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Spore N. 182

Advances in genetic engineering

In this issue

Dossier
News

Daring young African entrepreneurs are taking the plunge – given a high profile and opportunities, they could get things moving in the African agribusiness sector. Without expecting any help from government, the youngest population in the world are preferring to go it alone to build their futures.

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Cooperation between governments, the private sector and civil society can be highly effective in creating shared value throughout the supply chain. Partnerships between commercial companies and African farmers, to promote sustainable agricultural practices, will be key to adapting to climatic shocks.

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A soil mapping project in Ethiopia, and mobile laboratories for testing soil in Kenya, are helping farmers improve fertiliser use. Areas of Ethiopian soil previously affected by acidity and nutrient deficiency are becoming more balanced, while Kenyan farmers are able to test soils before planting.

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Food crises are a regular occurrence in Madagascar. Remote sensing – using technology to measure farmland – is helping the country to tackle this issue head-on. Researchers are utilising satellite images and spatial modelling to estimate crop yields and identify the best ways to combat diseases.

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High child mortality and malnutrition in Angola are being tackled through the use of audio messages sent via mobile phones to mothers and carers. Providing mothers with child development, vaccination and hygiene information is proving instrumental in improving the health and nutrition of newborns.

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Charcoal, a low-cost fuel for many households, is a threat to Africa’s forests. Across the continent, consumption could double or even triple by 2050.

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An initiative to implement food safety measures will enable Caribbean countries to meet stringent requirements and increase exports to the EU.

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Fishing communities in Cameroon, Cabo Verde and Malawi are benefiting from solar drying and solar-powered storage systems to better preserve fish. New technologies are enabling fish processors to deliver higher quality products, whilst boosting sustainable incomes and minimising environmental damage.

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Pilot farms in Mauritius are producing healthy vegetables by reducing the use of pesticides. The ultimate aim is to reduce and control the use of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and insecticides in local crop production.

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Eighteen new seed varieties developed in Timor Leste are thriving despite tough local conditions. Tried and tested by Timorese farmers, the quality seeds are contributing to higher yields and production rates than traditional varieties, and reducing the nation’s import requirements and hungry season.

Issue

In ACP countries, recent biotechnology developments are making significant advances in producing more climate tolerant and disease resistant crops and livestock breeds.