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The new buzz in elephant conservation: a bee-scented repellent

August 13th, 2018 / UN Environment

Potential to help prevent human-elephant conflict and the damage they inflict on crops when they encroach on human settlements.
Elephants hate bees. This finding has prompted scientists to devise an experiment that could help reduce human-elephant conflict.
As the saying goes, “elephants never forget”. They certainly don’t forget how painful it is …

Kitui County heeds to Greenpeace Africa’s call to fund agriculture

August 10th, 2018 / The Exchange, Tanzania

Two weeks ago, an international environmental watchdog and lobby group, Greenpeace Africa raised concerns over local governments’ failure to allocate adequate funding to the agriculture sector.
The lobby group therefore filed a petition stating that the county assembly formulates laws that support the ecological farming model since we have been practising …

Biotech update: What is CRISPR and how does it works

August 8th, 2018 / ISAAA, US

Researchers have found that the CRISPR – Cas9 system can be applied to nearly every organism. Early studies using CRISPR – Cas9 for gene editing have focused on crops important for agriculture. It was realized early on that the system could be used in crops to improve traits, such as …

Forests key to Africa ending water crises, meeting SDGs

August 8th, 2018 / SciDev.net

Despite the contribution of forests to water sustainability, scholars and researchers have rarely studied the linkages involving forests, climate change and water in Africa, a report, Forest and Water on a Changing Planet: Vulnerability, Adaptation and Governance Opportunities, says.
According to the report, about seven billion humans currently occupying the earth …

Pheromone-based pest control could be the wonderful future of agriculture

August 7th, 2018 / Green Optimistic

Conventional insecticides are extremely harmful to the farmer, pollinating insects, and consumers ( residue on fruits and vegetables). Therefore, the world is looking for an alternative, safer way to protect the plants from pest insects. One of them is pheromones .
One of the most promising methods is mating disruption by …

How conservation agriculture is helping Ethiopian farmers become more than subsistence farmers

August 6th, 2018 / Addis Standard, Ethiopia

Major factors limiting food production for smallholder farmers across sub-Saharan Africa include the depletion of soil fertility, soil erosion and periodic droughts due to climate change. In Ethiopia, crop productivity is further constrained by a lack of quality inputs such as improved seeds, and high prices of chemical fertilizers, which …

Let’s first ask what women scientists want

August 3rd, 2018 / SciDev.net

Contrary to stereotypes, women scientists often fare better in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) than they do in other parts of the world, says Rana Dajani, a biologist from Hashemite University in Jordan. Statistics from the OECD, from UNESCO and elsewhere show high percentages of women in scientific …

How drones can transform agriculture

August 2nd, 2018 / Daily Nation, Kenya

Progressive countries have adopted drones – unmanned aircraft that flies autonomously – for precision agriculture with impressive results, but what exactly can a drone do for the agricultural sector in Africa and Kenya, in particular?
Farmers need accurate, precise and up-to-date information on plant health and environmental conditions.
On the most basic …

Securing East Africa’s cassava

August 1st, 2018 / CGIAR

Morag Ferguson is thrilled with the results of a recent genotyping study. It seems that the cassava landraces she has been working on from South, East and Central Africa are pretty unique. The genetic diversity maps show this specific group of landraces branching off clearly in isolation from the cassava …

Genetically modifying rice to produce HIV-neutralizing proteins

August 1st, 2018 / Phys.org

A team of researchers from Spain, the U.S. and the U.K. has genetically modified a strain of rice to produce HIV-neutralizing proteins. In their paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the group describes the technique by which they modified the rice and how it might …