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How to feed 9.7 billion people? CRISPR gene editing for crops

April 4th, 2017 / Singularityhub.com

It’s no secret that we’re going to struggle to feed the rapidly expanding global population. New genome editing technologies could hold the answer, according to scientists.
The number of humans on this planet is expected to hit 9.7 billion by 2050, and crop demand is predicted to increase by 100 to …

New generation of GMO crops could dramatically increase yield

April 4th, 2017 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Farmers could one day control when their crops ripen after the development of modified rice that flowers on demand.
Despite how advanced our agricultural technology has become, outdoor plants still develop according to the whims of nature — the gentle warmth of early summer sun, the soft patter of spring rains.
Japanese …

The business case for soil

April 4th, 2017 / Nature, UK

Nobody likes dirty business, but the business world must get to grips with dirt. Soil provides food, fibres and fuels, and regulates water resources and climate. Yet most businesses are unaware that their bottom lines depend on soil; nor are they aware of the risks they face from its degradation. …

Trump’s new executive order will worsen hunger in Africa

April 4th, 2017 / National Geographic, US

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump took his most concrete step thus far to unravel his predecessor’s legacy on climate change, with a wide-ranging executive order that dismantles several Obama-era policies to restrict greenhouse gas pollution. The order outraged environmentalists—Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) called it “a declaration of war on American …

Effective biosecurity key to food security in Africa

April 4th, 2017 / SciDev.net

Poor capacity in biosecurity remains a major obstacle to agricultural trade in Africa and limits farmers’ incomes and food security, a meeting has heard.
The 4th Africa Plant Biosecurity Network workshop held in Zambia on 27 February-3 March noted that effective biosecurity system could boost regional and international trade in agricultural …

GMOs: Senegal supports adoption of agric biotech

April 4th, 2017 / EnviroNews, Nigeria

President Sall made it clear that he supported the implementation of biotechnology in Senegal provided necessary measures to minimise risks were taken.
“I must say very clearly that I am for the use of GMOs based on the precautions taken and based on a dynamic regulation, otherwise we would be against …

Irrigation boosts banana yield by 30% in Kenya

April 4th, 2017 / Farmbiz Africa

Farmers, who regularly irrigate bananas, can boot the weight of the fruit by more than 30 per cent.
More than 90 per cent of famers in Kenya- especially in Nyanza and Central regions- do not know bananas have to be irrigated like other horticultural crops for high yields. Read …

Digital transformation in agri-business required to safeguard African food supply

March 27th, 2017 / TWeb, South Africa

African food security is under threat from a confluence of climate change, severe drought, water scarcity and a destructive fall armyworm invasion. But, says Lawrence Kandaswami, Managing Director, SAP South Africa, there are technology tools at hand to help solve Africa’s food security problems.
“Smart Farming solutions will become the cornerstone …

The need to increase investment in agriculture

March 27th, 2017 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali reports: Uganda targets to increase its agricultural exports to US$4 billion and to halve the labour force engaged in subsistence production from six to three million, according to the March 17 2017 edition of AGRA Harvest — a periodical publication of the Alliance for a Green …

Tackling vitamin A deficiency with biofortified sweetpotato in sub-Saharan Africa

March 27th, 2017 / Elsevier, Netherlands

Orange-fleshed sweetpotato (OFSP) is a rich plant-based source of beta-carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A. In sub-Saharan Africa, sweetpotato is known as a food security crop but most varieties grown are high dry matter white-fleshed types, lacking beta-carotene. In 1995, researchers recognized the potential of OFSP varieties to …