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Toward climate-smart agriculture in West Africa

December 19th, 2016 / BioMed Central, UK

Many projections of the impact of climate change on the crop, livestock and fishery production sectors of African agriculture are reported in the literature. However, they may be arguably too general to understand the magnitude of impact and to inform adaptation strategies and policy development efforts that are tailored to …

Africa: Climate-resistant beans could save millions

December 16th, 2016 /

Only about 30 crops provide 95 percent of human food energy needs, according to FAO. Dependency on a few staple crops magnifies the consequences of crop failure.
Botanists are already taking extreme measures to save those plant species deemed useful. Some 7.4 million samples are in seed banks around the world, …

Africa’s bioeconomy could be as transformative as the digital revolution

December 14th, 2016 / Quartz Africa

According to a new study by the Stockholm Environment Institute, Creating Sustainable Bioeconomies: The Bioscience Revolution in Europe and Africa, new opportunities for economic transformation are already being built on Africa’s abundant biological resources. The emerging bioeconomy has the potential to transform primary production, especially in agriculture, aquaculture, forestry, health …

Common insecticides are riskier than thought to predatory insects

December 14th, 2016 /

Neonicotinoids—the most widely used class of insecticides—significantly reduce populations of predatory insects when used as seed coatings, according to researchers at Penn State. The team’s research challenges the previously held belief that neonicotinoid seed coatings have little to no effect on predatory insect populations. In fact, the work suggests that …

Addressing lack of access to seeds for smallholder farmers

December 14th, 2016 / Bizcomunity, South Africa

Some of the key issues affecting smallholder farmers’ access to good quality seeds include limited knowledge, lack of access to information, high costs of seeds and a lack of seed laws. These issues came up at a recent two-day Access to Seeds Index workshop held by the Southern African Confederation …

Biofortification – a better, iron-rich bean

December 12th, 2016 / Claudia Canales, B4FA

One strategy for improving human health and the nutrition of resource poor people is increasing the iron content of beans. But what are the challenges for plant breeders?

Biofortification – a good strategy
Biofortification is a good strategy to improve the nutrition of resource poor people for a number of reasons:
• people …

African governments urged to implement agricultural policies

December 12th, 2016 /

African countries have been urged to now implement their policies on agriculture and industrialisation in order to achieve sustainable growth and development.
At the 11th African Economic Conference that concluded Wednesday in Abuja, Nigeria, stakeholders noted that the continent had good agricultural and industrial strategies but lacked to actualise them.
The three-day …

With a little help from fungus

December 9th, 2016 / New Phytologist

If you need help defending your tomato plants from pests, enlisting the help of a fungus might not be at the top of your list. But a recent study, published in New Phytologist, has shown that a fungus could actually be an unlikely ally in the greenhouse.
Similar to the beneficial …

Scientists develop pest-resistant tomato using Bt technology

December 7th, 2016 / ISAAA, US

Tomato fruit borer (Helicoverpa armigera) is one of the most damaging pests in tomato production, especially in India. Tomatoes do not have genes that confer resistance against the borer and conventional efforts to manage the pest were ineffective. Thus, a team of Indian scientists used Bt technology to develop fruit …

GE cowpea seed to be available for Nigerian farmers in 2019

December 7th, 2016 / ISAAA US

Nigeria’s National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) head announced that genetically engineered (GE) cowpea will be commercially available in the country on or before 2019. Prof. Lucy Ogbadu, NABDA Director General, mentioned this during the November meeting of the Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB). Prof. Ogbadu said that GE cowpea …