In the news...

Microbes living in plant roots fight off fungal infection, cutting need for pesticides, study shows

November 7th, 2019

Micro-organisms living inside plant roots team up to boost the plant’s growth and tolerance to stress. An international research team led by the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) and Wageningen UR reports its discovery in …. the scientific journal Science.

Certain species of ‘resident’ bacteria can protect plant roots against fungal infections. …

VIDEO: How agriculture is enhancing food security in a time of climate resilience

November 6th, 2019

Whilst agricultural development is fundamental to achieving many of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), African Union’s Agenda 2063, and commitments under the Malabo Declaration, agricultural productivity on the continent remains low. Chairperson of the Board of Governors for Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN), Professor Sidi Osho …

What will I eat today’ vs. ‘will I eat today?’ – It’s time to trust African scientists

November 5th, 2019

In Africa, it is time we focus on diligent and accelerated regulatory regimes, as well as decisions based on science and the benefits of agricultural biotechnology. It is time we focus on agricultural productivity with an acknowledgement of environmental conservation and sustainability. It is time we give strong consideration to …

Why food systems need to change

November 5th, 2019

An interview with UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP) food systems expert James Lomax.

Before joining UNEP, I worked in commercial food production and farming in both Europe and East Africa. The underlying ethos of this work was sustainability within a commercial setting. We had outgrower groups supplying fresh produce for the market. …

Global consensus finds neonicotinoids not driving honeybee health problems. Why is Europe determined to ban them?

November 4th, 2019

One of the more intriguing subplots in the melodramatic debate over neonicotinoids and the ‘future of bees’ is the apparent divergence of viewpoints by risk and regulatory agencies on the potential threat to pollinators posed by the insecticide.

There is no question that the health of bees is an issue––mostly, entomologists say, because of bee …

Researchers double sorghum grain yield to improve food supply

November 4th, 2019

Plant scientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) and USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS), in their search for solutions to global food production challenges, have doubled the amount of grains that a sorghum plant can yield.

Sorghum, one of the world’s most important sources of food, animal feed, and biofuel, is …

Robust evidence of declines in insect abundance and biodiversity

November 1st, 2019

There are certain times in life — whether in our relationships, personal health or scientific research — when we think that we know something but the evidence is less than conclusive. An accumulation of clues or symptoms might suggest a particular interpretation without being strong enough to clinch the argument. …

Quarter of world’s pig population ‘to die due to African swine fever’

November 1st, 2019

About a quarter of the global pig population is expected to die as a result of an epidemic of African swine fever (ASF), according to the intergovernmental organisation responsible for coordinating animal disease control.

In the last year the spread of the disease has taken policymakers by surprise, and has been …

Biotech soybeans now cover 50% of the world’s biotech crop area

October 31st, 2019

The four major biotech crops — soybeans, maize, cotton, and canola — were the most adopted biotech crops by 26 countries in 2018, according to the ISAAA report, Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops in 2018. Soybeans lead at 95.9 million hectares, followed by maize (58.9 million hectares), cotton (24.9 million), and canola (10.1 million hectares). Based on …

Engineered molecule could protect key food crops from intensifying droughts as climate changes

October 29th, 2019

An engineered small molecule called opabactin that targets the receptor for the hormone abscisic acid (ABA), which plants release in stressful conditions, limited water loss in Arabidopsis, tomato, and wheat, and improved wheat’s tolerance of drought-like conditions in the lab, according to a study published today (October 24) in Science. It …