In the news...

When you want to keep a dairy cow …

December 19th, 2017 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali advises:
Many smallholder farmers tend to go into dairy cow keeping by blind trust.
They are told about the economic benefits of owning a dairy cow and they go for one without taking sufficient time to inquire about the suitability and qualities of the cow they want …

Why technology should be at the heart of farming

December 19th, 2017 / Daily Nation, Kenya

Nickson Muturi is the project manager for Business Development at Syngenta, and he is leading agricultural data projects across Africa, specifically focusing on mobile technology. He spoke to Leopold Obi.
To what extent is access to agricultural information through the mobile phone of benefit to smallholder farmers?
Farmers in the region …

Tributes pour in for late Kenyan scholar Calestous Juma

December 19th, 2017 / Aljazeera.com

All of us at B4FA are saddened by the untimely death of Calestours Juma, and send condolences to his family and colleagues at Harvard and around the world.
From Aljazeera:
Prominent Kenyan academic Calestous Juma has died in the United States at the age of 64, prompting an outpouring of grief and …

GMOs might feed the world if investors weren’t so scared

December 15th, 2017 / Bloomberg, US

In the basement of Koshland Hall at the University of California at Berkeley is a trove of seeds with the potential to fix some of agriculture’s most vexing problems.
There are wheat seeds—both hypoallergenic, so more people could eat it, and of a variety able to better withstand unpredictable rainfall—a growing …

Mind the (food) gap

December 12th, 2017 / Daily Maverick, South Africa

By the middle of this century, the world’s farmers will have another 2.4-billion mouths to feed, half of which will be in Africa. But if we only focus on producing more calories of food per hectare, and throttling back population growth in order to fill the gap, we won’t address …

South African farmer offers ‘living testimony’ to safety of biotech

December 11th, 2017 / Alliance for Science, US

“At first I was resistant due to some of the negative stories about biotechnology that are out there, like hearing that some people develop cancer and stuff,” she said.
After being persuaded to plant biotech seeds on one hectare of land, that resistance quickly faded away.
“Guess what? I saw …

How soil can clean the air

December 5th, 2017 / Scientific American

Soil management offers huge potential for keeping carbon emissions in the ground
Soil management doesn’t sound snazzy, but scientists say it offers huge potential for keeping carbon emissions in the ground—and out of the atmosphere.
A paper published this week in the journal Scientific Reports estimates that improved land-use practices could increase …

The future of agriculture, food security is knowledge-intensive

December 5th, 2017 / BIZ-Community, South Africa

“The future of agriculture is not input-intensive, but knowledge-intensive. This is the new paradigm,” says FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva
Food production increased over the last decades, but at a high cost to the environment, generating deforestation, water scarcity, soil depletion and high levels of greenhouse gas emissions, he …

Organised farmers as partners in agribusiness

December 5th, 2017 / Wageningen University, Netherlands

Can farmers improve their income and well-being through effective collective action? Join the course and take home many practical tools and approaches for promoting farmer intrepreneurship and strengthening famers’ organisations that aim to arrive at farmer-inclusive agribusiness development. Read more …

African women are starting to take a lead in agricultural research

November 30th, 2017 / Quartz Africa

It is no news that to transform Africa’s agriculture, women will have to be on an equal footing with men. The same also needs to happen away from the fields, in agricultural research institutions devoted to address challenges and provide solutions to farmers. Fewer women than men are trained and …