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The last thing Africa needs to be debating is GMOs

May 28th, 2015 / Washington Post, US

Say the words “green revolution,” and people take sides. For opponents, the phrase conjures visions of monocrop fields fertilized with chemicals and sprayed with more chemicals. For proponents, it evokes the tremendous efficiencies that have helped us feed our burgeoning population. For Joe DeVries, a plant scientist, “it’s a …

Soil – the forgotten resource, Infographic

May 25th, 2015 / FAO, Italy

Soils host a quarter of our planet’s biodiversity. Soil is one of nature’s most complex ecosystems: it contains a myriad of organisms that interact and contribute to the global cycles that make all life possible Read …

Disease and flood tolerant rice

May 23rd, 2015 / National Geographic, US

Plant pathologist and geneticist at the University of California, Davis, Pamela Ronald’s lab has isolated genes from rice that can resist diseases and tolerate floods. When those genes are inserted into existing rice plants, they help farmers grow high-yield harvests in places where the crop is a vulnerable staple. …

The GMO that could feed 1 billion people: C4 rice explained

May 22nd, 2015 / International Rice Research Institute (IRRI)

VIDEO: C4 rice (http://c4rice.irri.org) is a genetically modified crop projected to save one billion people by 2025. It’ll give us up to 50% more rice “for free” – much more rice will be grown, for the people who most need it, without any extra resources being used up. Read …

Sorghum project gives women financial might

May 21st, 2015 / FarmBiz Africa

Quality seed, fertilizer and planting training from One Acre Fund transforms lives of farmers in western Kenya. “It felt like a dream,” says farmer Rosemary Wanjala. Read …

Plant breeder boosts soybean diversity

May 13th, 2015 / Phys.org

It took decades of painstaking work, but research geneticist Ram Singh managed to cross a popular soybean variety (“Dwight” Glycine max) with a related wild perennial plant that grows like a weed in Australia, producing the first fertile soybean plants that are resistant to soybean rust, soybean cyst nematode and …

Weaver ants lift cashew nut yields in Benin trial

May 11th, 2015 / SciDevNet, UK

Patrols of ants on cashew nut trees can roughly double the yield of the crop, according to researchers in Benin. The researchers say that African weaver ants (Oecophylla longinoda) are an effective natural way to reduce considerable losses of cashew nuts from insect pests, such as fruit flies, and improve …

Kenyan government urged to lift its ban that on GMO imports

May 9th, 2015 / Coast Week, Kenya

Scientists meeting in Nairobi have urged the government to lift the ban that was imposed on the importation of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in 2012. The Open Forum for Agricultural Biotechnology in Africa (OFAB) said that the ban has slowed down the momentum that Kenya has built in agricultural research. …

What do we really know about glyphosate?

May 5th, 2015 / National Geographic, US

Seeds have been genetically engineered to tolerate glyphhosate so farmers can apply it to entire fields without destroying crops. As a result, its use has skyrocketed but some experts say research is needed exploring what happens to it in the environment and how much people are exposed. Read …

Africa: New Global Crop Data Aid in Food Policy Decisions

May 4th, 2015 / AllAfrica.com

Knowing where in the world individual crops are cultivated, their production patterns, and whether they are irrigated or rain fed are essential components for ensuring adequate, sustainable food production and safeguarding food security. Yet this critical data is often inadequate or non-existent, leaving policymakers unable to formulate the best policies …