Short of food, sub-Saharan Africa faces tough choices

Sub-Saharan Africa will likely need to boost food imports or expand its farmland if it is going to feed a population expected to increase 2.5-fold by 2050, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The other option – increasing yields on current farmland to reach self-sufficiency – should be pursued but is likely to fall short.

Re-thinking crop choice and land use to overcome climate change

Climate change is likely to reduce yields of major crops such as corn, wheat and rice on a large fraction of the world's cropland by mid-century, says a team of researchers from the University of Birmingham in Britain. "Large shifts in land-use patterns and crop choice will likely be necessary to sustain production growth rates and keep pace with demand," say the researchers in a paper published in the journal Nature Communications.

Report: Crop pests from U.S., China could take a bite out of developing-world economies

The U.S. and China, the world’s largest agricultural producers, pose the greatest threat to other countries when it comes to spreading invasive pests and pathogens, according to a new report led by an international team and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The developing world, and sub-Saharan Africa specifically, is the most vulnerable to the economic damage such species can inflict.

In severe drought, Malawi faces food crisis

Malawi is facing a food crisis as the southern Africa region wrestles with drought and high temperatures. Due to record high winter temperatures hitting southern Africa during planting season, Malawi’s corn production fell by 12 percent in April leaving the country short of 1 million tonnes of grain during its worst food crisis in a decade, The East African said.

Q&A: Wheat researcher says dangerous pathogen spreading

David Hodson, senior scientist with the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), sat down with FERN editor-in-chief Sam Fromartz in Washington to discuss the re-emergence of rust disease, a virulent fungal pathogen that attacks wheat plants and causes devastating crop losses, especially in poorer countries.

World fertilizer usage to climb 25 percent in a decade

Global fertilizer usage is on track to top 200 million tonnes in 2018, up 25 percent in a decade, says the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. In a report, FAO says fertilizer consumption is forecast to rise by 1.8 percent a year through 2018.

Research finds genes to boost caretenoids in corn

Researchers identified a set of genes to naturally boost the level of substances the human body converts to vitamin A, important for eye health and the immune system, says Purdue University.