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‘Synthetic biology doesn’t have to be scary’: It could offer us new medicines, biofuels and everything in between

October 10th, 2019

Though hacking organisms and rearranging genomes may sound scary, there is definitely a Light Side to this narrative (a balance, if you will). From medicines to biofuels and everything in between, there is incredible potential for cleverly redesigned biology to help us take on some of our world’s most pressing …

South African youth doesn’t like farming because it’s not sexy. True or false?

October 9th, 2019

Some agribusinesses and agriculturalists argue that vocational training institutions are not efficiently producing skills needed for agriculture today, and that might be part of the reason why some young people are not finding work in this sector.

It has become fashionable in conferences to say “let’s make agriculture sexy in order …

Agricultural intensification key to spurring Ghana’s economic growth

October 9th, 2019

Ghana has been viewed as one of Africa’s political and economic success stories, from maintaining a multi-party democracy, peace and social cohesion to reducing poverty and growing its middle class. 

Yet, despite 30 years of continuous growth in per capita income and rapid urbanization, the country has not been able to …

Why schools must emphasise farming

October 7th, 2019

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali explains: In his essay titled ‘Education for Self-Reliance’ Mwalimu Julius Nyerere spoke of a situation where the type of education provided to Tanzanian children soon after the country’s independence was divorced from the society which it was supposed to prepare them for. 

He argued that children were …

12 technologies that will help feed 9 billion people without wrecking the planet

October 2nd, 2019

Although technology is transforming just about every area of life we care to consider, in the vital area of sustainable agriculture, things are not happening quite so fast.

Food has a heavy environmental impact, but although technology today is doing much to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and tackle environmental issues in …

The Chinese public’s awareness and attitudes toward genetically modified foods with different labeling

October 2nd, 2019

This paper in Nature analyzes the awareness and attitudes of the Chinese public toward genetically modified (GM) foods with different types of labeling and evaluates the impact of public confidence in the government management of GM food labeling has on their attitude. Read more …

The enduring power of radio for agricultural extension in Africa

October 2nd, 2019

Charles Wandera is a farmer in Masindi district, Uganda. The area was recently hit with an infestation of the invasive Fall Armyworm; recently arrived in Africa, Armyworm caught farmers off guard in Masindi, leaving them unaware of how to defend their crops against the pest. Wandera turned to radio for …

IAEA, FAO help develop bananas resistant to major fungal disease

October 1st, 2019

Bananas may be the world’s favourite fruit, but plantations worldwide are increasingly under threat from a new fungus, which destroys banana plants threatening farmers’ livelihoods and the industry.

Confined to Southeast Asia for decades, the Fusarium wilt Tropical Race 4 (TR4) was spotted for the first time in Africa recently and …

Shifting the needle on cocoa production practices worldwide

October 1st, 2019

Did you know that, typically, less than 7 per cent of the price of your chocolate bar goes to cocoa producers? Or that large amounts of global cocoa production are associated with illegal deforestation and biodiversity losses?

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and partners have been working for many years on projects aimed at …

New breeding technologies needed to meet skyrocketing demand for wheat, scientists warn

September 30th, 2019

New technologies and policies are needed to meet the skyrocketing demand for wheat, which is expected to increase 50 to 60 percent by 2050.

That was the key takeaway from the recent International Wheat Congress (IWC) in Saskatoon, Canada, which attracted over 900 delegates from 50 different countries, including researchers from …