New Research on Maize Lethal Necrosis Disease in Kenya

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Update [March 2013]: More information about the pests and viruses associated with Maize Lethal Necrosis disease can be found on the Plantwise Knowledge Bank. The production of maize, Kenya’s staple food crop, is severely under threat from a fast spreading maize disease known as Maize Lethal Necrosis (MLN) disease. The disease is the result of…
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Solution to devastating weed draws closer for sub Saharan Africa

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Striga, commonly known as witchweed, is a group of parasitic weeds found in over a third of cereal crops in sub Saharan Africa (SSA). Crops typically yield at least 40% less when they are parasitised by Striga, causing an estimated US$ 7 billion loss and reducing the food security of millions. 
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Big names ask British Prime Minister to act on hunger issues

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Today, David Beckham, in his role as UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, is meeting British Prime Minister David Cameron to deliver a letter calling for action on nutrition and hunger issues in developing countries. The letter, signed by UNICEF supporters including over 50 well-known sports and entertainment stars, requests that Mr Cameron makes a bold move at…
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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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The road to sustainable intensification of agriculture

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Last week, Professor Tim Benton, the UK Global Food Security programme ‘champion’, wrote a guest blog post about ecosystem services and the need for sustainable intensification of agriculture. This week he follows on from this by looking at how farmers can integrate protection of ecosystem services into their land management without losing out finanically.
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Why it’s time for a Spice Girl come back

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The 1990’s saw some significant steps made towards equality, democracy and sustainable living. Perhaps the thing that made the biggest impact on me was the ‘Girl Power’ movement, led by none other than the Spice Girl’s – their music might have been questionable, but they certainly made an impact. Fortunately for the rest of society,…
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Ecosystem services and the need for sustainable intensification

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Our first guest blog is from Professor Tim Benton. Tim is Professor of Ecology at the University of Leeds, where his research interests focus around agriculture-ecological interactions.  He also currently has a role as “Champion” for the UK’s Global Food Security programme which aims to coordinate food security related research across the major public funders.
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The problems of achieving food security for 1.6 billion people in China

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It is predicted that the population of China will stabilise at 1.6 billion within the next two decades. In order to feed this many people, crop production will need to increase by 2% each year to provide the estimated 580 million tonnes of grain that will be required. Mingsheng Fan and colleagues have published a…
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Clash of the food security threats

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“On a planet with sufficient food for all, a billion people go hungry.” The Commission on Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change As the global population grows, it is not just one factor that threatens food security but several interconnected threats that will continue to make it difficult to produce enough food for everyone. The combination…
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Sunscreen for temperate crops

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British researchers have discovered how corals are able to resist harmful UV light through their relationship with algae. They have found more than 20 sun-protection compounds within corals that could be used to benefit farmers in developing countries.  The new compounds could bolster the current sun protection processes found in temperate crops to allow them…
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