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USDA unveils new gene-stacking tool to prevent plant diseases

August 16th, 2018 / The Scientist

If climate change is the new normal, farmers in some regions of the world will have to get used to fighting mold and mildew. For wheat growers in particular, fungal blights are already a big problem—and only expected to worsen as weather patterns change. Fungal pathogens are advancing northwards at …

Kitui County heeds to Greenpeace Africa’s call to fund agriculture

August 10th, 2018 / The Exchange, Tanzania

Two weeks ago, an international environmental watchdog and lobby group, Greenpeace Africa raised concerns over local governments’ failure to allocate adequate funding to the agriculture sector.
The lobby group therefore filed a petition stating that the county assembly formulates laws that support the ecological farming model since we have been practising …

Building research capacity for sustainable water and food security in drylands of sub-Saharan Africa

July 30th, 2018 / ReliefWeb

BRECcIA is an ambitious programme that aims to develop research capacity in institutions in three sub-Saharan countries.
Climate variability is a key feature of dryland ecosystems across sub-Saharan Africa, where rain-fed agriculture and pastoralism characterises local subsistence and is the mainstay of national economies. Demand for water and food from growing …

How sorghum’s drought-resistant genes could benefit other crops

July 2nd, 2018 / Agri-Pulse

University of California researchers are on the path to discovering genes that assist in drought resistance in sorghum, which could potentially be applied to other important cereal crops like corn, wheat, rice and barley in the years to come.
“We’re going to need crops that have better drought tolerance in the …

New programme to boost soil productivity and reduce soil degradation in Africa

June 15th, 2018 / ReliefWeb

The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and its Global Soil Partnership launched today a new programme to boost soil productivity and reduce soil degradation for greater food and nutrition security in Africa.
The Afrisoils programme aims to increase soil productivity in 47 African countries by 30 percent, and reduce …

African countries need to push climate smart agriculture

May 30th, 2018 / AllAfrica.com

The World Bank recently launched one of its largest climate smart agriculture initiatives in India. Through this $420 million initiative, the bank expects to reach over 25 million smallholder farmers working on 3.5 million hectares of land. The project will support climate-smart agricultural practices including crop diversification and planting of …

Candidate gene for drought tolerance found in wheat

May 30th, 2018 / ISAAA, US

The calcineurin B-like protein (CBL)-interacting protein kinase (CIPK) signaling pathway responds to various abiotic stresses in plants. The research team of Xiao-Yu Cui and Yong-Tao Du from the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences studied the CIPK23 gene from wheat (Triticum aestivum). Read more and for more detailed …

Soil pollution and its effects

May 8th, 2018 / Farmers Review Africa

Soil pollution poses a big threat to agricultural productivity, food safety, and human health. Unfortunately, according to a new FAO report released earlier on this week, far too little is known about the scale and severity of that threat. Regrettably, soil is a finite resource. This means its loss and …

Microbes in soil help sorghum stay strong against droughts

April 23rd, 2018 / Inside Science

Scientists want to know how one of the world’s most important grain crops, sorghum, can tolerate months of harsh, dry conditions. Now, for the first time, scientists have looked at the soil near sorghum plants to learn what role microbes play in the crop’s unique ability to endure drought. Scientists hope …

Scientists examine threats to food security – even if we meet the Paris climate targets

April 4th, 2018 / The Guardian, UK

We have delayed action for so long on handling climate change, we now can no longer can “will it happen?” Rather we have to ask “how bad will it be?” and “what can be done about it?” As our society thinks about what we should do to reduce our carbon …