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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: …

Why massive effort needs to be put into growing trees on farms

December 4th, 2018 / The Conversation, UK

It’s now over 50 years since the world was first warned that resources were being used at an unsustainable rate. It has now been estimated that almost one quarter to one third of the world’s land is degraded to some extent.
Degradation refers to land that’s lost nutrients, or has changed …

‘Super crops’ could revolutionise agriculture in Africa, expert claims

June 27th, 2018 / Independent, UK

Super crops have the potential to revolutionise agriculture in Africa, a leading expert has claimed.
Hundreds of millions of pounds have been invested in new crops on the continent which are more nutritious and better resistant to disease with an improved ability to withstand severe flooding or drought.
From “scuba” rice which …

We need to talk about nutritious, valuable “forgotten” fruit

July 6th, 2017 / GFAR

African pears, bush mangoes, tree tomatoes and other “forgotten fruits” are neglected and underutilized species that originate from tropical regions of the world. These species have been cultivated by indigenous peoples for millennia, and are very high in minerals, nutrients and vitamins. They can not only provide famine and malnutrition …

Antioxidant-boosting GMO purple rice could decrease cancer and other health risks

July 6th, 2017 / Genetic Literacy Project

Researchers in China have developed a genetic engineering approach capable of delivering many genes at once and used it to make rice endosperm–seed tissue that provides nutrients to the developing plant embryo–produce high levels of antioxidant-boosting pigments called anthocyanins. The resulting purple endosperm rice holds potential for decreasing the …

Microbiomes could help plants grow, resist disease and make agriculture more sustainable

April 12th, 2017 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Feeding a growing world population amidst climate change requires optimizing the reliability, resource use, and environmental impacts of food production.
One way to assist in achieving these goals is to integrate beneficial plant microbiomes—i.e., those enhancing plant growth, nutrient use efficiency, abiotic stress tolerance, and disease resistance—into agricultural production. Read …

Addressing smallholder farmers’ needs with green manure cover crops and agroforestry

January 30th, 2017 / Africa Rising

In Africa, mineral fertilizer remains a scarce, expensive, and risky resource for most smallholder farmers. On average, farmers use less than 10 kg/ha of NPK fertilizer; and many do not apply it at all. The price of fertilizer is 3-5 times higher in Africa than in Europe due to the …

Why boosting legume production will lift the gloom for African farmers

September 14th, 2016 / The Conversation, UK

Africa has the lowest use of nitrogen on its farmland compared to other regions of the world. This is because smallholder farmers have limited financial resources to buy fertilisers. Nitrogen is one of the most essential nutrients needed by plants for their growth, development and reproduction. Yet it is depleted …

What to avoid in sustaining soil fertility

August 24th, 2016 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Henry Michael Ssali writes: Anybody that plans to go into crop production should consider acquiring land whose soil holds sufficient plant nutrients and has the potential to keep enough water for the crops to grow well. Good soil is important because it is the main medium that supports …

How understanding microbes can help farmers manage Africa’s soil crisis

November 17th, 2015 / The Conversation

Across 65% of African farmland, soil is depleted. At a time when multinational corporations are investing to identify, develop and patent soil microbial uses and inventions, Africa needs to understand the value of its own microbes and its microbial diversity, some of which is indigenous to particular soils, crops and …