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Scientists are on a mission to save chocolate

February 12th, 2018 / MACH

For people who love sweets, 2018 started on a sour note: Headlines claimed that cacao, the tropical tree whose beans contain the raw ingredients for chocolate, was on the brink of extinction as a result of climate change.
As with many sensational stories, this one turned out to be inaccurate. Cacao …

Improving yams with genomics

January 31st, 2018 / BMC Biology

Human diet depends mainly on crops and a large number of species have been independently domesticated from wild relatives across the globe. In terms of quantity of the production however, a small number of crops currently dominate the world share, such as maize, wheat and rice. Accordingly the research efforts …

African agricultural land becoming more attractive to investors

September 28th, 2017 / Fresh Plaza

In recent years investors have started discovering the potential of agriculture more and more. Especially Africa is interesting to these investors. That’s partly due to the enormous amount of agricultural land available, according to the FAO sub-saharan Africa has 90 million hectares of arable land available. Only 25 percent of …

Nigeria: starting a cocoa farm this season

May 23rd, 2017 / AllAfrica.com

Cocoa, according to the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN), was introduced by the Portuguese into the Gulf of Guinea from where it got to Nigeria around the last quarter of the 19th Century. The introduced variety was the Amelonado.
This variety later became unique to West Africa, hence the name …

Action plan developed to tackle fall armyworm in Africa

May 16th, 2017 / SciDev.net

B4FA Fellow Samuel Hinneh reports: Research that explores the interaction between fall armyworm life patterns and insecticide spray timing is urgently needed to tackle the pest currently devastating maize in Africa, scientists say.
The fall armyworm, scientifically called Spodoptera frugiperda, is native to the Americas, and attacks maize and a variety …

Sweet potato project improves nutrition and incomes

May 1st, 2017 / SciDev.net

B4FA Fellow Samuel Hinneh reports: Farmers and entrepreneurs in West Africa are benefiting from a project that offers improved sweet potato varieties and market access. The US$4 million project that began in April 2014 and ended last month (March 2017) was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and …

Investment key in adapting to climate change in West Africa

March 26th, 2017 / IIASA

Climate change will likely have negative impacts on food production in West Africa, but a new study provides insights on how strategic planning by decision makers could ease or exacerbate food security challenges in the region.
Climate projections for West Africa show that crop yields and grass for livestock grazing are …

Food security is West and North Africa’s urgent priority

January 9th, 2017 / The National, UAE

In the field of future studies, the “black elephant” stands tall. A cross between the two idioms “the elephant in the room” and “a black swan”, it is an issue policymakers see but do not adequately address. Within policymaking circles in West Asia and North Africa (WANA), climate change, air …

Toward climate-smart agriculture in West Africa

December 19th, 2016 / BioMed Central, UK

Many projections of the impact of climate change on the crop, livestock and fishery production sectors of African agriculture are reported in the literature. However, they may be arguably too general to understand the magnitude of impact and to inform adaptation strategies and policy development efforts that are tailored to …

Ghana’s government lauds WACCI for enhancing food security

December 6th, 2016 / Ghana New Agency

The University of Ghana’s West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI) has been commended for its initiative towards enhancing food security in Ghana and the West African subregion.
Mrs Mona Quartey, a Deputy Minister of Finance, commended WACCI for being one of the most outstanding Africa Centres of Excellence (ACE) in the …