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Can epigenetics change the way we breed crops for drought and climate change?

August 24th, 2017 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Crops that can withstand the ravages of climate change or resist killer diseases? Many already have been developed — including varieties of bananas, cassava, wheat and oranges — but they languish on laboratory shelves as their creators navigate the complex, and sometimes contradictory, regulations developed over the years to deal …

What sub-Sahara can learn from India’s ‘Green revolution’: the good and the ba

August 23rd, 2017 / The Conversation

Sub-Saharan Africa has huge potential to become a global food basket, but it is far from being realised. The region is estimated to have 60% of the globally available and unexploited arable land yet it remains food deficient.
Even when arable land is cultivated, hurdles such as limited irrigation, small sized …

Is our type of agriculture really working?

August 21st, 2017 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali writes:
Most of our farmers work on small plots of land and can be described as family farmers, smallholders or just peasants. This kind of farming provides employment to about 70 per cent of our adult population.
Typically a peasant farmer uses a hand hoe and a machete, …

The key to drought-tolerant crops may be in the leaves

August 21st, 2017 / Phys.org

A solution to help farmers to grow crops in dry areas or during stretches of drought may depend on breeding and cultivating plants that protect themselves with a thicker layer of leaf wax, a new study shows.
Sarah Feakins, a scientist at USC who has studied leaf wax in the context …

Smallholder farmers are investable

August 9th, 2017 / Impact Alpha

Inclusive agriculture is defined as agricultural markets and value chains that are inclusive of the world’s half-billion smallholder farmers. Such models link these farmers with larger economic actors, ultimately improving agricultural productivity, expanding markets and trade, and increasing the economic resilience of vulnerable rural communities.
A recent review by the Initiative …

Nigeria looks to ‘white gold’ for economic recovery

August 9th, 2017 / BizCommunity, South Africa

Rising rice production is one of the few positives of Nigeria’s recession, which is the West African country’s worst in 25 years. Today about 5.7 million tonnes of rice are being produced every year – three times as much as a decade ago.
“We are now living a white gold revolution,” …

Climate change Is draining protein out of staple crops

August 4th, 2017 / IFL Science

No matter how hard we work at stopping it, some human-driven climate change is inevitable. It’s already happening, and it will continue to happen even if we drawdown carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
This means that there are certain adaptations we need to make in order to make it through the …

African leaders urged to embrace science in agriculture

August 1st, 2017 / Ghana News Agency

Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, Minister of Food and Agriculture, has called on African governments to embrace and invest in science and technology to transform the agricultural sector.
Dr Akoto said there was no way to develop agriculture without science, adding that it was imperative forAfrican continent to prioritise the role of …

How WEMA project can protect maize from army worms

August 1st, 2017 / Tribune, Nigeria

To develop drought tolerant maize by conventional breeding method takes a very long number of years, in fact, scientists will tell you that every year, they can increase yield through conventional breeding under drought by just 1-1.5 per cent. This means, to develop and come out with drought tolerant maize …

Climate change to push Ethiopian coffee farming uphill

July 31st, 2017 / SciDev.net

Relocating coffee areas, along with forestation and forest conservation, to higher altitudes to cope with climate change could increase Ethiopia‘s coffee farming area fourfold, a study predicts.
The study, published in Nature last month (19 June), suggests that moving Ethiopian coffee fields to higher ground because of climate change could increase …