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International project working to beat wheat rust

March 25th, 2019 / Weekly Times, Australia

A JOINT venture project between the CSIRO and a US foundation has had recent success with a field trial of a wheat variety stacked with five wheat rust resistance genes.

The collaboration between CSIRO and the University of Minnesota known as 2Blades has recently demonstrated strong field resistance to stem rust …

Climate change threatens to poison the food supply of some of the world’s poorest people

March 25th, 2019 / Independent, UK

The alarm was raised by Professor Jacqueline McGlade, a former chief scientist at the United Nations Environment Programme, at a Gresham College lecture in London.

Her interest in the problem was first roused when reports emerged from Ethiopiaof impoverished farmers and their animals dying in mysterious circumstances.

The country was in the grip …

African farmers want GMO seeds to help weather climate change

March 18th, 2019 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

It’s an old proverb in these lands that since man has learned to shoot without missing, birds have learned to fly without perching — and the same is true with farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).

As climate change becomes more of a reality, bringing uneven seasons, longer droughts and heavy rains …

Is agribusiness the problem or the solution?

March 18th, 2019 / Africa.com

For two centuries, all too many discussions about hunger and resource scarcity has been haunted by the ghost of Parson Thomas Malthus. Malthus warned that rising populations would exhaust resources, especially those needed for food production. Exponential population growth would outstrip food output.

Humanity now faces a major challenge as global …

Using genetic engineering to turn annual crops into perennials could bolster global food production

March 18th, 2019 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

The last several decades have witnessed a remarkable increase in crop yields — doubling major grain crops since the 1950s. But a significant part of the world still suffers from malnutrition, and these gains in grains and other crops probably won’t be enough to feed a growing global population.

These facts …

Ethiopia needs to improve production of its “golden crop” Teff. Here’s how

March 11th, 2019 / The Conversation

Teff, an ancient grain from Ethiopia and Eritrea, has been growing in popularity across the world in recent years. Huge demand meant prices skyrocketed and the Ethiopian government eventually slapped a ban on exports which it kept in place for six years. The aim was to enable Ethiopians, who rely on it as a staple …

Get good seeds for planting

March 11th, 2019 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali writes:

As we begin this rainy season, many crop farmers across the country are preparing to plant seeds. Seeds are a major input in crop production.If the seeds are of poor quality, the farmer will not get high yields even if the soil is good and the …

Connecting food waste and sanitation services can help African farmers

March 3rd, 2019 / Phys.org

Across the continent less than 10% of the population is connected to a sewer system; with most households using some type of onsite sanitation technology (e.g. pit latrines or septic tanks). If not managed properly, untreated excreta can have serious human and environmental health impacts. But if managed adequately, human waste can offer many opportunities: …

How genetic engineering can help Africa cope with climate change by tweaking crops, animals

March 3rd, 2019 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Climate change will have a dramatic impact on agricultural production in Africa.  Over the last century, temperatures across the continent increased by around 0.5 degrees Centigrade. If this trend continues as expected, extreme heat waves and droughts are likely to become more common. Climate estimates suggest that there could be an …

Growing threat to food from decline in biodiversity

February 25th, 2019 / BBC, UK

The plants, animals, and micro-organisms that are the bedrock of food production are in decline, according to a UN study.

If these critical species are lost, the report says, it “places the future of our food system under severe threat”.

The study says that land-use changes, pollution, and climate change are all …