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Nigerian University develops new maize varieties for farmers

July 19th, 2017 / AllAfrica.com

The Institute for Agricultural Research, IAR, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, has secured approval to release three new high-yielding nutrient maize varieties for planting in Nigeria.
The Institute made this known in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria on Wednesday in Lagos.
The institute said the approval was granted …

Bio tech crops help African countries

July 18th, 2017 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali writes:
It was reported in this column last month that maize, cassava, and cotton farmers in North Eastern Tanzania, had appealed to senior government officials to give them Genetically Modified (GM) crops to plant in order to avoid persistent crop failure.
This followed vain attempts made for years …

Agritech will not take root without better communication

July 18th, 2017 / Eco-business

Technology has the potential to raise crop yields, cut fertiliser use, improve farming efficiency and, by its nature, make the world’s oldest and least digitised industry more sustainable.
But without better communication of the benefits to farmers and the end consumer, agritech could suffer the same fate as genetically modified crops …

How some African farmers are responding to climate change — and what we can learn from them

July 14th, 2017 / ensia.com

As sub-Saharan Africa’s climate changes, small-scale farmers are increasingly looking to innovative ways of dealing with agricultural challenges. And in some instances, the techniques they adopt are helping to combat climate change, too.
Alternative animal feed, climate-friendly grasses and the use of fodder trees are among the examples providing farmers resilience …

East African scientists turn to gene sequencing against Cassava Brown Streak Disease (CBSD)

July 13th, 2017 / African Marketplace, CNN

Cassava has no defense against a tiny insect that is decimating crops across East Africa, with dire economic and humanitarian consequences.
The whitefly carries two viruses that together destroy over $1 billion worth of cassava in Sub-Saharan Africa each year. Cassava Mosaic Disease (CMD) is the more established threat and does …

Scientists biofortify wheat to produce flour with more iron

July 13th, 2017 / ISAAA, US

Researchers from the John Innes Centre (JIC) have developed a variety of wheat that has high levels of iron. This new biofortified variety could help decrease the number of people with iron deficiency around the world.
Wheat contains iron in parts that are removed before milling. With the use of the …

Soil nutrient depletion, major cause of food shortage in Africa

July 11th, 2017 / Xinhuanet, China

Experts at the three-day West Africa Fertilizer and Agri-Business Conference which began here on Monday identified depletion of soil nutrients as one of the key challenges to food security on the African continent.
Eugine Rurangwa, Land and Water Officer at the UN-Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) African Regional Office noted there …

Vinegar: A cheap and simple way to help plants fight drought

July 11th, 2017 / Phys.org

Researchers at the RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science (CSRS) have discovered a new, yet simple, way to increase drought tolerance in a wide range of plants. Published in Nature Plants, the study reports a newly discovered biological pathway that is activated in times of drought. By working out the …

Modified maize that kills with RNA is given go-ahead in the US

June 30th, 2017 / New Scientist, UK

For the first time, a crop that produces an RNAi-based pesticide has got the green light.
The US Environmental Protection Agency has approved a genetically modified corn known as SmartStax Pro. In addition to producing two Bt toxins to kill any western corn rootworm larvae that try to eat it, the …

How soil dwelling bacteria adapt to richer or poorer conditions

June 30th, 2017 / Phys.org

Scientists have identified a unique mechanism that the soil dwelling bacterium Pseudomonas fluorescens uses to effectively exploit nutrients in the root environment.
The breakthrough offers multiple new applications, according to the team of John Innes Centre scientists behind the discovery: for the study of human pathogens, for synthetic biology, and for …