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Climate-proofing agriculture must take centre stage in African policy

June 20th, 2016 / IPS, Italy

After over a year of extreme weather changes across the world, causing destruction to homes and lives, 2015-16 El Niño has now come to an end. This recent El Niño – probably the strongest on record along with the along with those in 1997-1998 and 1982-83– has yet again shown …

Experts to seek remedies for post-harvest losses

June 16th, 2016 / AllAfrica.com

There is an urgent need to improve large-scale grain and produce storage in Africa to reduce food losses to protect consumers from the serious health consequences of high aflatoxin levels, experts have said. Philippe Villers, the president of GrainPro, a US-based green “not-only-for-profit” company, said proper drying of grains …

20 mn people in East Africa require food aid: UN

June 6th, 2016 / Business Standard, India

About 19.9 million people in Eastern Africa require humanitarian aid as food security situation in the countries affected are not expected to improve, the UN humanitarian agency said on Wednesday. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said an estimated 31.6 million people were already food insecure …

Disease resistant GMOs could address climate change and save billions

May 5th, 2016 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Treating disease is so vital to the future of agriculture that several scientists set up a non-profit called 2Blades to help advance work on plant pathogens and disease resistance. The group’s goal is to spur promising scientific work on plant disease resistance, move it out of the lab and …

Burkina Faso puts GM cotton on hold

April 30th, 2016 / Cornell Alliance for Science, US

GM cotton in Burkina Faso has been a runaway success for local farmers, and with new improvements in the pipeline to fix an issue with fiber length, the crop can continue to provide much needed extra income for smallholders keen to emerge from poverty. GM cotton was commercialized in …

These 3 GM crops will change how we farm

April 26th, 2016 / Gizmodo, India

Three of the world’s most troubling crop diseases were just hit with three new disease-resistant crops varieties, thanks to genetic modification-each with a slightly different mechanism. The details of these modifications appear in three new papers out today in Nature Biotechnology. Read …

African smallholders to get stress-tolerant maize

April 23rd, 2016 / SciDev.net, UK

B4FA Fellow Samuel Hinneh reports: A new project that aims to provide farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa with stress-tolerant maize varieties has been launched to help the region boost food security. The Stress Tolerant Maize for Africa (STMA) project will apply conventional breeding techniques to develop maize varieties and hybrids capable …

The next generation of GMO food is here, and it’s technically not a GMO

April 21st, 2016 / Business Insider, UK

In a letter released to the public on Monday, chemical giant DuPont Pioneer announced plans to market the first crop that uses a type of precise genetic modification called CRISPR-Cas9. DuPont is the fourth-largest chemical corporation in the world, and it wants to see the product — a hybrid type …

Invasive weed worries sorghum farmers

April 21st, 2016 / Youtube.com

From Uganda B4FA Fellow, Tyaba Abubakar reports: The onset of the March – May rain season in most parts of the country has seen farmers sowing seeds in anticipation of fruitful harvests. But for most sorghum growers around the country, their hopes hang in the balance over a rise in …

Cassava in south-east Asia under threat from witches’ broom disease

April 18th, 2016 / The Guardian, UK

Climate change and globalisation are fuelling an explosion in the pests and diseases that afflict south-east Asia’s cassava crops, threatening a multi-billion dollar industry and the staple food of millions of people, a report warns. Cassava, which is originally from South America, is now south-east Asia’s third largest source of …