In the news...

Why massive effort needs to be put into growing trees on farms

December 4th, 2018 / The Conversation, UK

It’s now over 50 years since the world was first warned that resources were being used at an unsustainable rate. It has now been estimated that almost one quarter to one third of the world’s land is degraded to some extent.
Degradation refers to land that’s lost nutrients, or has changed …

Satellites warn African farmers of pest infestations

December 3rd, 2018 / BBC, UK

UK researchers have developed an early warning system to prevent the crops of African farmers from being devastated.
The Pest Risk Information Service (Prise) combines temperature data and weather forecasts with computer models.
It then sends farmers a mobile phone alert so that they can take precautions.
It is hoped that the system …

Ugandan scientists skeptical of revised GMO bill

December 3rd, 2018 / Alliance for Science, US

The Ugandan Parliament yesterday approved a bill to regulate genetically modified organisms that has scientists skeptical the technology will ever reach the smallholder farmers it is intended to help.
“Once bitten, twice shy,” said plant biotechnologist Dr. Andrew Kiggundu in reference to last year’s events, when Parliament passed the bill, but …

Global food system is broken, say world’s science academies

November 30th, 2018 / The Guardian, UK

The global food system is broken, leaving billions of people either underfed or overweight and driving the planet towards climate catastrophe, according to 130 national academies of science and medicine across the world.
Providing a healthy, affordable, and environmentally friendly diet for all people will require a radical transformation of the …

Why did Tanzania just pull the plug on its GMO crop trials?

November 29th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

When the Tanzanian government announced Friday [November 23] they were ending field trials of genetically engineered crops in the country and calling for the destruction of the crops, the country’s research community was aghast, with a local paper reporting:
‘Members of the research community were in shock that the government did …

Closer to harvest? The status of the Golden Rice project

November 29th, 2018 / Flip Science, Philippines

A variety of Oryza sativa (rice) genetically engineered using recombinant DNA technology, Golden Rice contains beta carotene, an antioxidant which the body converts into Vitamin A. This gives the rice grain the yellow-orange or gold color that inspired its name.
However, the Golden Rice project is still on its way to …

How mobile phones are helping farmers grow bigger harvests

November 28th, 2018 / Gates Notes

Philanthropist Bill Gates writes:
Whenever I travel to rural parts of the world, the farmers I meet talk about one thing that holds them back: they can’t save their money.
They don’t mean they spend more than they earn. They mean that, literally, they don’t have a safe place to put their …

Food security: Africa should be the answer

November 28th, 2018 / NEWS24, South Africa

Africa is the only continent suited to commercial agriculture with underutilised land. Neither Europe nor North America has “spare” land available. It is therefore up to us to do more with what we have.
When it comes to exploring science and technology in the interest of increased productivity and yield, farmers …

Fight crop diseases for food security

November 27th, 2018 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali writes:
Fertiliser use, irrigation, mechanisation, and better agronomic practices will continue to play a big role in transforming agriculture, but farmers should be helped to grow pest resistant crops, herbicide resistant crops, and drought tolerant crops developed through modern biotechnology. Read …

Legumes offer hope for food security, poverty eradication

November 22nd, 2018 / The Standard, Kenya

Legumes food crop farming can end Kenya’s perennial food insecurity and generate income for farmers. This follows the coming up of resolutions by researchers and scientists that will help African countries gain food security and sustainable development at the seventh international food legume research conference in Marrakech, Morocco recently.
Scientists said …