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Cost-effective technology can enrich poor fields, increase yields close to 50%

October 11th, 2019

Smallholder poverty in sub-Saharan Africa is often linked to sandy soils, which hold little water and are low in nutrients. A new technology may be able to enrich fields and farmers without massive investments in irrigation and fertilizer.

Many farmers across sub-Saharan Africa try to coax crops out of sandy soils that are …

Synthetic fertilizer pollution threatens our ecosystems. Are nitrogen-fixing microbes the answer?

October 10th, 2019

PODCAST.

Farmers need nitrogen fertilizer to maximize crop yields. Without it, our food supply would be nowhere near as abundant as it is today, and natural sources of usable nitrogen are quite limited. Fortunately, researchers devised a method known as the Haber-Bosch process, in the early 1900s to “fix” nitrogen into …

Subsidies are key to better fertiliser access, study shows

August 16th, 2019

Subsidies for manufacturing companies could help improve access to fertiliser in developing countries without increasing environmental stress, a team of international researchers has proposed.

In an article reviewing scientific evidence, the team presented a strategy to manage global fertiliser use while minimising nitrogen pollution — a common side effect. They note that it will be …

Scientists work to solve phosphate shortage – the dwindling resource required to grow food

July 24th, 2019 / The Conversation, UK

By 2030, the world’s population is projected to be about 8.5 billion people. Global food security is a major concern for governments – zero hunger is the second most important of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

However, there is a severe conflict between sustainable food production and the use of nonrenewable resources …

Poor seeds affecting food production, say experts

April 9th, 2019 / The Star, Kenya

Director general  Eliud Kireger said the recycled seeds yield less than the newer hybrid seeds which the organisation has produced.

Research done by Karlo indicated that only 47 per cent of farmers were using the recommended seeds while fertiliser was being applied at 40 per cent of the accepted rates. Read …

How you can grow bananas successfully

April 9th, 2019 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali writes:

Successful banana farming begins with proper choice of the location for growing the crop, according to Constance Itungu, a crop technician at Kamenyamiggo National Agricultural Research Organisation (Naro) station in Lwengo District. 

Requirements “Bananas grow better in well drained loamy and fertile soil,” she says. “The area should …

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, …

The great African regreening: millions of ‘magical’ new trees bring renewal

September 4th, 2018 / The Guardian, UK

From the peanut basin of Senegal to the Seno plains of Mali, to Yatenga, formerly the most degraded region of Burkina Faso, and as far south as Malawi: gaos are thriving in Africa. And over the past three decades, the landscape of southern Niger has been transformed by more than …

Rice genes could be key to stemming nitrogen pollution

August 28th, 2018 / Scientific American

Rice, wheat and other grains that have been bred to produce larger harvests using less land have been critical to feeding Earth’s population in the past 50 years. But these crops come with a significant cost: Their thirst for the chemical nutrients in fertilizer contributes to pollution that threatens air, …

Ghana: How rapid population growth could become an emergency and outpace both food production and economic growth

August 23rd, 2018 / AllAfrica.com

Ghana’s economy is predominately dependent on agriculture, particularly cocoa, though the government has taken steps to ensure that the cultivation of staples such as rice, maize and soya is also enhanced.
The Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) says that 52 percent of the country’s labour force is …