Improving food crop yields using blue-green algae

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Photosynthesis is one of the leading limitations to global agricultural food production (© Pexels)

Using specialised carbon-fixing material from blue-green algae, scientists have successfully engineered crop plants to boost photosynthetic productivity and crop yields. This exciting development promises to increase the yield of important food crops such as cassava, wheat and cowpea.

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Philippine farmers worst hit by Typhoon Mangkhut

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Ducks in a cornfield in Cagayan Province that was damaged by strong winds (Image credit: Aaron Favila/Associated Press)

Typhoon Mangkhut (local name: Ompong) recently swept across the northern island of Luzon, Philippines, severely affecting the country’s bread basket. According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, approximately 171,932 farmers have suffered as a consequence of the storm.

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The Bugs Are Coming, and They’ll Want More of Our Food

Reblogged from The New York Times

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A European corn borer caterpillar. Many insects get hungrier and reproduce more quickly in warmer temperatures. Credit Scott Camazine/Science Source

Climate change is expected to make insect pests hungrier, which could encourage farmers to use more pesticides.

Ever since humans learned to wrest food from soil, creatures like the corn earworm, the grain weevil and the bean fly have dined on our agricultural bounty. Worldwide, insect pests consume up to 20 percent of the plants that humans grow for food, and that amount will increase as global warming makes bugs hungrier, according to a study published Thursday in the journal Science.

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Investing in smallholder farmers for a food-secure future

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Smallholder farmers provide the vast majority of the world’s food supply, and ‘small-scale farming’ is the largest occupation group of economically active people, 43% of which are women.

Approximately 2 billion of the world’s poorest live in households that depend on agriculture in some form for their livelihoods, whether this is for market or subsistence. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) states that growth in agriculture in developing countries is on average almost 3 times more effective in reducing poverty (relative to non-agriculture GDP growth).

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The Benefits of Crop Rotation for Corn and Soybean

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Corn production is one of the world’s major agriculture resources (© Oticki)

Many farmers who grow soybean and corn also integrate crop rotation strategies to avoid the continuous corn yield cost, but scientists from the US have given a new reason to use crop rotation. Evidence suggests that rotating crops increases yield and lowers greenhouse gas emissions compared to monoculture corn or soybean.

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Drought Resistance Hormone Discovered in Plants

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Drought affects two-thirds of Sub-Saharan Africa and over 65% of its population (© Pexels)

Researchers at the RIKEN Centre of Sustainable Resource Science (CSRS) in Japan have discovered a hormone linked to the stimulation of drought-resistant characteristics in plants.

Published in the journal Nature earlier this month, the study shows how the peptide CLE25 is synthesised in the roots of plants when under stress due to a lack of water in the soil, resulting in the closing of pores (stomata) in the leaf surfaces.

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Women farmers in Ekxang Village equipped with pest-smart practices against pest and disease outbreaks

by Sathis Sri Thanarajoo. Reblogged from CCAFS: CGIAR News blog.

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A woman plant doctor discussing pest-smart practices with women farmers in Ekxang village. Photo credit: A.Costa (CABI) – view original

The Pest Smart program aims to enable farmers, particularly women and marginalized groups, to become resilient against potential pests and diseases outbreaks due to climate change.

The Pest Smart program promotes the adoption of climate-smart practices that manage pests and diseases, and empowers women to be actively involved in the decision-making process. It also serves as a platform to build the capacity and encourage participation of women farmers in dealing with pests and diseases (P&D).

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