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GM plant species numbers set to dramatically increase

December 4th, 2017 / Cosmos, Australia

Genetic modification of food crops is, depending on your point of view, a wondrous technological solution to feed a growing global population or a hubris-soaked scientific monstrosity sowing the seeds of environmental apocalypse.
Yet the war over GM crops, though intense, has so far been restricted to a small number of …

Innovation, technology, and development: Africa can leapfrog

December 1st, 2017 / E-Agriculture

How can Africa leapfrog its development to match the world average? This question has been dogging many in the developmental spheres; and has been dwelt with recently by the Investing in Africa Forum (IAF).
IAF is an initiative set up as a global platform for multilateral cooperation and promoting opportunities to …

Use of CRISPR systems in plant genome editing: toward new opportunities in agriculture

November 30th, 2017 / Emerging Topics in Life Sciences, UK

Initially discovered in bacteria and archaea, CRISPR–Cas9 is an adaptive immune system found in prokaryotes. In 2012, scientists found a way to use it as a genome editing tool. In 2013, its application in plants was successfully achieved. This breakthrough has opened up many new opportunities for researchers, including the …

Large-scale approach reveals imperfect actor in plant biotechnology

November 30th, 2017 / Phys.org

A research team led by Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research has harnessed metabolomic technologies to unravel the molecular activities of a key protein that can enable plants to withstand a common herbicide. Their findings reveal how the protein—a kind of catalyst or enzyme, first isolated in bacteria and introduced into …

African women are starting to take a lead in agricultural research

November 30th, 2017 / Quartz Africa

It is no news that to transform Africa’s agriculture, women will have to be on an equal footing with men. The same also needs to happen away from the fields, in agricultural research institutions devoted to address challenges and provide solutions to farmers. Fewer women than men are trained and …

Assuring food security

November 29th, 2017 / Millennium Post

The words of Noble Laureate and father of the Green Revolution Norman Borlaug, “You cannot create a peaceful world on empty stomachs,” ring true in the present times, when we are facing the mammoth task of feeding a growing population, expected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050. Food insecurity is …

How do we fight the Fall armyworm, the new wound of African agriculture

November 28th, 2017 / Agri-buzz

To solve the future food needs in sub-Saharan Africa, entomologists must be a critical part of the puzzle. From Nigeria to Ethiopia, South Africa to Chad, African smallholder farmers often face severe crop losses from damaging bugs from locusts to cassava’s whiteflies, cowpea pod borers or maize and sorghum stem …

Like it or not, Africa’s future lies in GM crops

November 28th, 2017 / The Times, UK

Matt Ridley writes
Influenced by European environmentalists, most African countries forbid the growing of genetically modified crops. This is a pity, because unless they change their attitude fast, they will face the prospect of using far more pesticides, which small-scale farmers cannot afford, and which come with environmental and safety risks, …

140 new drought-resistant seeds unveiled to address food insecurity

November 27th, 2017 / The Standard, Kenya

The Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate (Kephis) has released 140 new drought-resistant and fast-maturing seed varieties into the market. Kephis Managing Director Esther Kimani said the new variety of seeds would help to address food insecurity, especially in arid and semi-arid areas. “These varieties are drought-tolerant and early-maturing, and superior to …

Heat tolerant durum wheat discovery to aid farmers in West Africa

November 27th, 2017 / African Farming, UK

The discovery of heat resilient durum wheat that could potentially boost the income for one million farming families in the extreme heat of famine-affected Senegal, Mauritania and Mali1 2017 and has been awarded the 2017 Olam Prize for Innovation in Food Security.
The genome fingerprinting research project, led by Dr Filippo …