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New programme to boost soil productivity and reduce soil degradation in Africa

June 15th, 2018 / ReliefWeb

The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and its Global Soil Partnership launched today a new programme to boost soil productivity and reduce soil degradation for greater food and nutrition security in Africa.
The Afrisoils programme aims to increase soil productivity in 47 African countries by 30 percent, and reduce …

Kenya starts planting biotech cotton under national performance trials

June 14th, 2018 / ISAAA

Kenya is one step away from commercializing Bt cotton following the commencement of National Performance Trials (NPTs) to identify suitable varieties for different agro-ecological zones. This comes after the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) granted an Environmental Impact Assessment license to Kenya Agricultural Livestock and Fisheries Organization (KALRO) to undertake …

A tobacco-derived insect repellent – for crops

June 13th, 2018 / New Atlas

Although it’s associated with nasty cigarettes, the tobacco plant is also a potential source of vaccines, biofuel and antibiotics. Now, a chemical from the plant is also being used as a bug repellent for crops, which could replace eco-unfriendly insecticides.
One of the problems with insecticides is the fact that they …

What are the challenges facing modern farming around the world?

June 13th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

“Kenya is on the brink of embracing biotechnology in agriculture. On the brink. Now I’m ready to say something new. We’ve been on the brink for too long.”
These words, offered by Gilbert arap Bor, a Kenyan smallholder farmer and lecturer at the Catholic University of East Africa- Eldoret, illustrate the …

Aiming for aflatoxins

June 12th, 2018 / AgWeb

In the midst of rumors and anti-GMO rhetoric, one researcher is striving to use genetic modification to improve crop health as well as potentially save consumer lives. Aspergillus, which creates carcinogenic aflatoxin, can now be controlled through genetic modification.
Aflatoxins are found in corn, peanuts, cottonseed, milk, walnuts, pistachios and Brazil …

Towards a late-blight resistant potato for Africa

June 12th, 2018 / CIP International Potato Centre

This video describes advances by the International Potato Center and the National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO) of Uganda to develop a potato variety resistant to late blight. Watch …

In a variable climate, good science pays

June 11th, 2018 / ACIAR

Climate variability significantly affects cropping productivity around the world, but perhaps nowhere more so than in eastern and southern African countries. Compounding this, low agricultural productivity and research capacity have historically led to chronic food insecurity.
Responding to this critical situation, ACIAR’s work over the past eight years in the region …

Why climate-smart agriculture is crucial to Africa

June 11th, 2018 / SciDev.net

Agriculture is a risky business in Africa due to dangers such as uncertain weather and poor rural infrastructure but a new detailed guide on the status of and opportunities for climate smart agriculture (CSA) could offer farmers the much needed break.
The detailed guide for CSA that cover 14 African countries …

Ethiopia approves environmental release of Bt cotton and grants special permit for GM maize

June 8th, 2018 / ISAAA, US

The Government of Ethiopia is the latest African country to authorize cultivation of biotech crops by granting two landmark approvals for environmental release of Bt cotton and research trials on biotech maize. In a letter signed by the Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change H.E. Gamado Dale to the …

Africa’s first biofortified pearl millet variety aims to combat anaemia

June 8th, 2018 / ICRISAT

For millions of women and children in Africa anaemia is a significant public health concern—and diets deficient in iron are often to blame. But consuming a new variety of pearl millet called chakti—with an additional 20% of the estimated average requirement of iron—may improve their nutritional status and help them …