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Monthly Archives: June 2018

High-quality research is needed to improve food security – Prof Danquah

High-quality research is needed to improve food security – Prof Danquah

By Iddi
Yire, GNA

Accra, June 28, GNA – High-quality research is
needed to improve food and nutrition security in the West African sub-region,
Professor Eric Y. Danquah, Founding Director, West Africa Centre for Crop
Improvement (WACCI), University of Ghana, has said.

Professor Danquah said there is, therefore,
the need to rebuild agricultural research capacity in the sub-region to develop
our institutions into Centres of Excellence for agricultural innovation and
quality research needed for the development of game changing products for the
transformation of agriculture in West and Central Africa.

He said any country that trains the majority
of its gifted students at the graduate level abroad was bound to lose a
significant percentage of talent needed for advanced research and called for
the strengthening of graduate schools in Africa to attract gifted students.

Prof Danquah lauded governments of West Africa
which have signed onto the World Bank Africa Centres of Excellence Impact
Project to strengthen postgraduate programmes and called for increased
investments in the Centres on a case by case basis.

He said these in an interview with the Ghana
News Agency during a recent a two-day workshop on demand-led plant variety
design, which was organised by WACCI, University of Ghana.

Prof Danquah said in the past, breeders did
not take account of what happens in the market place; adding that a number of
improved varieties that do not meet the needs of market and industry have been

He said as part of efforts to address the
situation, WACCI has put together a series of modules which would provide
students and breeders with the information they need to develop varieties for
the market and the industry.

The workshop sought to equip WACCI’s alumni
from different cohorts, students at various stages of PhD training and Masters’
students in Plant Breeding and Genetics in the Department of Crop Science with
the knowledge and tools needed for developing varieties for markets and

Prof Danquah said the adoption rates of
improved varieties were very low in the sub region adding that only 11 per cent
of farmers in the country use improved varieties.

He said if 50 per cent of farmers in Ghana
would use improved varieties, productivity would be high and this would satisfy
the needs of people and meet the market demand as well.

Prof Danquah said Ghana needs a critical mass
of plant breeders well trained with the knowledge and skills needed to develop
varieties that would put the smiles back on the faces of farmers as well as
meet the demand of markets and industry.

He also said institutions needed strengthening
in the area of infrastructure development to allow breeders to deliver on the

“Plant breeding has now become a top applied
science which means that you need laboratory facilities so that you can use
science to get the information that you precisely need to make informed
decisions,” he said.

Prof Danquah said well-equipped laboratories
are needed for effective plant breeding research adding that “this calls
for funding agricultural research to enable scientists do what they have been
trained to do”.

Prof Pangirayi Tongoona, Associate Director of
Breeding Programmes at WACCI, said the concept of the demand-led plant breeding
is to improve the adoption of improved varieties, as it provides an environment
for breeders to interact with people in the value chain.

Mr Mohammed Saba, a final year PhD student at
WACCI, said the old methods of designing breeding programmes and trying to
develop varieties for farmers have not really worked due to the non-involvement
of stakeholders.

He said there is a huge gap between adoption
in Africa and other parts of the world; “as such, for us to really compete
and be able to feed ourselves; we need to scale up the current practices and
expressed the hope that the demand-led plant variety design is the key to
achieving that.

Dr Matilda Bissah, a WACCI Alumni, commended
the Centre for the initiative adding that the training would enable
researchers, structure their breeding programmes such that they would come out
with varieties that would be much easier for farmers to adopt.



GIMODE: GMOs no panacea for food security needs

GIMODE: GMOs no panacea for food security needs


The fall armyworm crisis has brought to the fore one of the multifaceted failures that characterise the sad state of affairs in Kenya’s agriculture.

Ours is an agrarian economy and any shocks due to diseases, pests or climate change leave farmers susceptible to severe losses besides heightening the risk of starvation. The resultant instability in commodity prices influences inflation.

It, therefore, makes sense to find a solution to the predicament; hence the in-creasing calls for adoption of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) technology in agriculture.

Indeed, genetic engineering (GE) is a potent tool to combat plant diseases. In many places, it has proved effective in developing plants that are resistant to pests, such as the European corn borer in the United States, and viruses such as the one that was the cause of papaya ringspot in Hawaii.

However, GE is not the panacea for all crop problems. Usually, its success depends on the availability of what scientists call “simple genetic traits”.

For example, if GE is to be applied against fall armyworms, the resistance to the pest has to be mediated by ideally one or a few genes. If many genes are involved, GE just cannot work.

The phenomenon makes the resistance trait complex — as with most pest and disease resistances in plants. GE has, hence, been used in breeding for only a handful of crops and a few traits.

The US has the highest number of GM crops with only 10 commercially produced as GMOs. They are maize, soybean, papaya, canola, alfalfa, cotton, sugar beet, squash, potato and apple.

For a vast majority of agriculturally important traits such as yield and most pest and disease resistances, there exists a wide array of technologies for improved crop varieties — including conventional breeding, marker-assisted breeding and genomic selection.

While the debate on whether or not cultivation of GMOs should be allowed in Kenya rages, it is not the magic bullet to our food security challenges.

Instead, the government needs to heavily invest in agricultural research, attracting and retaining skilled scientists and incentivising the translation of research output into improved crop varieties. Even after the fall armyworm scourge, cli-mate change and other emerging pests and diseases will give us greater challenges to contend with.

The only way to assure food security is to anticipate these challenges and build responsive rather than reactive agricultural systems.

For every crop production region, we need teams of soil scientists, plant breeders, plant pathologists and agronomists constantly working in concert to develop improved varieties for future release.

Also needed are properly functioning seed systems to facilitate scaled production of improved seeds. Also vital is good infrastructure to convey produce to markets.
While I support speedy adoption of GE in Kenya, the issues plaguing our agriculture are more complex than is admitted. But we have the requisite resources intellectually and otherwise to turn the tide.

Mr Gimode is a graduate research assistant at the Institute of Plant Breeding Genetics and Genomics (IPBGG), University of Georgia, USA. [email protected]


Solutions for Food Security Challenges Remain Excellent Ideas for Entrepreneurship

Solutions for Food Security Challenges Remain Excellent Ideas for Entrepreneurship

Food security is a greater concern than ever before. According to one study by the United Nations, the human race may not be sustainable by the year 2100, because massive food shortages will be a major problem.

Modern food security concerns are not so severe, but they are still serious cause for concern. Climate change is making it more difficult for societies to produce the food they need to sustain the growing population. Food deserts are also a growing concern. Of course, one of the biggest concerns of all is the number of health problems people have these days, which make it difficult for them to consume food.

food security for entrepreneurs
Shutterstock Licensed Photo – By Gajus

While all of these challenges present serious concerns for the global community, they also offer new opportunities for dedicated entrepreneurs. Here are some ways that business owners are tackling food security concerns to generate a profit.

Finding ways to scale food production

Food shortages are one of the biggest concern is that the world faces in the 21st-century. The biggest concern is not producing enough food for the world, but rather making sure that it is accessible. Unfortunately, it is difficult for agricultural companies to develop the necessary supply chain networks to distribute food to people that need it. Some regions are too far away for them to ship food and ensure its quality. Others are not even accessible at all.

Many entrepreneurs are coming up with solutions to scale food production. These include new aquaponic systems, which can help people produce up to four times as much food with 90% less land and water. Other solutions allow people to grow food in their own homes, which is ideal for people living in urban areas where they don’t have large plots of land to grow food on.

Producing food for people with various health problems

Unfortunately, many people have serious health problems which limit their ability to eat. Food allergies are obviously the biggest issue that they face.

One of my brother’s old friends was allergic to almost every natural food known to man. He had to live off of special food that wouldn’t trigger an allergic reaction.

“I can’t express how grateful I am every single day for the companies that produce the food I eat,” he told me. “For many people, new food items are a fad. For me, it is necessary to even survive. I would have died of starvation or an allergic reaction half a century ago. I just have to hope that I never get stranded on a desert island!”

While food allergies are the biggest reasons that people can’t eat normal food, there are other health problems that require attention too. They may have health problems that make it hard for them to process food without using a food thickener. The good news is that new thickeners such as Simply Thick have filled this void.

Tackling Food Challenges will be one of the biggest entrepreneurial opportunities of this century

Food is one of the most basic human needs. Unfortunately, even in the 21st Century, it is not always readily available. There are a lot of reasons that people face the risk of starvation.

There are a number of problems that require solutions. Clever entrepreneurs that tackle these problems will have the opportunity to make a lot of money, while also getting the satisfaction of doing good for the world. What problems do you think food entrepreneurs will tackle next? The opportunities seem virtually endless as we enter a new era of food security challenges around the world.

The post Solutions for Food Security Challenges Remain Excellent Ideas for Entrepreneurship appeared first on Catalyst For Business.

Nepal mVAM Bulletin #3: Food Security Monitoring Survey – Mountain Districts of Provinces 6 (Karnali) and 7 of Nepal (April 2018) – Nepal

Nepal mVAM Bulletin #3: Food Security Monitoring Survey – Mountain Districts of Provinces 6 (Karnali) and 7 of Nepal (April 2018) – Nepal

The eight mountain districts of Provinces 6 (Karnali) and 7 are some of the most food insecure areas of Nepal, with higher prevalence of poverty and stunting than any other area or the national average. The frequent occurrence of shocks such as the 2015/16 winter drought poses further risks to food insecurity. For more information on the food security situation of these areas, please visit To track seasonal changes over time, a food security monitoring survey panel was started in November 2016 and repeated in June 2017 and November 2017.

Key Points

  • Overall food security situation has improved in the mountain districts of Provinces 6 and 7 in the first trimester of 2018, with a decrease of 43.8 and 33.1 percent in households consuming an inadequate diet compared to June 2017 and November 2016 respectively. This figure (23 percent) remains notably higher than the national average (AHS, 2015/16).

  • The contribution of unskilled daily wage labour and remittances to household income has increased in April 2018 compared to June 2017. However, cereal-based agriculture still remains the primary and dominant source of income. The food security situation is found to be better in households with relatively stable income sources.

  • Households surveyed in April 2018 faced fewer shocks compared to June 2017 but more than November 2016, using fewer and common coping strategies such as borrowing food or money, consuming less preferred foods and reducing size of meals, and exhibited lower propensity to recover from shocks, mainly in Karnali Province (Province 6).

Survey Methodology

The mVAM household survey followed a November 2016 baseline survey in the five mountain districts in Karnali Province and three mountain districts in the Province 7 – see Map 1 – by following the procedures outlined below:

Step 1: Face to face baseline survey using a representative sample of the population: The baseline survey conducted in November 2016 used a multi-stage stratified cluster design in which 98 primary sampling units (PSUs) were selected at the first stage followed by 15 households interviewed in each PSU at the second stage, for a total of 1,470 households. In this survey, a total of 48 new PSUs were selected to interview and out of 50 repeated PSUs, about 78 percent of sampled households had a phone number and agreed to be contacted via telephone calls in the subsequent survey rounds, while a total of 152 repeated sampled households without telephone number were included in the face to face interview. In addition, 92 traders from markets in the vicinity to the PSUs and the district headquarters were also interviewed.

Step 2: Dual mode panel survey (live telephone calls and face to face survey): Following the baseline survey, trained call operators from a call center made live telephone calls to the panel households with a phone number while field enumerators conducted face to face interviews for the panel households without phones and non-reachable households with phones after sufficient call attempts. A total of 300 households and 34 traders were successfully interviewed in April 2018, fifteen months after the baseline survey in November 2016.


Technology to improve food security

Technology to improve food security

Senzeni Zokwana.

JOHANNESBURG – BRICS agriculture ministers have vowed to tackle the controversial issue of producing genetically modified foods to enhance food security.
In a joint declaration, the ministers said efforts to entrench the right to food were of priority for all member states.
They said genetically modified foods needed to be researched further.
“We fully support the global fight against hunger (and) encourage members to endorse (it) at the highest level of policy framework and call on the international community to scale up assistance and support the United Nations bodies and initiatives in the Action Plan 2017 – 2020,” the misters said in declaration.
Agriculture ministers from the BRICS countries met at Skukuza in Mpumalanga this week. 
They said while they supported modern technology such as the issue of drones and agricultural mechanisation to enhance food security, they still did not have consensus biotechnology and genetically modified foods.
When asked what BRICS position on these issues were, South Africa’s Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Senzeni Zokwana left it to his Brazilian counterpart, Blairo Borges Maggi, to answer the question.
“Technology and productivity are together in agriculture. Without the use of technology there is no viable agricultural production,” he said.
Zokwana later chipped in: “Issues of technology are broad, we need to do more research with university and other stakeholders in order to improve food security.”
He said food safety was important. “Look, people don’t want to eat food and then get sick. We will engage and do more research on the use of biotechnology and biosecurity.”
Zokwana said a number of memorandum of understandings, on food security and agricultural imports and exports, would be signed among the BRICS countries during the upcoming summit in Johannesburg next month.
“We want to be ahead of time in guaranteeing food security,” he added.
Russia’s deputy minister of agriculture Sergey Levin said climate change hampered food security.
“All of us agree that we need to do all our best to improve food production and agri production.”
Indian High Commissioner Ruchira Kamboj called for a need to consolidate efforts to realise agriculture’s full benefits including the use of precision farming and improved technology.
Speaking to Business Report earlier, China’s Vice-Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Yu Kangzhen, said: “We have reached a series of consensus on how to fight climate change together. We have formalised and realised some national strategies in how to deal with it. We have been taking many measures, adjusting agriculture policy, and building infrastructures using agricultural technologies to help us to cope with climate change.”

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My reflection at Kasárna Karlín (Karlín Barracks)

My reflection at Kasárna Karlín (Karlín Barracks)

‘A nation that preserves its history will live to build a sustainable society for its citizens.’

You can also check my video of creative tower built at the center

Kasárna Karlín (Karlín Barracks) was converted from a barracks into a cultural center. The nature inspiring site is located in Prague 8 which hosts a cafe, gallery, cinema, theater, and music stage in a relaxing outdoor space with a central garden area.
Kasárna Karlín is operated by a group of artists. The artists have signed a three-year lease to use the area with the ministry of Defence . The center is opened to all and affordable.

The barracks’ was completed in 1849 and were in use until 2008.


barracks #karlin #karlinbarracks #kasarnakarlin #nature #culturalcenter #prague #outdoorgames #outdoors #vacation #tripadvisor #cinema #tower #vegan

EU Parliament Concurs With a Report that’s Extremely Vital of the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition– AGRA Watch

EU Parliament Concurs With a Report that’s Extremely Vital of the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition– AGRA Watch


March 2014, World Development Movement(WDM) campaigners dressed as business people from Monsanto, Diageo, SABMiller and Unilever delivered a cake to the Department For International Development to “thank” the UK government for its support in allowing them to carve up Africa.

In early June the EU Parliament voted to accept a report put out by it’s development committee, in which The New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, an initiative of the Obama administration and the G-8, including the Gates Foundation, was heavily criticized for being ineffective as a means for improving world development.

In their article, EU parliament slams aid scheme that uses big agribusiness to ‘feed Africa’, Global Justice Now applauded the decision, as does AGRA Watch, agreeing that the New Alliance is an initiative meant to benefit big agribusiness instead of helping small-scale farmers, and vulnerable communities. It’s past time that world governments are held responsible for the funding of such initiatives that serve their own business interests over those of farmers and local communities.


March 2014, World Development Movement(WDM) campaigners(above, below) dressed as business people from Monsanto, Diageo, SABMiller and Unilever delivered a cake to the  Department For International Development to “thank” the UK government for its support in allowing them to carve up Africa.

The EU has spent over one billion dollars implementing the New Alliance, and the UK Department for International Development(DFID) is responsible for sending $600 million to date.

The report detailed many negative consequences of the initiative, and even called some of them “unintended”, although it suggested that the New Alliance served as “little more than a means of promotion for the companies involved and a chance to increase their influence in policy debates.”

PGGM, UBS collaborate on food security project

Dutch asset manager PGGM and Switzerland’s UBS Asset Management have partnered to develop an impact measurement framework and methodology that tackles food security, the UN’s second Sustainable Development Goal (SDG).

In a joint statement, the investors said they had launched a sponsored research project with Wageningen University & Research (WUR) in the Netherlands and Harvard University in the US.

The project aims to build scalable models that can be applied to global listed equities of companies selling technologies to improve agricultural yields and access to nutritious food.

The research project was initiated by UBS AM two-and-a-half years ago, after its sustainable development team was selected by PGGM – the asset manager of the €197bn Dutch healthcare scheme PFZW – to manage a €1.5bn mandate of listed equities for its impact strategy.

PFZW selected food security as one of its priority areas for investing in solutions with a real-world impact.

“With the global population approaching 9bn in 2030, it is evident that providing food poses a great challenge, especially if we consider nutritional quality, access to food and resource productivity,” said Piet Klop, senior adviser for responsible investment at PGGM.

“To tackle such a complex issue, we partner with the best in finance and [the] academic community to develop a replicable, science-based methodology for measuring impact in food security.

“We are happy to lead the charge and hope to demonstrate that mainstream investors can deliver both market-rate returns and a measurable impact.”

WUR, a leading Dutch university focused on healthy food and living environments, will examine the link between technologies produced by listed companies and agriculture yields. Harvard’s TH Chan School of Public Health is building models that provide deprived communities with access to nutritious food.

Dinah Koehler, executive director of the global sustainable equities team at UBS AM, said that the research would focus on four food security-related metrics.

“Given the complexity of our global food system, building these models is challenging,” she commented. “Based on our experience building impact models for climate change and water, we believe we have established a solid foundation for extending our measurement impact framework.”

UBS AM said it also wanted to deploy academic expertise to develop impact measurement methodologies for climate change, air pollution, clean water access and healthcare, in line with other relevant UN SDGs. It has already begun developing models in conjunction with Harvard University.


Food Security In Africa: Is Genetically Modified Technology A Pathway? (III)– Management Paper

Food Security In Africa: Is Genetically Modified Technology A Pathway? (III)– Management Paper

My last line of the part II of this article ended with two pertinent questions. Can Africa afford GMT? What is the viable strategy for Africa to benefit from cutting – edge technology? On cost of research and development of the GMT for a particular crop, GMO, averagely, GMO takes 13 years and $130 million of research and development before coming to market ( From another literature, “GMO Answers”, the cost of generating a new genetically modified crop is $136 million with an average of seven years duration. This is why in the developed countries; private sector is the major driving force for research investment to develop GMT. Thus, the Biotech Companies rely on patents to safeguard their investment. These patents are protected through the World Trade Organisation (article 27), the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (also known as UPOV), and laws of the member nations. This staggering cost of research is certainly very difficult for individual African countries to invest. Again, this exorbitant cost of developing GMO sometimes makes one to wonder whether the investment is really worth the effort. However, according to an expert, Prof Graham Brookes, an agricultural economist at PG Economics Ltd, UK, he was quoted saying, “the main reason why GM crops contribute to reducing the cost of food worldwide has to do with the very nature of the biotechnology involved, which helps farmers increase production, thanks to herbicide and pesticide resistant crops”. In terms of productivity, Brookes says that new biotechnology has generated the equivalent of “an extra 122 million tons of soybeans, 237 million tons of corn, 18 million tons of cotton lint and 6.6 million tons of canola” between 1996 and 2012. This means that the increase in productivity goes hand in hand with savings on pesticides and fuel compared to conventional methods. “When added to the extra income arising from higher yields, the net farm income benefit from using GM technology has been equal to $116.6 billion during that same period”, according to the expert. Ultimately, GMO crops, through their environmental sustainability, potential for nutritionally fortified foods, and increased productivity, actually play a key role in keeping the cost of food down and making the investment pay higher dividends.

On the strategy for Africa to benefit from this cutting-edge technology, already, some African countries such as South Africa, Egypt, Burkina Faso and Sudan have since released some GM crops at commercial level. However, these GMO crops were developed and brought into the continent by giant global seeds companies such as Monsanto for purely profit making. These companies have secured the patents of these crops making it difficult for African researchers to develop their commercially viable GMOs. Already, the companies have already secured patents for some GM crops such as maize, soya, cotton and golden rice. In addition, the countries where these companies originated are assiduously promoting the GMO crops through special support for enactment of biosafety laws in African countries. According to report by ‘Friends of the Earth International’ it stated that “The US administration’s strategy consists of assisting African nations to produce biosafety laws that promote agribusiness interests instead of protecting Africans from the potential threats of GM crops,” said Haidee Swanby from the African Centre for Biosafety, which authored the report commissioned by Friends of the Earth International. Unlike Europe and other regions where strong biosafety laws have been in place for years, most African countries still lack such laws. Only seven African countries currently have functional biosafety frameworks in place. “African governments must protect their citizens and our rights must be respected. We deserve the same level of biosafety protection that European citizens enjoy,” said Mariann Bassey Orovwuje from Friends of the Earth Nigeria. Globally, markets for GM crops have been severely curbed by biosafety laws and regulations in the past decade. Consumers in some countries were reported to have vehemently rejected GM foods and crops due to unfounded belief that GM foods may have adverse effect on human beings. It is this belief that produced a global agreement known as “the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety”. The Protocol came into force in September 2003 and it was developed to ensure “adequate safe use, handling and transfer” of GM organisms.

One major concern on the imported GMOs,,, in addition to relatively high cost, is the issue of possible infusing of “terminator gene”, which makes it compulsory for farmers to purchase new seeds on seasonal basis. Terminator gene technology or “suicide seeds”, is technically named “Genetic use restriction technology (GURT)”, which is a method of restricting the use of genetically modified plants by causing second-generation seeds to be sterile. The GURT technology was developed under a cooperative research and development agreement between the Agricultural Research Service of the United States Department of Agriculture and Delta and Pine Land Company in the 1990s, but it is yet to be commercially available. But why was it developed? This means that GURT produces sterile seeds, so the seed from this crop could not be used as seeds, but only for sale as food or fodder, which will force farmers to buy seeds from the seed Companies or Biotech Firms on seasonal basis. Use of GURT is seen to be largely beneficial to seed companies at the expense of farmers. This concern forced Monsanto, one of the International Biotech Companies known for the sales of GMO seeds to refute an allegation that it has commercialized the ‘terminator seeds’. “Monsanto has never commercialized a biotech trait that resulted in sterile – or “Terminator” – seeds. Sharing the concerns of small landholder farmers, Monsanto made a commitment in 1999 not to commercialise sterile seed technology in food crops. We stand firmly by this commitment, with no plans or research that would violate this commitment”, a statement quoted from the Company’s website;

As the debate for and against GMO crops continue to rage globally, researchers of Biotechnology are certainly not resting, they have already developed “Gene Editing and Other New Breeding Techniques”. These new techniques are targeted to provide a ‘Second Chance’ for worldwide embrace of Genetically Engineered Crops, which will completely allay the fear of GMO crops not being “natural” or “messing with nature”. New Breeding Techniques (NBTs), particularly CRISPR gene editing, which mimics natural breeding, may provide a regulatory work-around to open the door for a new generation of biotech innovation in the US, Europe and developing countries for acceptability by the general public according to news report. The report further stated, “NBTs offer scientists easier ways to do cisgenic breeding— involving no “foreign” DNA—allowing the development of new plant and animal varieties. NBTs like CRISPR/Cas9, TALENs and ZFN do not fit neatly into the GMO definitions crafted by the various regulatory agencies around the world. Its proponents believe gene editing is similar to but faster and more precise than mutagenesis (creating new varieties by using radiation or chemicals), which is not regulated; there are hundreds of mutagenised crops sold as organic. It’s also similar to what can naturally occur in nature”.
Still on the strategy for Africa to exponentially benefit from GMT, it is quite clear that an auspicious progress has been made on GMO/GMT in advanced countries with several patents recorded for individuals and organisations. Despite this progress, researchers in Africa have plenty of opportunities to develop GMO crops to address the peculiarity of natural challenges against agricultural productivity. However, the process of GMO crops development requires massive investment by governments and private sectors. Huge fund is needed for research, development, awareness creation, extension, advocacy and regulations to make achievement of food security in Africa a reality. In this regard, the recent concerted effort of National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC) in organising SEEDCONNECT Conference and Expo 2018, is highly commendable. The conference was organised in Abuja between 5th and 6th June, 2018. Some of the objectives of the conference were to identify critical gaps and develop a strategic framework for scaling up delivery of high quality seed to farmers. At the end of the two days conference, part of the communiqué recommended massive public awareness creation on the GM technology, which should carry along all stakeholders. It further recommended adequate investment in the seed value chain; training of cooperative youth and women group to take advantage of the opportunities that abound in the seed sub-sector. More of these types of platforms are needed across the African continent to overcome the challenges of food insecurity as we move towards 2050 when the population estimate of Africa will reach 2.5 billion people.

High-protein corn also resistant to parasitic weed: Growers, community can benefit from increased food security — ScienceDaily

High-protein corn also resistant to parasitic weed: Growers, community can benefit from increased food security — ScienceDaily

The world produces more corn by weight than any other cereal crop. Corn, likewise known as maize, is an essential food in many nations. Farmers growing corn face numerous challenges, such as drought, diseases, and pests.For example, in

sub-Saharan Africa, 20 to 80%of corn yields may be lost since of a semi-parasitic plant, Striga. In locations infested with Striga, farmers might even lose their whole crops.In a new study, researchers from southern Africa identified numerous ranges of corn resistant or tolerant to Striga. Significantly, these varieties also have actually improved nutritional material, especially protein.The mix of Striga tolerance and enhanced nutrition is crucial.

Farmers, as well as regional populations, will benefit, says Peter Setimela, a research study co-author. Setimela is a researcher at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre in Harare, Zimbabwe.Striga problems can force little farmers in sub-Saharan and southern Africa to desert their farms.

“Striga is understood to impact fields that have poor soil fertility. Its seeds can remain in the soil for more than 15 years, “says Setimela.”Many small farmers can’t manage to purchase chemicals to manage Striga. They may likewise be not able to purchase chemical fertilizers. “Having access to varieties of corn that can tolerate Striga will benefit these farmers. They will have the ability to continue farming and growing corn in locations with Striga.The improved dietary material of these corn varieties will likewise assist. The ranges have a larger variety of amino acids, the building blocks

of protein.”Normally, corn is poor in vital amino acids. Human and animal bodies cannot make these amino acids. They have to be gotten from food,”says Setimela.

“Lack of vital amino acids can impair development and development. It can likewise deteriorate the body immune system.”Many rural populations depend on corn as a staple food. “However these populations frequently have limited access to protein sources, such as eggs, meat, and dairy items,”

states Setimela.”If ranges of corn can offer top quality protein, these populations will benefit.”Setimela and associates evaluated both normal and high-protein ranges of corn for Striga resistance in the lab and field.Controlled conditions, such as those in the lab, enable

researchers to conduct tests that may not be possible in the field. “eventually, crops will be grown in farmers ‘fields,”states Setimela.”We guaranteed that the outcomes from controlled environments likewise apply to field conditions.”Field experiments were performed in 3 locations in Zimbabwe with diverse conditions. The scientists tested 8 high-protein ranges and 4 common ranges of maize. They measured numerous plant qualities

, consisting of yield, height, vitality, and kernel weight.Researchers discovered four ranges of high-protein corn that also revealed high levels of Striga tolerance and high yields. “These varieties will provide choices to farmers in locations with Striga,”says Setimela.”They will enhance food security and nutrition.”American Society of Agronomy.

“High-protein corn also resistant to parasitic weed: Growers, neighborhood can benefit from increased food security.

“ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 June 2018.<>.American Society of Agronomy.( 2018, June 13 ). High-protein corn likewise resistant to parasitic weed: Growers

, neighborhood can gain from increased food security. ScienceDaily. Obtained June 20, 2018 from!.?.!American Society of Agronomy. “High-protein corn likewise resistant to parasitic weed: Growers, community can benefit from increased food security.”ScienceDaily. June 20, 2018).