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CRISPR-Cas9-mediated genome editing of cassava

November 9th, 2017 / ISAAA, US

CRISPR-Cas9 has proved to be a powerful genome-editing tool for introducing genetic changes into crop species. However, it has not yet been used to edit cassava (Manihot esculenta). To test the capacity of CRISPR-Cas9 in cassava, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center researcher John Odipio and his team targeted the …

Agriculture training in South Africa badly needs an overhaul …

November 9th, 2017 / The Conversation

Agriculture delivers more jobs per rand invested than any other productive sector. If the entire agriculture value chain is considered in South Africa, its contribution to GDP reaches approximately 12%.
South Africa has the ability to meet national food requirements – yet more than 7 million citizens experience hunger. A further …

Government vows to tackle armyworm

November 5th, 2017 / The Herald, Zimbabwe

Government has secured knapsack sprayers that will be distributed to smallholder farmers in an attempt to fight the risk which might be caused by the fall armyworm this season. This development comes after chiefs told President Mugabe when he attended their annual meeting in Bulawayo last week that their subjects …

Will CRISPR-Cas kick start a new Green Revolution?

November 1st, 2017 / Agprofessional.com

CRISPR-Cas was called molecular scissors during a panel at the Borlaug Dialogue International Symposium. That’s much easier than saying the full name: Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats and CRISPR-associated protein. The system, however, may be worth all the syllables.
CRISPR-associated protein 9, or Cas9, works like a search function in …

Farm experts take stock to tackle food security in Nigeria

October 30th, 2017 / Premium Times, Nigeria

Farm experts drawn from the diverse field of the country’s agricultural value chain rose from a two-day meeting, at the Reiz continental hotel Abuja, on Tuesday, hearing how a German development initiative, the Green Innovations Centres for the Agriculture and Food Sector in Nigeria, has trained over 27,000 farmers and …

NBBC expert wants Nigerians to embrace agricultural biotechnology

October 27th, 2017 / Worldstage News, Nigeria

Mrs Edel-Quinn Agbaegbu, the Secretary, National Biotechnology and Biosafety Consortium (NBBC), has called on Nigerians to embrace the use of agricultural biotechnology to transform agriculture and enhance food security.
Agbaegbu said in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Wednesday that application of modern biotechnology in …

SA scientist’s maize weevil control breakthrough

October 27th, 2017 / Farmers Weekly, South Africa

Maize is the most widely grown grain variety in the world, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. It is a vital staple food for primarily lower income groups, especially in Africa, and is grown on both a subsistence and large commercial scale.
Pests therefore pose a serious threat …

Is this $13 billion food security crisis (the armyworm) an opportunity?

October 26th, 2017 / Motley Fool

A few years ago, engineered biology conglomerate Intrexon (NYSE:XON) acquired a pioneering company called Oxitec. While there are plenty of whacky technology platforms in next-generation biotech, the start-up’s technical niche still caught many people off guard: genetically engineered insects incapable of passing their genes on to the next generation.
The sudden …

Revolutionising the way we build food and nutrition security in Africa

October 25th, 2017 / BizCommunity

Research focusing on traditional crops that are often ignored and known as “orphan crops” shows they contain minerals and vitamins that are essential for the body and are mostly consumed by rural African people. Various agricultural research institutions in Africa are currently carrying out research on these crops mainly to …

‘Supercharging’ rice with maize gene increases yields by 50 per cent

October 25th, 2017 / ISAAA, US

To improve photosynthesis in rice and increase crop yields, scientists working on the Oxford University-led C4 Rice Project have, by introducing a single maize gene to the plant, moved towards ‘supercharging’ rice to the level of more efficient crops.
Rice uses the C3 photosynthetic pathway, which in hot, dry environments is …