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. …

A crop that feeds billions freed from blight by CRISPR

November 6th, 2019

Bacteria that infect rice are thwarted by changes to rice genes involved in sugar transport.

Genome editing has made one of the world’s most important crops resistant to a devastating bacterial infection.

Bacterial blight, which is caused by Xanthomonas oryzae pathovar oryzae (Xoo), can slash farmers’ yields of rice, which is a staple food for billions …

IITA unveils digital tools for agricultural transformation

November 6th, 2019

The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) on Friday unveiled suite digital tools that are helping in transforming farming, improving yield and livelihoods of farmers.

The digital tools include the cassava, Goseed and yam seed trackers; Akilimo, IITA Herbicide Calculator, e-commerce site and IITA News App.

Dr. Nteranya Sanginga, IITA Director General …

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. …

Eavesdropping on soil insects could aid pest management

November 5th, 2019

Insects in the soil are difficult to monitor, but listening in on the noises they make could help farmers detect pest infestations and improve estimates of biodiversity.

Carolyn-Monika Görres laughs at the seeming improbability of her own research. She never expected to find herself eavesdropping on beetle grubs living in the soil, …

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 …

How dysfunctional regulation has decimated entire sectors of biotechnology

November 4th, 2019

“To observe government is to observe the absence of accountability,” James Freeman wrote in the Wall Street Journal.1 That’s certainly true of unwise regulation of many innovative technologies; and modern biotechnology, also known as “genetic engineering (GE)” or “genetic modification (GM),” perhaps along with civilian applications of nuclear power, could be the poster …

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 …

Developing climate smart grain value chains in East Africa

October 31st, 2019

Grain demand is booming in East Africa – but supply is threatened by climate change

The grain sector, and its entire value chain, play an important role in enhancing food security, household incomes and job creation in East Africa. This is especially important given the rapidly increasing Sub-Saharan population. However, the …