The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations recently released its Yearbook on the state of world food and agriculture. The Statistical Yearbook 2023 reports that global agriculture was marked by both triumphs and challenges in 2021. The comprehensive report explores various facets of the global food system, encompassing production, trade, prices, food security, nutrition, and sustainability.

One of the notable highlights of 2021 was the record-breaking global food production, with total cereal production reaching a record 2.9 billion tonnes showing the resilience and adaptability of agricultural systems worldwide. However, amidst this abundance, the report sheds light on the looming challenges confronting the global food system, including the ominous specters of climate change, burgeoning population growth, and geopolitical conflicts.

A salient revelation from the FAO report is the unambiguous concentration of primary crop production, with the top three producers wielding significant influence over global supplies. For example, the top three producers of wheat account for 56% of global production. This concentration of production raises concerns about food security, as a disruption in production in one country could have a significant impact on global food supplies, which could precipitate supply shortages and price spikes.

The report also finds that the two largest net exporters of food are the Americas and Brazil. The Americas exported a net of $401 billion worth of food in 2021, while Brazil exported a net of $113 billion. China, on the other hand, is the world’s largest net importer of food, importing a net of $252 billion in 2021.

Key statistics from the report highlight the evolving contours of agricultural landscapes worldwide. Notably, agricultural value added surged by 84% between 2000 and 2021, reaching a commendable USD 3.7 trillion. However, amidst this growth trajectory, the report elucidates a notable shift in labor dynamics, with agricultural employment declining from 40% of the global workforce in 2000 to 27% in 2021, highlighting the gradual transformation of economies towards diverse sectors.

The FAO report also shines a spotlight on environmental sustainability within agricultural systems. Alarmingly, pesticide use surged by 62% between 2000 and 2021, with the Americas accounting for a substantial share of this increase. Additionally, agricultural reliance on inorganic fertilizers remains pronounced, with nitrogen constituting 56% of the 195 million tonnes of nutrients utilized in 2021. These trends stress the need to adopt sustainable agricultural practices to mitigate environmental degradation and safeguard ecosystem health.

Also, the report highlights the inextricable linkages between food security and nutrition. Sadly, an estimated 777 million individuals grappled with undernourishment in 2021, while 2.3 billion people lacked access to adequate nutrition. These sobering statistics emphasize the urgency of concerted efforts to boost food security and address malnutrition through multifaceted interventions encompassing sustainable agriculture, market accessibility, and food waste reduction initiatives.

The report concludes by calling for a more sustainable and equitable food system. The report recommends a number of measures to achieve this, including investing in research and development, promoting sustainable agricultural practices, and reducing




As the global population continues to expand, so does the demand for food. Agriculture, the backbone of sustenance, faces a daunting challenge: how to feed an ever-growing population with limited resources and a shrinking agricultural workforce. The recent findings from the 2022 Census of Agriculture conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) shed light on a concerning trend that has significant implications not only for the United States but also for agricultural systems worldwide.

According to the census, the number of farms in the United States has declined steadily over the past two decades. In 2022, there were 1,900,487 farms, a decrease from 2,042,220 farms in 2017. This decline, totaling 141,733 farms, reflects a broader trend of consolidation and restructuring within the agricultural sector. Family-owned farms, which comprise 95 percent of the total, have been particularly affected, signaling a shift in the demographic composition of agricultural producers.

Even more alarming, the amount of land dedicated to farming has also decreased. Despite the vast expanse of agricultural land in the United States, farmers are now working on 20,116,728 fewer acres compared to 2017. This reduction, equivalent to the size of South Carolina, shows the intensifying pressure on available arable land. The average size of farms has increased slightly, indicating a consolidation of land holdings among fewer producers.

The implications of these trends extend beyond the borders of the United States. With a growing global population projected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050, the world faces an unprecedented demand for food. Agriculture must not only meet this demand but also adapt to evolving environmental challenges, such as climate change and land degradation. The decline in the agricultural workforce exacerbates these challenges, as fewer farmers are tasked with producing more food to feed a burgeoning population.

ALSO READ: IMF Warns of Worsening Income Inequality Due to AI – How will it Impact the Ag Sector?

The study by USDA has also shown that the digital divide persists within the agricultural sector, with only 79 percent of U.S. farms having internet access. While advancements in technology have the potential to increase efficiency and productivity, access to these innovations remains unequal, further widening the gap between large-scale commercial farms and smaller, resource-constrained operations.

In the face of these developments, policymakers, agricultural stakeholders, and international organizations must prioritize strategies to bolster the agricultural workforce and promote sustainable farming practices. This includes investing in education and training programs to attract and retain a new generation of farmers, enhancing access to land and resources for smallholders, and leveraging innovations and technology to improve productivity and resilience.




In the hustle and bustle of daily life, caffeine serves as the universal catalyst that jump-starts our mornings, with coffee being the preferred vessel for this beloved stimulant. Cultivated across more than 70 nations, coffee holds a prominent place in our lives, supporting the livelihoods of approximately 125 million people globally. However, the warming climate threatens this vital commodity, prompting the need for innovative solutions to safeguard our morning cup of coffee.

As reported by “THE Economist,” the escalating temperatures and shifting rainfall patterns in key coffee-producing regions of South America, central Africa, and South-East Asia pose a significant threat to the industry. According to a recent study by Cássia Gabriele Dias from the Federal University of Itajubá in Brazil, between 35% and 75% of Brazil’s coffee-growing land may become unusable by the end of the century.

Acknowledging the severity of this issue, the global coffee community is now faced with the challenge of implementing Climate-Smart Policies and Investments to ensure the industry’s sustainability. Drawing from our extensive review of previous global changes in the coffee industry, we delve into creative approaches that can transform the coffee landscape.

Climate-Smart Solutions for Coffee Farms

One intriguing option is to shift coffee cultivation uphill, capitalizing on the natural temperature decrease with altitude. Tanzania, for instance, boasts areas 150 to 200 meters above current coffee-growing zones, presenting an opportunity for continued coffee farming. However, this approach introduces challenges such as steeper slopes, shallower soils, and potential conflicts with climate pledges.

An alternative strategy involves revisiting traditional “agroforestry” techniques, as highlighted by Nicholas Girkin, an environmental scientist at the University of Nottingham. Historically, coffee plants thrived in the shade beneath taller trees, offering protection against scorching temperatures. Recent studies indicate that these agroforestry practices not only enhance the flavor and size of coffee beans but also promote biodiversity, with trees acting as havens for beneficial predators and pollinators.

While agroforestry presents a viable short-term solution, it has its limitations. Climate models project that in many regions, temperatures may eventually surpass the tolerance levels of the sensitive Arabica plant. This necessitates a more profound transformation in the coffee industry—a change in the very nature of the coffee bean itself.

READ: 72 Kenyan Coffee Factories to be Upgraded through Coffee Revitalization Program

Rediscovering Forgotten Gems: Diverse Coffee Species for a Changing Climate

In the pursuit of a resilient coffee plant, scientists are revisiting overlooked coffee species that flourished in warmer or drier environments. Botanist Aaron Davis, from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, has dedicated his efforts to exploring forgotten varieties such as Coffea stenophylla and Coffea affinis. These species, found in Sierra Leone, exhibit promising traits, hinting at their ability to withstand higher temperatures compared to Arabica and Robusta.

Research indicates that C. stenophylla boasts a fruitier profile and better acidity than Brazilian Arabica, offering a potential replacement for the vulnerable species. Additionally, Coffea dewevrei, known as Excelsa, emerges as an attractive option due to its heat tolerance, high yield, and resistance to the coffee-rust fungus.

Genetic Engineering and Cross-Breeding

Recognizing the urgency of the situation, researchers are exploring a combination of genetic engineering and cross-breeding to transfer desirable traits from these resilient species into Arabica. Dr. Davis, involved in comprehensive Arabica genome research, aims to facilitate this transformative process. However, the timeline for commercial use of a new coffee cultivar remains a decade or more.

In the interim, agricultural engineer Dr. Dias emphasizes the need for immediate measures, urging coffee-producing nations like Brazil to adopt a dual strategy—moving some farms uphill while incorporating agroforestry practices. This strategic approach can provide a temporary buffer, allowing scientists the time required to develop a coffee plant capable of thriving in a warmer world.

In summary, the future of our morning cup of coffee lies in the hands of innovative solutions, blending traditional wisdom with cutting-edge technology. As we navigate the challenges posed by climate change, the global coffee community must unite in its commitment to sustainable practices, ensuring the longevity of this cherished beverage.



In the midst of a global technological revolution, the potential for artificial intelligence (AI) to reshape economies is both thrilling and concerning. As we navigate the complexities of AI, it becomes imperative to explore how this transformative technology can revolutionize the agricultural sector, particularly in the context of Africa.

The Impact of AI on Global Labor Markets

Before delving into the specifics of agriculture, it is crucial to understand the broader implications of artificial intelligence on the global economy. According to recent analysis by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), nearly 40 percent of global employment is exposed to artificial intelligence. Unlike previous technological advancements, AI has the unique capability to impact highly skilled jobs, creating both risks and opportunities.

In advanced economies, where approximately 60 percent of jobs may be affected by artificial intelligence, there is a dual prospect of job enhancement and displacement. Meanwhile, emerging markets and low-income countries face a lower immediate disruption rate of 40 percent and 26 percent, respectively. However, the lack of infrastructure and skilled workforces in these regions poses a risk of exacerbating global inequality over time.

AI’s Influence on Inequality and the Labor Market

The IMF’s findings also suggest that artificial intelligence could exacerbate income and wealth inequality within countries. As AI becomes integrated into businesses worldwide, there is a potential for polarization within income brackets. Workers adept at harnessing artificial intelligence may experience increased productivity and wages, while those unable to adapt could fall behind.

To mitigate this risk, policymakers are urged to establish comprehensive social safety nets and retraining programs for vulnerable workers. The goal is to ensure an inclusive transition to an AI-driven world, protecting livelihoods and curbing inequality.

AI Preparedness Index: Crafting Inclusive Policies

The AI Preparedness Index, measuring readiness in key areas such as digital infrastructure, human capital, innovation, and regulation shows that wealthier economies, including advanced and some emerging market economies, tend to be better equipped for AI adoption. However, there is considerable variation among countries.AI Preparedness Index

For advanced economies, the focus should be on prioritizing AI innovation and integration while developing robust regulatory frameworks. In contrast, emerging markets and developing economies need to lay a strong foundation through investments in digital infrastructure and a digitally competent workforce. By doing so, we can cultivate a safe and responsible artificial intelligence environment that maintains public trust.

READ: Top Technology Trends That Are Revolutionizing Agriculture

AI in African Agriculture: A Game-Changer

In the agricultural sector, artificial intelligence holds immense potential to address critical challenges faced by Africa, including low productivity, unpredictable climate conditions, and inadequate infrastructure. The integration of artificial intelligence technologies can bring about transformative changes in the agricultural sector.

For example, in precision agriculture, AI-driven technologies such as drones and sensors provide real-time data on soil conditions, crop health, and weather patterns, enabling informed decision-making and resource optimization.

AI can also be used to optimize the supply chain with AI algorithms that can predict market demands, optimize logistics, and minimize post-harvest losses, benefiting farmers and contributing to national food security.

In smart farming practices, AI-powered applications can assist farmers in remotely monitoring and managing their farms, from automated irrigation systems to predictive analytics for disease control.

Tailoring AI Adoption to African Realities

Contrary to concerns about global income inequality, Africa has the potential to bridge the gap through thoughtful AI integration in agriculture. Tailored solutions addressing crop diversity, regional climate variations, and socio-economic contexts are essential. Capacity building initiatives and investments in digital infrastructure, especially in rural areas, are imperative for successful AI adoption.

Despite IMF’s warning of potential inequalities, Africa can chart a different course by leveraging artificial intelligence to foster inclusive growth. The emphasis should be on empowering smallholder farmers, a significant portion of the agricultural workforce, with AI tools and knowledge. Governments, in collaboration with private stakeholders, can play a pivotal role in ensuring equitable distribution of AI benefits.

As Africa stands at a pivotal juncture, the transformative power of artificial intelligence in agriculture offers a unique chance to leapfrog traditional development barriers. Embracing artificial intelligence with a tailored approach can not only bridge technological gaps but also pave the way for building a resilient and prosperous agricultural future. In this AI-driven era, Africa has the opportunity to pioneer a sustainable and inclusive agricultural ecosystem that sets a global standard for progress and equity.


January 15, 2024 AGRI TECHRESEARCH0

As the global population surges towards 9.6 billion by 2050, the imperative to boost food production by 60% looms large. In this quest for sustainable solutions, the field of hydroponic agriculture has emerged as a promising candidate. Hydroponics, or plant cultivation without soil, provides water efficiency and reduced fertilizer usage compared to traditional soil-based methods.

Recent breakthroughs in the agriculture industry have introduced a revolutionary technology – the eSoil. A low-power bioelectronic growth scaffold, the eSoil stimulates plant growth through electrical stimulation of the root system in hydroponic settings. This innovative solution could potentially transform the agricultural landscape, particularly in regions facing challenges such as minimal arable land or harsh environmental conditions.

The eSoil’s active material, an organic mixed ionic electronic conductor, combined with its structural backbone of cellulose, the most abundant biopolymer, presents a cutting-edge approach to hydroponic cultivation. A notable feature of the eSoil is its ability to house barley seedlings, a staple used for fodder, within its porous matrix. Remarkably, a study by researchers from Linköping University showed that by polarizing the eSoil, seedling growth accelerates, resulting in an average 50% increase in dry weight after just 15 days of growth.

This remarkable growth enhancement extends to both root and shoot development, offering a potential game-changer in the quest for increased crop yields. Notably, the stimulated plants exhibit enhanced efficiency in reducing and assimilating Nitrate (NO3), a key finding that may hold the key to minimizing fertilizer use and, consequently, reducing environmental impact.

READ: How to Advance Africa’s Agriculture Sector with Climate-Smart Policies and Investments

However, the journey of eSoil from laboratory success to widespread agricultural implementation is not without challenges. While the technology displays promise for fodder production, further studies are essential to elucidate its impact on the complete growth cycle of plants. The mechanism behind the eSoil’s influence on nitrogen assimilation requires deeper exploration, yet the potential for a significant reduction in fertilizer dependency offers a glimpse into a more sustainable future.

The eSoil’s unique properties, including its low-power consumption in the micro-watt range, make it a beacon of hope for large-scale adoption in closed environment agriculture. The ability to power the eSoil with photovoltaics adds an eco-friendly dimension to its feasibility, aligning with the growing focus on sustainable farming practices.




Scientists from the University of Chicago have uncovered the immune-boosting potential of trans-vaccenic acid (TVA), a fatty acid abundant in beef, lamb, and dairy products. This discovery, published in Nature, sheds light on how TVA enhances the effectiveness of immune cells, specifically CD8+ T cells, in infiltrating tumors and combating cancer cells.

Lead researcher Professor Jing Chen, along with colleagues Hao Fan and Siyuan Xia, embarked on a meticulous exploration into the impact of nutrients on anti-tumor immunity. Their work, detailed in the publication, unveils TVA as a standout candidate among 255 bioactive molecules screened for their ability to activate CD8+ T cells. Intriguingly, TVA, found in substantial quantities in human milk and derived from grazing animals, demonstrated superior performance in both human and mouse cells.

The study’s significance extends beyond the laboratory, as the team conducted experiments feeding mice a diet enriched with TVA. The results were striking—tumors, particularly melanoma and colon cancer cells, exhibited reduced growth potential compared to mice on a control diet. Additionally, CD8+ T cells displayed enhanced infiltration into tumors, showcasing TVA’s potential in augmenting the body’s natural defenses against cancer.

Delving deeper into the molecular realm, the researchers harnessed innovative techniques such as kethoxal-assisted single-stranded DNA sequencing (KAS-seq) to uncover how TVA influences cellular processes. Their findings revealed that TVA inactivates the GPR43 receptor on cell surfaces, outperforming short-chain fatty acids often produced by the gut microbiota. This activation triggers the CREB pathway, a cellular signaling process crucial for growth, survival, and differentiation.

READ: Genetic Foundations of Production, Reproduction, and Health in Agriculture

The team also analyzed blood samples from lymphoma patients undergoing CAR-T cell immunotherapy. Strikingly, patients with higher TVA levels exhibited more favorable responses to treatment. Similarly, testing leukemia cell lines demonstrated TVA’s ability to enhance the effectiveness of immunotherapy drugs against leukemia cells.

Despite these promising findings, Professor Chen emphasizes caution regarding dietary implications. While TVA shows potential as a dietary supplement for T cell-based cancer treatments, the emphasis should be on optimizing the nutrient itself rather than increasing consumption of red meat and dairy, which have known health risks. Professor Chen anticipates that other nutrients, possibly from plant sources, may also activate the CREB pathway, opening avenues for further research.

This new research elaborates on the potential of a “metabolomic” approach to understanding how dietary components impact health. Professor Chen and his team aspire to construct a comprehensive library of nutrients circulating in the blood to understand their impact on immunity and broader biological processes, including aging.




Bayer and Microsoft have unveiled groundbreaking updates in their strategic collaboration in a monumental stride toward a more interconnected and sustainable future for global agriculture. The recent developments showcase a concerted effort to address the long-standing challenge of data interoperability in the agri-food sector. As farmers increasingly harness technology to enhance efficiency and sustainability, the fusion of Bayer’s expertise and Microsoft’s cutting-edge capabilities marks a turning point.

Breaking Down Data Silos

Historically, the vast amount of data generated by satellites, field sensors, drones, and other agri-tech tools faced a critical roadblock – the lack of a common digital infrastructure. This hindered the seamless exchange of information related to production patterns, weather data, and pest tracking. Recognizing this challenge, Bayer and Microsoft have now introduced the Microsoft Azure Data Manager for Agriculture platform. This platform bridges the gap, allowing diverse farm data sources to connect, fostering interoperability, and paving the way for more informed decision-making.

Complementing the Azure Data Manager, Bayer introduces AgPowered Services, a suite of tools developed on the platform to transform data into actionable insights. These services, ranging from crop health monitoring to weather forecasts, leverage Bayer’s agronomic expertise. Farmers, agri-food value chain companies, and stakeholders can utilize these tools to accelerate digital innovation and extract valuable insights into disease tracking, heat stress impact, precision inputs, crop growth patterns, potential yield, crop water usage, and weather analysis.

Building on these advancements, Bayer has strengthened connectivity with Microsoft through strategic collaborations. The flagship digital farming product, Climate FieldView™, now seamlessly integrates with Microsoft Azure Data Manager for Agriculture, facilitating secure and compliant data exchange between Bayer’s platform and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). This collaboration enhances accessibility to farm machinery data, addressing a significant challenge in the agricultural technology landscape.

Enroll for the Data Management in Agriculture Course

Machine Data Connectivity and Decoding

In collaboration with leading OEMs such as Stara, Topcon, and Trimble, Bayer is developing AgPowered Services to enable machine data connectivity. Sonata Software, a modernization engineering company, plays a crucial role in this initiative. The aim is to provide an integrated solution for enterprise users, reducing technical investment costs. Additionally, Bayer’s Farm Machinery Decoder, powered by Leaf Agriculture, acts as a bridge, translating machine data from various OEMs and platforms. This service not only accelerates innovation but also streamlines data interpretation for more effective decision-making.

Remote Sensing for In-Season Crop Identification

Bayer, in collaboration with OneSoil, introduces a revolutionary capability – In-Season Crop Identification. This service utilizes satellite imagery for real-time detection of key cash crops across North America, South America, and Europe. The applications of this technology span verification for carbon platforms, government subsidy programs, capacity planning for crop processing companies, and enhanced insurance assessments.

Embracing Microsoft Fabric for Unified Analytics

The collaboration extends beyond Azure Data Manager, with Microsoft Fabric playing a pivotal role. Microsoft’s end-to-end unified analytics platform supports greater interoperability, enabling seamless data movement and transformation in agriculture-specific scenarios. The partnership with Bayer ensures that agriculture-specific connectors and capabilities continually evolve, breaking down limitations imposed by data types and sources.

Ready-to-Use Capabilities for Diverse Solutions

AgPowered Services from Bayer, in conjunction with Azure Data Manager, offers ready-to-use capabilities for a spectrum of businesses – from startups to global enterprises. This collaboration allows the development of digital tools supporting favorable agronomic outcomes for growers or consumer-facing solutions offering insights into nutrients, sustainability, and production practices.

Charting a Sustainable Future

As the agricultural industry embraces this new era of connectivity, the combined efforts of Bayer and Microsoft promise a more sustainable, efficient, and interconnected food system. The ability to leverage data for informed decision-making not only benefits farmers but also aligns with consumer demands for healthier, high-quality food. The unveiling of these advancements stands as a testament to the commitment to revolutionize agriculture on a global scale, bringing us one step closer to a future where technology harmonizes with nature for the greater good.



The story of genomics in commercial agriculture resonates with transformation, one where cutting-edge technology intersects with the age-old practice of farming. With the arrival of microarray and next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies, agriculture is being revolutionized at another level never witnessed before in the history of the industry. These innovations have become the bedrock of modern farming and breeding practices, offering a glimpse into the future of agriculture.

At the center of this revolution lies the concept of genomic selection and trait screening. Gone are the days of relying solely on physical traits to guide breeding choices. Today, genetic markers are the torchbearers, leading the world toward a new era of selective breeding. These markers are linked to specific values and traits, allowing scientists to screen vast numbers of plants and animals and identify those with the desired characteristics. It’s an ideal solution for traits that are complex, multigenic, and challenging to manage using traditional methods. This technique has not only improved breeding efficiency but also enhanced the precision of trait selections.

The shift towards genomics has resonated with dairy cattle farmers, where genomic testing is rewriting the rules of the game. Cattle farmers around the world have been on record attesting to the power of genotyping, with different experiences that speak of doubled production, longer-lasting cows, and the promising future benefits that genotyping technology offers.

Genomics is also being used to tackle nutritional and environmental challenges, bringing about a transformation in bovine assessment. These efforts strengthen cattle herds and address the challenges of modern livestock farming.

Crop breeding hasn’t been left behind by genomics, and the technology of marker-assisted backcrossing has gained a great deal of prominence in the industry. At advanced levels, the technique, which involves the use of microarrays and NGS, allows researchers to swiftly transmit a single trait of interest from a donor parent to the progeny. This results in a significant reduction in the time required to release commercially viable plant lines or breeding stock. This innovation has paved the way for breakthroughs in crop development, changing the food supply chain on a global scale.

READ: The Rise of Biological Solutions in Sustainable Agriculture

In countries like Brazil, which is the world’s second-largest beef producer and largest beef exporter, genomic selection is being applied in cattle breeding. The technology has greatly improved the breeding of zebu cattle in the country while simultaneously reducing the environmental impact. Other countries are now emulating the same as they seek to meet the growing demands of a burgeoning global population.

Genomics also has the potential to offer a lifeline for the biosecurity of animal populations, with companies having developed genotyping platforms that provide the needed speed, reliability, and scalability for animal identity verification and parentage testing, especially for large-scale producers.

The rise of new infectious diseases among animal populations has prompted a reevaluation of diagnostic tools. Next-generation sequencing has emerged as a game-changer in the field of metagenomics, enabling rapid detection of infectious agents and tracking disease outbreaks. As the world faces evolving health challenges, genomics provides a dynamic and essential solution for safeguarding animal populations.

In cases where single markers may not yield conclusive results, multiple genetic markers come to the rescue. These markers are crucial in identifying animals and determining parentage, particularly in linebreeding situations. It’s a harmonious blend of science and tradition, ensuring the lineage of each animal.

But genomics doesn’t stop at the farm gate. Environmental DNA (eDNA) sequencing is emerging as a vital tool for studying biodiversity without disrupting ecosystems. From biodiversity surveys to ballast water testing, genomics has the potential to transform our understanding of the environment.

Genomics is also at the center of the production of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), playing a major role in the molecular characterization of organisms. The efficiency and consistency of NGS have made it the go-to method for event selection and regulatory approval. This transformation has not only benefited the agricultural sector but has also ensured safety and compliance with industry standards and ethics.

Soil metagenomics is another exciting frontier. By understanding and characterizing soil microbial communities, scientists can now optimize land management, crop rotation, and the use of pesticides and fertilizers. It’s a soil-to-plate journey where genomics plays a central role in ensuring the health of crops.

In the grand tapestry of agriculture, genomics is the thread that weaves tradition with innovation and science with practice. As the world embraces this new age of agriculture, we must remember that our roots are firmly planted in the soil, but our eyes are set on the future, guided by the light of new innovations such as genomics.




A project aimed at creating four potato varieties resistant to late blight disease is poised to revolutionize the industry. Launched in late 2021, the initiative, known as the Global Biotech Potato Partnership, is a collaborative effort involving scientists from Kenya, Nigeria, Indonesia, and Bangladesh, with coordination by Michigan State University. Key partners in this endeavor include the International Potato Center (CIP) in Africa, the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO), and the Africa Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF).

Late blight disease has long plagued potato farmers, causing heavy losses and necessitating frequent chemical spraying. Farmers often resort to spraying their crops up to 20 times in a growing season to combat this devastating disease. Dr. Eric Magembe, the project leader in Kenya and a member of CIP, emphasized the need for a more sustainable solution, acknowledging the losses farmers incur during their production process and thus, the intent to choose the best variety out of the four to distribute to farmers and eventually enhance potato output for food and nutritional security, as well as for revenues.

One of the most significant benefits of developing late blight-resistant potato varieties is the reduced need for chemical spraying. Dr. Magembe highlighted the positive impact on both the environment and the general health of farmers, stating, “The environment and the general health of farmers will benefit from the use of fewer chemicals to combat the disease in these GMO potatoes.”

The project in Kenya has already progressed past the confined field trials (CFTs) stage in the Njabini, Muguga, and Molo potato-growing districts. Experts are currently assessing the potentials of the four genetically modified biotech potato types in these regions. Dr. Catherine Taracha, the project’s Principal Investigator (PI) at KALRO, explained that the data gathered from the CFTs would be crucial in determining which varieties should advance to the National Performance Trials (NPTs) stage.

Dr. Taracha stressed the significance of this project for smallholder potato farmers in Kenya, who face numerous challenges, including the relentless threat of late blight. She noted, “Many smallholder potato farmers in Kenya are faced by a number of challenges including potato late blight, whose management continues to be a difficult process by the growers owing to their limited production capacity.”

READ: Biobanking Initiative to Preserve African Indigenous Chicken

Despite being the second most cultivated crop in the country and employing over 2.5 million people, Kenya loses a staggering 30 to 60 percent of its potato yield to the deadly late blight disease each year. Dr. Taracha underlined the necessity of developing biotech varieties to combat this issue, saying, “Due to the inability of resource-strained farmers to control late blight, the optimum management of the disease in the country is likely to be achieved through the development of biotech varieties.”

The National Biosafety Authority (NBA) has granted KALRO and its project partners authorization to conduct late blight disease trials over three growing seasons within the nationwide Multi-Location CFTs (ML-CFTs). Mr. Erick Korir, principal biosafety officer at the NBA, explained that this extended testing period would provide ample data to guide the subsequent phases of the project. He also emphasized the importance of strict biosafety guidelines for field testing biotech crops, given their use of foreign genes. Consequently, the tested biotech potato varieties must remain on the CFT trial site until they receive NBA approval for release into the environment.

Compared to traditional potato varieties, which are significantly affected by late blight, the results from the second round of ML-CFTs reveal that biotech potatoes exhibit higher yields and do not necessitate any chemical spraying.

This ambitious project holds the promise of not only transforming potato farming in Kenya but also offering hope to potato farmers in other countries grappling with late blight disease.




The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) has embarked on a mission to preserve Africa’s indigenous chicken breeds by conducting a transformative training program for twenty-five scientists hailing from eastern and central Africa. The workshop, held at the National Animal Genetic Resource Centre and Data Bank (NAGRC&DB) in Entebbe, Uganda, focused on avian reproductive biotechnology and aimed to equip experts with the knowledge and skills needed to conserve and enhance the genetic resources of Africa’s indigenous chickens.

Indigenous chicken populations have long been under threat from diseases, genetic challenges, breeding limitations, and natural disasters. These challenges jeopardize the rich genetic diversity present in these chickens, which have adapted to the African environment over generations.

The training, conducted from September 4th to 9th, was part of the ‘Biobanking of Indigenous Chicken Breeds’ project. This initiative aims to safeguard the genetic heritage of African and Southeast Asian indigenous poultry breeds for future use, ultimately enhancing their resilience and productivity.

Traditionally, preserving biological materials in birds has been reliant on semen, which has limited the conservation of certain crucial genetic elements. Moreover, the unique structure of avian eggs posed a challenge, as it made preserving ova and fertilized embryos difficult. Christian Tiambo, a scientist at ILRI and one of the trainers, pointed out these challenges but also presented a solution.

Avian primordial germ cells (PGCs), the initial population of germ cells established during early development, can be extracted and reintegrated into recipient embryos, preserving the complete genetic makeup of the avian stock. This breakthrough technique enables the conservation of avian genetic diversity without relocating genetic material from its original regions or countries.

Mary Mbole Kariuki, a technology and innovation specialist at the African Union-InterAfrican Bureau of Animal Resources (AU-IBAR), highlighted the importance of preserving indigenous animal genetics, which are well-suited to the African environment and play a crucial role in sustaining livelihoods.

The six-day training program included lectures on stem cell biobanking and hands-on laboratory sessions using Ugandan chicken ecotype eggs. Participants also had the opportunity to visit NAGRC&DB, an AU-IBAR regional animal resources seed center of excellence.

READ: McKinsey: Alternative Seafood to Meet Growing Global Demand

Jackson Mubiru, head of assisted animal reproductive technologies at NAGRC&DB, emphasized the vital role of biobanking in conserving poultry breeds for research purposes, particularly in enhancing disease resistance and productivity.

Ben Lukuyu, a senior scientist and ILRI Uganda’s country representative, shared ILRI’s regional research findings, underlining the significant impact of improved genetics on household incomes and livelihoods. He pointed out that ILRI’s work in the Ugandan pig sector had demonstrated that smallholder farmers could increase their incomes by accessing more productive breeds.

With the poultry sector in Uganda rapidly expanding and incorporating breeds from around the world, this training not only presents research opportunities but also holds the potential to boost smallholder livestock farming while safeguarding local breeds.

The training program is creating a community of practice to facilitate knowledge transfer and support national agricultural research services in livestock development using stem cell biobanking in Africa. Materials used during the training have been biobanked, and the conservation actions initiated during the event will be extended and implemented by the trainees in their respective countries.

The outcomes of this training will also serve as an advocacy tool for the development of local poultry conservation programs in eastern Africa and their related value chains, ultimately leading to improved livelihoods for communities in the region.

The ‘East Africa training workshop on reproductive and surrogate technologies for biobanking and restoration of indigenous chicken genetic resources’ held in September marks a significant step forward in avian reproductive and surrogate biotechnology in Sub-Saharan Africa.

This collaborative initiative on south-to-south cooperation is supported by the International Livestock Research Institute, the Centre for Tropical Livestock Genetics and Health, the African Union Development Agency, the African Union-InterAfrican Bureau of Animal Resources, and the National Animal Genetic Resource Centre and Data Bank. Participants in this groundbreaking training came from Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Cameroon, and Uganda, reflecting the regional and collaborative nature of the endeavor.




A new study by McKinsey & Company shows that the global demand for fish and shellfish is on a rapid ascent, and the alternative protein industry seems ready to provide a sustainable solution to meet this surging demand. With billions of people relying on oceans for livelihoods and sustenance, the call for fish protein is on an upward trajectory, with projections indicating a 14 percent growth by 2030 compared to 2020 levels. This demand surge is particularly pronounced in Asia, Europe, Latin America, and Oceania. However, this pressing demand for seafood coincides with the alarming reality that over 85 percent of the world’s fisheries are already pushed to their limits or beyond.

The critical conundrum emerges: how can we meet this growing demand when wild-caught seafood production remains stagnant? While aquaculture has partially bridged the gap in recent years, it has struggled to keep pace with the ever-increasing appetite for seafood. Enter “alternative seafood,” a promising solution that seeks to replicate popular fish and shellfish, such as tuna, salmon, and shrimp. Though in its nascent stages, the alternative seafood industry shows substantial promise through three distinct production options: plant-based, fermentation-enabled, and cultivated.

Global Demand Surges Amidst Production Constraints

The report by McKinsey & Company indicates that the global appetite for seafood is expanding at an unprecedented rate. Economic growth in countries correlates with an increased per-capita protein consumption, with seafood becoming a preferred choice. For instance, a recent survey in Singapore revealed a fivefold surge in seafood interest compared to a decade ago.

However, McKinsey demonstrates that there is a worrisome imbalance between this soaring demand and the overexploitation of fish stocks worldwide. Since the 1990s, global fish catches have dwindled by approximately 1 percent annually, primarily due to overfishing. This depletion has led many regions to limit existing fishing licenses and make new quotas exceedingly rare.

Despite these challenges, the OECD predicts that global fish production will reach 203 million metric tons by 2031, with aquaculture production surpassing wild catch around 2024. Yet, this growth might not be enough to meet the escalating demand, especially for sought-after species like salmon, given regulatory constraints and protections for wild fish.

Alternative seafood products are immune to many of these restrictions, providing a viable solution for scaling production. Innovations ranging from plant-based fish sticks to “whole cut” products and sushi-ready items like smoked salmon substitutes hold great promise for the industry’s future.

Drawing Lessons from the Alternative Meat Industry

While alternative proteins have historically focused on chicken, pork, and beef, seafood represents a more diverse and complex food category, with numerous species consumed worldwide. For instance, the tuna market, the third-largest in annual production, is simultaneously vulnerable to overfishing, challenging to farm, and possesses a substantial carbon footprint.

The McKinsey report suggests that for the alternative seafood industry to flourish, it must carefully consider these factors, including price points, consumer expectations, and regional preferences, when developing strategic products.

Challenges and Opportunities

The McKinsey analysis elucidates that alternative seafood faces several hurdles on its path to scalability, the most prominent being cost. Achieving production costs comparable to premium species remains a significant challenge. Nonetheless, this challenge presents an opportunity, as high-end species are particularly attractive to alternative producers, given their more achievable target prices.

Moreover, customer acceptance is crucial. Consumers expect high-quality alternatives that accurately mimic the taste, texture, and appearance of the original seafood. The industry must cater to the diverse preferences of different fish and shellfish varieties and take regional preferences into account.

READ:  Kenya Ramps Up Support for Fish Industry to Boost GDP

Unique Advantages

Despite these challenges, alternative seafood boasts unique advantages that can fuel its growth. Local production eliminates the need for costly and polluting long-distance transportation, making it an environmentally-friendly option. Furthermore, alternative seafood can provide the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids while circumventing the risks associated with mercury levels in traditional fish.

Additionally, alternative seafood doesn’t face the same hurdles in obtaining fishing and farming licenses, which can be cumbersome for traditional seafood producers.

Production Options and the Path Forward

The alternative seafood industry relies on three primary production options: plant-based, fermentation-enabled, and cultivated.

  • Plant-based alternatives utilize ingredients like soy, seaweed, yeast, legumes, and various vegetable oils and starches. These products, such as alternative tuna and scallops, have already entered the market, offering a more accessible and less regulated path compared to other alternatives.
  • Fermentation-enabled alternatives employ microbes in food production, with methods like biomass fermentation holding potential for alternative seafood. Biomass fermentation involves fast-growing microorganisms like algae or fungi and has been used to create mycelium-based products like steak.
  • Cultivated seafood relies on cells harvested from popular fish or shellfish, which are then cultured in bioreactors on biocompatible scaffolds to replicate the taste and texture of live-caught seafood. Although still in development, this approach shows promise but requires rigorous regulation and certification.

Paving the Way Forward

McKinsey analysis further shows that the alternative seafood industry faces the challenge of identifying target consumers and crafting messages that resonate with them. While the sector holds significant promise for addressing environmental concerns, it must also cater to non-premium consumers by offering lower price points.

The report concludes that alternative seafood presents a compelling solution to meet the surging global demand for fish and shellfish while reducing the environmental impact of fishing. To realize its potential, the industry must overcome challenges, innovate, and learn from the success of alternative proteins. As these products become more established in the market, their impact on consumer preferences and traditional fish production remains to be seen, but the future is promising for alternative seafood’s role in the sustainable food landscape.




In the ever-evolving world of agriculture, one resounding message reverberates: farmers worldwide are grappling with the relentless impacts of climate change and economic pressures. These findings are the heart of the “Farmer Voice” survey, a comprehensive study commissioned by Bayer, a life science company, and conducted by an independent agency. It’s a clarion call to action for the global agricultural community, as well as a testament to the resilience and adaptability of those who tend the Earth’s fields.

Climate Change Takes Center Stage

The survey paints a stark picture of the challenges faced by farmers across the globe. A staggering 71% of respondents affirmed that climate change has already left a substantial mark on their farms, and an even larger majority expressed concern about its impending consequences. Specifically, 76% of farmers worldwide voiced their anxieties about the potentially devastating effects of climate change, with Kenyan and Indian farmers emerging as the most concerned.

These concerns are not unfounded. Climate change has led to a surge in pest and disease pressure, as reported by a significant 73% of those surveyed. Moreover, farmers estimate a disheartening 15.7% reduction in their incomes over the past two years directly attributed to climate change. Alarmingly, one in six farmers has faced income losses exceeding 25% during this period, a somber testament to the profound impact of climatic shifts.

Rodrigo Santos, a Member of the Board of Management of Bayer AG and President of the Crop Science Division, emphasized the gravity of the situation. “Farmers are already experiencing the adverse effects of climate change on their fields, and at the same time, they play a key role in tackling this huge challenge,” he noted. Santos underlined the urgent need to put farmers’ voices at the forefront of global discussions, recognizing the threat climate change poses to global food security.

Economic Challenges Compound the Pressure

While climate change takes center stage, economic challenges loom large on the horizon. Over the next three years, economic concerns top the list of priorities for farmers, with 55% naming fertilizer costs among their top three challenges. Energy costs (47%), price and income volatility (37%), and the cost of crop protection (36%) follow closely behind. This concern is particularly pronounced in countries like Kenya, India, and Ukraine, where farmers grapple with the dual burden of economic challenges and climate change impacts.

For Ukrainian farmers, fertilizer costs are especially burdensome, with 70% citing it as a top challenge, mirroring the broader economic struggles faced by the country due to ongoing disruptions. Notably, 40% of Ukrainian farmers also mentioned the general disruption caused by the ongoing conflict as a significant challenge.

Innovations to Combat Climate Change

Farmers are not merely passive victims of climate change and economic challenges; they are actively seeking solutions. More than 80% of surveyed farmers are already implementing or planning measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Cover crops (43%), renewable energy or biofuels (37%), and innovative seeds to reduce fertilizer or crop protection use (33%) are top priority areas for sustainability efforts. Additionally, biodiversity conservation is a focal point, with 54% of farmers applying or planning measures to protect insects.

In terms of technology and innovation, farmers are eager for access to seeds and traits designed to withstand extreme weather conditions (53%), improved crop protection technology (50%), and better access to irrigation technology (42%). Improving land use efficiency, crop diversification, and soil health are also key strategies identified by farmers to secure a sustainable future.

Spotlight on Indian Smallholder Farmers

In a unique addition to the global survey, Bayer interviewed 2,056 Indian smallholder farmers, shedding light on the unique challenges faced by this critical demographic. While labor and fertilizer costs are their primary concerns, they also grapple with climate change-induced challenges such as reduced crop yields (42%) and increased pest pressures (31%). To mitigate these risks, Indian smallholders prioritize financial security through insurance (26%) and infrastructure improvement (21%).

Looking ahead, 60% of Indian smallholders believe that access to digital technologies and modern crop protection would be the most beneficial for their farms. Despite the challenges they face, a remarkable 80% of these smallholders remain optimistic about the future of farming.

A Global Consensus

The “Farmer Voice” survey stresses the global consensus among farmers on the pressing issues of climate change and economic pressures. While some variations exist between countries, the overarching concerns remain consistent. Rodrigo Santos concluded, “Farmers are facing multiple and related challenges. But despite this, we found that they are hopeful – almost three-quarters say they feel positive about the future of farming in their country.”

These survey results serve as a potent call to action for the entire food system to innovate, collaborate, and deliver the solutions that farmers urgently need. With a growing world population and limited time to address these issues, the global community must prioritize sustainable agriculture practices to ensure the resilience and prosperity of farming in the face of adversity.

The “Farmer Voice” survey, encompassing 800 farmers from eight countries, offers a crucial glimpse into the challenges and aspirations of those who feed the world. Conducted independently and anonymously, the survey offers unfiltered insights that demand our attention. As we navigate an uncertain future, it’s clear that the voices of farmers must be heard, and their concerns addressed promptly.



Nutrition Technologies has introduced Vitalis™, a patent-pending, 100% natural bioactive spray derived from Black Soldier Fly (BSF) frass. This innovative product has been carefully fermented and enriched with additional chitin and a unique microbial inoculant, Bacillus halotolerans, sourced directly from BSF larvae. The result? An immensely effective plant protection product that enhances natural plant defenses against pathogens and bolsters drought tolerance.

Nutrition Technologies, a pioneer in insect-based solutions, has been at the forefront of this revolutionary approach since 2015. Their commitment to leveraging natural systems and upcycling nutrients aligns perfectly with the principles of Decomposition Ecology. With a dedicated team of over 20 scientists and a state-of-the-art microbiology laboratory, they have subjected their products to rigorous testing both internally and with third-party collaborators.

Vitalis™ is meticulously formulated to address multiple facets of plant health. It acts as a potent shield against fungal diseases, promotes the proliferation of beneficial microbes, and delivers essential micronutrients to plants. The key to its success lies in the microbial inoculant and insect chitin. The isolated bacteria, a marvel from the larvae’s digestive system, has been proven to suppress plant pathogens by an astounding 96%. Meanwhile, the chitin, sourced from mature larvae exoskeletons, encourages the growth of chitin-degrading bacteria in the liquid, which effectively combats pathogenic fungi.

This harmonious blend fortifies the plant’s natural defenses, creating robust and disease-resistant foliage and root zones. Unlike conventional methods reliant on fungicides and aggressive soil treatments, Vitalis™ nourishes the soil by enhancing microbial activity, increasing nutrient availability, and ultimately promoting healthier plants. According to Nutrition Technologies, a single bottle of Vitalis™ packs a punch with 12 billion beneficial bacteria, providing a quick and efficient method to enhance soil microbial profiles and safeguard plants from fungal infections.

Versatility and Sustainable Production

Vitalis™ offers a versatile application, suitable for use as both a foliar spray and root drench. It can be employed on its own or in combination with Diptia®, another bioactive fertilizer from Nutrition Technologies.

Nutrition Technologies have also developed a low-energy tropical production system, a remarkable fusion of micro-organisms and Black Soldier Flies, capable of converting 60,000 metric tons of organic by-products annually into value-added products for livestock and agriculture. The Black Soldier Fly larvae, thriving in the Malaysian climate, require minimal energy for growth and breeding. This unique approach ensures not only cost-effective production but also maintains the highest standards of quality and safety. The company’s products are shipped worldwide, from Asia to North & South America and Europe, demonstrating their commitment to global agriculture.

A Critical Innovation for Food Security

Nick Piggott, Co-CEO of Nutrition Technologies, emphasizes the critical role Vitalis™ plays in safeguarding the global food supply chain. By addressing two of the most economically threatening plant pathogens, Ganoderma in oil palms and Fusarium oxysporum in bananas, Vitalis™ helps secure the future of these staple crops.

As the world contends with the challenges of food security, Nutrition Technologies’ pioneering approach demonstrates a significant leap towards a more sustainable and resilient agricultural future. The insect sector, as a whole, is gaining substantial attention, with the global insect protein market expected to grow exponentially. With nearly $1 billion in investments, it’s clear that this sector is determined to drive change and sustainability in agriculture.


An international team of researchers has achieved a significant milestone by successfully sequencing the genome of a climate-resilient bean variety, opening doors to improve food security in regions prone to drought. The sequencing of the hyacinth bean, also known as ‘lablab bean’ (Lablab purpureus), holds immense promise for expanding cultivation of this crop, which not only brings economic benefits but also adds much-needed diversity to the global food system.

Originally native to Africa, the hyacinth bean is grown across tropical regions, producing highly nutritious beans used for both human consumption and livestock feed. It has demonstrated exceptional resilience to drought and exhibits adaptability to various environmental conditions, thereby contributing to both food and economic security. Additionally, the hyacinth bean enhances soil fertility by nitrogen fixation and holds medicinal properties due to its bioactive compounds.

The extensive genetic diversity of the plant suggests the possibility of selecting adaptive genotypes tailored for different environments and climatic challenges. Despite its potential for genetic improvement to boost productivity and enable wider cultivation, especially in drought-prone areas, the full utilization of the hyacinth bean’s capabilities has yet to be realized.

Chris Jones, Program Leader for Feed and Forage Development at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Kenya and one of the lead authors of a new study published in Nature Communications, emphasized the importance of recognizing the high value of crops like the hyacinth bean for farmers struggling to produce sufficient food. While its cultivation may be smaller in scale compared to major crops, its impact on food security is significant.

In their study, the researchers identified the genomic location of crucial agronomic traits related to yield and seed/plant size. They also documented the organization of trypsin inhibitor genes, which could be targeted for breeding purposes to reduce anti-nutritional properties. Furthermore, the study traced the history of the hyacinth bean’s domestication, revealing that it occurred independently in two different locations. This finding paves the way for investigating the evolution of agronomic traits and exploring different pathways that can lead to similar outcomes.

The hyacinth bean is among several “orphan crops” that play a vital role in local nutrition and livelihoods but have received limited attention from breeders and researchers. Currently, wheat, rice, and maize account for over 40 percent of global calorie intake and receive the majority of breeding and crop improvement efforts. This lack of crop diversity renders the global food system susceptible to environmental and social instabilities. Underutilized crops like the hyacinth bean hold the key to developing diversified and climate-resilient food systems. Genome-assisted breeding emerges as a promising strategy to enhance their productivity and adoption.

Oluwaseyi Shorinola, another lead author of the study from the International Livestock Research Institute and a visiting scientist at the John Innes Centre in the United Kingdom, sees the potential for orphan crops like the hyacinth bean to pave the way for the next green revolution. The first green revolution witnessed significant advancements in major crops such as wheat and rice, and now it is time for underutilized crops to take center stage.

Notably, this research project stands out not only for its scientific breakthrough but also for its African-led approach. African scientists led the project, collaborating with international institutes. Meki Shehabu, a scientist at ILRI in Ethiopia and co-author of the study, highlighted the significance of African scientists taking a leading role in the research. Overcoming contextual challenges, such as limited sequencing facilities, computing infrastructure, and bioinformatics capacity in Africa, the team utilized low-cost portable sequencing platforms and conducted extensive capacity building initiatives. The project’s success was achieved through an Africa-based eight-month residential bioinformatics training program, promoting knowledge transfer and skill development.

You may also want to read about: The Role of Biostimulants and Climate Smart Farming

Looking ahead, the research team anticipates that the genome sequencing of the hyacinth bean will inspire further genetic improvement efforts not only for this crop but also for other underutilized indigenous crops. Their goal is to enhance food and feed availability not only in Africa but also globally.

The implications of this breakthrough extend beyond the scientific community. The findings emphasize the importance of recognizing and valuing crops based on their local significance and impact on food security, rather than solely considering their global market value. Orphan crops like the hyacinth bean may not receive the same level of attention as major crops, but their potential to improve food security in regions facing challenges such as drought is immense.

Diversifying the global food system is crucial to building resilience against environmental uncertainties and social disruptions. By embracing and harnessing the genetic diversity of underutilized crops, such as the hyacinth bean, farmers and communities can adapt to changing climatic conditions and enhance their livelihoods.

The success of this research project serves as a testament to the power of collaboration, inclusivity, and African leadership in addressing agricultural challenges. It demonstrates the importance of involving scientists from diverse backgrounds and regions to tackle complex issues and find sustainable solutions.

As the world faces increasing pressure to ensure food security for a growing population, studies like this highlight the untapped potential of indigenous crops. By investing in research, genetic improvement, and sustainable farming practices, we can unlock the full potential of underutilized crops, creating a more resilient and diverse global food system.

The groundbreaking achievements in sequencing the hyacinth bean genome not only provide a stepping stone towards enhanced food security in drought-prone regions but also offer valuable insights into the genomics of other indigenous crops. This knowledge can revolutionize agricultural practices and contribute to a more sustainable and inclusive future for global agriculture.

Eagmark Agri-Hub will continue to follow the progress of this research and provide updates on the utilization of the hyacinth bean’s genetic potential, as well as other advancements in the field of agriculture, to support a resilient and thriving agricultural sector worldwide.

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Carbon dioxide removal (CDR) technologies, which provide a means of taking carbon out of the atmosphere, are one of the hottest areas of climate research, but also the most controversial. The debate over whether and how to develop CDR has been ignited by the release of the final section of the comprehensive review of climate science by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The report found that ways of capturing and storing carbon dioxide might play a role in trying to keep global temperatures within safe bounds. However, scientists and policymakers are divided. Some say the technology must be the immediate priority for research. Others urge caution, and warn against putting faith in untested technology before we have even fully deployed the reliable low-carbon technologies that we already have.

A rash of new technology startups bears witness to the potential business opportunity that many companies and investors see in CDR. These fledgling companies are exploring everything from “scrubbers” that chemically remove carbon dioxide from the air, to “biochar,” which creates fertilizer from burning wood waste without oxygen, and carbon capture and storage (CCS) by which carbon dioxide is liquefied and pumped into underground geological formations.

But the key section of the IPCC report, which ignited the controversy, was fiercely fought over by scientists and governments up until the last moments before the document was finalized. Many scientists, campaigners and green experts are unhappy with the references as they fear that giving the impression there are viable options for removing carbon dioxide might engender a false sense of security. Most CDR technologies are unproven, are likely to be limited in scope, take years to develop and will cost large amounts of money.

Friederike Otto, a lead author of the IPCC report and associate director of the Environmental Change Institute at the University of Oxford, stated that the report was not intended to endorse any particular technology or solution. Instead, it was meant to highlight the urgency of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the potential role of CDR in achieving that goal.

Otto also pointed out that the IPCC report was based on the best available scientific evidence and that it did not promote any specific CDR technology. Rather, it recognized that there are different options available and that further research is needed to evaluate their potential and feasibility.

You may also want to read about: Navigating the Challenges of Climate Change in Agriculture: The Role of Biostimulants and Climate Smart Farming

Despite the controversy surrounding CDR, many experts agree that it is a critical tool in the fight against climate change. According to a report by the National Academy of Sciences, the United States could remove up to 10 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year by using a combination of natural and technological approaches.

The report found that to meet climate goals, carbon dioxide removal technologies and strategies will need to remove roughly 10 gigatons of CO2 every year by 2050. The report also discusses possible carbon dioxide removal (CDR) approaches and then discusses them in depth.

The report also noted that CDR alone cannot solve the problem of climate change, and that it must be accompanied by efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the use of renewable energy, energy efficiency, and other measures.

While the development and deployment of CDR technologies remain a divisive issue among scientists, policymakers, and the public, many experts agree that they have the potential to play a vital role in mitigating the worst effects of climate change. However, it is crucial to approach the issue with caution, and to ensure that the development of these technologies is guided by scientific evidence, cost-effectiveness, and environmental sustainability.


The use of antibiotics in farming is endangering the human immune system by causing the emergence of bacteria that are more resistant to it, scientists have warned. According to research conducted by the Department of Biology, University of Oxford, the antimicrobial colistin, which was once used as a growth promoter on pig and chicken farms in China, has resulted in the emergence of E. coli strains that are more likely to evade the human immune system’s first line of defense.

Although colistin is now banned as a livestock food additive in China and many other countries, the findings highlight the danger of indiscriminate use of antibiotic drugs. Professor Craig MacLean, who led the research, stated that this is potentially much more dangerous than resistance to antibiotics. The accidental compromising of our own immune system to get fatter chickens is an unintended consequence of the overuse of antimicrobials in agriculture.

The study also has significant implications for the development of new antibiotic medicines in the same class as colistin, known as antimicrobial peptides (AMPs). These peptides are compounds produced by most living organisms in their innate immune response, which is the first line of defense against infection. Colistin is based on a bacterial AMP, and the extensive use of colistin in livestock from the 1980s triggered the emergence and spread of E. coli bacteria carrying colistin resistance genes, which eventually prompted widespread restrictions on the drug’s use in agriculture.

You may also want to read: USDA Develops New Avian Influenza Vaccine to Protect Poultry Industry

In the study published in the journal eLife, E. coli carrying a resistance gene called MCR-1 were exposed to AMPs known to play important roles in innate immunity in chickens, pigs, and humans. The bacteria were also tested for their susceptibility to human blood serum. The scientists found that E. coli carrying the MCR-1 gene were at least twice as resistant to being killed by human serum. On average, the gene increased resistance to human and animal AMPs by 62% compared with bacteria that lacked the gene.

The findings highlight a fundamental risk that has not yet been extensively considered. “The danger is that if bacteria evolve resistance to [AMP-based drugs], it could also make bacteria resistant to one of the pillars of our immune system,” said MacLean.

Another class of antibiotics known as fluoroquinolone antibiotics are considered “critically important for human health” by the World Health Organization. Fluoroquinolones are frequently used in the treatment of severe salmonella infections in humans.

Giving medicines to animals has come under criticism as experts warn of the dangers of potentially lethal bacteria acquiring antibiotic resistance, which means treatments may no longer be effective in treating human infections. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria, also known as “superbugs,” are posing a growing threat to human health, with an estimated 1.2 million deaths worldwide in 2019.

Antimicrobial resistance poses a dire global threat – the UN has warned that as many as 10 million people a year could be dying by 2050 as a result of superbugs – and so the need for new antibiotics is pressing. There is growing interest in the potential of AMPs as drugs, and some of those in development include drugs based on human AMPs. However, MacLean and colleagues are not calling for the development of such drugs to be put on hold, but say extremely careful risk assessments of the likelihood of resistance emerging and the potential consequences are required.

The study suggests that resistance to antimicrobial peptides may have unintended consequences on the ability of pathogens to cause infection and survive within the host. The findings also highlight the urgent need for careful risk assessments of the likelihood of resistance emerging and the potential consequences, particularly for the development of new antibiotic medicines in the same class as colistin.


The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is working tirelessly to combat the ongoing avian influenza outbreaks. Avian flu is a highly contagious disease that can have devastating impacts on the poultry industry, causing significant economic losses for producers. The USDA is taking a multi-faceted approach to mitigate the spread of the virus, including the development of a new vaccine, enhanced biosecurity measures, and on-the-ground personnel to quickly respond to cases and prevent the disease’s spread.

The USDA is conducting trials for a new avian influenza vaccine designed to prevent the spread of the virus. The vaccine targets a specific part of the avian flu virus and is designed to be highly effective and provide long-lasting protection against the disease. The trials are being conducted in partnership with several poultry producers across the US. If successful, the vaccine could be made available to producers in the near future, providing a valuable tool in the fight against avian flu and helping to protect the health and wellbeing of both poultry and humans.

Enhanced biosecurity measures are also a crucial part of the USDA’s efforts to combat avian influenza. The department has reinforced the importance of biosecurity, enhanced surveillance, and testing, and the use of on-the-ground personnel to quickly respond to cases and prevent the disease’s spread. Biosecurity is the best defense against avian influenza, and the USDA encourages all bird owners to review resources on managing wildlife to prevent avian influenza, evaluate their biosecurity plans, and develop strategies to prevent any exposure to wild birds or their droppings.

In April 2023, the USDA held a stakeholder roundtable with poultry industry leaders and state government officials to discuss the current and future HPAI strategy and opportunities for continued collaboration. Participants had the opportunity to hear from USDA leaders and other experts from USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and the Agricultural Research Service, which is testing a number of potential vaccines. The lessons learned since the last major HPAI outbreak have reinforced the importance of biosecurity, enhanced surveillance and testing, and on-the-ground personnel to quickly respond to cases and prevent the disease’s spread.

Since the first case of HPAI was confirmed in a commercial flock in the US in February 2022, the USDA has quick to identify cases and respond immediately to stop the virus from spreading. Thanks to collaborative state and industry partnerships and enhanced national animal disease preparedness and response capabilities, the USDA is successfully controlling this outbreak and mitigating its impact on poultry production and trade. USDA has also achieved tremendous cost-savings during this outbreak – almost 50% over the last outbreak – while also working to secure regionalization agreements and keep markets open with key trading partners.


Syngenta Seeds, one of the world’s leading agricultural technology companies, and Ginkgo Bioworks, a platform for cell programming and biosecurity, announced a partnership to discover novel traits in plants through screening a targeted genetic library.

The research partnership aims to provide information for future seed trait development, so farmers can grow more resilient crops. Ginkgo’s protein engineering capabilities and proprietary ultra-high-throughput screening technologies will work with Syngenta’s efforts to design and develop innovative plant traits.

This collaboration demonstrates the value of seeking out collaborations across diverse industries and addressing challenges that farmers face worldwide. The partnership will leverage new ideas and technologies to solve pressing challenges facing agriculture. According to Agribusiness Global, Magalie Guilhabert, Vice President, Head of Ag Biologicals at Ginkgo Bioworks, expressed excitement to partner with Syngenta to bring the next generation of innovative products to farmers.


Malnutrition, particularly a lack in micronutrients, has been linked to anemia, weariness, and in some cases has been implicated in blindness, accounting for 17% of all fatalities in children under the age of five in underdeveloped nations.

While micronutrient deficiency is a type of malnutrition, it has been linked to poor mental development, increased oxidative stress, reduced growth in babies, and inadequate immunity to diseases.

Researchers from the University of Ibadan and IITACGIAR in Nigeria found that a lack of micronutrients in the diet causes “hidden hunger,” necessitating the consumption of foods fortified with sufficient amounts of bioavailable micronutrients.

Due to the substantial reliance on maize-based meals in developing nations and the prevalence of micronutrient deficiencies, maize is an ideal source for biofortification due to its low cost of production and rising use in processed goods in these nations.

The grains of maize are a significant crop that can help ensure global food security and contain no anti-nutrients. They comprise roughly 72% starch, 10% protein, 4.8% fat, 8.5% dietary fiber, and 3.0% sugar. Unfortunately, the majority of maize genotypes have low levels of important elements including iron and zinc as well as vitamin A.

The orange and yellow colors of maize have been associated with higher nutritional value due to the presence of carotenoids, especially zeaxanthin and -carotene which impart the color, according to a study conducted to analyze the genetic components of micronutrients like zinc, iron, and provitamin A (PVA) content in tropical maize (Zea mays L.).

The genetic potential of the crop may be obscured because soil and climatic conditions have a significant impact on how micronutrients accumulate in plants. Nonetheless, substantial heritability estimates for zinc and iron accumulation in maize have been reported, showing the absence of environmental influences on physical expression of these traits and the potential for passing them on to the next generation of seeds.

The carotenoid biosynthesis pathway in maize results in the accumulation of provitamin A, which is then converted to vitamin A in the human body through the actions of certain enzymes after consumption.

At the IITA headquarters in Ibadan, 24 yellow to orange endosperm tropical maize inbred lines were crossed utilizing the North Carolina design II. These lines ranged in zinc and provitamin A content from low to high. Based on similarities in zinc and provitamin A concentrations identified in prior seasons, these inbred lines were grouped into six groups, each containing four inbred lines, to produce six sets of crosses.

The study’s findings indicated that while both additive and non-additive gene effects are significant in the inheritance of zinc content and grain yield, additive gene effects influenced provitamin A and iron content in maize to a greater extent.

Aiming to create synthetics, hybrids, and new inbred lines of maize with high levels of micronutrient enrichment and outstanding agronomic performance, high general combining ability inbred lines with effects on micronutrient content and grain production were also found.

During the study, hybrids with notable particular combining ability effects on PVA, iron, and zinc were also discovered.

A key goal of the SDG 2 is food and nutrition security, and IITA-CGIAR research is strategically focusing on a multifaceted strategy to meet this. This study suggests future investigation into the possibility of utilizing heterosis for provitamin A and mineral nutrients in maize, a significant crop that millions of smallholder farmers in rural Africa rely on for food, nutrition, and financial security.



A new report by McKinsey & Company has found that climate change will have a severe impact on smallholder farmers in India, Ethiopia, and Mexico, with up to 80% of such farmers likely to be affected by climate hazards such as drought, flooding, and extreme heat. The report, titled “What climate-smart agriculture means for smallholder farmers”, also highlights that climate change will affect land suitability for crop production, with India alone set to lose 450,000 square kilometers of land currently usable for rain-fed rice cultivation. Despite smallholder farmers producing 32% of the world’s agriculture-related greenhouse gas emissions and being among the most vulnerable to climate change, there is currently no clear roadmap for adopting countermeasures or prioritizing necessary investments to support smallholders in mitigating and adapting to climate change.

The report identifies 33 climate adaptation and mitigation measures for smallholder farmers, ranging from rotational grazing to dry direct-seeding technologies, and calls for governments and the private sector to form clusters of similar smallholder farmers to scale up the adoption of multiple measures. It also suggests investing in climate-resilient infrastructure, forming national agricultural research systems pioneering new technologies, and helping farmers bring sustainable new crops to market. Climate-resilient farming practices will be vital in reducing global inequality and driving inclusive growth, given smallholder farmers’ disproportionate vulnerability to climate risks, and the fact that they produce a third of the world’s food while demand is set to soar 60% by 2050.

Additionally, the report recommends building land management plans around reducing climate hazards, increasing crop insurance, and better food security planning to mitigate climate risks, and using taxes, subsidies, and other incentives to encourage sustainable farming. The report also emphasizes the need for further guidance on which measures to prioritize in each region, as the applicability of measures varies across and within countries due to different farming systems and practices. For instance, fertilizer application rates are five times higher in India than in Ethiopia, making soil- and fertilizer-related mitigation measures a higher priority in India.

According to the report, 75% of smallholder farmers could feasibly adopt at least three of the adaptation measures identified, and the more they implement, the greater their climate resilience will be. The report also notes that smallholder farmers account for a third of CO2 emissions from agriculture and food supplies, and implementing climate-smart agriculture could reduce greenhouse gas emissions while supporting vulnerable populations and improving global food security.

However, smallholder farms are often fragmented and have limited access to inputs, new technologies, and financing, which makes climate adaptation and mitigation challenging. Governments, financiers, development organizations, and private-sector players have a key role to play in supporting the shift to more sustainable practices among smallholder farmers, prioritizing measures, identifying clusters of farmers for implementation of these measures, and piloting business models or incentives to drive adoption. For example, in Africa, some actors are already piloting efforts to connect smallholders to carbon markets or to climate-smart lending, encouraging adoption of these practices.


Inset: Photo of roots that contain different dosages of a family of genes that affects root architecture, allowing wheat plants to grow longer roots and take in more water – Gilad Gabay / UC Davis.

The research team from the University of California, Davis has discovered that growing wheat in drought conditions may become easier in the future, thanks to their new genetic research. The team found that by stimulating longer root growth, wheat plants can pull water from deeper supplies. This results in plants with more biomass and higher grain yield, making them more resistant to low water conditions.

The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, provides new tools to modify wheat root architecture to withstand low water conditions. Gilad Gabay, a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis and the first author on the paper, said that this finding is a useful tool to engineer root systems to improve yield under drought conditions in wheat.

According to the researchers, roots play a crucial role in plants as they absorb water and nutrients to support plant growth. The discovery of a gene family called OPRIII, and that different copies of these genes affect root length, is a significant step in understanding the genes that affect the root structure of wheat.

Distinguished Professor Jorge Dubcovsky, the project leader in the lab where Gabay works, said that the duplication of the OPRIII genes results in increased production of a plant hormone called Jasmonic acid that causes the accelerated production of lateral roots. Different dosages of these genes can be used to obtain different roots.

The researchers used CRISPR gene editing technology to eliminate some of the OPRIII genes duplicated in wheat lines with shorter roots. On the other hand, increasing the copies of these genes caused shorter and more branched roots. But inserting a rye chromosome resulted in decreased OPRIII wheat genes and longer roots.

Fine-tuning the dosage of the OPRIII genes can allow researchers to engineer root systems that are adapted to drought, normal conditions, and different scenarios. By knowing the right combination of genes, researchers can search for wheat varieties that have those natural variations and breed them for release to growers planting in low-water environments.

Losses from water stress can erase the improvements in wheat production. Thus, plants that can adapt to low water conditions while having increased yield will be crucial in growing enough food for a growing population in the face of global warming.

Contributors to the paper include researchers from UC Berkeley, Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Maryland, Fudan University in China, National University of San Martin in Argentina, China Agricultural University, Technological Institute of Chascomús in Argentina, University of Haifa in Israel, and UC Riverside Metabolomics Core Facility.

Funding for the researchers came from the BARD US-Israel Agricultural Research and Development Fund, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and National Natural Science Foundation of China.


CRISPR, or Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats, is a revolutionary gene-editing tool that has the potential to transform the agriculture industry. This innovative technology allows scientists and researchers to precisely target and alter specific genes within an organism’s DNA, paving the way for the development of crops that are more resistant to pests and diseases, require less water and fertilizers, and have a longer shelf life.

CRISPR works by targeting specific sequences of DNA within an organism’s genome and making precise changes to those sequences. The process begins with the identification of the specific gene or genes that are to be edited. Once the target gene has been identified, a small piece of RNA, known as a guide RNA, is designed to bind to the target gene. The guide RNA is then combined with an enzyme called Cas9, which functions like molecular scissors, to cut the DNA at the specific location targeted by the guide RNA.

Once the DNA has been cut, the cell’s natural repair mechanisms are activated and the DNA is either repaired or replaced with a new sequence of DNA. The new sequence can be one that is naturally found in the organism, or it can be a synthetic sequence that has been designed to introduce a specific change or trait into the organism.

Revolutionizing Agriculture: The Power of CRISPR

In the case of agriculture, CRISPR can be used to modify the genes of crops in order to enhance specific traits, such as pest resistance, drought tolerance, or nutritional content. For example, scientists might use CRISPR to introduce a gene from a pest-resistant plant into a crop species that are prone to pest damage. This could result in a crop that is more resistant to pests and requires fewer pesticides to protect it. Similarly, CRISPR could be used to modify the genes of a crop to make it more drought-tolerant, or to enhance its nutritional content by increasing its levels of certain vitamins or minerals.

CRISPR has the potential to greatly enhance the resilience of crops, making them better able to withstand extreme weather conditions, pests, and diseases. By modifying the genes of crops, scientists can create varieties that are more resistant to drought, flooding, and high temperatures, which can significantly reduce crop losses and improve food security.

For example, CRISPR has been used to develop maize varieties that are more drought-tolerant. Maize is a major food crop that is grown around the world, and drought is a major factor that can reduce crop yields. By introducing genes from drought-tolerant plants into the corn seeds, scientists have been able to create maize varieties that are able to survive prolonged periods of drought. This could have a significant impact on food security in areas that are prone to drought and reduce the risk of crop failure.

In addition to improving drought tolerance, CRISPR can also be used to enhance the resilience of crops to other extreme weather conditions. For example, scientists have used CRISPR to develop rice varieties that are more resistant to flooding. Flooding is a major threat to rice crops, and it can cause significant losses for farmers. By creating rice varieties that are more resistant to flooding, CRISPR has the potential to improve food security and reduce the risk of crop failure in areas that are prone to flooding.

In addition to improving crop resilience, CRISPR can also be used to boost crop yields. Scientists have used CRISPR technology to develop crops that are more resistant to pests and diseases, which can greatly reduce the need for pesticides and herbicides. This not only reduces the environmental impact of agriculture, but it can also reduce the costs of production for farmers.

By modifying the genes of crops, scientists can create varieties that are more resistant to pests and diseases, which can greatly reduce the need for pesticides and herbicides. This not only reduces the environmental impact of agriculture, but it can also reduce production costs for farmers.

For example, CRISPR has been used to create potato varieties that are resistant to the potato blight fungus, which can devastate potato crops and cause significant losses for farmers. By eliminating the need for pesticides and herbicides, CRISPR has the potential to greatly improve the efficiency and profitability of potato production.

In addition to increasing pest and disease resistance, CRISPR can also be used to enhance other factors that influence crop yields. Scientists have used CRISPR to modify the genes of rice to improve its photosynthetic efficiency, which can increase crop yields. Other studies have shown that CRISPR can be used to increase the size and number of seeds produced by crops, which can also boost crop yields.

Another potential application of CRISPR in agriculture is the creation of crops with improved nutritional profiles. By altering the genes of certain crops, it is possible to enhance their levels of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that are essential for human health. This could be especially beneficial for populations that are at risk of malnutrition, such as those living in developing countries.

Researchers have used CRISPR to modify the genes of rice to increase its levels of beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A deficiency is a major health problem in many developing countries, and it can cause serious problems, including blindness. By creating rice varieties that are rich in beta-carotene, CRISPR has the potential to improve the nutrition of millions of people around the world.

In addition to increasing the levels of specific nutrients, CRISPR can also be used to create crops with more balanced nutritional profiles. CRISPR technology has been used to modify the genes of wheat to increase its levels of zinc and iron, which are essential nutrients that are often lacking in the diets of people in developing countries. By creating crops that are rich in these nutrients, CRISPR has the potential to improve the nutrition of millions of people around the world.

From Drought-Tolerant Crop Varieties to Longer Shelf Life: The Many Possibilities of CRISPR in Agriculture

The benefits don’t stop at that point. There are many other potential benefits of CRISPR in the agricultural sector. Some of the other potential benefits of CRISPR in agriculture include:

  • Creating crops with a longer shelf life: By modifying the genes of certain crops, it is possible to increase their shelf life and reduce spoilage and waste. This could be especially beneficial for crops that are prone to rapid deterioration, such as fruits and vegetables.
  • Reducing the environmental impact of agriculture: CRISPR can be used to create crops that require less water and fertilizers to grow, which can help to reduce the environmental impact of agriculture. It can also be used to create crops that are more resistant to pests and diseases, reducing the need for pesticides and herbicides.
  • Improving the efficiency of agriculture: CRISPR can be used to create crops that are more efficient at converting sunlight and other resources into biomass, which can increase crop yields and reduce the resources required to produce a given amount of food.
  • Enhancing the flavor and quality of crops: By modifying the genes of certain crops, it is possible to improve their flavor and other sensory qualities, which can make them more appealing to consumers.
  • Developing crops that can grow in challenging environments: CRISPR can be used to create crops that are able to thrive in environments that are traditionally inhospitable to agriculture, such as salty or arid soils. This could open up new areas for agriculture and help to improve food security in regions that are currently unable to support traditional crops.

Controversial Concerns of CRISPR in Agriculture

While the potential benefits of CRISPR in agriculture are significant, there are also concerns about the potential risks and unintended consequences of gene editing. These concerns center around the possibility that CRISPR could have negative impacts on the environment and human health, as well as ethical and social implications.

One of the major concerns about CRISPR in agriculture is the potential for negative impacts on the environment. There are concerns that gene-edited crops could have unintended consequences on non-target species, such as insects and birds. For example, if a gene that is toxic to pests is introduced into a crop, it could also be toxic to other species that feed on the crop, such as birds or butterflies. There are also concerns that gene-edited crops could have unintended impacts on soil health and other aspects of the environment.

Another concern about CRISPR in agriculture is the potential for negative impacts on human health. Some experts have raised concerns about the possibility that gene-edited crops could have unintended consequences on human health, such as the potential for allergenic reactions. There are also concerns about the long-term safety of consuming genetically modified foods, as the effects of consuming such foods over an extended period of time are not yet fully understood.

In addition to these concerns, there are also ethical and social implications of CRISPR in agriculture. Some experts have raised concerns about the potential for gene editing to be used to create crops with traits that are considered desirable by certain groups, while others are left behind. There are also concerns about the potential for gene editing to be used to create crops with traits that are considered “designer,” such as crops with specific flavors or colors, which could lead to further inequality and social divides.

Despite these concerns, the use of CRISPR in agriculture is expected to continue to grow in the coming years. As the technology becomes more refined and widely accepted, it is likely to play a key role in addressing some of the major challenges facing the agriculture industry, including food security, sustainability, and nutrition.

While the potential benefits of CRISPR in agriculture are significant, it is important to carefully consider the potential risks and unintended consequences of this technology. It is essential that the use of CRISPR in agriculture be carefully regulated and monitored to ensure that it is used in a responsible and ethical manner.

To begin with, the use of CRISPR in agriculture can be regulated and monitored to ensure that it is used in a responsible and ethical manner. Some of the ways in which this can be done include:

  • Establishing regulatory frameworks to govern the use of CRISPR in agriculture. These frameworks can include guidelines for the development and use of gene-edited crops, as well as procedures for evaluating the potential risks and benefits of such crops.
  • Seeking pre-market approval for gene-edited crops before they are allowed to be grown and sold. This can help to ensure that gene-edited crops are safe for human consumption and the environment.
  • Conducting independent testing of gene-edited crops to evaluate their safety and effectiveness. This can help to ensure that gene-edited crops are safe for human consumption and the environment.
  • Labeling gene-edited products so that consumers are informed about the presence of gene-edited ingredients in the products they purchase. This can be done through labeling requirements that clearly indicate the presence of gene-edited ingredients in products.
  • Ensuring transparency and openness to public scrutiny when developing and using gene-edited crops which can help to ensure that the risks and benefits of gene-edited crops are fully understood and considered.

The potential applications of CRISPR in agriculture are vast and varied and cannot be understated. This technology has the potential to revolutionize the way we grow our food and address some of the major challenges facing the agriculture industry. However, while the potential benefits of CRISPR in agriculture are significant, it is important to carefully consider the potential risks and unintended consequences of this technology for the benefit of the consumers and to allay public fears. One would argue that it is essential that the use of CRISPR in agriculture be carefully regulated and monitored to ensure that it is used in a responsible and ethical manner.


December 10, 2022 BLOGRESEARCH0

Data has become increasingly important in the field of agriculture, as it can help farmers make more informed decisions about how to manage their crops and livestock. By collecting and analyzing data on factors such as weather, soil conditions, and pest populations, farmers can make more precise predictions about how their crops will grow, and take steps to optimize their yield.

One of the key ways that data is used in agriculture is through the use of precision farming techniques. These techniques involve the use of sensors and other technologies to collect data on a variety of factors that can affect crop growth, such as soil moisture levels, temperature, and sunlight exposure. This data is then used to create detailed maps of individual fields, which can help farmers identify areas that may need extra attention or resources.

For example, a farmer might use data to determine that a certain part of their field is particularly dry, and use that information to adjust their irrigation schedule accordingly. By doing so, they can help ensure that their crops receive the right amount of water at the right times, which can improve their overall health and yield.

In addition to helping farmers manage their crops more effectively, data can also be used to monitor livestock health and optimize feeding and breeding practices. For example, farmers might use data on an animal’s weight and feeding habits to determine the most efficient feeding schedule or use data on an animal’s genetic makeup to make more informed breeding decisions.

The need for farm-level analysis is reinforced by recent policy shifts in the agricultural sector. Many nations have shifted away from market intervention and general payments to farmers in favor of more effective measures that directly target specific objectives like low-income support, eco-services, and adopting technologies and practices that increase productivity, sustainability, and resilience.

Overall, the use of data in agriculture has the potential to greatly improve the efficiency and productivity of farming operations. By providing farmers with more precise information about their crops and animals, data can help them make better decisions and ultimately produce more food for an increasingly growing population.

Data opportunities in agriculture

In rural areas of the developing world, smallholder farmers are the largest employment sector and the most significant contributors to global food production. Family farms account for more than 90% of all farms worldwide; They manage 75% of the farmland and produce 80% of the food.

However, the development of worldwide food creation versus utilization and advancement of world demography shows that there are serious areas of strength for expanding yield. FAO highlights the following facts about the global situation regarding food security and nutrition:

  • Since 2015, there has been no reduction in the prevalence of hunger and malnutrition worldwide, which continues to affect nearly 11% of the population. This indicates that the total number of people experiencing hunger is rising.
  • Over 2 billion individuals “do not have regular access to safe, nutritious, and sufficient food” in 2019.

Climate change is also having a significant impact on yields at the same time. Reports from various international research organizations show that rainfed maize yields in some parts of Africa could fall by as much as 25% by 2050 compared to levels in 2000. Working toward increasing yields is one of the most promising opportunities to address this multifaceted challenge.

Increasing farmers’ access to a wider range of services, such as trade services, financial services, and extension services, could close these gaps. Since it is anticipated that 85% of farmers’ households will have a mobile phone by 2025, these services can now be provided on a large scale through ICT. The combination of three services – access to finance, advisory services, and market linkages – can result in a 57% increase in farmers’ income and a 168% increase in yield as an illustration of this opportunity.

The most promising method for providing services on a large scale is through the use of ICT technologies; however, the content of these services and their capacity to provide accurate, actionable information or results depend on their capacity to aggregate various data sources.

The mash-up of global data such as satellite images, research studies, databases containing information about crops, seeds, pests, and diseases, etc. is where the majority of stakeholders find the design of the service at the farmer’s level (documentation of field ownership, credit records, etc.) and information based in the field (such as information about the soil, location, state of the fields, crops, etc.) to figure out the content (such as the right information to use when making a decision). Both the availability of new products to support farmers’ production (credit, insurance, etc.) are outcomes at the farmer level and the accessibility of current data to aid in decision-making.

Identifying important datasets related to farming crop cycles

Numerous datasets could be utilized to provide farmers with information and services. Some datasets may be useful at various points in the crop cycle, depending on the requirements. Market prices are an illustration of this. If market prices have a time series that shows how prices have changed recently over the past few years, they can be used to choose the crop to grow. Market prices are also useful during the selling stage, but for this dataset to be useful, the information must be nearly real-time. Obviously, some datasets are only available at the country level; however, other datasets, such as weather data or satellite images, may be available locally, regionally, or globally.

Data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML)

The generation of a substantial amount of data is made possible by the mashup of global datasets and farm-level data. The majority of services that have been made available to date have been fairly basic, involving the use of ICT to provide the service and human analysis of the data pertaining to a specific use case.

Future opportunities are provided by new methods, particularly Big Data, blockchain, data science, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. This includes predictive analysis like yield forecasts that will inform all actors in the value chain, from public authorities to traders, providing early warning of potential food security risks.

Increased data availability will make these future strategies feasible. The volume of data will grow exponentially, providing more opportunities for more advanced predictive automatic services, as farm-level data become more readily available, automatic data collection through, for example, sensors begin to spread at scale, and governments, international organizations, all actors, including the private sector, release more open datasets and increase access to big data streams. These services have a greater impact and are more long-lasting because they offer more added value at lower prices than the previous generation of ICT services. With the availability and growth of data science capabilities in almost every nation on the planet, the trend is evident and is likely to result in a new wave of services in the coming years.

The Potential of Big Data and IoT in Agriculture for Africa

The potential of big data and the internet of things (IoT) in agriculture is immense, particularly for the African continent. By harnessing the power of these technologies, African farmers can improve the efficiency and productivity of their operations, while also gaining access to valuable data and insights that can help them make better-informed decisions.

Big data refers to the vast amounts of data generated by various sources, including sensors, devices, and machines. This data can provide valuable information about various aspects of agriculture, including crop yields, soil health, weather conditions, and pest infestations. By analyzing this data, farmers can gain a better understanding of their operations and make more informed decisions about how to optimize their crops and maximize their yields.

The IoT, on the other hand, refers to the network of interconnected devices and sensors that can collect and transmit data in real-time. This technology can be used in agriculture to monitor and control various aspects of the farming process, such as irrigation systems, soil moisture levels, and crop health. By using the IoT, farmers can automate many of the tasks involved in agriculture and reduce the need for manual labor, which can be time-consuming and labor-intensive.

One of the key benefits of big data and the IoT in agriculture is their ability to help farmers make more accurate predictions about the future. By analyzing historical data and trends, farmers can make more informed decisions about when to plant and harvest their crops, as well as how to allocate their resources to maximize their yields. This can help farmers avoid potential losses due to unforeseen events, such as drought or pests, and ensure that their operations remain profitable.

Additionally, big data and the IoT can help farmers gain access to valuable market insights and information about the demand for their products. By using data analytics tools, farmers can track trends in the agricultural market and adjust their operations accordingly to ensure that they are producing crops that are in high demand. This can help farmers increase their revenues and improve the sustainability of their operations.

In conclusion, the potential of big data and the IoT in agriculture is vast, particularly for the African continent. By leveraging these technologies, African farmers can improve the efficiency and productivity of their operations, while also gaining access to valuable data and insights that can help them make better-informed decisions. This can ultimately help to drive economic growth and development in Africa, while also improving the livelihoods of farmers across the continent.

The future of big data and IoT in agriculture for Africa

The future of big data and IoT in agriculture for Africa is an exciting prospect that has the potential to revolutionize the industry and help alleviate food insecurity on the continent.

One of the key challenges facing agriculture in Africa is the lack of access to accurate and timely data. This can make it difficult for farmers to make informed decisions about their crops and livestock, leading to lower productivity and profitability.

However, the advent of big data and IoT technologies has the potential to change this. By using sensors, drones, and other IoT devices, farmers can collect and analyze real-time data on factors such as soil moisture, temperature, and plant health. This data can then be used to optimize irrigation, fertilization, and pest control, leading to more efficient and sustainable farming practices.

In addition, big data and IoT technologies can help improve supply chain management and reduce food waste. By tracking the movement of crops and livestock from the farm to the market, farmers and supply chain managers can better forecast demand and adjust production accordingly. This can help reduce food spoilage and waste, which is a major issue in many parts of Africa.

Furthermore, big data and IoT technologies can also help connect farmers with other stakeholders in the agricultural ecosystem, such as buyers, processors, and distributors. This can help create new market opportunities for farmers and improve access to finance and other resources.

Overall, the future of big data and IoT in agriculture for Africa is full of potential. By leveraging these technologies, farmers can improve their productivity and profitability, and help address the challenges of food insecurity and environmental sustainability on the continent.


The 1st and 2nd Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) are to end poverty and hunger by 2030. However, those goals now seem “out of reach,” according to a new World Bank Report that has revealed that the developments to fighting poverty has ground to a halt based on the slow global economic growth.

The slow global economic growth is majorly attributed to COVID-19 which dealt the biggest setback to ending global poverty in recent times and probably in the decades to come. Other contributions to this setback are the global economic shocks that have resulted due to rising food and energy prices as consequences of the climate shocks and conflict between Russia and Ukraine who are among the world’s biggest food producers.

This 2022 report is the first to be released by World Bank since it unveiled the new international poverty index from $1.90 to $2.15. With this, it is estimated that about 600 million individuals will be living below the poverty line and will face extreme poverty by 2030. This is a grim statistic since it is more than twice the number set out in the Sustainable Development Goals.

The projected rise in extreme poverty could lead to unprecedented global hunger, instability, less climate-resilient initiatives, and definitely low food production that will spur less and unsustainable economic growth.

The progress to reduce global poverty levels have staggered since 2014 resulting to even greater challenges in reaching out to populations in low-income economies. The 2022 World Bank Report further analyzes how fiscal policy was used in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic to support the most vulnerable populations. It also elaborates how taxes, transfers, and subsidies impacted poverty and inequality levels in 94 countries before the pandemic in 2020, revealing and comparing insights of the effects of fiscal policy in normal conditions and during crises.

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