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Hunger will continue to plague Africa until we get serious on soils

April 14th, 2017 / Thompson Reuters

Severe hunger in Africa could become a thing of the past even in arid regions. Long-term strategies to build resilience to the harsh climates that decimate crops and cattle do exist and need implementing with urgency. In Africa, these strategies, that can lead to major productivity gains in the face …

Study shows natural genetic engineering in grafted plants

April 13th, 2017 / IAAAS, US

Rutgers University researchers led by Pal Maliga reported that grafted plants exchange mitochondria, the powerhouse of the cells which contain their own genomes. Furthermore, when the whole mitochondria from one plant get into the cells of another, they combine their DNA with that of the existing mitochondria. These findings, published …

How nanobiotechnology could transform agriculture at every level

April 13th, 2017 / Huffington Post, India

Considering the advancements in science and technology, nanotechnology is being visualised as a rapidly evolving field that has the potential to revolutionise agriculture and food systems. Nanotechnology, when applied as a tool, in tandem with other measures, can seek to address some of the world’s most critical sustainable development problems …

Improving cassava production in Nigeria through sustainable seed systems

April 13th, 2017 / BizCommunity.com

According to seed sector specialists, businesses selling improved varieties and high-quality cassava stems for cultivation could help African farmers significantly raise their productivity. Raised productivity will be enjoyed by all stakeholders across the value chain in a sustainable way as this means more Naira from the land, inputs, and effort.
This …

Microbiomes could help plants grow, resist disease and make agriculture more sustainable

April 12th, 2017 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Feeding a growing world population amidst climate change requires optimizing the reliability, resource use, and environmental impacts of food production.
One way to assist in achieving these goals is to integrate beneficial plant microbiomes—i.e., those enhancing plant growth, nutrient use efficiency, abiotic stress tolerance, and disease resistance—into agricultural production. Read …

Uganda: Armyworm – how prepared are we?

April 12th, 2017 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali writes:
Joseph Mayengo a smallholder farmer at Manja Village Kisekka Sub-county in Lwengo District suddenly discovered that his maize crop was under attack by strange looking caterpillars.
They had perforated holes in the leaves and in the stems, and it was clear that there was little chance for …

Tanzania 103 – we welcome this ‘wonder’ cassava seed

April 12th, 2017 / AllAfrica.com

Once euphemistically called the ‘poor man’s food’ cassava is now billed among top commercial crops, finding industrial use in such sectors as brewery, pharmaceuticals and confectionery.
From its origins in Latin America’s Amazonia, the crop entered Africa through the so-called journeys of discovery in the 15th century, and today the continent …

Blow to Kenya’s food security situation as armyworms invade farms

April 11th, 2017 / News Ghana

Kenya’s food security situation faces a fresh threat as armyworms invade maize farms in different parts of the east African nation.
The country is currently grappling with a serious food crisis mainly caused by poor rains that has seen prices rise considerably, with a 2kg tin of dry maize going …

Seed shortage: a hidden crisis limiting Uganda’s prosperity

April 11th, 2017 / The Sunrise, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Henry Lutaaya reports:
The ongoing rains in most parts of the country will likely go without being optimally used because farmers are unable to access sufficient quantities of quality seeds for the important staple foods like maize, beans, bananas, cassava and sweet potatoes.
The latest blow comes from the government’s …

Future of Agriculture in Africa: breeding orange-fleshed sweetpotato

April 11th, 2017 / International Potato Centre

On March 15, Dr. Robert Mwanga, one of the 2016 co-winners of the World Food Prize (WFP) contributed to a discussion on the Future of African Agriculture at the Planet Earth Institute (PEI) in London. Robert, a sweetpotato breeder at the International Potato Center (CIP) gave a presentation on progress …