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Plant breeding innovation can help solve global challenges

August 12th, 2019

Plant breeding innovations must play a role to address the global challenges such as climate change, a growing population, and the need for resource efficient farming systems. This is according to the Transgenic Research article by Petra Jorasch of the International Seed Federation.

Improved plant varieties that can withstand pests and diseases using fewer resources, plants exhibiting stable yield …

Africa still wary of GMOs

August 12th, 2019

Scientists argued that GMOs can help in many ways, including developing crop varieties that are resistant to diseases, drought, predators or pests, a move that they say will lead to food security in Africa. But not everyone agrees … Read more … …

When you decide to become a farmer

August 6th, 2019 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali writes:

Some people become farmers in their early youth and many others begin later, after years of formal employment. 

However there are important considerations to make before making the decision to go into farming. You have to be certain about what you want to do — it could …

Crop protection: globally, farmers lose 30-40 percent of their crops due to pests and diseases

July 26th, 2019 / Farmers Review Africa

Globally, farmers lose 30-40 percent of their crops due to pests and diseases, according to the UN Food and Agricultural Organization.

To produce a good yield of a high quality, producers must protect their crop against insects, diseases and weeds. Small grain diseases affect production by reducing the yield and impairing the …

A CRISPR approach to saving banana

April 23rd, 2019 / Alliance for Science, US

CRISPR/Cas9‐based genome editing is offering new hope for protecting a critical food security crop by developing climate-smart banana varieties.

Research to identify the genes associated with stress‐tolerant traits and other uses of gene editing and genetic engineering to help banana varieties adapt to a changing climate is highlighted in an April …

Unlocking agricultural potential to achieve food security and sustainability for 9.7 billion

February 26th, 2019 / Professor Christopher J. Leaver, Emeritus Professor of Plant Science, University of Oxford; Founder member of B4FA

‘He who has bread may have troubles, He who lacks it has only one.’Old Byzantine proverb

Since 1950 the world’s population has almost tripled to 7.7 billion and until recently the relative abundance of food has kept pace, with the poorest benefiting the most. Over the years the so-called Green Revolution, despite …

New crop loss study underscores urgent need for resistant varieties

February 25th, 2019 / Alliance for Science, US

Plant pests and diseases are significantly reducing yields of five major food crops across the globe, underscoring the critical need to develop new resistant varieties, according to a new study.

Some 137 pathogens and pests cause losses of 10 to 40 percent in the staple crops — wheat, maize (corn), soybeans, …

Fighting against pests

February 18th, 2019 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali reports:

Farmers always worry about possible loss of their crops due to pests and crop diseases. It is one of the reasons they keep monitoring their fields to ensure all is going on well. Fighting pests and crop diseases increases the farmers’ production costs and often reduces profits.

It …

Seeking the new potato

February 14th, 2019 / Science, US

On a bleak, brown hill here, David Ellis examines a test plot of potato plants and shakes his head. “They’re dead, dead, dead,” he says. Pests and lack of rain have laid waste to all 17 varieties that researchers had planted.

It is a worrying sign for Ellis, the now-retired director …

Plummeting insect numbers ‘threaten collapse of nature’

February 12th, 2019 / The Guardian, UK

The world’s insects are hurtling down the path to extinction, threatening a “catastrophic collapse of nature’s ecosystems”, according to the first global scientific review.

More than 40% of insect species are declining and a third are endangered, the analysis found. The rate of extinction is eight times faster than that of …