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Hybrid rice engineered with CRISPR can clone its seeds

December 17th, 2018 / Science News

After more than 20 years of theorizing about it, scientists have tweaked a hybrid variety of rice so that some of the plants produce cloned seeds. No plant sex necessary. The feat, described December 12 in Nature, is encouraging for efforts to feed an increasingly crowded world.
Crossing two good varieties …

The future of drought-tolerant wheat is near

December 17th, 2018 / Global Farmer Network

I have seen the future of wheat and it’s in Argentina.
Or at least one version of it which would be of great benefit to an Australian farmer like me.
Let me explain. Two years ago, I had the chance to visit Argentina in a low rainfall area very similar to areas …

From mangoes to maize, climate change brings new hunger threats

December 14th, 2018 / AllAfrica

In northern Ghana, where climate change is bringing an ever-shorter rainy season, struggling farmers are looking for more land they can plant to get enough of a harvest to feed their families.
That’s bad news for the region’s women, who cannot own land of their own but instead farm on plots …

Climate change: Failure to tackle warming ‘suicidal’

December 14th, 2018 / BBC, UK

The UN secretary-general has warned negotiators at a major meeting that failing to increase efforts on climate change would be “not only immoral but suicidal” for the planet.
Antonio Guterres has flown back to Poland to try and push COP24 to a successful conclusion.
At the UN talks, a group of countries …

Will a new pest beat transgenic corn to African farms?

December 13th, 2018 / Futurity

Bt corn could help farmers in Africa to combat an emerging pest capable of devastating their crops, but fear of GM crops in Africa has slowed adoption of the technology, says Walter Suza, an adjunct assistant professor of agronomy at Iowa State and a coauthor of the study.
“My hope is …

WRI: GMOs and gene editing can help improve crop breeding to boost yields to feed the world

December 13th, 2018 / ISAAA, US

A new report from the World Resources Institute The says that there is no silver bullet in producing enough food sustainably, but it offers a five-course menu of solutions to ensure feeding everyone without increasing emissions, fueling deforestation, or exacerbating poverty. WRI estimates that feeding the world sustainably while reducing …

Sparing vs Sharing: the great debate over how to protect nature

December 12th, 2018 / e360 Yale.edu

It is one of the biggest questions in conservation: Should we be sharing our landscapes with nature by reviving small woodlands and adopting small-scale eco-friendly farming? Or should we instead be sparing large tracts of land for nature’s exclusive use – by creating more national parks and industrializing agriculture on …

An unexpected culprit might have caused France’s mass honey bee die-off in the 1990s

December 12th, 2018 / IFL Science

The honey bees of the French countryside suffered a catastrophic die-off between 1994 and 1998. Unsurprisingly, the mass mortalities coincided with the introduction of several new-to-the-market agricultural insecticides. Environmentalists and farmers were quick to point the finger at one in particular: imidacloprid, a neonicotinoid produced primarily by the pharmaceutical giant …

World’s first honey bee vaccine seeks to save dying pollinators

December 12th, 2018 / Bloomberg, US

A growing number of honey bees die each year due to pesticides, vanishing habitats, poor nutrition and climate change, with potentially disastrous consequences for agriculture and natural diversity.
Now, scientists at the University of Helsinki have developed the first edible vaccine against microbial infections, hoping to save at least some of …

Galvanizing the momentum for community actions against the Fall Armyworm

December 11th, 2018 / reliefweb

Recognizing the enormity of the challenge the Fall Armyworm poses on smallholder farmers, government representatives and partners stressed the need to bolster a novel community-based approach being promoted in Eastern Africa to assist farmers and development agents at the frontline to identify and manage the spread of the pest.
In a …