In the news...

Rural areas have potential to feed and employ ‘younger, more crowded planet’

October 12th, 2017 / UNiv. of Bristol, UK

Long seen as poverty traps, rural areas are in fact key to economic growth in developing countries when pegged to food production, according to a new United Nations agriculture agency report released Monday.
With ‘sweeping transformations’ that can unlock the potential of rural areas to help feed and employ a younger, …

Hope for Uganda

October 11th, 2017 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali wirties:
Last week, Uganda hosted a three-day high-level conference on the application of science, technology, and innovation in harnessing African agricultural transformation at Speke Resort, Munyonyo.
It attracted delegates from across the world, mainly agricultural biotechnology scientists, farmers’ group leaders, senior science journalists, entrepreneurs, and politicians, among others. …

Substantial investment to tackle challenges of African vector-borne plant diseases

October 9th, 2017 / Univ. of Bristol, UK

The University of Bristol has been awarded £2 million to lead a major new project that aims to tackle the devastation caused by vector-borne plant diseases in Africa.
In much the same way as insects can transmit human diseases, destructive plant diseases are transmitted by aphids, beetles, whitefly and other insects.
These …

African Development Bank decentralizes structure and reframes key issues

October 9th, 2017 / Devex.com

The African Development Bank is decentralizing its structure and repackaging how it tackles key issues in development, as part of implementing it’s new 10-year strategy, bank representatives said this week at their Business Opportunities Seminar in Nairobi, Kenya.
Bank President Akinwumi Adesina, formerly Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, is …

The immense challenge of desertification in sub-Saharan Africa

October 9th, 2017 / The Conversation

Today, dry areas represent more than 41% of land on the globe and they are home to more than two billion people.
They are the stage for the ongoing process of land degradation that is aggravated by climate fluctuations – particularly drought – and pressure exerted by human activities (including demographic …

AGCO starts course to develop skills for African agricultural prosperity

October 6th, 2017 / African Farming, UK

AGCO, Your Agriculture Company, has signed a MoU to inaugurate a new agribusiness course aiming to fill junior management roles in African agriculture and the supply chain, thus upgrading the continent’s skill resources.
AGCO has partnered with Strathmore Business School (SBS) in Kenya, Harper Adams University in the UK and Kenya-based …

Climate science: Getting African researchers involved

October 5th, 2017 / SciDev.net

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) met for its 46th session in Montreal, Canada, from September 6-10. It reached an agreement on an outline of contributions from its three working groups to the Sixth Assessment Report, which is due to be published in 2022. It will now recruit a …

Africa’s agriculture needs a big dose of digital transformation

October 5th, 2017 / Digital Journal

Scientists are now calling for a technological transformation in how Africans undertake agricultural production. With almost three quarters of the workforce on the continent focussed on agriculture, such a change could lead to rapid innovation.
Looking at Africa as a whole, it is the agricultural sector that will see a revolution …

Foreigners grabbing land in second scramble for Africa

October 4th, 2017 / African Exponent

Oakland Institute, The Land Matrix, World Bank and Oxfam have detailed reports on the land grabs in Africa and the rest of the world.
An area the size of Spain is believed to be leased to foreign investors in Africa. An estimated 66% of the land in sub-Saharan Africa is held …

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 …