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How planting trees can protect cocoa plants against climate change

May 18th, 2018 / The Conversation

Worldwide, areas suitable for cocoa production are predicted to shrink by up to 20-30% over the next 30 years. This is because cocoa trees are already struggling to cope with drier, hotter conditions – attributed in large part to climate change.
Chocolate, one of the most popular and widely consumed products …

African conference confirms growing strength of plant disease research network

May 18th, 2018 / University of Bristol

Delegates from ten African countries joined counterparts from the UK at the CONNECTED Virus Network Africa Launch Conference, which took place in Kampala, Uganda.
Bristol University-based CONNECTED team members Dr Diane Hird and Richard Wyatt attended to co-ordinate operations along with local National Crops Resources Research Institute staff, following pre-conference organisation …

Cassava breeding hasn’t improved photosynthesis or yield potential

May 16th, 2018 / University of Illinois, US

Video: University of Illinois researchers analyzed four cassava cultivars preferred by African farmers and found unimproved varieties photosynthesize better than varieties selected for improved pest and disease resistance. …

New plant breeding techniques will ensure food quality and quantity

May 15th, 2018 / Euractiv

The new plant breeding techniques (NPBTs) are a major opportunity to move toward sustainable agriculture and simultaneously ensure food quality for EU consumers, MEP Paolo De Castro told EURACTIV.com.
According to De Castro (S&D), the EU should embrace innovation more and more in order to boost food production and cut the …

Uganda’s biggest agricultural problems

May 15th, 2018 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow, Michael Ssali, writes:
Agriculture is the science of growing crops and rearing animals for food and income.
The sector, which is our biggest employer, is however faced with a number of challenges that need immediate attention.
They range from climate change, incurable crop diseases, a fast growing population, land …

Farmers anxiously wait for Uganda’s GMO potato

May 14th, 2018 / Alliance for Science, US

Farmers in Uganda and elsewhere frequently apply fungicides to protect their potato crops from the devastating late blight disease (LBD), which can ruin the entire harvest. Ugandan scientists have used the tools of genetic engineering to make a popular potato variety, the Victoria, resistant to LBD — reducing the need …

How do corporations perceive their role in the GMO debate?

May 14th, 2018 / Devex.com

Smack at the center of the debate over genetically modified organisms and their role in developing countries are large corporations. Bayer, BASF, Dow AgroScience, DuPont Pioneer, Monsanto, and Syngenta all sell GMO seed and associated products, including herbicides, as well as a range of non-GMO seed and products supporting agricultural …

Nigerian regulator says anti-GMO sentiments won’t stop GM crops

May 13th, 2018 / Alliance for Science, US

Nigeria’s top biotechnology regulator said his agency won’t be cowed by the anti-GMO activism that has picked up steam as two GM crops near approval.
Dr. Rufus Ebegba, director-general of the National Biosafety Development Agency (NBMA), said his agency will not be bullied or blackmailed by sentiments, speculations or hearsay that …

‘Precision plant breeding’ better describes crop biotechnology than misused ‘GMO’ term

May 13th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

GMO is now a widely recognized, often misused and misunderstood term. It’s used extensively by media and marketers alike. We can’t abandon it, but we can shift to clearer, all-encompassing terminology which covers all the latest advances.
No matter the type of plant breeding used over the last 10,000 years, the …

Video: Is gene editing the future of farming?

May 13th, 2018 / Wall Street Journal, US

A research team at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory is developing higher-yielding tomato plants with a gene-editing tool called Crispr-Cas9. Are these products different from traditional GMOs? Watch …