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Genetically engineered yeast soaks up heavy metal pollution

July 24th, 2017 / American Council on Science and Health

Environmental contamination with heavy metals is often the result of various types of industrial processes. Because heavy metals can be dangerous to humans and other wildlife, contaminated sites need to be cleaned up. This isn’t easy. Chemical extraction methods can introduce different types of pollutants into the environment.
Bioremediation — using …

Plant genetics, ecologically based farming and the future of food

July 21st, 2017 / John Wiley, US

For 10,000 years, we have altered the genetic makeup of our crops. Conventional approaches are often quite crude, resulting in new varieties through a combination of trial and error, and without knowledge of the precise function of the genes that are being transferred. Such methods include grafting or forced pollinations …

Tanzania: Agro-enterprises to benefit from new innovation centre

July 19th, 2017 / AllAfrica.com

THE Private Agricultural Sector Support (PASS) has introduced agriculture innovation centre (AIC) to support and incubate agro-enterprises that have potential to grow with a special focus on value addition.
PASS Managing Director Mr Nicomed Bohay said at the ongoing Dar es Salaam International Trade Fair (DITF) that already 10 companies have …

Inside how donors are hurting Africa

July 18th, 2017 / The Southern Times

Money from wealthy nations is hurting Africa and not helping the continent as it continues to be trapped in slower economic growth and rising unemployment, a new report by Tony Blair’s Institute has warned.
The report titled “Making inclusive growth work in Africa” says a number of African countries, among them, …

Scientists biofortify wheat to produce flour with more iron

July 13th, 2017 / ISAAA, US

Researchers from the John Innes Centre (JIC) have developed a variety of wheat that has high levels of iron. This new biofortified variety could help decrease the number of people with iron deficiency around the world.
Wheat contains iron in parts that are removed before milling. With the use of the …

As solar refrigerator keeps mangoes cold, farmers’ profits heat up

July 13th, 2017 / Thompson Reuters

It is a hot and cloudless morning, a sign that it will be sunny right through the afternoon. Joseph Mailu moves along rows of fruiting mango trees with a long pole in his hand, harvesting the mature fruits.
The succulent green mangoes drop inside a net tied to the tip of …

Vinegar: A cheap and simple way to help plants fight drought

July 11th, 2017 / Phys.org

Researchers at the RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science (CSRS) have discovered a new, yet simple, way to increase drought tolerance in a wide range of plants. Published in Nature Plants, the study reports a newly discovered biological pathway that is activated in times of drought. By working out the …

Modified maize that kills with RNA is given go-ahead in the US

June 30th, 2017 / New Scientist, UK

For the first time, a crop that produces an RNAi-based pesticide has got the green light.
The US Environmental Protection Agency has approved a genetically modified corn known as SmartStax Pro. In addition to producing two Bt toxins to kill any western corn rootworm larvae that try to eat it, the …

Kenya: Jubilee party promises to buy from small farmers in food security plan

June 29th, 2017 / Business Daily Africa

President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government has promised to construct 57 dams, buy half of its food requirements from small scale farmers and improve forest cover from seven to 10 per cent in a bold food security plan, if re-elected.
The Jubilee team is also promising to put under irrigation at least one …

Demonstration farms can help revolutionise African agriculture

June 28th, 2017 / The Conversation, Africa

Farms that are used to teach agricultural techniques and technologies – known as demonstration farms – are a smart investment that can help accelerate the adoption of game-changing innovations. Farmers can learn new ways of doing things without having to do it on their farms.
Demonstration farms are used to teach …