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CRISPR might be the banana’s only hope against a deadly fungus

September 25th, 2019 / Nature, UK

The race to engineer the next-generation banana is on. The Colombian government confirmed last month that a banana-killing fungus has invaded the Americas — the source of much of the world’s banana supply. The invasion has given new urgency to efforts to create fruit that can withstand the scourge.

Scientists are …

New genome editing technology for plant breeding

July 22nd, 2019 / Phys.org

Researchers have developed a new genome editing technology for rice, combining adenine-to-guanine single-base editing technology and Cas9 with an extended targeting scope. They report that it is possible to efficiently introduce base substitution mutations in rice genes and plan to expand the research to citrus fruit breeding. Read more …

New plant-focused diet would ‘transform’ planet’s future, say scientists

January 17th, 2019

The first science-based diet that tackles both the poor food eaten by billions of people and averts global environmental catastrophe has been devised. It requires huge cuts in red meat-eating in western countries and radical changes across the world.

The “planetary health diet” was created by an international commissionseeking to draw up …

CRISPR tames the wild ground cherry

October 2nd, 2018 / Boyce Thompson Institute

The groundcherry (Physalis pruinosa) is approximately the same size as a cherry tomato, but with a much sweeter flavor. The tropical-tasting fruit is also a powerhouse in terms of nutritional value. Packed with Vitamin C, Vitamin B, beta-carotene, phytosterols, and antioxidants, plus anti-inflammatory and medicinal properties, this tiny fruit might just …

Best practices of post-harvest handling

September 26th, 2018 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow, Lominda Afedraru writes:
Horticulture farming is an important and increasingly becoming reliable source of foreign exchange earnings for the country.
The export earnings from the horticultural sector have been growing spectacularly over the years.
The country has a relatively low market share for almost all horticultural products and therefore, has …

Small-scale horticulture project transforming lives in Kenya

August 28th, 2018 / AllAfrica

Kenya has one of the most dynamic and innovative economies in sub-Saharan Africa. A decade after going through a food crisis and in the aftermath of the drought in 2016-2017, the country aims to achieve self-sufficiency in food products such as maize, tomato, cabbage, rice, beans, milk and meat. This …

African baobab tree big business

August 9th, 2018 / Africa News

Coca-Cola’s Innocent, U.K. yogurt maker Yeo Valley and U.S. wholesaler Costco are among the major brands to sell baobab products. The transformation has started to bring in much needed revenue to African farmers.
Through a cooperative called GIE, Baobab des Saveurs, a small company with buyers in Australia and Canada pays …

Researchers develop first gene drive targeting worldwide crop pest

April 20th, 2018 / Phys.org

Biologists at the University of California San Diego have developed a method of manipulating the genes of an agricultural pest that has invaded much of the United States and caused millions of dollars in damage to high-value berry and other fruit crops.
Research led by Anna Buchman in the lab of …

Geneticists engineer a virus to fight citrus disease

May 19th, 2017 / The Scientist

Since 2005, Candidatus Liberibacter, a genus of bacteria that is spread by Asian citrus psyllids (Diaphorina citri) and turns fruit green and bitter, has been devastating orange crops in the United States. “There’s a real race on right now to try to save the citrus,” Carolyn Slupsky, a food scientist …

He does his farming the smart way

August 25th, 2016 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Henry Michael Ssali reports: Luka Kwesigabo from Ruhimbo in Kabingo Town Council practises mixed agriculture. He has his hands on various enterprises, which both mitigate the effects of climate change and earn him a decent living.
Armed with technical information from resource persons such as Sedrach Muhangi, a climatic …