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Tanzania: farmers lead campaign to revive coffee

June 15th, 2015 / Tanzania Daily News

For several years now, Tanzania Coffee Research Institute (TaCRI) has been working hard to support groups of farmers to introduce new improved coffee varieties that produce high yields within a short time. TaCRI says the new varieties are also resistant to diseases like Coffee Berry Diseases (CBD). Inter-cropping of the …

Mighty farming microbes: bacteria to give crops a boost

June 13th, 2015 / Interlochen Public Radio

What if farmers, instead of picking up some agricultural chemicals at their local dealer, picked up a load of agricultural microbes instead? It’s something to contemplate, because some big names in the pesticide business — like Bayer and Monsanto — are putting money behind attempts to turn soil microbes into …

Ugandan Coffee farmers acquire new wilt resistant varieties

June 10th, 2015 / Farmbiz Africa

Ugandans are set to benefit from a line of new coffee varieties that are resistant to the rampant coffee wilt disease that has wiped out more than 15 million coffee trees. The new coffee varieties which have been bred at the country’s National Coffee Research Institute is expected to …

The search for genetic clues to combat herbicide resistant weeds

June 1st, 2015 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

The advent of Roundup for crop control has brought a long list of benefits for farmers, CSU professor Scott Nissen said, including savings in fuel and water, as well as a reduction in soil erosion. But, while the system has proven easy and effective, Nissen said reliance on a …

Nature: a source of innovation in poorer countries

May 31st, 2015 / SciDev.net, UK

‘Bioinspiration’ means taking ideas from nature and turning them into technical innovation. This way of doing science could help poorer countries be more competitive. Scientists in developing countries should look for inspiration in their unique environments instead of trying to replicate European and US methods, says George Whitesides, of Harvard …

Biotech crops benefiting small farmers the most

May 31st, 2015 / Farm Futures, US

Farmers in developing countries have the most to gain from using GMO crops, according to an annual report from PG Economics which documents gains in yield and producer income, as well as reductions in pesticide use and greenhouse gas emissions, due to adoption of GMO crops globally. Read …

New breeding techniques for organic farming

May 30th, 2015 / Cell Press/Trends in Plant Science

Organic farming is based on the concept of working ‘with nature’ instead of against it; however, compared with conventional farming, organic farming reportedly has lower productivity. Ideally, the goal should be to narrow this yield gap. In this review, the feasibility of new breeding techniques (NBTs) for rewilding, a …

Worldwide network of seed information is taking root

May 26th, 2015 / SciDev.net

Collecting and saving seeds is nothing new — it is as old as farming societies themselves. But now this mission is the motivating force for a growing contingent of scientists across the globe, engaged in what some frame as a veritable race against time to conserve the world’s crop …

Working to save African cassava from whitefly

May 26th, 2015 / TED Blog

For decades, the farmers of East Africa have battled the African whitefly, a tiny insect that infests the cassava crop. Computational biologist Laura Boykin, who studies the Bemisia tabaci whiteflies that plague East Africa, using genomics, supercomputing and evolutionary history. With the data she’s gathering, now publicly available via …

Saving coffee from extinction

May 24th, 2015 / BBC.co.uk

“Richer countries buy it, roast it and drink it, but have not paid for the agronomy. Only now is the industry waking up and seeing the need for it. The coffee industry has realised no-one else is doing it – it’s going to have to be us,” says Dr …