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Connecting food waste and sanitation services can help African farmers

March 3rd, 2019 / Phys.org

Across the continent less than 10% of the population is connected to a sewer system; with most households using some type of onsite sanitation technology (e.g. pit latrines or septic tanks). If not managed properly, untreated excreta can have serious human and environmental health impacts. But if managed adequately, human waste can offer many opportunities: …

Fixing the nitrogen problem

January 16th, 2019 / Alliance for Science, US

In this video by Robert Hazen of the Alliance for Science, scientists from the Engineering Nitrogen Symbiosis for Africa (ENSA) project discuss how they are using genetic engineering to transfer the nitrogen-fixing capabilities of legumes (peas and beans) into cereal crops. Their work could help small-holder farmers in Africa and elsewhere realize higher yields, …

The great African regreening: millions of ‘magical’ new trees bring renewal

September 4th, 2018 / The Guardian, UK

From the peanut basin of Senegal to the Seno plains of Mali, to Yatenga, formerly the most degraded region of Burkina Faso, and as far south as Malawi: gaos are thriving in Africa. And over the past three decades, the landscape of southern Niger has been transformed by more than …

Rice genes could be key to stemming nitrogen pollution

August 28th, 2018 / Scientific American

Rice, wheat and other grains that have been bred to produce larger harvests using less land have been critical to feeding Earth’s population in the past 50 years. But these crops come with a significant cost: Their thirst for the chemical nutrients in fertilizer contributes to pollution that threatens air, …

How human urine has helped boost Wasieba’s banana farm

July 7th, 2017 / Daily Monitor

Farmer Jennifer Wasieba from Sikusi Village in Manafwa District has substituted the use of compost manure with human urine to fertilise her gardens and since she started, she says her crop and vegetable yields have been impressive. Nitrogen-rich urine is free, abundantly available and does not seem to have any …

Research found way to improve nitrogen fixation in legumes

June 22nd, 2017 / ISAAA, US

Scientists from the University of Kentucky led by Professor Hongyan Zhu have discovered a more efficient way for legumes to fix nitrogen. Zhu and his team found two antimicrobial peptides in the legume Medicago truncatula that kill certain rhizobial bacteria as nitrogen fixation begins. M. truncatula is closely related to …

Nitrogen-efficient crops on the horizon: Can we grow more with fewer emissions?

June 4th, 2017 / CGIR Wheat

Through a natural, affordable alternative to farmers’ heavy use of nitrogen fertilizers, science now offers an option to boost crop productivity and dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to the authors of a report that will appear this week in the journal Plant Science.
The new study describes certain plants that …

Mixed farming systems and global food security

May 25th, 2017 / Claudia Canales, B4FA

Mixed farming, the combined production of crops and livestock, is central to current and future global food supplies. Two thirds of all people, and most of the world’s poor, work in such systems to produce a significant proportion of key staple crops: 86 per cent of rice, 74 per cent …

Genetically engineered microbes make their own fertiliser

April 11th, 2017 / Science, US

Industrial fertilizers help feed billions of people every year, but they remain beyond the reach of many of the world’s poorest farmers. Now, researchers have engineered microbes that, when added to soil, make fertilizer on demand, producing plants that grow 1.5 times larger than crops not exposed to the bugs …

Ethiopia: Increasing nutrient-use efficiency

December 20th, 2016 / The Ethiopian Herald

Intensive high-yield agriculture is dependent on addition of fertilizers, especially industrially produced NH4 and NO3. In some regions of the world, crop production is still constrained by too little application of fertilizers. Without the use of synthetic fertilizers, world food production could not have increased at the rate it did …