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Grafting helps pepper plants deal with drought

October 5th, 2017 / SciDev.net

Joining a high-yield pepper plant sapling to the roots of a strong and resistant variety could help pepper farmers cope with lower rainfall, a study has found.
An experiment using the technique of merging two plants, known as grafting, resulted in higher fruit yield during periods of less rain. Plants also …

Local – not just commercial – crop seeds key to food security, Malawi admits

October 3rd, 2017 / Thompson-Reuters

Malawi’s government has given in to mounting pressure to recognise the importance of locally grown and saved crop seeds, as well as commercially produced varieties, as it revises the country’s farm policies.
In a meeting in the capital this month, representatives of non-governmental organisations told Erica Maganga, principal secretary in the …

South Africa: farmers speak out against new plant bills

September 30th, 2017 / AllArica.com

“Seed is something that is sacred. Seed is life. In our tradition, it is about culture, identity; it’s about sharing … If everything is for sale, when will it stop?” asked Rifqah Tifloen at a public hearing on the Plant Improvement Bill and the Plant Breeders’ Rights Bill in Port …

Hybrid maize boosts yields for Kenyan farmers

September 18th, 2017 / Egghead, US

Hybrid maize seeds and the yields they make possible can make a big difference for small-scale farmers in developing economies worldwide, especially those who are at risk of poverty and food insecurity. However, low adoption rates are common, especially in sub-Saharan Africa.
A randomized controlled trial in Kenya led by Michael …

Malawi Parliamentary Women’s Caucus backs GM crop trials to avert food crisis

September 8th, 2017 / Malawi Post

Malawi’s Parliamentary Committee on Women Caucus, said it supports the current research on Genetically Modified (GM) crops in a bid to avert another food crisis in Malawi.
The Committee’s stand comes amid heavy debate among the public on whether the Malawi should embrace GM crops surpassing hybrid seed for increased food …

Seeds, not diamonds, will make Africa great

August 29th, 2017 / News Day, Zimbabwe

According to the US Geological Survey 2016, Sub- Saharan Africa produces 77% of the world’s platinum metals; 60% of its cobalt (used for batteries and metal alloys); 46% of its natural industrial diamonds; and an abundance of gold, uranium, oil and gas. Tragically, this immense mineral richness has not benefited …

Viewpoint: Farmers not trapped into annually buying patented GMO seeds

August 24th, 2017 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

There is one myth that often gets used as a criticism against genetic engineered crops. This myth usually takes the form of “I’m not anti-GMO, but farmers always used to save seeds, and the GMO companies have made it so that nobody can do that, and thus everyone is forced …

At Last, ‘Plan B’ for Africa

July 31st, 2017 / SciTech Connect

A practical, appropriate and effective solution to Africa’s food and nutritional insecurity has eluded everyone for over 100 years. Since colonial days, conventional thinking has been based on the misconception that what works in temperate latitudes must work in the tropics and sub-tropics. This thinking fails to understand the very …

Scientists expand anti-striga seed to East Africa

July 21st, 2017 / News Ghana

African scientists said they have expanded innovative anti-striga seed that has led to the reclamation of 20,000 hectares of arable land in Kenya to other East African countries.
Denis Kyetere, Executive Director of African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), said the expansion aims to improve the productivity of maize in the region …

Modified maize that kills with RNA is given go-ahead in the US

June 30th, 2017 / New Scientist, UK

For the first time, a crop that produces an RNAi-based pesticide has got the green light.
The US Environmental Protection Agency has approved a genetically modified corn known as SmartStax Pro. In addition to producing two Bt toxins to kill any western corn rootworm larvae that try to eat it, the …