In the news...

Ugandan president refuses to sign biosafety bill into law

January 5th, 2018 / Xinhua, China

In a letter to the speaker last week, Museveni said the use of the GMO crops will contaminate the indigenous ones which Ugandan farmers have developed for years.
“This law apparently talks of giving monopoly of patent rights to its adder and forgets about the communities that developed original material. This …

New technologies are re-engineering traditional plant breeding to meet global food security challenges

January 5th, 2018 / Nature Plants, UK

Breeding crops with a high yield and superior adaptability is vital to maintaining global food security. New technologies on multiple scales are re-engineering traditional plant breeding to meet these challenges. Read more …

The banana as we know it is dying … again

January 5th, 2018 / Discover Magazine, US

The bananas your grandparents ate were different than the ones you eat today. And the bananas your grandchildren know will probably be entirely different as well.
For the moment, we are in the age of the Cavendish, a banana cultivar that accounts for 99 percent of imports to the Western world. …

Speed breeding technique sows seeds of new green revolution

January 4th, 2018 / John Innes Centre, UK

Pioneering new technology is set to accelerate the global quest for crop improvement in a development which echoes the Green Revolution of the post war period.
The speed-breeding platform developed by teams at the John Innes Centre, University of Queensland and University of Sydney, uses a glasshouse or an artificial environment …

Africa’s tropical forests could be next in line as global food demand grows

January 4th, 2018 / The Conversation

There are rising concerns that trends in rapid deforestation across the Amazon and Southeast Asia could spread to Africa.
In particular, some worry that continued demand for commodity crops will lead to large-scale agricultural expansion in Africa where it’s estimated, that 50%-67% of the land suitable for agriculture is still forest.
To …

Speed breeding LED technique grows food six times faster than conventional farming

January 4th, 2018 / ZME Science

Australian researchers have demonstrated a ‘speed breeding’ technique for common crops. Their method yields far more food per unit area than conventional farming, relying on specially calibrated LEDs that emit light at specific frequencies onto crops to accelerate plant growth.
Using this setup, researchers showed that they could grow six generations …

To transform agricultural extension, give youth a voice

January 3rd, 2018 / World Bank, US

At the recent Africa Agriculture Extension week in Durban, there was a common refrain: “Demand for food in Africa is growing and expected to double by 2050.” This is why we see continued growth and employment opportunities in the agricultural value chain and why agriculture extension—or training– is more important …

Hidden threat to health

January 3rd, 2018 / Phys.org

One of the most ambitious programmes to provide lasting improvements in nutrition in sub-Saharan Africa begins today when a diverse multinational team of experts from agriculture to ethics start looking for ways to end dietary deficiencies in essential micronutrients.
Rothamsted Research is contributing soil and crop expertise to the programme, known …

Challenge of food waste is put centre stage at Oxford Farming Conference

January 3rd, 2018 / Farming Life, UK

In Africa, which contributes approximately 18% of global postharvest food losses, they suggest the research base is too low across the continent, with the majority of research stemming from South Africa. Professor Terry argues that UK research funds should be used to address this imbalance. “The global threat to food …

Challenges for agriculture in 2018

January 2nd, 2018 / BizCommunity, South Africa

Market-oriented production and profitability, economic growth, and radical economic transformation are just some of the challenges agriculture will face in 2018. Read more …