Network to Improve Knowledge Sharing in Sub-Saharan Africa

Published on 6th May 2008

The International Fund for Agricultural Development's (IFAD) Executive Board has approved a grant that will help establish FIDAfrique-IFADAfrica, a new knowledge network in sub-Saharan Africa. The network will connect people, organizations, development projects and programs, and other networks working to reduce rural poverty across sub-Saharan Africa so they can share experiences, mutual learning and innovation for rural poverty reduction. IFAD will contribute US$2 million in the US$3.9 million three-year program. The West Africa Rural Foundation (WARF), a foundation currently managing the Central and Western Africa knowledge network, FIDAfrique, will facilitate the use of the grant. FIDAfrique, has been involved in knowledge sharing, conservation agriculture promotion and cassava industry development among many other programs.  

FAO Conference to Tackle World Food Security 

World food security and the challenges of climate change and bioenergy will be the main issues to be tackled during a high level international conference to be sponsored by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome this June. Heads of State and government ministers are expected to discuss ways to assist countries and the international community to find sustainable solutions to these current concerns.

The conference will identify new challenges facing world food security, supply and demand side, policies and market structure, provide a better understanding of the nexus between food security, climate change and bio-energy.  They will also come out with a declaration on "World Food Security and required actions."  

Diouf: Now is the Time to Re-launch Agriculture

Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Director-General Jacques Diouf called the attention of the international community to the threats and opportunities brought about by high agricultural commodity prices in an opinion article published in the FAO website entitled, "Soaring food prices- threat or opportunity?" He suggested a twin-track approach to solve the problem. First, is the creation of a favorable policy environment that would unite the private sector, farmers and traders. It would then be followed by programs that would ensure that small holder farmers have proper access to resources.  Diouf emphasized the Millennium Development Goals which is to reduce by half extreme poverty and hunger in the world in 2015. He stressed that these goals can only be attained if we can boost agriculture in developing countries in a sustainable way.  

Harvesting Data from Genetically Engineered Crops

Biotech crops have been planted in large scale in the United States since 1996 and plantings have increased to 57.7 million hectares in the U.S. and 114.3 million hectares globally.  However, a systematic monitoring and mapping system is necessary to be able to discern the relative costs and benefits that accrued from the widespread planting of biotech crops. A paper published in the journal Science by noted experts in selected U.S. universities proposes strategies in data collection and mapping of the biotech crops planted in the U.S.

Nitric Oxide Regulates Plants

From studies of the succulent Kalanchoe plant, scientists from the USDA Agricultural Research Service Autar Matoo and Renu Deswal of the Botany Department University of Delhi have discovered that nitric oxide is important in regulating processes involved in seed germination and cell development. The research published in the Federation of European Biochemical Societies (FEBS) Journal website also details the involvement of nitric oxide in many important processes such as photosynthesis, sugar metabolism, disease tolerance and stress tolerance in plants. The scientists also found that nitric oxide, a sometime toxic product of nitrogen oxidation in soil can modify protein by a process called S-nitrosylation, a common regulatory reaction in plants and animals.

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