In the news...

Southern African maize munching pest is South American invader

January 18th, 2017 / Reuters, UK

A maize pest that has devastated crops in southern Africa is a South American species which is harder to detect and eradicate than its African counterpart, agriculture officials and experts said on Tuesday.
The fall armyworm outbreak has erupted in Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi and follows a crippling El Nino-triggered drought …

These 5 innovations will transform the lives of smallholder farmers

January 18th, 2017 / World Economic Forum

Ishmael Sunga, CEO of Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions (SACAU) writes: From artificial intelligence, to precision agriculture, to the internet of things, emerging technologies have the potential to revolutionize the way food is consumed, handled and produced. But which technologies could most powerfully transform the lives of smallholder farmers? …

Alien armyworms invade corn in drought-hit southern Africa

January 18th, 2017 / Agweb, US

The fall armyworm that’s native to the Americas has arrived in southern Africa for the first time, wiping out tens of thousands of acres of corn fields. For a region trying to recover from drought, the pest brings renewed fears of food shortages and inflation. The United Nations’ Food and …

To discover Africa’s biodiversity, look to the soil

January 16th, 2017 / AllAfica.com

South Africa is finally embarking on a long-overdue initiative: mapping the incredible biodiversity in Africa’s soils. It will document the microbial life hidden in the ground in sub-Saharan Africa, and the data it derives could help solve the continent’s crisis of hunger and food insecurity, and give birth to a …

Kenyan smallholders team up to confront climate change impacts

January 16th, 2017 / SciDev.net, UK

Smallholder farmers have been losing up to about 80 per cent of their recent harvest, many water sources have dried up and some are having to travel up to 20 kilometres to collect water. Much of the water that is available is of poor quality, with some containing a high …

Fortified composite manure doubles crop yields

January 13th, 2017 / Farmbiz Africa, Kenya

Farmers, who fortify composite manure, may increase harvests by two-fold as a result of adding the missing mineral components that support a wholesome growth.
Composite manure fortification involves introduction of extra mineral elements into the fertiliser, which is prepared from organic farm waste.
Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation officer Jane Kiptoo …

Farmers in developing countries benefit more from GM crops than developed world ones

January 13th, 2017 / Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, US

… The benefits vary by the type of GM technology used. Insect-resistant crops result in larger income gains and pesticide reductions than do herbicide-tolerant crops. The meta-analysis also showed geographic variation; in particular, farmers in developing countries benefit more from GM crop adoption than do farmers in developed countries. The …

Yield gaps – social aspects

January 12th, 2017 / Claudia Canales, B4FA

Yield gaps, the difference between actual production and what is potentially achievable under optimum growing conditions, are greatest in the poorer parts of the world, and these regions are also the ones that are predicted to be most vulnerable to the combined pressures of increases in population, the effects of …

Promote alliances in cassava R&D to aid food security

January 10th, 2017 / SciDev.net, UK

Strengthening collaborations among institutions and small-scale cassava farmers could help Central Africa reduce hunger and foster nutrition security, experts say.
Research scientists from academic institutions and policymakers say that collaborations in research and development would promote innovation to address the challenges of nutrition insecurity such as stunting in children. See …

Operation Wealth Creation must involve science

January 10th, 2017 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow, Michal Ssali reports: Farmers across the country should salute the female Members of Parliament who visited the National Crops Resources Research Institute (NaCRRI) Namulonge as reported in the Crop Biotech Update (published December 21, 2016).
Under their umbrella body, Uganda Women Parliamentary Association (UWOPA), they went to Namulonge mainly …