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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 …

Nigeria ready to adopt biotechnology in cowpea production – official

December 11th, 2018 / The Eagle, Nigeria

Rose Gidado, the Country Coordinator of Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology in Africa says Nigeria is ready to adopt bio-technology in boosting production of cowpea.
Gidado made this known in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Friday.
Bio-technology is a term adopted by international convention to refer to …

Expectations from the genetic Bill

December 11th, 2018 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali writes
Last week Parliament passed the Genetic Engineering Regulatory Bill 2018 after a long struggle.
Since 2008 when Uganda got the National Biotechnology and Biosafety Policy there has been a need to get a law to guide the implementation of that policy.
Finally the law is available and, …

Sustainable hybrid seed sector key to Africa’s Green Revolution

December 10th, 2018 / The Standard, Kenya

Africa’s demand for food will more than double by 2050, driven by population growth and rapid urbanisation.
A growing population is not the only challenge. Africa has to contend with new enemies such as climate change and the traditional ones such as pests, poor infrastructure and post-harvest losses.
Some years back, increased …

The future of food: beating the heat with genome-edited crops

December 7th, 2018 / The Mainichi, Japan

Wheat with DNA tweaked to beat the heat, and redesigned rice that can flourish in hot, dry conditions. Work is now underway to bring these kinds of genetically edited foods to dinner tables around the world, with the new rice estimated to be in bowls by about 2039, all necessitated …

Ugandan researchers look to biotechnology to bolster food production in the face of climate change

December 7th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru reports:
As the impact of climate change continues to grow worldwide, farmers are likely to face new challenges in the form of emerging pests, diseases, lengthy droughts and floods. The planet’s shifting weather patterns may very well represent the biggest health and food security threat of the …

‘Switching off’ genes could speed efforts to breed disease-resistant plants

December 7th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Researchers from [the French Agricultural Research Centre CIRAD] recently showed that inactivating a gene, RECQ4, leads to a three-fold increase in recombination in crops such as rice, pea and tomato …. This discovery, published in the journal Nature Plants could speed up plant breeding and development of varieties better suited …