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Postharvest losses: curse to African farming

May 2nd, 2018 / SciDev.net

Adopting cost-effective technologies could help smallholders in Sub-Saharan Africa tackle postharvest losses and increase their income, a report says.
According to the FAO, postharvest losses reduce the income of the continent’s farmers and value chain actors that depend on farmers by about 15 per cent.
The report by the International Food Policy …

We must stand up for quality seeds

May 1st, 2018 / Daily Nation, Kenya

Seed companies, researchers and dealers recently launched the Global Development Alliance in Nairobi in partnership with USAid. Ian Barker is the Head of Agricultural Partnerships at Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture. He spoke to Leopold Obi about what the alliance is all about and what farmers should expect from it. …

Water from the sun: solar-powered water pumps offer African farmers a way out of poverty

April 18th, 2018 / GTM

Joshua Okundi’s five-acre farm is his classroom. A longtime schoolteacher who left his job to become a farmer in 2013, Okundi is an instructor to the constant stream of visitors who arrive at his home in Kendu, a small rural village in the western reaches of Kenya.
Visitors come seeking advice, …

Scaling up game-changing agricultural innovations and technologies in Africa

April 16th, 2018 / AllAfrica.com

The West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF/WECARD), with the support of the World Bank, recently rolled out an initiative aimed at placing innovative climate-smart technologies in the hands of farmers so that they are better protected from the impacts of climate change. This is sorely …

Resistance to the usual pesticides makes armyworm more dangerous

April 16th, 2018 / The Star, Kenya

Agriculture is grappling with many pests already, and as USAid’s Regina Eddy says, the armyworm is unique in that it is resistant to many conventional pesticides. Eddy is the coordinator of Fall Armyworm Task Force at the USAid Bureau of Food Security.
She said the pest also has a voracious appetite …

The missing ingredient in fighting Africa’s malnutrition problems

April 16th, 2018 / Independent, UK

The benefits of improved nutrition are widely known and appreciated. Improved nutrition increases the incomes of households. This in turn raises the demand for food, enriches livelihoods and leads to more employment opportunities.
Many past initiatives to produce more food in Africa and combat malnutrition have focused on increasing the availability …

Agripreneurship deserves as much buzz as supposedly sexier, urban-based sectors

April 12th, 2018 / Huffpost, South Africa

South Africa or Africa at large should seek to be the place that gives us the Steve Jobs of agriculture, to tackle major challenges the continent faces in terms of economic growth, food security and the present threat of climate change. This is particularly important in the sensitive debate over …

Vaccines for plants? RNA spray could help protect crops from pests and disease

April 11th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Novel technologies are being sought to replace the traditional pesticides used to protect plants, particularly edible plants such as cereals. A new collaborative project between the University of Helsinki and the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) is shedding light on the efficacy of environmentally friendly RNA-based vaccines that …

Agricultural guide on a phone helps increase developing-world farmers’ yields

April 10th, 2018 / FastCompany.com

When Kenyan farmers need to know whether to take their cows to the vet, they can now just ask their phones. Using a popular new service called DigiFarm, they can use their phones to get simple information that will let them determine if their cow is infected with mastitis (a …

US gene-editing ruling delights plant scientists

April 9th, 2018 / The Guardian, UK

Researchers in the US have been given the go-ahead to use gene-editing techniques to alter crops and plants. The decision opens the door for scientists to create a new generation of genetically altered crops without serious restriction and paves the way for approvals for similar work in Britain and the …