence of environmental tipping points and exploring the potential consequences for global food security.
Environmental tipping points occur when a biophysical system experiences a shift from one stable state to another, thereby altering its function. These …

How to grow more cassava

January 26th, 2017 / The Conversation, UK

Cassava is one of the most efficient producers of carbohydrates and energy among all food crops. It can produce more than 250,000 calories per hectare per day, compared to 176,000 for rice, 110,000 for wheat and 200,000 for corn.
But despite its widespread consumption, cassava yields have not improved in a …

How GM crops can help us to feed a fast-growing world

January 25th, 2017 / The Conversation, UK

The United Nations forecasts global population to rise to more than 9 billion people by 2050. Climate change may mean that the crops we depend on now may no longer be suited to the areas where they are currently cultivated and may increasingly be threatened by droughts, floods and the …

Answering the 3 Most Common Internet Objections to GMOs

January 25th, 2017 / GMO Building Blocks

Any discussion of GMOs on the internet brings a swarm of commenters. No matter the topic, an inevitable pattern of comment is “Yes, but what the author ignores is (insert common anti-GMO myth)”. Here are three of the most common tropes that litter those discussions. See …

Avian flu: what farmers should do

January 24th, 2017 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru reports:: This week, the ministries of agriculture and health issued an alert about an avian flu outbreak in Wakiso, Kalangala and Masaka districts. This followed reports of several migratory birds found dead on the shores of Lake Victoria in these areas.
In his statement, Agriculture minister Vincent …

Farmers urged to adapt the use of crop residues to improve soil (video)

January 24th, 2017 / Youtube.com

B4FA Fellow Noah Nash reports: An Agronomist at the Faculty of Agriculture at the University for Development Studies Nyankpala Campus, Professor Israel Dzomeku has advised farmers to adapt use of left over crop residues on their farmlands after harvesting since it increases the organic matter in the soil.
According to him …

The smart way to help African farmers tackle climate change

January 23rd, 2017 / IRIN

The basic recipe for boosting performance is well known: more investment, better access to financial services, improved seeds, and a lot more fertiliser (appropriately applied).
What is less appreciated is the key role played by agricultural extension workers. They link small-scale farmers to new research, helping to improve their knowledge and …

Genetic diversity-the pillar to food security and agricultural productivity

January 23rd, 2017 / Ghana Web

Population expansion coupled with urbanisation of fertile agricultural lands together with modernisation in every aspect of human daily activities which create biodiversity are getting eroded in direct and indirect ways. Deforestation, land degradation, coastal development as well as environmental stress collectively lead to large scale extinction of plant species, more …