In the news...

Quarter of world’s pig population ‘to die due to African swine fever’

November 1st, 2019

About a quarter of the global pig population is expected to die as a result of an epidemic of African swine fever (ASF), according to the intergovernmental organisation responsible for coordinating animal disease control.

In the last year the spread of the disease has taken policymakers by surprise, and has been …

CRISPR pigs can survive deadly disease, but regulatory uncertainty slows development

October 15th, 2019

Cutting-edge gene-editing techniques such as Crispr-Cas9 will enable scientists to make precise genetic changes to pig physiology, they say, leading to animals impervious to common maladies such as porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome, a virus that costs the U.S. pork industry hundreds of millions of dollars a year.

“It has the …

IAEA, FAO help develop bananas resistant to major fungal disease

October 1st, 2019

Bananas may be the world’s favourite fruit, but plantations worldwide are increasingly under threat from a new fungus, which destroys banana plants threatening farmers’ livelihoods and the industry.

Confined to Southeast Asia for decades, the Fusarium wilt Tropical Race 4 (TR4) was spotted for the first time in Africa recently and …

CRISPR might be the banana’s only hope against a deadly fungus

September 25th, 2019 / Nature, UK

The race to engineer the next-generation banana is on. The Colombian government confirmed last month that a banana-killing fungus has invaded the Americas — the source of much of the world’s banana supply. The invasion has given new urgency to efforts to create fruit that can withstand the scourge.

Scientists are …

The mega-pests of Africa and their economic effect

September 23rd, 2019 / Farmers Review Africa

Typical to agrarian economies, the African economy is heavily dependent on agriculture.

One may wonder; “with over 50% of its population involved in agriculture, why the agricultural economic results are so low?”

In a previous article, I had already addressed the fundamental reasons that cerate’s the agricultural pest control difficulties in Africa …

New app diagnoses crop diseases

September 16th, 2019 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru reports:

A team of scientists in conjunction with the National Crops Resources Research Institute (NaCRRI) Namulonge has developed a mobile phone application which uses artificial intelligence to accurately identify crop pests and diseases in the field.

The app also delivers the latest advice to manage all major diseases …

Advanced breeding paves the way for disease-resistant beans

September 12th, 2019 / Phys.org

ETH researchers are involved in the development and implementation of a method to efficiently breed for disease-resistant beans in different regions of the world. Their work will help to improve the livelihood and food security of smallholders in developing countries. Read more … …

China farmers warned to avoid illegal African swine fever vaccines

September 4th, 2019 / South China Morning Post

China’s agriculture ministry is warning farmers against using illegal experimental vaccines in the country’s ongoing battle with African swine fever.

In a statement on Monday, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said it had ordered local governments to step up checks and crack down on illegal vaccines.

The move was in …

Agriculture groups tout the benefits of animal composting

August 16th, 2019

Composting brings up images of buckets of scrap food and lawn trimmings. But the University of Illinois Extension Office took the idea one step further as they showed farmers how to compost livestock. 

Brian Gordon is a farmer in Iroquois County.

“One of the biggest diseases right now is actually African swine fevers — …

Small-scale farms hit hardest by African swine fever

August 15th, 2019

Almost five million pigs in Asia have now died or been culled because of the spread of African swine fever (ASF), according to reports by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The contagious viral disease that affects domestic and wild pigs was first detected in Asia …