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Can African smallholders farm themselves out of poverty?

December 12th, 2019 / The Conversation, UK

A great deal of research on agriculture in Africa is organised around the premise that intensification can take smallholder farmers out of poverty. The emphasis in programming often focuses on technologies that increase farm productivity and management practices that go along with them. 

Yet the returns of such technologies are not …

Podcast: How nitrogen-fixing bacteria can cut fertilizer use 30-50%

December 12th, 2019 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

In the early 20th century, Fritz Haber and Carl Bosch revolutionized agriculture. The two German chemists developed a technique, now known as the Haber-Bosch process, that converts nitrogen from the air into ammonia, which can be used to fertilize the crops we all rely on for sustenance.  The discovery led to …

Revolutionising precision agriculture with high-performance GPS+INS

December 6th, 2019 / Africa Farming, UK

With the global population estimated to reach eight billion people by 2025, feeding the population while conserving the forest and wildlife reserves remains a growing challenge.

According to Septentrio, a global provider of positioning solutions for professional applications in industries such as autonomous vehicles, robotics, construction, marine, logistics and unmanned aerial …

Innovative solutions and business opportunities for farmer organisations

December 6th, 2019 / CTA, Netherlands

Technological innovations and advances in digital farming continue to evolve at a rapid pace, increasing efficiencies in farming operations globally. However, the adoption of these new technologies by small-scale farmers is still low due to poor data infrastructure and a lack of business partnerships, limiting farmer organisations from capitalising on …

GMOs have a place in African agriculture

December 4th, 2019 / GhanaWeb

The founding director of West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI) at the University of Ghana, has called on African governments to open the doors for the cultivation and use of genetically modified crops to address the food and nutrition insecurity challenges on the continent.

Professor Eric Danquah said the challenges …

GM potato trials point to blight resistant crops of the future

December 4th, 2019 / TSL

A genetically modified potato with improved tuber quality and resistance to the devastating disease late blight has progressed successfully through the latest stage of trials.

The field trials follow successful lab experiments to modify Maris Piper potatoes with late blight resistance genes from wild relatives of potato called Solanum americanum and Solanum venturii.

To improve …

Turn your anger at science denial into political action

December 3rd, 2019 / New Scientist, UK

Rejection of science is rampant, but scientists can do better at countering doubt and there are grounds for optimism every day, says Naomi Oreskes, author of Why Trust Science?

A historian of science at Harvard University, Naomi Oreskes is best known for exposing the tactics of science deniers. Her first book Merchants …

Investing in drought-tolerant maize is good for Africa

November 30th, 2019 / CIMMYT

Zambia’s vice-president has recently called to reduce maize dominance and increase crop and diet diversification in his country. The reality is that maize is and will remain a very important food crop for many eastern and southern African countries. Diet preferences and population growth mean that it is imperative to find solutions …

E. coli bacteria engineered to eat carbon dioxide

November 30th, 2019 / Nature, UK

E. coli is on a diet. Researchers have created a strain of the lab workhorse bacterium — full name Escherichia coli — that grows by consuming carbon dioxide instead of sugars or other organic molecules.

The achievement is a milestone, say scientists, because it drastically alters the inner workings of one of biology’s most …

Endoparasitoid wasp can reduce fall armyworm leaf consumption rate by up to 89%

November 30th, 2019

In a recently published study led by CABI, researchers assessed, under lab conditions, the effect of the endoparasitoid wasp, Coccygidium luteum on the leaf rate consumption of its host – fall armyworm larvae. 

Published in Insects, the paper found that the leaf consumption rate of parasitized fall armyworm larvae gradually declined compared to unparasitized larvae with …