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Large NMBU project on seed security

November 7th, 2018 / Norwegian University of Life Sciences

Farmers’ access to seeds is the focus of a new project ‘Access to seeds: From emergencies to seed system development’, led by Ola Westengen and funded by the Research Council of Norway (RCN).
Seeds are vital for food security and are a fundamental asset for the majority of rural communities in …

Thirteen nations call for ag policies supporting gene editing

November 7th, 2018 / Alliance for Science, US

Thirteen nations have used the forum of the World Trade Organization to present a position paper supporting policies that advance agricultural innovation, including genome editing.
The United States, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, Jordan, Paraguay, Uruguay, Vietnam and the Secretariat of the Economic Community of West …

Cultivating resilience to climate change

November 7th, 2018 / Food Tank

The Crop Trust is on a mission to improve biodiversity and protect farmers against climate change through their Crop Wild Relatives project.
Crop Trust joined with The Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa) in June on a five-day hunt for wild relatives of potatoes in Brazil. Having found two wild potato relatives …

Irrigation: a game-changer for small-scale farmers

November 6th, 2018 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

Despite previous efforts by the Government of Uganda to promote irrigation, less than 1 per cent of agricultural households practice irrigation in Uganda (UBOS 2010).
The area equipped for irrigation is less than 3 per cent of the total potential irrigable area in Uganda estimated at 567,000 hectares. Therefore, there is …

What’s wrong with bananas

November 6th, 2018 / Nautilus

Norman C. Ellstrand, distinguished professor of genetics at the University of California, Riverside where he holds the Jane S. Johnson Endowed Chair in Food and Agriculture, writes:
Of the important global crops, the banana is the most genetically uniform. A single cluster of nearly identical genotypes, the Cavendish subgroup, nearly …

Plague of caterpillars threatening food crisis may be halted with safe pesticides

November 5th, 2018 / The Guardian, UK

Plague of caterpillars threatening food crisis may be halted with safe pesticides
Study suggests biopesticides should be trialled to control the march of armyworm that’s destroying crops across the continent.
Experts have identified safer, effective pesticides they believe can control a plague of caterpillars that is devastating crops across Africa.
Many farmers …

Tech alone ‘won’t raise farm yields’

November 2nd, 2018 / SciDev.net

• African smallholders face challenges including rural-urban migration
• To help smallholders increase yields, strong institutions should aid innovations
• Technology should help spur yields and farm operations, says an expert
Technological innovations such as use of mobile phones to aid farming are unlikely to increase yields unless strong institutions exist, an …

Agri-tech can turn African Savannah into global food basket – African Development Bank

November 2nd, 2018 / AfricanBrains

The African Development Bank has determined that the African Savannah can support the production of maize, soybean, and livestock, and transform the continent into a net exporter of these commodities
The African Development Bank is championing a new regional and global effort to transform the African Savannah from a “Sleeping Giant” …

Irrigation-short Africa may get $9 billion boost to spur harvests

November 1st, 2018 / Reuters

The power of irrigation is on full display in this corner of southeastern Kenya, where an 8,000-hectare sugarcane plantation glimmers in an otherwise semi-arid landscape.
Yields at the Kwale sugar plantation are higher than they would be if it relied only on rain, and there is no need to worry about …

Ugandan scientists poised to release vitamin-fortified GMO banana

October 31st, 2018 / Alliance for Science, US

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru reports:
Ugandan scientists are eying a 2021 release date for genetically modified bananas fortified with vitamin A, provided the nation passes its biosafety law.
In 2005, Ugandan scientists began using the tools of biotechnology to breed bananas fortified with vitamin A. Their goal was to help rural families …