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Government may adopt digital tech to reach small-scale farmers

February 14th, 2018 / The Guardian, Nigeria

To address numerous challenges bedeviling small scale farming in the country, the Federal Government may adopt phygital technology to reach farmers across the country.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development Bukar Hassan, while speaking during the presentation of the phygital smallholder value chains technology in Abuja harped on …

How climate change is fuelling innovation in Kenya

February 14th, 2018 / Smithsonian Magazine, US

A new generation of start ups are working to help farmers in a region that faces myriad challenges
On a shopping trip to the rice-trading hub of Mwea, Rigu had an insight. In front of each rice processor’s storefront there were heaps of chaff, the almost weightless husk that is separated …

African reality show trains youths in farming

February 14th, 2018 / Christian Science Monitor,

The TV show aims to challenge prejudices surrounding farming-related careers to prove that agriculture can be fun and profitable by giving young people in Kenya and Tanzania plots of land to cultivate with a cash prize for the most productive.
As a student, Leah Wangari imagined a glamorous life as a …

Will new regulations stifle innovation in plant and animal breeding?

February 14th, 2018 / Agri-pulse, US

Gene editing is touted as a promising new way of altering the DNA of plants or animals to speed their growth, enhance flavor, extend shelf life or combat viruses. But those who see it as a key component of agriculture’s future want to make sure that the regulations written for …

I Didn’t Think There Were Many African Women Scientists. Then …

February 12th, 2018 / NPR

Recently, an online survey asked me to name African women scientists I admired. I found myself struggling — even though I’m a Kenyan entomologist, researching sustainable ways to feed our expanding population amid a changing climate. I thought to myself, why are there so few of us?
I was wrong: We …

How we can help hungry kids, one text at a time

February 9th, 2018 / TED.com

WATCH Su Kahumbu who raises badass cows — healthy, well-fed animals whose protein is key to solving a growing crisis in Africa: childhood nutritional stunting. With iCow, a simple SMS service she developed to support small-scale livestock farmers, the TED Fellow is helping farmers across the continent by texting them …

CONNECTED – a new network to tackle vector-borne crop disease in Africa

February 7th, 2018 / Cabot Institute, UK

This major new network brings together UK scientists with colleagues from across Africa to co-produce innovative new solutions to vector-borne crop diseases. And it turns out, there are a lot of them.
Almost every major crop in Africa is affected by disease.
Yams, cassava, soy bean, cocoa, maize, coffee, bananas and many …

The rise and rise of African agri-tech

February 7th, 2018 / Disrupt Africa

Agriculture is big business in Africa. The sector employs 65 per cent of the continent’s labour force, and accounts for 32 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP), according to the World Bank.
Yet it is beset by problems. Africa’s population is growing – it is projected to reach two million …

Evidence patchy on value of mobile apps for farmers

February 6th, 2018 / SciDev.net

A review of research on how information services based on mobile phone technology can improve the lives of farmers has found only patchy evidence of success.
The review, which looked at 23 studies of such services in Africa, Asia and Latin America, found that although users often reported improvements, these were …

The future of farming

February 6th, 2018 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow, Michael Ssali writes:
Land disputes are getting more frequent as population pressure on land builds up. The population is increasing at the same rate as the struggle for people to get farming space.
Chunks of natural forests and wetlands have been turned into farmlands. In the majority of cases …