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Global seed industry urged to innovate to address global challenges

May 24th, 2017 / ISAAA, US

The global seed industry was urged to “respond and adapt to global challenges to ensure it continues to thrive and not just to survive” by International Seed Federation (ISF) President, Jean-Cristophe Gouache, during the World Seed Congress opening on May 22, 2017 in Budapest, Hungary. Mr. Gouache added that the …

Scientists to release biotech maize, cotton varieties in Kenya

May 24th, 2017 / News Ghana

Kenyan scientists have used modern biotechnology to develop two crop varieties that are expected to be released in the country soon.
Simon Gichuki of the Kenya Agricultural, Livestock Research Organization’s (KALRO) Biotechnology Research Institute (BioRI) said that the maize and cotton varieties are already awaiting the National Performance Trials before they …

Ethiopia: maize seed adoption programme surpasses goal

May 23rd, 2017 / AllAfrica.com

The Advanced Maize Seed Adoption Program (AMSAP), a public-private partnership (PPP) between the US Agency for International Development (USAID), DuPont, and the Government of Ethiopia, surpassed its goal by 150pc to boost the production of maize among smallholder farmers in Ethiopia.
The programme aimed to help 100,000 smallholder farmers in 16 …

Government action needed on climate resiliency and food security in West Africa

May 22nd, 2017 / Mongabay, US

While some leaders in Washington are barely getting their toes wet to address global climate change, researchers at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) have dived in head-first. A new study published in Global Environmental Change modeled potential future scenarios for climate change and food security in West …

Can CRISPR feed the world?

May 22nd, 2017 / Phys.org

As the world’s population rises, scientists want to edit the genes of potatoes and wheat to help them fight plant diseases that cause famine.
By 2040, there will be 9 billion people in the world. “That’s like adding another China onto today’s global population,” said Professor Sophien Kamoun of the Sainsbury …

Rice plant engineered with a ‘tunable’ immune system could fight multiple diseases at once

May 22nd, 2017 / Science, US

Farmers are constantly spraying pesticides on their crops to combat an array of viral, bacterial, and fungal invaders. Scientists have been trying to get around these chemicals for years by genetically engineering hardy plants resilient to the array of diseases caused by microbial beasties. Most attempts so far confer protection …

Gene banks are forever

May 18th, 2017 / Crop Trust

There have been mergers and name changes, budget crunches and strategic re-thinks for the individual centers. And, from 1971 when it was founded, lots of structuring and restructuring – with the obligatory accompanying re-branding – for the club to which they all belong. I remember when it used to be …

Overexpression of galactinol synthase gene improves drought tolerance in rice

May 17th, 2017 / ISAAA, US

Enhancing drought tolerance without grain yield penalty has been a challenge for plant breeders and crop improvement. A team of researchers from the International Center for Tropical Agriculture in Colombia, and various universities and research institutions in Japan evaluated the Arabidopsis thaliana galactinol synthase 2 gene (AtGolS2). The team overexpressed …

Action plan developed to tackle fall armyworm in Africa

May 16th, 2017 / SciDev.net

B4FA Fellow Samuel Hinneh reports: Research that explores the interaction between fall armyworm life patterns and insecticide spray timing is urgently needed to tackle the pest currently devastating maize in Africa, scientists say.
The fall armyworm, scientifically called Spodoptera frugiperda, is native to the Americas, and attacks maize and a variety …

Adapting to climate smart agriculture by Ugandan farmer

May 15th, 2017 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali reports: It is now a fact that we are locked into global warming and the current changes in climatic patterns have a direct impact on rainfall variability as well as the frequency of weather extremes. Our TV screens have displayed dying livestock due to severe drought …