Good growth relies on good seeds

Anethum graveolens (dill); dried seeds.Seeds are the unsung heroes of agriculture, and modern varieties provide beneficial traits such as drought tolerance and cooking quality. Some varieties are even designed to provide a platform with which to provide other products, such as seed treatments conferring additional insect and disease protection.

The lack of modern varieties, particularly in developing countries, is a major constraint on smallholder productivity. A commonly quoted figure of 35% penetration of modern varieties in Africa is probably an overestimate and the real figure is closer to 20-25%. As an example there are no modern varieties used on 6 million hectares of sorghum in Mali and the situation is similar for groundnuts.

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Update: Plant Health News (12 Aug 15)

A forthcoming article in the International Journal of Climate Change is expected to show that climate change will cause a reduction in maize yields in SSA. Photo: Neil Palmer (CIAT).
A forthcoming article in the International Journal of Climate Change will outline the effect that climate change will have on maize yields in Sub-Saharan Africa. Photo: Neil Palmer (CIAT).

Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including the potential impact of climate change on food security in Sub-Saharan Africa, the use of biocontrol to manage fruit fly in Kenya and the impact of Fusarium on banana production in Honduras.

Click on the link to read more of the latest plant health news!
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Open source seeds

Sack of flax seeds
© Daryl Ehrensing/Oregon State University

“Open source software is accompanied by a licence that encourages people to share it and create new programs with it, and at the same time prevents anyone from releasing a program that uses the code under any other form of licence. The creativity embedded in the code cannot be privatised. Kloppenburg and a group of like-minded seed companies, plant breeders and academics want to apply similar licences to plant genetic resources.” Continue reading