In the news...

Insect farming can reduce hunger and generate money

January 22nd, 2019 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali writes:

Of the hundreds of articles that I have written in the Daily Monitor since 1992, there is hardly any that has attracted as much public reaction as the one I wrote about Mr Deo Kiwanuka of Gulama Village, Buwunga Sub-county, in Masaka District. 

He is a beekeeper …

Scientists breeding new disease-resistant soybeans to crack down on parasitic nematode

January 22nd, 2019 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Soybean cyst nematode (SCN) [a common soybean pest] has overcome the main source of genetic resistance – PI 88788 – that accounts for 95% of resistance in SCN-resistant soybean varieties. Research scientists….have been developing new sources of genetic resistance and new SCN resistance management strategies.

Ultimately, the goal is to identify …

Speed up seed policies harmonisation

January 21st, 2019 / SciDev.net

Delayed harmonisation of policies for encouraging the transfer of seeds across East and Southern Africa is hampering trade and increased agricultural growth, experts say.

The goal to harmonise seed trade resulted from having different policies across countries, thus impeding transfer technology to promote agriculture in the region. Harmonised seed policies ensure that countries with similar agricultural production …

How investment in irrigation is paying off for Ethiopia’s economy

January 18th, 2019 / MENAFN

After rapid economic growth averaging 10% every year between 2004 and 2014, Ethiopia has emerged as an engine of development in Africa. 

And there are no signs that ambitions for further growth are fading. This is clear from the government’s blueprint to achieve middle-income status – or gross national income of …

Wild coffee species threatened by climate change and deforestation

January 18th, 2019 / Nature, UK

Most of the world’s wild coffee species have a high chance of going extinct in the next several decades due to more frequent and lengthy droughts, loss of forests and the spread of deadly pests, according to a study1 published on 16 January in Science Advances. 

The findings signal a potential threat to …

Bigger data, smaller farms: the role of big data in sustainable intensification

January 18th, 2019 / Foodtank

Farming, like any business, has a bottom line. At the end of the season, a farmer has to be able to account for the farm’s costs, subtract from the revenue, and determine whether or not the farm is profitable. Due to the number of variables involved in farming, however, calculating …

New plant-focused diet would ‘transform’ planet’s future, say scientists

January 17th, 2019

The first science-based diet that tackles both the poor food eaten by billions of people and averts global environmental catastrophe has been devised. It requires huge cuts in red meat-eating in western countries and radical changes across the world.

The “planetary health diet” was created by an international commissionseeking to draw up …

At least 60% of wild coffee species face extinction triggered by climate change and disease

January 17th, 2019 / Independent, UK

Two decades of research have revealed that 60 per cent of the world’s coffeespecies face extinction due to the combined threats of deforestation, disease and climate change.

The wild strain of arabica, the most widely consumed coffee on the planet, is among those now recognised as endangered, raising concerns about its long-term survival.

These results are worrying …

As Nigeria makes final move to commercialise Bt cowpea

January 16th, 2019 / Leadership, Nigeria

After nine years of intensive trials of the Bacillus thuringiences (Bt) cowpea (beans), Nigeria finally begins the final processes towards the commercialisation of the crop with a public presentation to get input from scientists, farmers, policy makers, civil society organisations, experts, faith-based organisations and the media.

The public presentation by …

Fixing the nitrogen problem

January 16th, 2019 / Alliance for Science, US

In this video by Robert Hazen of the Alliance for Science, scientists from the Engineering Nitrogen Symbiosis for Africa (ENSA) project discuss how they are using genetic engineering to transfer the nitrogen-fixing capabilities of legumes (peas and beans) into cereal crops. Their work could help small-holder farmers in Africa and elsewhere realize higher yields, …