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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, …

Prickly pear cactus Is ‘miracle’ crop for dry regions

November 28th, 2017 / Thomson Reuters

It is spiky, alien-looking and can be found decorating homes around the world, but experts say the prickly pear cactus could help alleviate hunger in arid regions due to its ability to thrive in harsh conditions and its multiple uses.
“It’s impossible to describe how many things you can get out …

Education: a key ingredient to realize Africa’s agricultural transformation

November 27th, 2017 / Malabo Montpellier Panel

Right now, 263 million children and young people are out of school around the world, and another 330 million are in school but are estimated not to be learning the fundamental basics. This week, the UK’s International Development Committee published a report, examining the Department for International Development’s work on …

Mulching is key

November 27th, 2017 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow and farmer Michael Ssali writes:
The practice of covering the soil with organic matter in a garden is referred to as mulching.
The materials used to cover the soil such as dry grass, banana leaves, maize stalk, eucalyptus tree branches, coffee husks or any other crop left-over material are …

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 …

Biotechnology for food security: hope over hype

November 27th, 2017 / Down to Earth

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 current situation when we are faced with the mammoth task of feeding a growing population expected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050.
Food insecurity is …

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

November 21st, 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 …

African seed body backs use of genetically engineered seeds

November 21st, 2017 / Xinhua, China

A continental seed body on Friday supported the coexistence of genetically modified (GMO) seeds and conventional ones.
The Secretary General of African Seed Trade Association (AFSTA) Justin Rakotoarisaona said farmers stand to benefit greatly once they embrace modern agricultural tools.
“The use of improved GMO seeds is poised to make inroads into …