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A coffee renaissance is brewing, and thanks to genetics

February 1st, 2017 / Wired, US

Genes are the future of coffee. Not nitro cold brewing or beans pooped out by civets, but genes. And coffee’s gene-fueled future just drew nearer, now that scientists have sequenced the genome of the Coffea arabica coffee plant—the species that makes up the vast majority of global production—and made the …

Mastercard launch mobile marketplace for Africa’s agricultural sectors

January 20th, 2017 / African Farming, UK

In Nairobi, Kenya, on 17 January, Mastercard launched 2KUZE, which is Swahili for “let’s grow together.” The marketplace will enable farmers to buy, sell and receive payments for agricultural goods via feature phones. The platform will bring together the benefits and security of mobile commerce and payments to famers in …

Arabica coffee genome sequenced

January 19th, 2017 / UC Davies, US

The first public genome sequence for Coffea arabica, the species responsible for more than 70 percent of global coffee production, was released today by researchers at the University of California, Davis.
Funding for the sequencing was provided by Suntory group, an international food and beverage company based in Tokyo.
Now available for …

Kenyan smallholders team up to confront climate change impacts

January 16th, 2017 / SciDev.net, UK

Smallholder farmers have been losing up to about 80 per cent of their recent harvest, many water sources have dried up and some are having to travel up to 20 kilometres to collect water. Much of the water that is available is of poor quality, with some containing a high …

Fortified composite manure doubles crop yields

January 13th, 2017 / Farmbiz Africa, Kenya

Farmers, who fortify composite manure, may increase harvests by two-fold as a result of adding the missing mineral components that support a wholesome growth.
Composite manure fortification involves introduction of extra mineral elements into the fertiliser, which is prepared from organic farm waste.
Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation officer Jane Kiptoo …

Invest in training, African leaders told

January 9th, 2017 / Daily Nation, Kenya

Researchers have called on African governments to support vocational training in agriculture, noting the skills are crucial for smallholder farmers.
The researchers from more than 12 African countries, and India and Germany, were meeting at a recent conference on agricultural innovation in Nairobi organised by German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and …

University students threaten demos over retaining GMO ban

December 20th, 2016 / The Star, Kenya

Students from five public universities have threatened to usher in the New Year with massive nationwide protests if the Jubilee administration fails to reverse the ban on genetically modified food products.
University student leaders yesterday said the ban is hurting learners undertaking biotechnology courses in terms of much time they spend …

International collaboration receives grant to improve cassava harvests and nutrition for smallholder families in sub-saharan Africa

December 15th, 2016 / Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, US

The Virus Resistant Cassava for Africa Plus (VIRCA Plus) consortium of American, Nigerian, Ugandan, and Kenyan institutions recently received a five-year, $10.46 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop disease-resistant and nutritionally-enhanced cassava varieties to improve the livelihoods and health status of African farm families.
Plant …

Hermetic bag keeps off grain pests for over two years, reducing losses

November 25th, 2016 / Farmbiz Africa, Kenya

Farmers can keep off grain destroying pests for two years without chemicals after the USAID Kenya and the Ministry of Agriculture launched hermetic bags, which suffocate any crop storage enemies.
The official launch follows years of testing for efficacy in taming maize, wheat, beans, cowpeas, among other grains destroying organisms such …

Land is no doubt Africa’s best asset

November 24th, 2016 / Standard Media, Kenya

African governments have embraced agriculture not just as a source of revenue but also a way of uplifting rural communities. The sector creates gainful employment and helps diversify the economy for greater stability. We have seen yields rising, business linkages being made and new technology starting to change the way …