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How we can make crops survive without water

November 3rd, 2016 / TED talk: Jill Farrant

As the world’s population grows and the effects of climate change come into sharper relief, we’ll have to feed more people using less arable land. Molecular biologist Jill Farrant studies a rare phenomenon that may help: “resurrection plants” — super-resilient plants that seemingly come back from the dead. Could they …

Study reveals which genes are critical to a plant’s response to drought

November 1st, 2016 / Science Daily, US

Because plants cannot relocate when resources become scarce, they need to efficiently regulate their growth by responding to environmental cues. Drought is the most important cause of reduced plant growth and crop yield, which makes insights into a plant’s drought response highly valuable to agriculture. A new study has provided …

The (shrinking) garden of Earthly delights

October 31st, 2016 / Claudia Canales, B4FA

This periodic blog will discuss food security, with a specific focus on how plant genetic research might contribute to addressing the challenge of feeding a fast-growing global population in increasingly uncertain climatic conditions.
Achieving food security is a complex problem that goes far beyond just producing more food. Its realisation …

FAO report endorses biotech crops as important climate change tools

October 28th, 2016 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

The report … renews the [Food and Agricultural Organization]”s focus on “climate-smart agriculture,” which combines both adaptation and mitigation in improved farming systems. One of its three key principles is “sustainably increasing agricultural productivity to support equitable increases in incomes, food security, and development.” Examples suggested by the FAO include …

Farmers sow resistance to drought, boosting seed demand

October 13th, 2016 /

In the late afternoon, Angelina Mwangangi, 52, is digging on her farm on a slope overlooking Iveti hill in Machakos County, southeast of Nairobi. To prevent erosion when the rains come, she has carved out terraces.
Since the harvest in August, farmers here in Mathitu village have been preparing their land …

Seed distributions in Ethiopia boost crop yields, strengthen communities’ resilience

October 10th, 2016 /

FAO support reinforces food security response to one of the worst El Niño-induced droughts on record.
Ethiopia is about to complete one of the largest and most successful seed distribution campaigns in the country’s history, aimed at helping farmers to stay on their feet in the face of a blistering drought …

Planning for weak rains, choice of seeds is critical

September 28th, 2016 / The Sunrise, Uganda

Research by Ugandan scientists offers hope for farmers in the face of dry conditions. The National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO) working with the Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) project recently released a new drought tolerant maize variety named Drought Tego or Drought Shield. Released only in July this year, …

Smarter farming could cut hunger in drought-hit southern Africa

September 16th, 2016 / Thompson-Reuters

Southern African farmers facing hunger as a result of worsening drought know a lot about climate change but lack the resources to put solutions that work into place, agriculture and development researchers say.
That is in part because government agricultural extension services, which offer training and advice to farmers, have too …

Uganda: Shortage of drought-resistant maize seed as farmers despair

September 15th, 2016 /

Newly-released drought-tolerant hybrid maize seed has reportedly run out of stock from the eight supplier-companies–except one–contracted to multiply and market it, Seeds of Gold has exclusively learnt.
The stock-out, which comes ahead of the second planting season, has raised concern across the farming community.
Farmers are also bracing themselves against any dry …

Weather updates help farmers plan

September 14th, 2016 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru reports: Weather affects many activities in agriculture, which means timely and accurate information is important for farmers. As such Uganda National Meteorological Authority (UNMA) issues seasonal forecasts and reports to enable planning and response. See …