In the news...

For southern Africa, climate change is real as prolonged droughts are creating food shortages

November 8th, 2019

Southern Africa is feeling the effects of climate change. The United Nations is reporting that prolonged droughts there and across the continent have led to food shortages, which will impact 45 million people. 

Farming is prone to climate change as both livestock and crops are reactive to changes in temperatures and …

VIDEO: ‘If I don’t farm, we won’t eat’: Kenyan farmer illustrates the impact of crop disease in Africa

November 7th, 2019

Steven Oruko Kasamani is a smallholder farmer in Mayoni, Kenya, growing corn, soybean, kale and tomato to support a family of nine. Consumers in the developed world read news stories about growers like Mr. Kasamani, but rarely do they get a firsthand-look at just how difficult it is to farm …

Technologies for climate-resilient smallholder agriculture: sharing practices from Brazil with Africa

November 7th, 2019

Brazil and Africa share similar environmental, climate and social conditions, and both face similar development challenges. This creates interesting opportunities for South-South collaboration through technology transfer in several areas, including agriculture, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and value chains development.

Drawing on its fundamental goal of promoting rural development, as well …

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 …