In the news...

New gene-edited canola variety resists deadly disease, expected to drastically boost crop yields

November 15th, 2019 / ISAAA, US

Three new traits for canola, which can increase crop yields and reduce harmful environmental impacts, has been developed by Cibus, a biotechnology company that has pioneered precision gene editing for agriculture. The new traits pertain to pod shatter, resistance to Sclerotinia, and weed control.

The new traits precisely edit the canola genome to reduce pod shatter, the tendency …

#WhiteAlert: All you need to know about aflatoxins

November 13th, 2019 / Daily Nation, Kenya

In Summary

Aflatoxin-producing fungi can contaminate crops in the field, at harvest, and during storage.Aflatoxins are odourless, tasteless and colourless, making them silent but lethal poisons.These fungi are also associated with both acute and chronic toxicity in animals and humans, including acute liver damage, liver cirrhosis and liver cancers. Read more …

Technologies for climate-resilient smallholder agriculture: sharing practices from Brazil with Africa

November 7th, 2019

Brazil and Africa share similar environmental, climate and social conditions, and both face similar development challenges. This creates interesting opportunities for South-South collaboration through technology transfer in several areas, including agriculture, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and value chains development.

Drawing on its fundamental goal of promoting rural development, as well …

Microbes living in plant roots fight off fungal infection, cutting need for pesticides, study shows

November 7th, 2019

Micro-organisms living inside plant roots team up to boost the plant’s growth and tolerance to stress. An international research team led by the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) and Wageningen UR reports its discovery in …. the scientific journal Science.

Certain species of ‘resident’ bacteria can protect plant roots against fungal infections. …

IITA unveils digital tools for agricultural transformation

November 6th, 2019

The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) on Friday unveiled suite digital tools that are helping in transforming farming, improving yield and livelihoods of farmers.

The digital tools include the cassava, Goseed and yam seed trackers; Akilimo, IITA Herbicide Calculator, e-commerce site and IITA News App.

Dr. Nteranya Sanginga, IITA Director General …

How dysfunctional regulation has decimated entire sectors of biotechnology

November 4th, 2019

“To observe government is to observe the absence of accountability,” James Freeman wrote in the Wall Street Journal.1 That’s certainly true of unwise regulation of many innovative technologies; and modern biotechnology, also known as “genetic engineering (GE)” or “genetic modification (GM),” perhaps along with civilian applications of nuclear power, could be the poster …

Robust evidence of declines in insect abundance and biodiversity

November 1st, 2019

There are certain times in life — whether in our relationships, personal health or scientific research — when we think that we know something but the evidence is less than conclusive. An accumulation of clues or symptoms might suggest a particular interpretation without being strong enough to clinch the argument. …

Developing climate smart grain value chains in East Africa

October 31st, 2019

Grain demand is booming in East Africa – but supply is threatened by climate change

The grain sector, and its entire value chain, play an important role in enhancing food security, household incomes and job creation in East Africa. This is especially important given the rapidly increasing Sub-Saharan population. However, the …

Can TELA maize solve the acute food shortages in sub-Saharan Africa?

October 30th, 2019

Sub-Saharan Africa remains the most food-insecure region in the world, with an estimated 237 million throughout the region suffering from chronic undernutrition.

Frequent droughts are partially to blame for the persistent food shortages and the dry conditions make farming particularly challenging for the region’s smallholders. The TELA Maize Project has been working …

Soil fungi turn struggling wheat into ‘climate-smart’ crop with boosted nutrient uptake

October 30th, 2019

Introducing fungi to wheat boosted their uptake of key nutrients and could lead to new, ‘climate smart’ varieties of crops, according to a new study.

Researchers at the University of Leeds have demonstrated a partnership between wheat and soil fungi that could be utilized to develop new food crops and farming …