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The determinants of crop yields in Uganda: what is the role of climatic and non-climatic factors?

March 2nd, 2018 / Agriculture & Food Security

Background: It is widely accepted that crop yields will be affected by climate change. However, the role played by climate in affecting crop yields vis-a-vis non-climatic stresses, is often unclear, limiting decision choices around efforts to promote increased production in light of multiple stresses.
Results: This study quantifies the role of …

A tiny beetle and its deadly fungus is threatening South Africa’s trees

March 2nd, 2018 / The Conversation

Sandton is Johannesburg’s economic hub – home to numerous companies’ headquarters and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. And now it has a new, unwelcome resident: a tiny beetle that could lay waste to several tree species found in the suburb and potentially the wider Johannesburg area. This is particularly concerning, as …

Innovative soil scanner supports young Kenyan agropreneurs

March 1st, 2018 / International Fertilizer Association

It’s difficult being a farmer today. Not only are they getting older, but they also have to grow more food on existing farmland to feed the world’s growing population.
One foundation believes that introducing innovative technology can solve both problems by attracting young people to agriculture while providing farmers with the …

Study shows how plants use ‘baits’ to trap pathogens

February 28th, 2018 / Earlham Institute, UK

A study published in Genome Biology shows how plants use ‘baits’ to recognize and trap disease-causing pathogens before infection can start.
Ksenia Krasileva and her team from Earlham Institute, together with researchers from The Sainsbury Laboratory, used phylogenetic analyses to identify how these ‘bait’ genes are distributed throughout different wild and …

Why we should genetically modify coffee

February 26th, 2018 / RealClear Science

Remember the Gros Michel banana? If you’re under the age of seventy, you probably don’t. That’s because in the 1950s a fungal disease called Panama disease essentially wiped out commercial production of the Gros Michel. In just a few years, growers were forced to switch from the rich, creamy, and …

Africa could become a world agricultural leader in CRISPR and other new breeding techniques

February 26th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru writes:
It’s 8:30 East African Standard Time. I disembark from a van filled with science journalists from Kampala, Uganda and accompanied by stakeholders from Uganda National Farmers Federation at the National Agriculture Crops Resources Research Institute in Namulonge.
We are on a fact-finding trip about research and the …

Green super rice for a greener revolution

February 22nd, 2018 / ISAAA, US

A collaboration with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS), and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) has developed Green Super Rice (GSR), a new breed of rice varieties that perform well in the toughest conditions.
GSR is a mix of more than 250 different …

Ghana: Farmers to increase yields with new biological fertilizer

February 21st, 2018 / AllAfrica.com

Farmers in seven Districts of the Upper East Region–Bongo, Builsa North, Builsa South, Pusiga, Nabdam, Binduri and Garu-Tempane–are to increase their incomes from legumes cultivation, with the introduction of a new biological fertilizer, simply known as ‘inoculant’.
The inoculant, a product of Ghana’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), its …

Tanzania gets 80bn cassava boost

February 21st, 2018 / AllAfrica.com

TANZANIA’s efforts in increasing food security by having improved varieties of cassava have received a major boost of 35 million US dollars in new funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and UK aid from the United Kingdom.
According to a statement issued by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture …

Rationalizing governance of genetically modified products in developing countries

February 20th, 2018 / Nature, UK

Ever-more powerful genetic technologies, such as genome-editing endonucleases and marker-assisted breeding, continue to facilitate the development of genetically modified (GM) crops engineered with complex traits, such as, nutritional quality, climatic resilience and stacked disease-tolerance mechanisms. But in many developing countries, the uptake of these GM products is being jeopardized by …