Community Welfare

Community Welfare

App 'trained' to spot crop disease, alert farmers

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[NAIROBI] A team of scientists has received US$100,000 grant to refine a mobile application (app) that uses artificial intelligence to diagnose crop diseases, and aims to help millions of African smallholders. The CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas team won the grant during big data conference in Colombia on 21 September as part of the CGIAR Platform for Big Data in Agriculture Inspire Challenges. The app, to be used against cassava brown streak disease and the cassava mosaic disease, is expected to be rolled out in 2018. Continue reading..

Community Welfare

Soil-based filter bricks clean up water for Moroccan farmers

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A home-made filter system using layers of soil and gravel cleans domestic waste water well enough to make it suitable for irrigation, a research team in Morocco has found. The filter prototype, tested in Al Haouz, a rural district about 40 kilometres from Marrakech, removed a large amount of waste such as solid particles, organic pollution, nitrogen and fertiliser residue. The system was also successful at killing off coliform bacteria and other pathogens in the water including faecal matter, E. Continue reading..

Community Welfare

Lung damage from agricultural fires probed

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Organic compounds and particular matter released when burning foreststo clear land for agriculture can kill human lung cells or lead to irreversible damage to DNA, according to a new study. Burning forest to make land suitable for farming or to rear livestock is a widespread practice in many parts of the developing world. Nearly three billion people around the world are exposed to contaminants from biomass burning as a result of farming practices, deforestation, and burning wood or charcoal for fuel. Continue reading..

Community Welfare

Sources of aflatoxin found for Brazil nuts

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High temperatures, humidity and long periods spent on the forest floor before harvest all favour the growth of mycotoxins on Brazil nuts, according to research by a local team of scientists.   They identified critical points for contamination throughout the supply chain.   “Our research identified the critical points in the contamination of Brazil nuts by aflatoxins [a type of mycotoxin produced by fungi of the genus Aspergillus], and helped to establish measures to reduce contamination,” said Marta Hiromi Taniwaki, a researcher at the Food Technology Institute (ITAL) in Campinas, Brazil, and principal investigator for the project. Continue reading..

Community Welfare

FAO issues alert over lethal virus affecting popular tilapia fish

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26 May 2017, Rome--A highly contagious disease is spreading among farmed and wild tilapia, one of the world's most important fish for human consumption. The outbreak should be treated with concern and countries importing tilapias should take appropriate risk-management measures - intensifying diagnostics testing, enforcing health certificates, deploying quarantine measures and developing contingency plans - according to a Special Alert released today by FAO's Global Information and Early Warnings System. Tilapia Lake Virus (TiLV) has now been reported in five countries on three continents: Colombia, Ecuador, Egypt, Israel and Thailand. Continue reading..

Community Welfare

Food Insecurity on the Rise: A New Collaborative Report Provides a Global Picture

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International food insecurity rose from 2015 to 2016, according to the Food Security Information Network’s (FSIN) Global Report on Food Crises 2017 released in March. One hundred and eight million people worldwide faced food insecurity at crisis level or worse in 2016, compared with eighty million in 2015. The first annual report highlights the food security situation in 65 countries and aims to enable “better-informed planning decisions to respond to food crises in a more timely, global and coordinated way. Continue reading..

Community Welfare

Excessive Groundwater Use may Hit Food Security

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The increasing use of groundwater for irrigation poses a major threat to global food security and could lead to unaffordable prices of staple foods, warns a new international study. From 2000 to 2010, the amount of non-renewable groundwater used for irrigation increased by a quarter, according to the study published in Nature on March 30. During the same period China had doubled its groundwater use. Continue reading..

Community Welfare

Phosphate is vital for best crop yields, but global supply is limited, could peak in 30 years

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Scientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have pinpointed a key genetic switch that helps soil bacteria living on and inside a plant's roots harvest a vital nutrient with limited global supply. The nutrient, phosphate, makes it to the plant's roots, helping the plant increase its yield. The work, published in the March 15 issue of Nature, raises the possibility of probiotic, microbe treatments for plants to increase their efficient use of phosphate. Continue reading..

Community Welfare

Bringing Coconut Farmers into the 21st Century Through Mobile Agriculture

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Salt. The soil needed salt. And not just a sprinkling, but up to two kilograms, applied in a shallow trench encircling each aging coconut tree where the outer leaves cast their shadow when the sun was overhead. Continue reading..

Community Welfare

Grass enzymes could raise rice, wheat output

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[SYDNEY] Australian researchers see potential for increasing yields of staple crops like wheat and rice by transplanting into them enzymes taken from the common panic grass (Panicum spp.). Lead researcher Robert Sharwood from the Australian National University (ANU) says, “We are aiming to enhance the growth and yield of crops by transplanting more efficient forms of the rubisco enzyme into them. Continue reading..