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How soil can clean the air

December 5th, 2017 / Scientific American

Soil management offers huge potential for keeping carbon emissions in the ground
Soil management doesn’t sound snazzy, but scientists say it offers huge potential for keeping carbon emissions in the ground—and out of the atmosphere.
A paper published this week in the journal Scientific Reports estimates that improved land-use practices could increase …

The future of agriculture, food security is knowledge-intensive

December 5th, 2017 / BIZ-Community, South Africa

“The future of agriculture is not input-intensive, but knowledge-intensive. This is the new paradigm,” says FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva
Food production increased over the last decades, but at a high cost to the environment, generating deforestation, water scarcity, soil depletion and high levels of greenhouse gas emissions, he …

Can Nigeria’s yams power a nation?

December 5th, 2017 / BBC, UK

Can Africa’s biggest economy swap its addiction to oil for the starchy tubers that millions line their bellies with each day?
“It’s our biggest hope,” says Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Audu Ogbeh.
The global slump in oil prices has hit the West African nation hard, where oil exports make …

‘Super beans’ raise hopes in hunger-prone parts of Africa

December 4th, 2017 / WRAL.com

Richard Opio dipped a dirt-stained hand into the pinkish beans, marveling at the dramatic changes they’ve made for his family. They used to harvest two sacks of normal beans; now they take in six.
The so-called “super bean,” a fast-maturing, high-yield variety, is being promoted by Uganda’s government and agriculture experts …

GM plant species numbers set to dramatically increase

December 4th, 2017 / Cosmos, Australia

Genetic modification of food crops is, depending on your point of view, a wondrous technological solution to feed a growing global population or a hubris-soaked scientific monstrosity sowing the seeds of environmental apocalypse.
Yet the war over GM crops, though intense, has so far been restricted to a small number of …

Africa regional overview of food security and nutrition 2017

December 4th, 2017 / FAO, Italy

In sub-Saharan Africa good progress was made in reducing hunger until 2010, after which time the decline in the prevalence of undernourishment came to a halt and then rose to 22.7 percent in 2016, while the number of undernourished rose to 224.3 million. In many countries, the worsening situation in …

Addressing GMOs’ promise, problems

December 1st, 2017 / The Guardian, Nigeria

To domesticate and address the concerns about the safety of GMOs, the Federal Government has established the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) under the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology (FMST) and the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA).
The NBMA was established by the National Biosafety Management Agency Act 2015, to …

Use of CRISPR systems in plant genome editing: toward new opportunities in agriculture

November 30th, 2017 / Emerging Topics in Life Sciences, UK

Initially discovered in bacteria and archaea, CRISPR–Cas9 is an adaptive immune system found in prokaryotes. In 2012, scientists found a way to use it as a genome editing tool. In 2013, its application in plants was successfully achieved. This breakthrough has opened up many new opportunities for researchers, including the …

Large-scale approach reveals imperfect actor in plant biotechnology

November 30th, 2017 / Phys.org

A research team led by Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research has harnessed metabolomic technologies to unravel the molecular activities of a key protein that can enable plants to withstand a common herbicide. Their findings reveal how the protein—a kind of catalyst or enzyme, first isolated in bacteria and introduced into …

African women are starting to take a lead in agricultural research

November 30th, 2017 / Quartz Africa

It is no news that to transform Africa’s agriculture, women will have to be on an equal footing with men. The same also needs to happen away from the fields, in agricultural research institutions devoted to address challenges and provide solutions to farmers. Fewer women than men are trained and …