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News Headlines

Could 'rewilding' allow crops to fight pests without chemicals?

Wild plants can protect themselves from pests, but scientists think this immune system has been bred out of domesticated crop plants. Now, they're trying to figure out how to bring it back.

News Headlines

Africa's agriculture needs young blood, says report

Modernising Africa's agriculture sector to attract young people will help tackle youth unemployment and food insecurity, a report has suggested.

News Headlines

UN study warns agricultural subsidies are threatening forests and conservation programs

Lurking in the law books and policy annals of many countries around the world, subsidies aimed at helping farmers produce food more efficiently often end up leading to the loss of forests, according to a report released by the United Nations earlier this month.

News Headlines

Farms Harvest Cuts in Carbon Dioxide via Soil

FALLON, Calif. —Fourth-generation rancher Loren Poncia calls himself a soil geek, and California wants to pay him for it.

News Headlines

Bats perform 'vital pest control' on crops

Bats provide a service worth an estimated US $1bn (£649m) globally by controlling pests on corn crops, a study has suggested.

News Headlines

Earthworms helping smallholders increase crop yields

[HARARE] A project in Zimbabwe is promoting the use of earthworms to enable the country’s small-scale farmers improve soil fertility and boost crop yields.

News Headlines

Weak links hamper knowledge sharing in agriculture

Agricultural extension services are part of most countries’ rural administrative structure, helping to deliver information and development projects.

News Headlines

Intensifying agriculture threatens soil diversification

New research suggests that soil biodiversity is on the decline. 2015 is the International Year of Soils and the U.N. General Assembly hopes to increase awareness of soil's important role.

News Headlines

Can open data prevent a global food shortage?

With the world’s population set to grow to nearly 10 billion by 2050, pioneering farmers look to open data for eco-friendly solutions

News Headlines

The dark side of coffee: an unequal social and environmental exchange

The humble coffee bean is one of the most important and actively traded commodities in the world. It doesn’t take more than a glance at American coffee consumption stats to understand why.

News Headlines

Soya monocultures overshadow small-scale farmers

While the rise of soya monocultures is changing the face of rural Paraguay, small-scale farmers are fighting back with traditional and environmentally friendly agriculture.

News Headlines

Green light of hope to overcome Striga-triggered food insecurity in Africa

A molecular approach has been used to identify the protein responsible for germination of Striga seeds through visualization by green fluorescence.

News Headlines

New open-access database aims to get water-scarce countries ‘more crop per drop’ – UN agency

24 August 2015 – At the start of the World Water Week conference in Stockholm, Sweden, the United Nations agriculture agency today announced that it would develop a new open-access data portal that uses satellite imagery to provide insights into more efficient and productive use of agricultural ...

News Headlines

Pesticides linked to bee decline for first time in a countrywide field study

Landscape-wide research by former UK government agency on oilseed rape fields in England and Wales shows link between neonicotinoids and honeybee colony losses

News Headlines

Four Ways Mexico’s Indigenous Farmers Are Practicing the Agriculture of the Future

Affectionately called “Professor” by his neighbors, Josefino Martinez is a well-respected indigenous farmer and community organizer from the remote town of Chicahuaxtla, in the Mexican state of Oaxaca. He watched with patient attention as I showed him photographs of Soul Fire Farm, my family’s o ...

News Headlines

What Is Killing America's Bees and What Does It Mean for Us?

There was a moment last year when beekeeper Jim Doan was ready to concede defeat. He stood in the kitchen of his rural New York home, holding the phone to his ear. Through the window, he could see the frigid January evening settling on the 112-acre farm he'd just been forced to sell two weeks ea ...

News Headlines

Clearing wild vegetation doesn't improve crop health

BERKELEY, Calif., Aug. 10 (UPI) -- In the wake of a 2006 outbreak of E. coli -- spread via packaged spinach harvested on a farm in Central California -- farmers began clearing wild vegetation around growing fields.

News Headlines

Too kinky to be a crop plant

We eat only around 200 of the earth's 300,000 edible plant species. Some say that's because many are toxic - but in his book "The Nature of Crops," botanist John Warren argues some plants are just too kinky to be crops.

News Headlines

Fish Farming Now a Big Hit in Africa

HARARE, Aug 5 2015 (IPS) - Hillary Thompson, aged 62, throws some grains of left-over rice from his last meal, mixed with some beer dregs from his sorghum brew, into a swimming pool that he has converted into a fish pond.

News Headlines

As biodiversity declines on corn farms, pest problems grow

Biodiversity performs critical ecosystem functions that cannot be replaced indefinitely by technology, such as pesticides and herbicides. This includes a diverse population of insects on farms.

News Headlines

Cameroon: 'Permaculture the African Way' in Cameroon's Only Eco-Village

Yaounde — Marking a shift away from the growing trend of abandoning sustainable life styles and drifting from traditional customs and routines, Joshua Konkankoh is a Cameroonian farmer with a vision - that the answer to food insecurity lies in sustainable and organic methods of farming.

News Headlines

Just growing more food won't help to feed the world

The World Bank’s view that we need to grow 50% more food by 2050 to feed 9 billion people, while finding ways to reduce carbon emissions from agriculture at the same time, ignores one very simple fact – we already grow enough food for 10 billion people.

News Headlines

Cutting cost, saving water and helping the environment by changing one simple thing

In a recent experiment, where investigators made a small change to planting, not only did they find that tall narrow rows grow the same amount of vegetables, they retained more fertilizers – reducing what would have leached into groundwater – and they would need half the amount of water. In addi ...

News Headlines

Making Hunger History

We have the expertise, the technology, and the resources to feed every person in every country. Yet there are still more than 840 million people whose lives are wrecked by hunger. This is an unforgivable development failure - and the single greatest obstacle to creating the inclusive, sustainabl ...

News Headlines

Scientists detail the gene behind corn's world dominance

Researchers previously traced maize's roots to a weedy teosinte variety native to a valley in southwestern Mexico. Now they've identified the vital genetic mutation that happened there.

News Headlines

Agriculture and forest restoration could coexist – if planned well

Around the world, humans have razed billions of hectares of forests, grasslands, and other ecosystems in our pursuit of land on which to grow our food and expand our infrastructure.

News Headlines

Australia has a big role to play in feeding the world

Agricultural and food industries are an important part of the Australian economy and national identity. They are set to remain so as global demand for food rises over the next four decades.

News Headlines

Biodiversity focus of study

Land use is dominated by agriculture and forestry, which is affecting biodiversity in Northern Alberta, according to two reports released by the Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute

News Headlines

'Land sparing' vs. 'land sharing': scientists weigh in on how to improve biodiversity on farms

To protect natural ecosystems in the long term, some conservationists advocate "land sparing," in which farmers intensify agricultural practices to boost yields, theoretically enabling them to forgo expansion into natural areas. Others advocate "land sharing," in which farmers take over more lan ...

News Headlines

Analysis: Agri-food roadmap fails to assess environmental impact

The stand-out metric in the Government’s latest 10-year strategy for the agri-food sector is the 85 per cent increase in exports to €19 billion.

News Headlines

We need to grow 50% more food yet agriculture causes climate change. How do we get out of this bind?

We are trapped in a vicious cycle: we will need to grow 50% more food by 2050 to feed 9 billion people but agriculture, which is paradoxically vulnerable to climate change, generates 25% of heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions that lead to climate change.

News Headlines

Protect more bee species to safeguard crops, say scientists

Almost 80% of crop pollination by wild bees is provided by just 2% of the most common species, say scientists.

News Headlines

Researchers examine how to minimize drought impact on important food crops

The worldwide demand for legumes, one of the world's most important agricultural food crops, is growing; at the same time, their production has been adversely affected by drought.

News Headlines

Ending hunger, boosting nutrition and tackling climate change top priorities – UN agriculture agency chief

8 June 2015 – José Graziano da Silva, two days after his re-election as the head of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) for another four years, today announced that eradicating hunger, raising levels of nutrition and addressing climate change are among the agency’s top pri ...

News Headlines

Organic farming isn’t just environmentally friendly – it’s very good business for farmers

With a growing body of evidence pointing to the environmental damage inflicted by large-scale agriculture — from rainforest clearing and other forms of habitat destruction, to high carbon outputs and the ecological impacts of pesticides — exploring more eco-friendly farming systems is a high pri ...

News Headlines

Why It Might Actually Pay To Be an Organic Farmer

Organic farmers earn 22% to 35% more than their non-organic counterparts. Growing organic food can be significantly more profitable than traditional farming, netting organic farmers 22% to 35% more than their conventional counterparts, according to new research published in the journal PNAS.

News Headlines

Agrarian landscapes have a strong influence on biodiversity

Human interventions increasingly threaten the habitat of many plant and animal species. A project funded by the Austrian Science Fund FWF now aims to provide fundamental insights for countering the loss of biodiversity and preserving ecosystems in agrarian regions.

News Headlines

This Indian Foundation Is Protecting Wilderness and Helping Farmers -- And That's Just the Beginning

MUMBAI -- Almost 70 years after India's independence, over 100 million acres of land falls under the definition of "common lands": territory occupied jointly by rural communities in the hinterland. But deforestation, waste of natural resources and over-irrigation risks turning it all into wasteland.

News Headlines

Consumer choice: Shade-grown coffee and cocoa good for the birds, farmers, ecosystems

The next time you order that "wake up" cup of Joe or reach for a sweet treat, you may want to consider whether those coffee or cocoa beans were grown in the shade or open sun.

News Headlines

Organic farming 'benefits biodiversity'

Organic farms act as a refuge for wild plants, offsetting the loss of biodiversity on conventional farms, a study suggests.

News Headlines

Soil erosion may threaten global food security

Global soil erosion has reached levels that will endanger humanity’s ability to feed itself if nothing is done to lower it, a study warns.

News Headlines

Study: Wetlands help reduce nitrates

EMBARRAS RIVER, Ill., May 12 (UPI) -- Agricultural runoff often results in large concentrations of phosphorous and nitrates making their way into local waterways. But new research suggests wetlands can help stem the tide of leaching fertilizers.

News Headlines

Regulators urged to promote trust in Europe's food chain

The EU's agri-food sector is increasingly becoming industrialised. With the global population expected to reach nine billion in 2050, the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that production will have to increase by 70% to feed the planet.

News Headlines

Root-enhancing fungi could serve as future fertilizer

CAMBRIDGE, England, May 4 (UPI) -- Scientists have found that an interaction between a common soil fungi and crop roots spurs root growth, enabling plants to absorb additional nutrients. The discovery could help researchers develop new bio-fertilizers.

News Headlines

Photosynthesis upgrade proposed to raise crop yields

Supercomputers and genetic engineering could help boost crops’ ability to convert sunlight into energy and tackle looming food shortages, according to a team of researchers.

News Headlines

Photosynthesis upgrade proposed to raise crop yields

Supercomputers and genetic engineering could help boost crops’ ability to convert sunlight into energy and tackle looming food shortages, according to a team of researchers.

News Headlines

France plans to lobby for agricultural tech at COP 21

France plans to lobby for a deal on farming during the international climate negotiations it is hosting in December — a move that could boost funding for agricultural research in developing countries.

News Headlines

High-Tech to the Rescue of Southern Africa’s Smallholder Farmers

DURBAN, South Africa, Mar 22 2015 (IPS) - Agriculture is the major employer and a backbone of the economies of Southern Africa.

News Headlines

Agriculture: Increase water harvesting in Africa

Ensuring that the world's food needs are met by 2050 will take a doubling of global food production1. To improve agricultural yields on that scale will require a radical rethink of global water-management strategies and policies.

News Headlines

Toward better agricultural fertilization management

Ammonia emissions associated with crop fertilization could reduce up to 82% with a minimum impact on agricultural production, a new study concludes.

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