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Wild crops could save chickpeas

February 19th, 2018 / Reuters

They are nutritious, versatile and a dietary staple for millions of people from South Asia to Ethiopia, but scientists have warned that the humble chickpea is under threat from climate impacts such as higher temperatures, drought and pests.
The key to saving the chickpea could lie with a project cross-breeding domestic …

Crop diversity for human nutrition and health benefits

February 16th, 2018 / World Agriculture

REPORT
Summary: Alongside dramatic increases in crop production over the last 50 years, global food systems have become more dependent on a few major `staple’ crops – just three cereals now provide about 60% of plant-based human energy intake.
There is compelling evidence that diverse diets that include fruits, vegetables, nuts and …

Why sorghum is valued

February 16th, 2018 / The Star, Kenya

Sorghum is a flowering plant in the family of grass botanically known as poaceae. There are 25 species of sorghum in the world.
There are species grown for grain, while others are grown for fodder to feed livestock. Most are drought- and heat-tolerant, and the grains are used as food in …

Why a global decline in genetic crop variety matters for the future of food

February 16th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Potatoes are native to the Andes, and over 4,000 varieties are grown there now. They come in numerous shapes, sizes and colors – red, yellow, purple, striped and spotted. A colorful mound of them resembles the bold, burnished colors of locally woven shawls.
This wide array of types is an example …

Fighting plant pests

February 14th, 2018 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali writes:
Pests are described as insects, bacteria, viruses, birds, and rodents that destroy crops by eating them or by infecting them with diseases.
They are often a nuisance which results in huge losses for the farmer. They can damage the crop when it is growing in the field …

Will new regulations stifle innovation in plant and animal breeding?

February 14th, 2018 / Agri-pulse, US

Gene editing is touted as a promising new way of altering the DNA of plants or animals to speed their growth, enhance flavor, extend shelf life or combat viruses. But those who see it as a key component of agriculture’s future want to make sure that the regulations written for …

I Didn’t Think There Were Many African Women Scientists. Then …

February 12th, 2018 / NPR

Recently, an online survey asked me to name African women scientists I admired. I found myself struggling — even though I’m a Kenyan entomologist, researching sustainable ways to feed our expanding population amid a changing climate. I thought to myself, why are there so few of us?
I was wrong: We …

Scientists are on a mission to save chocolate

February 12th, 2018 / MACH

For people who love sweets, 2018 started on a sour note: Headlines claimed that cacao, the tropical tree whose beans contain the raw ingredients for chocolate, was on the brink of extinction as a result of climate change.
As with many sensational stories, this one turned out to be inaccurate. Cacao …

The future of farming

February 6th, 2018 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow, Michael Ssali writes:
Land disputes are getting more frequent as population pressure on land builds up. The population is increasing at the same rate as the struggle for people to get farming space.
Chunks of natural forests and wetlands have been turned into farmlands. In the majority of cases …

Centre aims to bridge gaps in climate-smart agriculture

February 6th, 2018 / AllAfrica.com

Africa Center of Excellence for Climate Smart Agriculture and Biodiversity Conservation (Climate SABC) hosted by Haromaya University is aiming to train efficient agricultural and climate change experts in Africa.
The Center financed by the World Bank came to be operational in 2017 and is currently teaching 51 students drawn from Ethiopia, …