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Reducing food losses and waste in sub-Saharan Africa

March 29th, 2016 / FAO, Italy

Roughly one-third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year — approximately 1.3 billion tonnes — gets lost or wasted. These losses are particularly unfortunate in Africa where 220 million people are estimated to be undernourished. Climate-induced crop failures — including those caused by the ongoing …

Agriculture, a mountain of opportunity says UNEP Executive Director

March 29th, 2016 / UNEP, Kenya

Agriculture has emerged as one of the key sectors that highlight the integrated nature of this approach and how it can help drive many of the solutions for a healthy planet with healthy people. However, agriculture probably also highlights more than most the way in which our fates are inextricably …

El Niño threatens food security in Africa

March 28th, 2016 / Dipnote, US

The second worst El Niño episode in history has hit Africa with devastating force, causing extensive drought and flooding that are in turn causing or exacerbating widespread hunger. El Niño is a complex weather pattern that stems from variations in ocean temperatures; it is not necessarily related to global …

Science meets farming to reveal Africa’s best bean

March 28th, 2016 / SciDev.net, UK

Around 23 million tonnes of beans are grown globally for trade and local consumption every year. Across the world, millions of farmers depend on one or more of the 40,000 known bean varieties. But beans are a fragile crop. They need lots of water and stable temperatures to grow. A …

Seed banks overlook wild relatives of food crops

March 28th, 2016 / SciDec.net.UK

Wild relatives of vital food crops are at risk of going extinct but remain underrepresented in gene banks, scientists warn. There is an urgent need to collect and conserve relatives of plants such as rice, wheat, maize and potato to preserve their genetic diversity, says a paper published this week …

Modern peanut’s wild cousin, thought extinct, found in Andes

March 28th, 2016 / Scientific American, US

the The modern peanut (Arachis hypogaea) is the result of the hybridization of two older types of Andean peanut. It has 20 pairs of chromosomes—the total from both old species, which have 10 chromosomes each. Scientists always thought—a suspicion now confirmed—that the “parents” of this peanut were the variants Arachis …

Scientists aim to adapt wheat to a warmer climate with less water

March 26th, 2016 / CIMMYT, Mexico

Scientists battling to increase wheat production by more than 60 percent over the next 35 years to meet projected demand are optimistic that they have begun to unravel the genetic mysteries that will lead to a more productive plant. A recent study conducted at 26 international sites with a new …

The legacy of drought-tolerant maize

March 26th, 2016 / CIMMYT, Mexico

The Drought Tolerant Maize for Africa (DTMA) Project has contributed towards improving seed system in sub-Saharan Africa for almost nine years (2007–2015), through 233 varieties released including about 200 distinct drought-tolerant (DT) maize hybrids and open-pollinated varieties (OPV) developed to help farmers cope with drought constraint in maize farming. …

Canada approves non-browning, low acrylamide GMO potato for sale

March 26th, 2016 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

the Innate potato has the same nutritional composition of regular potatoes plus reduced asparagine. This amino acid found in many starchy foods produces acrylamide, suspected to be a human carcinogen. Potatoes naturally produce the chemical when they’re cooked at high temperatures above 120 C (250 F). Read …

Water storage, management and future of farming

March 25th, 2016 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow, Michael Ssali writes: As we plan to develop agriculture we should think beyond mere provision of tools and seeds to our small-scale farmers. The challenges we face today are far bigger; they require radical rethinking and planning to provide farmers with resources, skills and knowledge needed to increase …