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Taking agricultural innovations to scale: RTB scaling fund awards first grants

December 20th, 2017 / CGIAR: Roots and tubers

Researchers who develop new technologies often face challenges in translating them into adapted innovations that people and enterprises will use. The CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas (RTB) consequently created a flagship project dedicated to improving livelihoods at scale (Flagship 5), which is facilitating the design and implementation …

Tributes pour in for late Kenyan scholar Calestous Juma

December 19th, 2017 / Aljazeera.com

All of us at B4FA are saddened by the untimely death of Calestours Juma, and send condolences to his family and colleagues at Harvard and around the world.
From Aljazeera:
Prominent Kenyan academic Calestous Juma has died in the United States at the age of 64, prompting an outpouring of grief and …

GMOs might feed the world if investors weren’t so scared

December 15th, 2017 / Bloomberg, US

In the basement of Koshland Hall at the University of California at Berkeley is a trove of seeds with the potential to fix some of agriculture’s most vexing problems.
There are wheat seeds—both hypoallergenic, so more people could eat it, and of a variety able to better withstand unpredictable rainfall—a growing …

Climate change: Gates Foundation pledges $300m for Africa, Asia farmers

December 15th, 2017 / Blueprint, Nigeria

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged $300 million (about N108 billion) in grants to support agricultural research which would help poor farmers to adapt to the consequences of climate change.
The Foundation announced the commitment, which will run between 2018 and 2020, at the One Planet Summit in Paris on …

The ecomodernist argument for modern agriculture

December 15th, 2017 / Successful Farming

Mark Lynas writes:
Imagine that we decided to abolish farming across the world. The cities emptied, the combines sat idle, and all 7.5 billion of us scattered out into the countryside in search of nuts, berries, and game to make our livings as modern-day hunter-gatherers. How would that go?
The answer is …

Mind the (food) gap

December 12th, 2017 / Daily Maverick, South Africa

By the middle of this century, the world’s farmers will have another 2.4-billion mouths to feed, half of which will be in Africa. But if we only focus on producing more calories of food per hectare, and throttling back population growth in order to fill the gap, we won’t address …

Organised farmers as partners in agribusiness

December 5th, 2017 / Wageningen University, Netherlands

Can farmers improve their income and well-being through effective collective action? Join the course and take home many practical tools and approaches for promoting farmer intrepreneurship and strengthening famers’ organisations that aim to arrive at farmer-inclusive agribusiness development. Read more …

Can Nigeria’s yams power a nation?

December 5th, 2017 / BBC, UK

Can Africa’s biggest economy swap its addiction to oil for the starchy tubers that millions line their bellies with each day?
“It’s our biggest hope,” says Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Audu Ogbeh.
The global slump in oil prices has hit the West African nation hard, where oil exports make …

Like it or not, Africa’s future lies in GM crops

November 28th, 2017 / The Times, UK

Matt Ridley writes
Influenced by European environmentalists, most African countries forbid the growing of genetically modified crops. This is a pity, because unless they change their attitude fast, they will face the prospect of using far more pesticides, which small-scale farmers cannot afford, and which come with environmental and safety risks, …

African youth go digital to keep climate-smart farming alive

November 16th, 2017 / Climate Home

Mobile applications and online forums help young Africans make a living from farming amid changing weather, delegates hear on the sidelines of climate talks in Bonn.
African campaigners are promoting digital tools to keep young people involved in farming and prevent migration, delegates heard on the sidelines of climate talks in …