In the news...

Warming of 2°C in Africa could reduce ag production by 20 per cent

April 19th, 2017 / Fresh Plaza, US

The Center for Global Development’s 2011 report, “Quantifying Vulnerability to Climate Change Implications for Adaptation Assistance,” forecasts median agricultural productivity losses due to climate change ranging from 18% in North Africa to 19.8% in Central Africa through 2050.
The weak output in Africa, reinforced by a spike in temperatures and exacerbated …

Soil microbiome – research into practice

April 17th, 2017 / Claudia Canales, B4FA

The previous blog looked at the extraordinary complexity of life supported by soils, in particular healthy, productive soils. This is especially true in the rhizosphere, the soils directly affected by plant root secretions. Key functions modulated by microbes include plant nutrition through the release of inorganic phosphorous in soils, the …

Five invasive pests cost African economy US$1 billion every year

April 17th, 2017 / News Ghana

New research by CABI reveals that just five invasive alien species are causing US$0.9 – 1.1 billion in economic losses to smallholder farmers across six eastern African countries each year, equating to 1.8% – 2.2% of total agricultural GDP for the region. These losses are expected to grow to $1.0 …

Will organic community embrace gene editing if it restores ancient crops?

April 17th, 2017 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

The majority of plants used in organic farming were conventionally bred to select for traits that increased productivity and are not suited for organic farming where pesticide, herbicide and fertilizer usage is limited. Significant inbreeding during the selection process has led to loss of several beneficial traits such as salt …

How nanobiotechnology could transform agriculture at every level

April 13th, 2017 / Huffington Post, India

Considering the advancements in science and technology, nanotechnology is being visualised as a rapidly evolving field that has the potential to revolutionise agriculture and food systems. Nanotechnology, when applied as a tool, in tandem with other measures, can seek to address some of the world’s most critical sustainable development problems …

Tanzania 103 – we welcome this ‘wonder’ cassava seed

April 12th, 2017 / AllAfrica.com

Once euphemistically called the ‘poor man’s food’ cassava is now billed among top commercial crops, finding industrial use in such sectors as brewery, pharmaceuticals and confectionery.
From its origins in Latin America’s Amazonia, the crop entered Africa through the so-called journeys of discovery in the 15th century, and today the continent …

Future of Agriculture in Africa: breeding orange-fleshed sweetpotato

April 11th, 2017 / International Potato Centre

On March 15, Dr. Robert Mwanga, one of the 2016 co-winners of the World Food Prize (WFP) contributed to a discussion on the Future of African Agriculture at the Planet Earth Institute (PEI) in London. Robert, a sweetpotato breeder at the International Potato Center (CIP) gave a presentation on progress …

Digital transformation in agri-business required to safeguard African food supply

March 27th, 2017 / TWeb, South Africa

African food security is under threat from a confluence of climate change, severe drought, water scarcity and a destructive fall armyworm invasion. But, says Lawrence Kandaswami, Managing Director, SAP South Africa, there are technology tools at hand to help solve Africa’s food security problems.
“Smart Farming solutions will become the cornerstone …

Shocking encounter with fall army worms

March 21st, 2017 / The Sunrise, Uganda

About a week ago, my wife Esther brought my attention to an attack in our little maize garden. She urged me to spray the tender plants having detected damage on the leaves on the crop that is just three weeks now.
I hesitantly accepted to spray against the feeling that it …

Raising crop productivity in Africa through intensification

March 14th, 2017 / Agronomy, Switzerland

The population of Africa will double in the next 33 years to reach 2.5 billion by 2050. Although roughly 60% of the continent’s population is engaged in agriculture, the produce from this sector cannot feed its citizens. Hence, in 2013 alone, Africa imported 56.5 million tons of wheat, maize, and …