In the news...

Genetically engineered yeast soaks up heavy metal pollution

July 24th, 2017 / American Council on Science and Health

Environmental contamination with heavy metals is often the result of various types of industrial processes. Because heavy metals can be dangerous to humans and other wildlife, contaminated sites need to be cleaned up. This isn’t easy. Chemical extraction methods can introduce different types of pollutants into the environment.
Bioremediation — using …

How some African farmers are responding to climate change — and what we can learn from them

July 14th, 2017 / ensia.com

As sub-Saharan Africa’s climate changes, small-scale farmers are increasingly looking to innovative ways of dealing with agricultural challenges. And in some instances, the techniques they adopt are helping to combat climate change, too.
Alternative animal feed, climate-friendly grasses and the use of fodder trees are among the examples providing farmers resilience …

Soil nutrient depletion, major cause of food shortage in Africa

July 11th, 2017 / Xinhuanet, China

Experts at the three-day West Africa Fertilizer and Agri-Business Conference which began here on Monday identified depletion of soil nutrients as one of the key challenges to food security on the African continent.
Eugine Rurangwa, Land and Water Officer at the UN-Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) African Regional Office noted there …

How soil dwelling bacteria adapt to richer or poorer conditions

June 30th, 2017 / Phys.org

Scientists have identified a unique mechanism that the soil dwelling bacterium Pseudomonas fluorescens uses to effectively exploit nutrients in the root environment.
The breakthrough offers multiple new applications, according to the team of John Innes Centre scientists behind the discovery: for the study of human pathogens, for synthetic biology, and for …

The science of soil is easy!

June 28th, 2017 / Soil Hub International

The science of soil is easy!
Well actually, no. That’s not really true. The principles of a healthy, correctly functioning soil are though.
Once you start to consider, even at a very basic level, some of the relationships and manner in which the different components of soil interact with one another, things …

Improved seeds, the answer to Africa’s food security needs

June 27th, 2017 / News Ghana

For Africa to become self-sufficient in food production, what it needs are improved seeds, rather than huge machinery, Owusu Afriyie Akoto, Minister for Food and Agriculture in Ghana declared here on Wednesday.
In his address at the 10th Anniversary of the West African Center for Crop Improvement (WACCI) the minister said …

Soil pollution comes under scrutiny

June 27th, 2017 / FAO, Italy

Soil pollution, due mostly to human activities that leave excess chemicals in soils used to grow food, took centre stage at the 5th Global Soil Partnership (GSP) Plenary Assembly held at FAO headquarters this week.
Excess nitrogen and trace metals such as arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury can impair plant metabolism …

Research found way to improve nitrogen fixation in legumes

June 22nd, 2017 / ISAAA, US

Scientists from the University of Kentucky led by Professor Hongyan Zhu have discovered a more efficient way for legumes to fix nitrogen. Zhu and his team found two antimicrobial peptides in the legume Medicago truncatula that kill certain rhizobial bacteria as nitrogen fixation begins. M. truncatula is closely related to …

Scientist’s tips on better banana yields

June 20th, 2017 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru reports:
Dr Kenneth Akankwasa from Uganda’s National Agricultural Research Laboratories (NARL), takes us through the good agronomy practices.
• When preparing the field, farmers are expected to plant seedlings free of pests and disease.
• The site should have deep well-drained and fertile soils, preferably rich in organic matter …

How to practice climate smart farming with ease

June 16th, 2017 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

Farming and environment The continued unpredictable weather pattern is largely due to environmental degradation that impacts negatively on farming. But whereas farmers are directly affected by the effects they have not been mindful of conserving the environment.
“You cry of drought, lack of water but what efforts are you putting up …