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Distant cousins of domesticated crops harbor traits to feed a hungry planet

March 13th, 2018 / ICRISAT

Recently, scientists found that more frequent flooding caused by storm and rainfall along with erratic temperature are responsible for the resurgence of phytophthora blight, a devastating disease that weakens pigeonpea stems irrespective of soil types and cropping patterns. With climate change, new invasive pests and changes in the farming landscape, …

Misery for farmers as coffee trees wilt

March 5th, 2018 / Sunrise, Uganda

By B4FA Fellow Henry Lutaaya
In September last year, Godfrey Ssekankya, a prominent coffee farmer from Miseebe, Bulera sub-county Mityana District, had high hopes of getting a good yield from his coffee farm come round this harvest season starting April. The sense of optimism arose from the heavy flowering he witnessed, …

Green super rice for a greener revolution

February 22nd, 2018 / ISAAA, US

A collaboration with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS), and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) has developed Green Super Rice (GSR), a new breed of rice varieties that perform well in the toughest conditions.
GSR is a mix of more than 250 different …

Why sorghum is valued

February 16th, 2018 / The Star, Kenya

Sorghum is a flowering plant in the family of grass botanically known as poaceae. There are 25 species of sorghum in the world.
There are species grown for grain, while others are grown for fodder to feed livestock. Most are drought- and heat-tolerant, and the grains are used as food in …

Farming is not a bed of roses

January 26th, 2018 / Daily Monitor

B4FA Fellow, Michael Ssali writes
Nobody should deceive you that farming is a bed of roses and that it always leads to riches. Like all other occupations, there are big challenges that farmers face in form of risks and uncertainties.
Anybody planning to go into farming must be determined to work hard …

Rising temperatures put Africa’s rice production at risk

January 18th, 2018 / African Farming, UK

A new modelling study published today warns that the dry-season irrigated rice in West Africa’s Sahel region has reached the critical threshold of 37 degrees Celsius – the tipping point. Further temperature rise could devastate rice yields in this region due to decreasing photosynthesis at high temperatures.
This is an ominous …

Scientists use CRISPR-Cas9 technology to improve drought and salt tolerance in rice

January 11th, 2018 / ISAAA, US

The ∆ 1 -pyrroline-5-carboxylate synthetase (P5CS) is the rate-limiting enzyme in proline (Pro) synthesis and is involved in drought and salt stress tolerance in plants. An OsP5CS gene was isolated from a stress-treated commercial rice variety, BC15.
The length of rice OsP5CS was 2173 nucleotides, containing an ORF encoding for …

New technique to help plant breeders develop drought resistant varieties faster

December 13th, 2017 / ISAAA, US

Scientists from the Canadian Light Source (CLS) have teamed up with researchers from the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) to develop a new technique to examine drought tolerance in wheat. Led by Chithra Karunakaran and Karen Tanino, the team developed a simple non-destructive method to screen hundreds of wheat …

FAO looking at cactus as climate resilient food

December 6th, 2017 / UN News Service

With the reality of climate change becoming more real by the day, including its impact on food sources, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is urging communities around the world not to take the prickly cactus for granted.
“Climate change and the increasing risks of droughts are strong reasons …

Genes found in drought-resistant plants could accelerate evolution of water-use efficient crops

December 6th, 2017 / Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Scientists at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have identified a common set of genes that enable different drought-resistant plants to survive in semi-arid conditions, which could play a significant role in bioengineering and creating energy crops that are tolerant to water deficits.
Plants thrive in drylands by keeping …