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Global GM crops reduced farm chemical usage and CO2 emissions in 2016 boom year

May 9th, 2017 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Examining the benefits of biotechnology, ISAAA reports that the adoption of biotech crops has reduced CO2 emissions equal to removing approximately 12 million cars from the road annually in recent years; conserved biodiversity by removing 19.4 million hectares of land from agriculture in 2015; and decreased the environmental impact with …

The army worm disaster

April 5th, 2017 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow, Michael Ssali reports: The armyworm was mentioned in this column on February 18. Back then it was referred to as a threat that we faced since it had been reported to have invaded countries such as South Africa, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe and even forced the …

Shocking encounter with fall army worms

March 21st, 2017 / The Sunrise, Uganda

About a week ago, my wife Esther brought my attention to an attack in our little maize garden. She urged me to spray the tender plants having detected damage on the leaves on the crop that is just three weeks now.
I hesitantly accepted to spray against the feeling that it …

CRISPR, microbes and more are joining the war against crop killers

March 17th, 2017 / Nature, UK

Resistance to conventional pesticides — among insects, weeds or microbial pathogens — is common on farms worldwide. CropLife International, an industry association based in Brussels, supports efforts that have counted 586 arthropod species, 235 fungi and 252 weeds with resistance to at least one synthetic pesticide (see ‘The rise of …

GMO and organic – can they work together?

March 3rd, 2017 / The Grower, US

Could they learn to work together? A growing population—and a changing climate—may demand it. Conventional agriculture has a history of depleting the soil and polluting waterways with contaminated runoff. But there is a growing recognition that such practices are not sustainable—short term yields may be higher with conventional methods, but …

RNA clay offers green alternative to plant pesticides

January 27th, 2017 / SciDev.net, UK

A nano-sized bio-degradable clay-comprising double stranded ribonucleic acid (dsRNA) could offer a cost-effective, clean and green alternative to chemical-based plant pesticides.
Australian researchers from the University of Queensland have successfully used a gene-silencing spray, named BioClay, a combination of biomolecules and clay, to protect tobacco plants from a virus for 20 …

Natural killers: developing better biopesticides

January 26th, 2017 / Global FoodSecurity, UK

As armyworms return to devastate crops in Africa, Lancaster University’s Professor Ken Wilson reports on renewed efforts to bring a sustainable solution.
The pressing need for alternatives to chemical pesticides was the subject of a recent GFS workshop and blog post: How would we cope with a post-pesticide world?
As harmful …

Common insecticides are riskier than thought to predatory insects

December 14th, 2016 / Phys.org

Neonicotinoids—the most widely used class of insecticides—significantly reduce populations of predatory insects when used as seed coatings, according to researchers at Penn State. The team’s research challenges the previously held belief that neonicotinoid seed coatings have little to no effect on predatory insect populations. In fact, the work suggests that …

How late distribution of inputs affects farming in Nigeria

December 9th, 2016 / AllAfica.com

Farmers, agriculturists and other stakeholders say farm inputs are the bedrock of farming and should not be distributed late if government’s objectives of food self-sufficiency and exportation of farm produce are to be achieved.
The experts say that agricultural activities are time bound and nature dependent, especially in parts of the …

Could African agriculture leapfrog harmful pesticides by using plant microbiomes?

October 20th, 2016 / Afk Insider

In Africa, where there is an overwhelming need to improve soil health and crop productivity, microbial science in agriculture is just getting started. Researchers believe there’s a revolution in finding alternatives to pesticides and artificial fertilizers that can improve African farm productivity.
Scientists are investigating the plant microbiome — the billions …