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Africa Soil Information Service

December 4th, 2018 / CGIAR

The Africa Soil Information Service provides continent-wide digital soil maps and decision-support applications for sub-Saharan Africa, using new types of soil analysis and statistical methods.
The online portal africasoils.net provides practical, timely and cost-effective soil health surveillance services that can help map soil conditions, set a baseline for monitoring changes, develop …

Why massive effort needs to be put into growing trees on farms

December 4th, 2018 / The Conversation, UK

It’s now over 50 years since the world was first warned that resources were being used at an unsustainable rate. It has now been estimated that almost one quarter to one third of the world’s land is degraded to some extent.
Degradation refers to land that’s lost nutrients, or has changed …

Satellites warn African farmers of pest infestations

December 3rd, 2018 / BBC, UK

UK researchers have developed an early warning system to prevent the crops of African farmers from being devastated.
The Pest Risk Information Service (Prise) combines temperature data and weather forecasts with computer models.
It then sends farmers a mobile phone alert so that they can take precautions.
It is hoped that the system …

Ugandan scientists skeptical of revised GMO bill

December 3rd, 2018 / Alliance for Science, US

The Ugandan Parliament yesterday approved a bill to regulate genetically modified organisms that has scientists skeptical the technology will ever reach the smallholder farmers it is intended to help.
“Once bitten, twice shy,” said plant biotechnologist Dr. Andrew Kiggundu in reference to last year’s events, when Parliament passed the bill, but …

Global food system is broken, say world’s science academies

November 30th, 2018 / The Guardian, UK

The global food system is broken, leaving billions of people either underfed or overweight and driving the planet towards climate catastrophe, according to 130 national academies of science and medicine across the world.
Providing a healthy, affordable, and environmentally friendly diet for all people will require a radical transformation of the …

New biocontainment strategy controls spread of escaped GMOs

November 30th, 2018 / Phys.org

Hiroshima University (HU) researchers successfully developed a biocontainment strategy for genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. Their new method prevents genetically modified cyanobacteria from surviving outside of their test environment, enabling ways to more safely research the effects of GMOs. Their results were published in ACS Synthetic Biology.
The applications of bioengineered …

Closer to harvest? The status of the Golden Rice project

November 29th, 2018 / Flip Science, Philippines

A variety of Oryza sativa (rice) genetically engineered using recombinant DNA technology, Golden Rice contains beta carotene, an antioxidant which the body converts into Vitamin A. This gives the rice grain the yellow-orange or gold color that inspired its name.
However, the Golden Rice project is still on its way to …

Food security: Africa should be the answer

November 28th, 2018 / NEWS24, South Africa

Africa is the only continent suited to commercial agriculture with underutilised land. Neither Europe nor North America has “spare” land available. It is therefore up to us to do more with what we have.
When it comes to exploring science and technology in the interest of increased productivity and yield, farmers …

Can genetic engineering deliver a natural microbial fertilizer for crops?

November 27th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

At the turn of the previous century, German scientists Fritz Haber and Carl Bosch got all the credit for finding a way to convert atmospheric nitrogen (in its very stable N2 form) into a charged ion that could be “fixed” or applied as a chemical fertilizer. Both eventually were awarded …

Shock as government bans GMO trials

November 27th, 2018 / The Citizen, Tanzania

B4FA Fellow B4FA Fellow Rosemary Mirondo reports:
Tanzania orders the Tanzania Agriculture Research Institute to stop all Genetic Modified Organism (GMO) confined trials and destroy all test remnants.
An air of resignation characterised reactions yesterday to the government’s surprise ban on all genetically modified organism (GMO) trials in the country.
Members of the …