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‘Supercharging’ rice with maize gene increases yields by 50 per cent

October 25th, 2017 / ISAAA, US

To improve photosynthesis in rice and increase crop yields, scientists working on the Oxford University-led C4 Rice Project have, by introducing a single maize gene to the plant, moved towards ‘supercharging’ rice to the level of more efficient crops.
Rice uses the C3 photosynthetic pathway, which in hot, dry environments is …

Peptides could revolutionise how food is grown

October 25th, 2017 / ABC News, Australia

Scientists say the discovery of a group of hormones in plants could revolutionise food production by improving yields.
The Universities of Queensland and Sydney collaborated on the study, which has found about 130 CLE peptide hormones in legumes that were essential to growth and development.
Senior Lecturer at the Centre for Integrative …

Nigeria bio-safety chief defends GMOs

October 16th, 2017 / Premium Times, Nigeria

Despite the criticism that has trailed the used of Genetically Modified Organisms, GMOs, Nigeria’s bio-safety chief has defended the use of such crops.
Rufus Egbegba, who heads the National Bio-safety Management Agency, NBMA, said GMOs are the same conventional crops but improved versions for the purpose of sustainability and improved yields.
Rufus …

Kenya launches task force to facilitate commercialization of GM cotton

October 13th, 2017 / Xinhua, China

Kenya on Wednesday unveiled a national task force to oversee the commercialization of genetically modified cotton in the next five years.
Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Willy Bett said the team will build the capacity of key stakeholders involved in the rollout of genetically engineered cotton.
“The government is committed …

CGIAR wants to build a big data platform and innovate with startups to help smallholder farmers

October 12th, 2017 / AllAfrica.com

A fortnight ago CGIAR – one of the world’s major agriculture research networks – met in Cali with a wide range of partners to look at how they could use their data using AI and Big Data to drive farming improvements in continents like Africa. Part of the Convention was …

Genetically improving nutritional value of corn could benefit millions

October 12th, 2017 / ISAAA, US

In a discovery that could benefit millions of people in the world, Rutgers University scientists have found a way to enhance the nutritional value of corn by inserting a bacterial gene that causes it to produce the key nutrient methionine. Read more …

The homecoming of African pasture grasses

October 10th, 2017 / Claudia Canales – B4FA

Brachiaria grasses, which originated primarily from natural grasslands in Africa, do not look particularly remarkable. Yet these forage species for feeding farm animals are the most widely used in the tropics, especially in Central and South America, where they were introduced in the middle of last century in an effort …

Substantial investment to tackle challenges of African vector-borne plant diseases

October 9th, 2017 / Univ. of Bristol, UK

The University of Bristol has been awarded £2 million to lead a major new project that aims to tackle the devastation caused by vector-borne plant diseases in Africa.
In much the same way as insects can transmit human diseases, destructive plant diseases are transmitted by aphids, beetles, whitefly and other insects.
These …

Uganda removes key hurdle to GM crops

October 9th, 2017 / Science Magazine

Biotech researchers here are celebrating the long-awaited passage of a bill this week that clears the way for large-scale field tests and commercial release of genetically modified (GM) crops. Uganda, with several engineered varieties waiting in the wings, is expected to join a handful of other African nations moving quickly …

Agriculture, nutrition and fortification, supplementation and biofortification

October 6th, 2017 / BioMed Central

“…why should Africa be prohibited from growing the most technologically advanced and sustainable crops?” “[African] Farmers need and want choices, not European-imposed restrictions”
The worlds growing population and limited land resources require high intensity of food production. Human nutrition needs both macronutrients and micronutrients. One way of providing micronutrients in …