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Innovation, technology, and development: Africa can leapfrog

December 1st, 2017 / E-Agriculture

How can Africa leapfrog its development to match the world average? This question has been dogging many in the developmental spheres; and has been dwelt with recently by the Investing in Africa Forum (IAF).
IAF is an initiative set up as a global platform for multilateral cooperation and promoting opportunities to …

Prickly pear cactus Is ‘miracle’ crop for dry regions

November 28th, 2017 / Thomson Reuters

It is spiky, alien-looking and can be found decorating homes around the world, but experts say the prickly pear cactus could help alleviate hunger in arid regions due to its ability to thrive in harsh conditions and its multiple uses.
“It’s impossible to describe how many things you can get out …

How plant science will change the world

November 28th, 2017 / The biochemist blog

Plant science is a lot more important than you realise. It has often been cast as cell biology’s less exciting sibling. What is the point of studying root growth, flowering or stomatal aperture? There are way more important things to be researching… aren’t there?

Making crops for the future
Global warming …

Use of CRISPR systems in plant genome editing: toward new opportunities in agriculture

November 21st, 2017 / Emerging Topics in Life Sciences, UK

Initially discovered in bacteria and archaea, CRISPR–Cas9 is an adaptive immune system found in prokaryotes. In 2012, scientists found a way to use it as a genome editing tool. In 2013, its application in plants was successfully achieved. This breakthrough has opened up many new opportunities for researchers, including the …

Intercropping formula promises food security in Sahel Africa

November 20th, 2017 / Science Daily

Two crops or one? Sometimes, growing two crops simultaneously on the same piece of land — called intercropping — can benefit farmers. But it needs careful planning and resource management.
In some parts of Africa, farmers intercrop sorghum — a grain — and peanuts. But they face a major information gap. …

High-tech tracker to battle ancient wheat plague

November 16th, 2017 / AllAfrica

“People can walk through an infected field, unknowingly pick up a few spores on their clothes, then get on a plane and accidentally take the disease to other countries or continents”
The tracking technology used to halt the deadly Ebola and Zika viruses could now be turned against wheat rust as …

App ‘trained’ to spot crop disease, alert farmers

November 14th, 2017 /

A team of scientists has received US$100,000 grant to refine a mobile application (app) that uses artificial intelligence to diagnose crop diseases, and aims to help millions of African smallholders.
The CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas team won the grant during big data conference in Colombia on 21 …

GMO potatoes provide improved Vitamin A and E profiles

November 10th, 2017 / Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News, US

Genetically modified crops have had no shortage of controversy over the years, much of it rooted in fear and the general lack of fundamental scientific knowledge. Yet researchers have pushed forward in developing crops that could help boost basic nutritional requirements for developing nations that rely heavily on foods that …

Agriculture training in South Africa badly needs an overhaul …

November 9th, 2017 / The Conversation

Agriculture delivers more jobs per rand invested than any other productive sector. If the entire agriculture value chain is considered in South Africa, its contribution to GDP reaches approximately 12%.
South Africa has the ability to meet national food requirements – yet more than 7 million citizens experience hunger. A further …

Will CRISPR-Cas kick start a new Green Revolution?

November 1st, 2017 /

CRISPR-Cas was called molecular scissors during a panel at the Borlaug Dialogue International Symposium. That’s much easier than saying the full name: Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats and CRISPR-associated protein. The system, however, may be worth all the syllables.
CRISPR-associated protein 9, or Cas9, works like a search function in …