In the news...

Breakthrough pigeonpea genome re-sequencing will lead to superior varieties and make the pulse more affordable

May 25th, 2017 / ICRISAT

In a significant breakthrough, a global team of 19 scientists from 9 institutes have re-sequenced the genome or DNA of 292 pigeonpea varieties (Cajanus cajan) and discovered new traits such as resistance to various diseases that affect the crop and its insensitivity to photo-period (the duration of daylight hours required …

Pests and pathogens could cost agriculture billions

May 25th, 2017 / Reuters

The spread of pests and pathogens that damage plant life could cost global agriculture $540 billion a year, according to a report published on Thursday.
The report, released by the Royal Botanic Gardens (RBG) at Kew in London, said that an increase in international trade and travel had left flora facing …

Crop biodiversity: the key to ending hunger

May 25th, 2017 / Aljazeera

As people in four countries – Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and Nigeria – teeter on the brink of famine, it seems our progress towards ending hunger is sadly inadequate. We are once again confronted with the question: how can we do more for vulnerable communities?
We have, in fact, made major …

Mixed farming systems and global food security

May 25th, 2017 / Claudia Canales, B4FA

Mixed farming, the combined production of crops and livestock, is central to current and future global food supplies. Two thirds of all people, and most of the world’s poor, work in such systems to produce a significant proportion of key staple crops: 86 per cent of rice, 74 per cent …

Global seed industry urged to innovate to address global challenges

May 24th, 2017 / ISAAA, US

The global seed industry was urged to “respond and adapt to global challenges to ensure it continues to thrive and not just to survive” by International Seed Federation (ISF) President, Jean-Cristophe Gouache, during the World Seed Congress opening on May 22, 2017 in Budapest, Hungary. Mr. Gouache added that the …

Scientists to release biotech maize, cotton varieties in Kenya

May 24th, 2017 / News Ghana

Kenyan scientists have used modern biotechnology to develop two crop varieties that are expected to be released in the country soon.
Simon Gichuki of the Kenya Agricultural, Livestock Research Organization’s (KALRO) Biotechnology Research Institute (BioRI) said that the maize and cotton varieties are already awaiting the National Performance Trials before they …

‘Cool Agriculture’ will attract African youth

May 24th, 2017 / Joyonline

Former President Mahama says Africa needs its educated youth who can understand the principles of increased agricultural productivity to participate in the sector.
He said the bane of African agriculture is the disinterest of the educated young people in the sector, bemoaning the perception by most that agriculture is back breaking, …

Nigeria: starting a cocoa farm this season

May 23rd, 2017 /

Cocoa, according to the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN), was introduced by the Portuguese into the Gulf of Guinea from where it got to Nigeria around the last quarter of the 19th Century. The introduced variety was the Amelonado.
This variety later became unique to West Africa, hence the name …

Ethiopia: maize seed adoption programme surpasses goal

May 23rd, 2017 /

The Advanced Maize Seed Adoption Program (AMSAP), a public-private partnership (PPP) between the US Agency for International Development (USAID), DuPont, and the Government of Ethiopia, surpassed its goal by 150pc to boost the production of maize among smallholder farmers in Ethiopia.
The programme aimed to help 100,000 smallholder farmers in 16 …

Twice the tomatoes on the vine, thanks to a bit of genetic tweaking

May 23rd, 2017 / Science, US

Plant geneticists have figured out how to almost double the production of garden tomatoes. Though most of us care mainly about how big or tasty our corn or tomatoes are, breeders also care about how these plants grow, as the branching patterns of stems can greatly affect the number of …