In the news...

USDA unveils new gene-stacking tool to prevent plant diseases

August 16th, 2018 / The Scientist

If climate change is the new normal, farmers in some regions of the world will have to get used to fighting mold and mildew. For wheat growers in particular, fungal blights are already a big problem—and only expected to worsen as weather patterns change. Fungal pathogens are advancing northwards at …

Trait-based regulation of GM plants is on the horizon – at last!

August 16th, 2018 / Agri-Pulse

Evan Pugh Professor Emerita and Penn State University Senior Science Advisor Nina Fedoroff writes:
We are now able to modify plants with exquisite precision to make use of the enormous fund of molecular and physiological knowledge about them accumulated over the past century. Taking apart the regulatory thicket will make …

How soil scientists can do a better job of making their research useful

August 15th, 2018 / The Conversation

Soil is a vital part of the natural environment. It supports the growth of plants, is a habitat for many different organisms and is at the heart of nearly all agricultural production. It also plays an integral role in countless other ecosystem services like water and climate regulation.
Despite this, soil …

The student trying to solve the food waste crisis

August 14th, 2018 / BBC

Lawrence Okettayot is on a road trip across Uganda.
He’s spreading the word about a device he’s created which could be a solution to Africa’s food waste crisis.
Food wasted every year in the continent could feed up to 300 million people, according to the United Nations. In just Uganda alone, up …

Farming, science and population

August 14th, 2018 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow, Michael Ssali writes:
Among the biggest public debates today is producing sufficient food for a global population of 10 billion by 2050. By that time, according to some estimates, Uganda’s population will be 50 million.
One is reminded of the situation when Jesus’ disciples noticed that their master had …

Eleven case studies exemplify strategies to scale up climate-smart agriculture

August 13th, 2018 / ReliefWeb

Many agricultural technologies and practices, including those qualifying as climate-smart, are not achieving their full potential impact because of low levels of adoption by farmers in developing countries. Despite successful pilot projects, uptake of new and innovative agricultural technologies and practices has often been poor, and we have still not …

Which vision of farming is better for the planet?

August 13th, 2018 / The Salt

Farmers face a growing dilemma. Specifically, a food-growing dilemma.
How do you feed an increasing number of people without harming the environment?
As it turns out, growing as much food as possible in a small area may be our best bet for sustainably feeding the world’s population, according to new research.
It all …

Biotech update: What is CRISPR and how does it works

August 8th, 2018 / ISAAA, US

Researchers have found that the CRISPR – Cas9 system can be applied to nearly every organism. Early studies using CRISPR – Cas9 for gene editing have focused on crops important for agriculture. It was realized early on that the system could be used in crops to improve traits, such as …

13 African countries have biotech crops in different stages of development, but approvals are slow

August 8th, 2018 / Genetic Literary Project, US

13 African countries have some biotech crops in different stages of development; the research involves 12 crops and 14 traits. Governments around the continent are evaluating the research and approving crops that feature stacked traits, like insect-resistance and drought tolerance in corn.
A new report published by the International Service for …

Kenya, Ethiopia show neighboring Uganda how to revive its dying cotton industry with pest-tolerant technology

August 3rd, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Cotton, once a cash cow in Uganda where growers aspired to outcompete each other in the acreage covered and income earned, could slowly become a crop of the past if nothing is done to curb the steady decline in its production.
According to data from the Cotton Development Organization, Uganda’s lint …