Research Projects Into Improving Crop Plants Receive Major Funding

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The University of Illinois has received a five year, $25 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to improve the photosynthetic properties of key food crops, such as rice and cassava. The project, entitled ‘RIPE- Realising Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency’ has the potential to benefit farmers by improving the productivity of staple food crops. Increasing photosynthetic efficiency…
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Is sustainable agriculture the answer to climate change?

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As the most recent set of climate change talks draw to a close, the focus is once again on the policies that could help in the resolution of this global issue. There has been little faith in the outcomes of these talks before, with targets continuously missed. The conference aims to secure a new treaty…
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Slicing Into The Bread Wheat Genome

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Bread wheat (Triticum aestivum) is a globally important crop that accounts for 20% of the calories consumed by the world’s human population. Major work is underway to increase wheat production by expanding knowledge of the wheat genome and analysing key traits, however due to the large size and great complexity of the bread wheat genome…
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Coffee Production in Hot Water- The Impacts of Climate Change on the Future of Coffee Crops

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Coffee (Coffea) is the one of the world’s favourite drinks and the second most traded commodity after oil, accounting for annual retail value of US$ 90 billion. The two main species used in the production of coffee are Arabica coffee (Coffea arabica), which accounts for 70% of coffee production, and Robusta coffee (Coffea canephora). The…
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Knowledge Bank interview with Agfax radio in Africa

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Access to agricultural information especially crop pest information, e.g pest identity and practical control options, is an essential ingredient in increasing agricultural production in developing countries. Where available, such information is always inaccessible and poorly developed and farmers hardly understand the contents. The Knowledge Bank, which was launched in July 2012, is part of the…
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Crop wild relatives help adapt agriculture to climate change

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The Millennium Seed Bank Partnership has begun work to collect seed from the wild relatives of 26 crop plants as their genetic diversity may enable us to adapt agriculture to future climates. Guest blogger Dr Ruth Eastwood is Crop Wild Relatives Project co-ordinator, based at RBG Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank at Wakehurst Place, UK.
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Climate change to affect agriculture

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With the Rio +20 conference occurring just last month, the world leaders have been encouraged to take notice of the global poverty and environmental concerns. Climate change was a key issue and with the population set to reach 9 billion by 2050, the impact this will have on food security is of paramount importance, especially…
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Farm makeovers in Kenya – Shamba Shape Up

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http://youtu.be/lQABDLVoQWM This Kenyan TV series may be quite different to other reality shows you've seen. Here, farmers get a makeover of their shamba with advice on how to get the most out of their land, including planting tips, which seed varieties to use, and how to store harvested crops.
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Speedy crop breeding to help Japanese rice growers

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The devastating tsunami that hit northeastern parts of Japan last March left thousands of acres of farmland damaged by saltwater. Much of this agricultural land was paddy fields, which were left with up to 25 cm of sand and mud deposited and highly saline conditions resulting from evaporation of the seawater. Scientists from the Sainsbury…
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India’s Food Security Challenges

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Agriculture is very important to India, employing 55% of its population and providing 16.5% of its annual GDP. The industry as a whole is worth US$ 17.5 million alone in exports. However, it’s not all plain sailing, with low productivity and regional groundwater depletion currently threatening Indian agriculture. Climate change and the demands of an…
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