In the news...

CRISPR and other new breeding techniques could be key to unlocking potential of global wheat production

August 30th, 2019 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru  writes:

To meet a growing global demand for wheat, scientists and policy makers are calling for wider use of new breeding techniques in a quest to increase yields and fight pests, disease and climate change.

While other key commodity crops – including corn, soybeans and cotton – have …

When you decide to become a farmer

August 6th, 2019 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali writes:

Some people become farmers in their early youth and many others begin later, after years of formal employment. 

However there are important considerations to make before making the decision to go into farming. You have to be certain about what you want to do — it could …

Armyworms are devastating Asia’s crops, but we have a plan to save them

July 9th, 2019 / The Conversation, UK

A very hungry caterpillar is rampaging through crops across the world, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. The fall armyworm, also known as Spodoptera frugiperda (fruit destroyer), loves to eat maize (corn) but also plagues many other crops vital to human food security, such as rice and sorghum.

This invasive eating …

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 …

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 …

Reap big from mixing farming with forestry

January 31st, 2019 / Sunrise, Uganda

Agroforestry is the practice of growing trees and/or keeping livestock on the same field at the same time.

The trees could be grown purposely for timber production, shed, nutrients or medicine.  Trees could be planted on purely agricultural land or crops could be introduced to forested lands.

There are a number of …

Scientists using CRISPR-based technology to target agricultural pests

January 15th, 2019 / European Scientist

A new paper published on 8 January in Nature Communications describes a ‘precision-guided sterile insect technique’ that can effectively alter insect genes to control female viability and male fertility. The method could potentially be used to suppress increasing pest populations that threaten agricultural crops and to prevent the transmission of deadly diseases. The controllable, …

WRI: GMOs and gene editing can help improve crop breeding to boost yields to feed the world

December 13th, 2018 / ISAAA, US

A new report from the World Resources Institute The says that there is no silver bullet in producing enough food sustainably, but it offers a five-course menu of solutions to ensure feeding everyone without increasing emissions, fueling deforestation, or exacerbating poverty. WRI estimates that feeding the world sustainably while reducing …

Blue-green algae promises to boost yields of important food crops

September 12th, 2018 / ISAAA

Scientists at the Australian National University (ANU) have engineered tiny carbon-capturing engines from blue-green algae into plants. This breakthrough promises to help boost the yields of important food crops such as wheat, cowpeas, and cassava. Read …

The new buzz in elephant conservation: a bee-scented repellent

August 13th, 2018 / UN Environment

Potential to help prevent human-elephant conflict and the damage they inflict on crops when they encroach on human settlements.
Elephants hate bees. This finding has prompted scientists to devise an experiment that could help reduce human-elephant conflict.
As the saying goes, “elephants never forget”. They certainly don’t forget how painful it is …