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The banana as we know it is dying … again

January 5th, 2018 / Discover Magazine, US

The bananas your grandparents ate were different than the ones you eat today. And the bananas your grandchildren know will probably be entirely different as well.
For the moment, we are in the age of the Cavendish, a banana cultivar that accounts for 99 percent of imports to the Western world. …

Speed breeding technique sows seeds of new green revolution

January 4th, 2018 / John Innes Centre, UK

Pioneering new technology is set to accelerate the global quest for crop improvement in a development which echoes the Green Revolution of the post war period.
The speed-breeding platform developed by teams at the John Innes Centre, University of Queensland and University of Sydney, uses a glasshouse or an artificial environment …

Africa’s tropical forests could be next in line as global food demand grows

January 4th, 2018 / The Conversation

There are rising concerns that trends in rapid deforestation across the Amazon and Southeast Asia could spread to Africa.
In particular, some worry that continued demand for commodity crops will lead to large-scale agricultural expansion in Africa where it’s estimated, that 50%-67% of the land suitable for agriculture is still forest.
To …

Speed breeding LED technique grows food six times faster than conventional farming

January 4th, 2018 / ZME Science

Australian researchers have demonstrated a ‘speed breeding’ technique for common crops. Their method yields far more food per unit area than conventional farming, relying on specially calibrated LEDs that emit light at specific frequencies onto crops to accelerate plant growth.
Using this setup, researchers showed that they could grow six generations …

Hidden threat to health

January 3rd, 2018 / Phys.org

One of the most ambitious programmes to provide lasting improvements in nutrition in sub-Saharan Africa begins today when a diverse multinational team of experts from agriculture to ethics start looking for ways to end dietary deficiencies in essential micronutrients.
Rothamsted Research is contributing soil and crop expertise to the programme, known …

Challenge of food waste is put centre stage at Oxford Farming Conference

January 3rd, 2018 / Farming Life, UK

In Africa, which contributes approximately 18% of global postharvest food losses, they suggest the research base is too low across the continent, with the majority of research stemming from South Africa. Professor Terry argues that UK research funds should be used to address this imbalance. “The global threat to food …

Challenges for agriculture in 2018

January 2nd, 2018 / BizCommunity, South Africa

Market-oriented production and profitability, economic growth, and radical economic transformation are just some of the challenges agriculture will face in 2018. Read more …

African solutions urgently sought for agricultural revolution

January 2nd, 2018 / AllAfrica.com

Professor Mulwa says that while consumer fears about GMOs may be unfounded, there is room for criticism of the approach of the GMO tech giants.
GMO technology should be strategically embedded in local agriculture, he advises. “I am of course pro-GMO. From a scientific perspective, farmers have a lot to gain …

Milestone reached in fighting deadly wheat disease

December 22nd, 2017 / BBC, UK

Scientists say they have made a step forward in the fight against a wheat disease that threatens food security.
Wheat is a staple food crop, making up a fifth of the calories on our plates.
But in many parts of the world, the crop is being attacked by stem rust (black rust), …

Our GM bananas are safe – Kawanda breeders

December 22nd, 2017 / New Vision, Uganda

Jerome Kubiriba, the team leader, National Banana Research Programme at the National Agricultural Research Laboratories, Kawanda has said that banana scientists at the institute will be the first to taste the GM bananas being developed at the institute.
Speaking to New Vision at the Institute recently Kuburiba said being the first …