‘Green Super Rice’: Improving smallholder incomes and reducing hunger across Asia and Africa

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With increasing occurrences in unfavorable biotic and abiotic conditions, farmers are facing significant challenges with maintaining successful crop yields. With the development of GSR varieties, farmers across Asia and Africa can tailor their crops to regional-specific conditions and promote crop yields (© Pexels).

Scientists and crop breeders in China have produced new varieties of rice called ‘Green Super Rice’ (GSR) to help tackle the global burden of increasing populations, food production and farmer incomes with its 20% increase in yield across varying challenging growing conditions.

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How can tomato farming be improved in Kenya? Study finds producers face a ‘myriad of constraints’

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In a recently published paper in Scientific African, CABI’s Willis Ochilo led on a study which captured a better understanding of tomato producers in Kenya, describing in detail the production practices in order to identify challenges and opportunities for increasing tomato productivity for the country’s smallholder communities.

Tomato is a good source of vitamins A and C, and lycopene making it an important crop in terms of food and nutritional security for families in Kenya, and is in fact eaten in nearly all households across the country.

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Update: New Pest & Disease Records (07 May 2019)

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This months pest alerts include a report on Phalenopsis (moth orchids) petal spot disease in Taiwan (© Pexels)

We’ve selected a few of the latest new geographic, host and species records for plant pests and diseases from CAB Abstracts. Records this month include the first report of Pratylenchus neglectus on maize in Hungary, the first report of Cecidochares connexa parasitism in West Africa and a report on Phalaenopsis petal spot disease in Taiwan. Continue reading

Artificial Intelligence in Africa: Google’s new AI centre in Ghana

Chinyunyu Plant Clinic in Rufunsa district, Zambia.
AI tools could potentially help farmers identify and target crop pests in the field using just a mobile device. Image: ©David Ng’ambi for CABI

Google’s first artificial intelligence (AI) lab in Africa has opened in Accra, Ghana. The tech giant aims to support researchers with the tools and environment necessary to develop AI products to solve numerous problems faced across the continent within the agriculture sector.

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Controlling whiteflies: How marigold is helping to promote safer alternatives for pest management

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Marigold (Asteracae) are commonly used as tools for the prevention of whitefly infestations in fields (© Pexels)

In a recently published study, researchers have identified the natural insect repelling chemical produced by marigold, reinforcing what farmers have culturally used for years as a tool to prevent or reduce whitefly infestations.

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Maize lethal necrosis disease on the decline in Kenya

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Plant clinic data collected by Plantwise countries in East Africa has corroborated a statement from the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) which said maize lethal necrosis disease (MLN) is “under control but not eradicated”.

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Update: New Pest & Disease Records (05 April 2019)

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This month’s pest alerts include a report of a new species of Momphidae moth (Mompha lacteela) in the Netherlands, which is commonly found egg-laying on willowherb with its larvae mining in the plant roots (© Delphine Menárd)

We’ve selected a few of the latest new geographic, host and species records for plant pests and diseases from CAB Abstracts. Records this month include the first report on North American poplar leaf rust fungus (Melampsora medusae) in China, reports on a new species of Momphidae identified in the Netherlands and a new relative of the Irish famine pathogen Phytophthora infestans in South America. Continue reading