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Pearl millet genes hold key to climate-proof cereals

October 16th, 2017 / SciDev.net

The key to breeding heat- and drought-tolerant rice, maize and wheat may lie in the ‘waxy biosynthesis’ genes of a related cereal, the pearl millet, according to a study by an international team of scientists.
In a study published in September in Nature Biotechnology, the scientists show the potential use of …

Fixing the food system to solve humanity’s greatest challenges

October 13th, 2017 / InterPress News

We are at a moment of huge opportunity in the world’s food system. We can continue on our current trajectory of consuming too little, too much, or the wrong type of food at an unsustainable cost to the environment, health care and political stability. Or we can change course. Fixing …

Only modernised commercial farms will fill Africa’s plate, economists warn

October 12th, 2017 / The Guardian, UK

African farming must modernise and replace its ageing workforce if the continent is going to be able to feed its rising population, a report by leading economists has warned.
A transformation from small-scale subsistence farms to mechanised, more commercially viable farms is essential, said experts at the Ghana-based African Centre for …

Genetically modified organisms are improvements on conventional crops

October 12th, 2017 / Vanguard, Nigeria

The National Bio-safety Management Agency (NBMA) says Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are the same conventional crops but improved versions for the purpose of sustainability and improved yields
Dr Rufus Egbegba, the Director-General of the agency made the clarification in an interview on Monday in Abuja. According to him, GMOs are not …

Genetically improving nutritional value of corn could benefit millions

October 12th, 2017 / ISAAA, US

In a discovery that could benefit millions of people in the world, Rutgers University scientists have found a way to enhance the nutritional value of corn by inserting a bacterial gene that causes it to produce the key nutrient methionine. Read more …

Hope for Uganda

October 11th, 2017 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali wirties:
Last week, Uganda hosted a three-day high-level conference on the application of science, technology, and innovation in harnessing African agricultural transformation at Speke Resort, Munyonyo.
It attracted delegates from across the world, mainly agricultural biotechnology scientists, farmers’ group leaders, senior science journalists, entrepreneurs, and politicians, among others. …

Drought tolerant maize provides extra 9 months of food for farming families

October 11th, 2017 / CIMMYT

Drought is a major limiting factor for maize production and can reduce maize yields by up to nearly 40 percent. In the past 10 years, most farmers in southern Africa have experienced around 1–3 drought years, potentially due to climate change.
A new study from scientists with the International Maize and …

Agriculture, nutrition and fortification, supplementation and biofortification

October 6th, 2017 / BioMed Central

“…why should Africa be prohibited from growing the most technologically advanced and sustainable crops?” “[African] Farmers need and want choices, not European-imposed restrictions”
The worlds growing population and limited land resources require high intensity of food production. Human nutrition needs both macronutrients and micronutrients. One way of providing micronutrients in …

Chips, chocolate and coffee – our food crops face mass extinction too

September 26th, 2017 / Guardian, UK

A “sixth mass extinction” is already under way, scientists are now warning us. Species such as the Bengal tiger and blue whale are vanishing at an alarming rate, and mournful eulogies are being written on how those born in 20 years’ time may never see an African elephant. But who …

Farmers harvest double from orange-fleshed sweet potato varieties

September 25th, 2017 / Farmbiz Africa

More than 35,000 farmers in Nyanza and Western Kenya are harvesting double yields per acre after adopting the high producing orange-fleshed sweet potato varieties from a research organization, International Potato Center (CIP).
Demand for the Orange-Fleshed Sweetpotato (OFSP) is turning the food into a cash crop for the farmers in at …