Nav: Home

Africa's future -- can biosciences help?

October 15, 2015

Des Moines, Iowa: The recently adopted SDG2 aims to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture by 2030. This presents Africa in particular with a major challenge since one person in four still goes hungry. Furthermore, most of the burden falls on African smallholder farmers as they struggle to protect their crops from diseases, pests, drought and climate change; increase yields; and provide food for rapidly rising populations.

Through a series of projects, related to the Biosciences for Africa (B4FA) program has been studying for the last 4 years how recent advances in plant sciences could offer sustainable and cost-effective solutions together with the possible barriers to their introduction. The results are now being launched at the World Food Prize 2015 in a key publication entitled 'Analyses: Africa's future ... can biosciences contribute?' funded by the John Templeton Foundation and two Cambridge, UK-based trusts, independent philanthropic organizations.

"'Analyses' provides an independent overview by leading authorities of the best practices and policies for implementing genetic technologies, both GM and non-GM, in the local crops grown by African smallholder farmers. It also includes unique first-hand accounts of smallholder farmers' experiences. We believe 'Analyses' will become an invaluable tool for SDG2 implementation since it contains recommendations for policy makers and their advisers, educationalists, members of non-governmental organisations and the media, as well as those who take an interest in smallholder agriculture," says Patrick Mitton, project co-leader.
-end-
Questions outlined in Analyses include: what are the scientifically established nutritional, social, environmental and regulatory consequences of crops generated by genetic modification together with other modern genetic techniques, particularly for small landholders; can the use of these crops have economic impacts in less-developed countries; and what are the barriers to acceptance and use of these crops?

The crops represented in the book are those commonly grown by smallholder farmers as staple foods, including maize, cassava, cooking banana, sorghum and rice. The primary focus is Sub-Saharan Africa, but some essays offer experience from around the world, including China, Honduras, India and the Philippines. All sections of the supply chain are represented, from plant genetics, regulatory status, seed supply and agronomy extension services, through to grower and societal perceptions.

Copies of Analyses can be downloaded at http://www.b4fa.org

Richard Hayhurst Associates

Related Plant Sciences Articles:

A molecular map for the plant sciences
Plants are essential for life on earth. They provide food for essentially all organisms, oxygen for breathing, and they regulate the climate of the planet.
Behavioral sciences in the promotion of oral health
The importance and value of behavioral sciences in dentistry has long been recognized and over time behavioral sciences have expanded our understanding of oral health beyond 'disease' to a broader biopsychosocial concept of oral health.
'Big data' for life sciences
Scientists have produced a co-regulation map of the human proteome, which was able to capture relationships between proteins that do not physically interact or co-localize.
How a protein connecting calcium and plant hormone regulates plant growth
A new Tel Aviv University study finds that a unique mechanism involving calcium, the plant hormone auxin and a calcium-binding protein is responsible for regulating plant growth.
Tobacco plant 'stickiness' aids helpful insects, plant health
Researchers show beneficial relationship between 'sticky' tobacco plants and helpful insects that consume tobacco pests.
Social and behavioral sciences for the intelligence community
The social and behavioral sciences (SBS) offer an essential contribution to the mission of the U.S.
Preventing chemical weapons as sciences converge
Scientists from Bradford warn of increased chemical weapons risk during a period of very rapid scientific change.
Plant growth-promoting bacteria enhance plant salinity tolerance
Soil salinity is a serious problem in crop production, but the work of scientists helps to relieve it.
MSU plant sciences faculty part of international discovery in wheat genome sequence
Hikmet Budak, Winifred Asbjornson Plant Sciences Chair, is one of 200 international scientists who co-published an article this week detailing the description of the genome of bread wheat.
When sciences come together
Kyoto University investigates how seemingly separate concepts in scientific fields fuse to become universal approaches by by developing a new methodology to analyze citations in papers that use similar concepts, and tracked the changes over time.
More Plant Sciences News and Plant Sciences Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: Reinvention
Change is hard, but it's also an opportunity to discover and reimagine what you thought you knew. From our economy, to music, to even ourselves–this hour TED speakers explore the power of reinvention. Guests include OK Go lead singer Damian Kulash Jr., former college gymnastics coach Valorie Kondos Field, Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs, and entrepreneur Nick Hanauer.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#562 Superbug to Bedside
By now we're all good and scared about antibiotic resistance, one of the many things coming to get us all. But there's good news, sort of. News antibiotics are coming out! How do they get tested? What does that kind of a trial look like and how does it happen? Host Bethany Brookeshire talks with Matt McCarthy, author of "Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic", about the ins and outs of testing a new antibiotic in the hospital.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dispatch 6: Strange Times
Covid has disrupted the most basic routines of our days and nights. But in the middle of a conversation about how to fight the virus, we find a place impervious to the stalled plans and frenetic demands of the outside world. It's a very different kind of front line, where urgent work means moving slow, and time is marked out in tiny pre-planned steps. Then, on a walk through the woods, we consider how the tempo of our lives affects our minds and discover how the beats of biology shape our bodies. This episode was produced with help from Molly Webster and Tracie Hunte. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.