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Who benefits from IP rights in agricultural innovation?

August 29th, 2015 / WIPO, Switzerland

In a finite world with an ever-expanding population, agricultural innovation is vital in order to increase productivity and secure the global food supply. But agricultural research and development (R&D) is a risky and costly business. In the past, agricultural R&D was largely publicly funded but today, increasingly the private sector …

GM technology isn’t good or evil – it’s what we do with it that counts

August 29th, 2015 / The Guardian, Uk

Just mentioning genetic modification (GM) creates division. The anti-GM lobby sees red mist, the pro-GM lobby seemingly wants to roll out the red carpet and others see GM as a red herring, a distraction from other (more easily acceptable) solutions to our huge food challenges. See …

Rice production could increase 33%

August 22nd, 2015 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

A newly discovered gene could increase rice production by up to a third, according to a study by Chinese scientists, potentially offering a new weapon in the fight against global hunger. By modifying the plant’s BG1 gene, the researchers said they were able to create one of the largest rice …

Disturbing contrasts in African agriculture

August 20th, 2015 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali reports: In the preface to Africa Development Report 2014, Kofi Annan, wrote: “The unacceptable reality is that too many African farmers still use methods handed down from generation to generation, working their lands or grazing their animals much as their ancestors have done for millennia. Africa …

Gene therapy for a changing climate

August 19th, 2015 / Can we feed the world?

Supporting smallholder farmers to better adapt to climate change and build their resilience to a variety of risks – weather-related or not – can be done in a variety of ways. For example, better access to finance can enable farmers to invest more in their farms; better training can …

Genetic sprays that don’t modify a plant’s genome might bring benefits with less controversy

August 17th, 2015 / MIT Technology Review

The cells of plants and animals carry their instructions in the form of DNA. To make a protein, the sequence of genetic letters in each gene gets copied into matching strands of RNA, which then float out of the nucleus to guide the protein-making machinery of the cell. RNA …

Everyone who’s sure about a food philosophy is wrong

July 28th, 2015 / Washington Post, US

There’s an unbreachable divide between advocates of modern conventional agriculture and, essentially, everyone else, from the mainstream (organic, local, anti-GMO) to the less-so (biodynamics, permaculture, agroforestry). The parties are entrenched, the tone is partisan. But they ought to be able to get along, because all hard-core advocates of this or …

Rice that makes less methane

July 23rd, 2015 / New Scientist, UK

Rice agriculture is responsible for between 7 and 17 per cent of human-induced methane emissions. Sugars produced during photosynthesis leak into the soil, where they are used up by methane-producing soil microorganisms. Chuanxin Sun from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and his colleagues in China and the US have …

Scientists close to finding MLN resistant seeds

July 21st, 2015 / Farmbiz Africa

Scientists are on verge of finding a Maize lethal necrosis (MNL) resistant seed, a move that will see Kenya save 10 per cent of national maize production per year lost to the deadly virus that first surfaced in Kenya in 2011 according to the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center …

The full truth about the anti-GMO campaign

July 20th, 2015 / The Innovation Files, US

One at a time, courageous journalists have followed the data, interrogated their presuppositions, and begun to pull back the many layers of curtains to illuminate the true intentions driving the global campaign against modern innovations in agriculture, aka “GMOs.”  Read …