In the news...

With sensors and apps, young African coders compete to curb hunger

August 23rd, 2018 / Reuters

From an app to diagnose disease on Zambian farms to Tinder-style matchmaking for Senegalese land owners and young farmers, young coders have been finding solutions to hunger in the first Africa-wide hackathon on the issue.
Eight teams competed in the hackathon, organised by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and …

‘Think beyond farm jobs’ to reach sustainable development, UN agriculture chief advises African youth

August 21st, 2018 / UN News

For the African continent to achieve sustainable development, more jobs must be created for its young people, including in the digitalized agriculture sectors, says the United Nations agriculture chief.
“We need to take action to make agriculture more attractive to young people,” underscored José Graziano da Silva, Director-General of the Food …

Youth, women hold agribusiness power

August 21st, 2018 / Daily Nation, Kenya

There are two strong arguments — pragmatic and strategic — on why we need to get greater women and youth involvement in agriculture.
Let’s deal with the pragmatic first. Women make up half of the population and provide 40 per cent of the labour in crop production in Africa. Moreover, Africa …

Ugandan farmers to use app to identify fall armyworm

August 20th, 2018 / East African

Farmers in Uganda can now quickly identify and report the presence of the fall armyworm using a mobile application system that has been jointly launched by the Ministry of Agriculture and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation.
The Fall Armyworm Monitoring and Early Warning System (Famews) is already in use in …

Lessons from Kenya on how to restore degraded land

August 20th, 2018 / The Conversation

The state of the earth’s biodiversity – the world’s variety of living organisms – is in crisis. About one third of the world’s land has been severely degraded from its natural state. Some of the worst forms of degradation include deforestation, soil erosion, loss of soil fertility, declining water quality …

Next-generation biotech products could threaten the existence of agricultural nutrient producers

August 20th, 2018 / Motley Fool

Microbials are essentially probiotics for plants. A plant’s root system can feast on a buffet of water and a wide range of nutrients present in the soil. However, much like humans, plants are unable to break down or process all the available nutrients without help from friendly bacteria or fungi. …

Fears for food security and the future of farming families, as Fall Armyworm spreads to Asia

August 17th, 2018 / India Blooms

The UN agency is offering its expertise to farmers and Governments in the region to help them manage Fall Armyworm. The insect was recently detected in India, marking the first time it has been found in Asia, and FAO fears it is “highly likely” to spread, with southeast Asia and …

Wheat gene map to help ‘feed the world’

August 17th, 2018 / BBC

The starting pistol has been fired in a race to develop “climate change resistant” wheat with the publication of a map of the crop’s genes.
An international team of scientists has identified the location of more than 100,000 wheat genes.
The researchers say the map will accelerate the development of new strains …

African swine fever’s most recent victim in 2018: Ghana

August 17th, 2018 / Farm Journal's PORK

The Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) reports that Ghana has seen its first case of African Swine Fever (ASF) in 2018. The disease seems to be spreading at a faster pace this year in Europe, Asia and Africa.
“Ghana confirmed the outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF) in five districts in …

USDA unveils new gene-stacking tool to prevent plant diseases

August 16th, 2018 / The Scientist

If climate change is the new normal, farmers in some regions of the world will have to get used to fighting mold and mildew. For wheat growers in particular, fungal blights are already a big problem—and only expected to worsen as weather patterns change. Fungal pathogens are advancing northwards at …