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Why massive effort needs to be put into growing trees on farms

December 4th, 2018 / The Conversation, UK

It’s now over 50 years since the world was first warned that resources were being used at an unsustainable rate. It has now been estimated that almost one quarter to one third of the world’s land is degraded to some extent.
Degradation refers to land that’s lost nutrients, or has changed …

Parliament passes GMO Bill

December 4th, 2018 / The Observer, Uganda

Parliament has passed the Genetic Engineering Regulatory Bill, 2018, formerly known as the National Biotechnology and Bio-safety Bill. The bill seeks to provide a regulatory framework for safe development and application of biotechnology and release of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).
Parliament earlier passed the same bill on October 4, 2017 but …

Satellites warn African farmers of pest infestations

December 3rd, 2018 / BBC, UK

UK researchers have developed an early warning system to prevent the crops of African farmers from being devastated.
The Pest Risk Information Service (Prise) combines temperature data and weather forecasts with computer models.
It then sends farmers a mobile phone alert so that they can take precautions.
It is hoped that the system …

Ugandan scientists skeptical of revised GMO bill

December 3rd, 2018 / Alliance for Science, US

The Ugandan Parliament yesterday approved a bill to regulate genetically modified organisms that has scientists skeptical the technology will ever reach the smallholder farmers it is intended to help.
“Once bitten, twice shy,” said plant biotechnologist Dr. Andrew Kiggundu in reference to last year’s events, when Parliament passed the bill, but …

UN report: food security threatened by changing climate

December 3rd, 2018 / The Weather Channel, US

Climate change is a leading factor in why it’s ever more difficult to feed a hungry planet, the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization said Wednesday as part of an appeal to achieve “zero hunger” worldwide.
But it’s not just the warming planet – humans have outstripped the planet’s carrying capacity with …

Global food system is broken, say world’s science academies

November 30th, 2018 / The Guardian, UK

The global food system is broken, leaving billions of people either underfed or overweight and driving the planet towards climate catastrophe, according to 130 national academies of science and medicine across the world.
Providing a healthy, affordable, and environmentally friendly diet for all people will require a radical transformation of the …

Small-holder farmers need access to financing across the agricultural value chain

November 30th, 2018 / FarmBiz Africa

Access to adequate financing is often identified as one of the key inhibitors to achieving long-term sustainability for Africa’s agricultural practitioners, particularly small-holder and subsistence-level farmers who typically must resort to borrowing from community members or pooling resources in order to make ends meet.
While 55 percent of Africa’s population is …

How radio changes maize farmers’ lives

November 28th, 2018 / The Citizen, Tanzania

Maize production in various areas of Tanga has more than doubled during the past year as farmers adopt modern farming practices, thanks to joint promotional initiatives by the government and other stakeholders.
One of such stakeholders is Farm Radio International (FRI), a non-profit organisation that works to deliver effective programmes to …

How mobile phones are helping farmers grow bigger harvests

November 28th, 2018 / Gates Notes

Philanthropist Bill Gates writes:
Whenever I travel to rural parts of the world, the farmers I meet talk about one thing that holds them back: they can’t save their money.
They don’t mean they spend more than they earn. They mean that, literally, they don’t have a safe place to put their …

Can genetic engineering deliver a natural microbial fertilizer for crops?

November 27th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

At the turn of the previous century, German scientists Fritz Haber and Carl Bosch got all the credit for finding a way to convert atmospheric nitrogen (in its very stable N2 form) into a charged ion that could be “fixed” or applied as a chemical fertilizer. Both eventually were awarded …