In the news...

The ecomodernist argument for modern agriculture

December 15th, 2017 / Successful Farming

Mark Lynas writes:
Imagine that we decided to abolish farming across the world. The cities emptied, the combines sat idle, and all 7.5 billion of us scattered out into the countryside in search of nuts, berries, and game to make our livings as modern-day hunter-gatherers. How would that go?
The answer is …

Max Planck researchers engineer key enzyme in photosynthesis

December 13th, 2017 / Max Planck Institute, Germany

Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry have succeeded in producing functional plant Rubisco in a bacterium, allowing genetic engineering of the enzyme. Rubisco, a critical enzyme in photosynthesis, catalyzes the first step in carbohydrate production in plants, the fixation of CO2 from the atmosphere.
The researchers, led by Dr. …

New technique to help plant breeders develop drought resistant varieties faster

December 13th, 2017 / ISAAA, US

Scientists from the Canadian Light Source (CLS) have teamed up with researchers from the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) to develop a new technique to examine drought tolerance in wheat. Led by Chithra Karunakaran and Karen Tanino, the team developed a simple non-destructive method to screen hundreds of wheat …

The contribution of glyphosate to agriculture and potential impact of restrictions on use at the global level

December 12th, 2017 / GM Crops and Food

This study assesses the potential economic and environmental impacts that would arise if restrictions on glyphosate use resulted in the world no longer planting genetically modified herbicide tolerant (GM HT) crops.
‘First round’ impacts are the loss of farm level and aggregate impacts associated with the widespread use of GM HT …

Scientists see role for insects and ‘orphan crops’ in human diet

December 8th, 2017 / Financial Times, UK

Remarkably few plant and animal species dominate global agriculture and food production. Cattle, sheep, pigs and poultry make up most of the livestock sector, while wheat, maize, rice and soya account for 60 per cent of the world’s total crop output. Fewer than 30 species account for more than 95 …

GMO technology in Uganda

December 8th, 2017 / The Independent, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali writes:
The recent article in The Independent magazine (October 31 2017) titled “Tears and Cheers over New GMO Law” left me, as a farmer and a science journalist, disappointed. It carried negative and misleading sentiments about agricultural biotechnology.
Uganda’s decision to adapt Agricultural GMO technology and the passing …

Weeding out striga from African drylands

December 8th, 2017 / Thomson Reuters

Striga experts from Europe, USA, Africa and Asia gathered for two days 28-29 November 2017 at the Biosciences Hub for Eastern and Central Africa (BecA) in Nairobi to discuss viable options for tackling this weed that has plagued sub Saharan African agriculture for decades.
Despite its striking purple flowers …

Japan to support efforts targeting crop-destroying fall armyworm in South Sudan

December 7th, 2017 / CNBC Africa

Efforts in South Sudan to fight Fall armyworm, an insect that destroys crops, have received a boost thanks to the Government of Japan’s decision to provide $3 million to support a project run by Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) together …

Experts intensify war on aflatoxins

December 7th, 2017 / Daily New, Tanzania

Various stakeholders from across the African continent are meeting in Dar es Salaam to step up efforts in the fight against aflatoxin contamination in the maize value chain.
The two-day regional workshop, organised by the Partnership for Aflatoxin Control in Africa (PACA) in collaboration with its partners, seeks to address the …

Climate change fighting plants

December 7th, 2017 / San Diego Union-Tribune, US

The Salk Institute has enlisted a new ally in the effort to address the anticipated dangers of climate change — plants.
Scientists at the institute propose to breed plants to more efficiently remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, sequestering it in the ground for many decades. This could reduce global warming, …