In the news...

A breakthrough on agriculture on the cards at COP23

November 15th, 2017 / Down to Earth, India

Draft document on agriculture stresses on assessment of risks, a differentiation of vulnerability and actions required based on farming systems and agro-ecological zones.
Events throughout the day focused on the need to step up adaptation and mitigation finance to help the agricultural sector cope better and build climate-resilient agriculture to offset …

Increased food production and reduced water use through optimized crop distribution

November 14th, 2017 / Nature Geoscience, UK

Growing demand for agricultural commodities for food, fuel and other uses is expected to be met through an intensification of production on lands that are currently under cultivation. Intensification typically entails investments in modern technology — such as irrigation or fertilizers — and increases in cropping frequency in regions suitable …

Wheat leaf disease, a potential threat

November 14th, 2017 / Farmers' Weekly, South Africa

Outbreaks of a previously unknown wheat leaf disease have been reported in South Africa, which could have a serious impact on food security and sustainable wheat production in the country.
The disease involved severe discolouration of wheat leaves and, according to Dr Tarekegn Terefe, senior researcher at ARC-Small Grain in Bethlehem, …

App ‘trained’ to spot crop disease, alert farmers

November 14th, 2017 / SciDev.net

A team of scientists has received US$100,000 grant to refine a mobile application (app) that uses artificial intelligence to diagnose crop diseases, and aims to help millions of African smallholders.
The CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas team won the grant during big data conference in Colombia on 21 …

Climate change effects are cropping up and it’s only going to get worse

November 13th, 2017 / The Crop Trust

Since 2015, drought-induced crop failures and livestock deaths have left more than 10 million people in Ethiopia dependent on food assistance, while the drought remains relentless even today. In southern Africa, an outbreak of armyworms damages maize harvests and threatens the livelihoods of over 70 percent of the region that …

Long-term study finds that the glyphosate does NOT cause cancer

November 13th, 2017 / The Scientist, US

A new study has found no conclusive link between exposure to glyphosate—the main ingredient in a popular weedkiller—and cancer.
The new study, which was seen by Reuters, draws on long-term data collected through the Agricultural Health Study. This has monitored the health of nearly 90,000 people in Iowa and North Carolina …

Nigeria stakeholders strategise on Bt cotton release

November 13th, 2017 / Scientific Nigeria

B4FA Fellow Alex Abutu writes:
Following the endorsement of the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Audu Ogbe of the Bt Cotton project for Nigeria, stakeholders in the country are strategising for the eventual uptake and release of the Bollgard II cotton to farmers.
The Bollgard II cotton project which was …

GMO potatoes provide improved Vitamin A and E profiles

November 10th, 2017 / Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News, US

Genetically modified crops have had no shortage of controversy over the years, much of it rooted in fear and the general lack of fundamental scientific knowledge. Yet researchers have pushed forward in developing crops that could help boost basic nutritional requirements for developing nations that rely heavily on foods that …

Experts root for quality seeds to boost food security

November 10th, 2017 / News Ghana

International agricultural experts called for establishment of a viable system for the production and supply of quality and high-yielding seeds to help boost food security in Africa.
The experts from the Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), Africa’s agricultural think tank said quality seeds are key solution to transforming Africa’s underdeveloped agricultural …

Farmers opt for GM cowpea?

November 10th, 2017 / News Ghana

Some farmers in Nyakpala in the Northern Region have opted for Biotech (Bt) Cowpea or Genetically Modified (GM) Cowpea, due its ability to withstand the most deadly pests that destroy cowpea in the area.
The farmers say they witnessed high yields due to the strength of the Bt Cowpea against the …