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‘Sexy plants’ on track to replace harmful pesticides to protect crops

June 8th, 2018 / The Guardian, UK

“Sexy plants” are on the way to replacing many harmful pesticides, scientists say, by producing the sex pheromones of insects which then frustrate pests’ attempts to mate.
Scientists have already genetically engineered a plant to produce the sex pheromones of moths and are now optimising that, as well as working on …

Breeding a better cowpea

June 8th, 2018 / AgriLinks

Q&A with Timothy Close, Director of the Feed the Future Climate-Resilient Cowpea Innovation Lab. Based at University of California, Riverside, the Feed the Future Climate-Resilient Cowpea Innovation Lab develops and applies advanced genomic tools to cowpea breeding to increase yield, drought tolerance and fungal resistance in cowpea (commonly known as …

Bill Gates to support 12 African countries in the battle against cassava disease

June 7th, 2018 / Pulse, Nigeria

American billionaire, Bill Gates, has lent support to 12 countries in Africa in battling Cassava Brown Streak Virus Disease, a disease that causes $100 million loss annually across the continent.
Gates, according to a report by The Guardian, is supporting the cause through his foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Delegates …

FAO, Rabobank renew partnership to help African farmers

June 6th, 2018 / African Farming, UK

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and Rabobank signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to renew their partnership to boost productivity for small farmers
Africa FarmingThe partnership between FAO and Rabobank began in 2013.
The partnership, which began in 2013, has helped small-scale farmers and cooperatives in developing countries become economically …

12 African countries meet in Cotonou on impending cassava diseases

June 6th, 2018 / Guardian, Nigeria

welve African countries will be meeting in Cotonou, Benin Republic from Thursday, June 7 to Saturday, June 9, 2018, to discuss joint actions towards responding to the threat of Cassava Viral Diseases (CVD), ravaging the continent.
The high-level meeting, convened by government of Benin Republic in partnership with the West African …

Why not genetically engineered organic foods?

June 6th, 2018 / Washington Examiner, US

USDA’s arbitrary rules about what is permitted for the “organic” designation prohibit important advances in agriculture and food production, and they unnecessarily restrict consumer choice. That could be remedied by expanding what is permitted under the federal National Organic Standards, and this would be an opportune time.
The Organic Foods Production …

Africa needs another million PhD scientists to develop homegrown solutions

June 4th, 2018 / Quartz Africa

It’s been a recurring refrain: Africa still lags woefully behind the rest of the world in generating new scientific knowledge.
As figures collated by the World Bank in 2014 show, the continent—home to around 16% of the world’s population—produces less than 1% of the world’s research output. These are painful admissions …

Minimising further insect pests invasions in Africa

June 4th, 2018 / SciDev.net

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) recently offered prize money for the best and digital tools that can be used to help combat the fall armyworm (FAW), an invasive pest that has spread across Africa. The winners will be announced in the coming months.
Identified in over 35 African countries …

Uganda’s scientists strive to use biotechnology to solve agricultural, health and environmental challenges

June 4th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project/

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru writes:
It is morning time, we are in a hotel based at the center of Kampala, the capital city of Uganda, attending a stakeholders meeting on the subject how biotechnology cuts across all science-related sectors.
Among the attendees are students and recent graduates with degrees biotechnology. Among those …

Is agricultural diversification necessary for achieving global food security?

June 1st, 2018 / Malabo Montpellier Panel

Professor Sir Gordon Conway writes:
“Growing more, growing better for Africa’s food security”
The combination of population growth, urbanisation, climate change, and – in some countries –conflict, is placing increasing pressure on Africa’s food systems. By 2050, Africa’s population will top 2.5 billion, 55% of whom will be in urban areas. To …