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Armyworms are devastating Asia’s crops, but we have a plan to save them

July 9th, 2019 / The Conversation, UK

A very hungry caterpillar is rampaging through crops across the world, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. The fall armyworm, also known as Spodoptera frugiperda (fruit destroyer), loves to eat maize (corn) but also plagues many other crops vital to human food security, such as rice and sorghum.

This invasive eating …

Smarter fertilizers can reduce environmental contamination

July 9th, 2019 / Scientific American, US

To feed the world’s growing population, farmers need to increase crop yields. Applying more fertilizer could help. But standard versions work inefficiently and often harm the environment. Fortunately, products that are more ecologically sound – controlled-release fertilizers – are available and becoming increasingly …

CRISPR gene edited soybeans suited for hotter climates offer ‘enormous’ crop yield boost

July 9th, 2019 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Chinese agricultural scientists using gene-editing technology have created new soybean mutants, which could lead to soybean crops in much warmer climates including South China and countries near the Equator.

To create the soybean mutants, research teams from the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences knocked out two genes using the gene-editing tool known as …

The first gene-edited soybean opens door to a slew of new CRISPR foods

July 8th, 2019 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

At the beginning of the year 2019, high oleic soybean oil took its place on the market shelves. It contains several times less saturated fatty acids and healthier oleic acid than oil from conventional soybeans. 

The gene-edited crops most striking feature is that the oil made from it forms less trans …

How farmers grow vegetables in hydroponics

July 8th, 2019

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru writes:

Providing quality nutritive food to millions of people by 2025 will be a major challenge for Uganda. Increasing population, decreasing land, water holding and global warming are some of the major impediments for agriculture, the backbone of this country. Various biotic and abiotic stress factors are threatening …

Sustainable agriculture is the root of Africa’s economic transformation

April 23rd, 2019 / Relief Web

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) stressed that Africa must transform or modernize its agriculture, primarily to feed itself and reduce dependency on imports for agricultural and food items, while fostering the sector to drive the industrialization process.

Speaking on the topic, “Accelerating Sustainable, Economic Transformation in …

Africa making progress in using Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) but more still needs to be done

April 23rd, 2019 / African Brains

Session raised opportunities for scaling up actions considering the role of STI in accelerating efforts to achieve the SDGs under review by Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (ARFSD5)

The Africa Regional Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Forum was one of the pre-events of the fifth session of the Africa Regional …

Hybrid rice seeds yielding hope

April 15th, 2019 / China Daily

Under the scorching sun, fields displaying 31 major hybrid rice varieties grown in Belt and Road countries attracted more than 700 rice experts and businesspeople on Friday to the golden paddy-themed national park in Sanya, Hainan province.

They had gathered on the tropical island in South China to attend the four-day …

The world needs smart bananas

April 15th, 2019 / Fresh Plaza

Millions of people depend on bananas. However, their cultivation is very vulnerable to diseases and the effects of climate change. There is a pressing need for a new more resistant banana variety. To this end, on Monday, 8 April the Belgian University, KU Leuven, and Bioversity International signed an agreement. …

Genetic breakthrough on tropical grass could help develop climate-friendly cattle farms

April 15th, 2019 / Phys.org

Cattle are a mainstay for many smallholders but their farms are often on degraded lands, which increases cattle’s impact on the environment and lowers their production of milk and meat. Researchers at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) have shown that Brachiaria grass species can reduce greenhouse gas emissions from cattle …