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  • Call for proposals: Global Feed the Future Agricultural Biotechnology Program

    Commodities that will receive prioritized consideration for BFS/ARP funding, including under this Addendum to the Agricultural Biotechnology APS, include:

    Cereals (maize, rice, wheat, sorghum, millet)

    Legumes (common bean, cowpea, peanut/groundnut, soya)

    Roots, tubers, and bananas (potato, cassava, banana)

    Horticulture crops (emphasis on horticultural species of broad global or regional relevance to smallholders)

    Livestock (poultry, cattle, small ruminants, fish, dairy)

    Concept notes must be submitted by the deadline of 17 January 2020.

    Illustration Photo: Projects funded through the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Sorghum and Millet, funded though USAID and established at Kansas State University, are aimed to help improve the adaptation and resilience of these crops in East and West Africa. (credits: K-State Research and Extension / Flickr Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0))

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    Call for applications: GreenTec Investment in Sub-Saharan Africa Start-ups and SMEs

    GreenTec invest in African start-ups and SMEs that have the ability to scale up and be sustainable as well as create positive impact in the communities in which they operate.

    We focus on agriculture, digitalization, and sustainable resources, with a strong preference for impactful and technology driven solutions.

    Application Deadline: Ongoing

    Illustration Photo: Drone flying over banana field (Image by DJI-Agras from Pixabay)

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    Call for nominations: The African Union Kwame Nkrumah Awards for Scientific Excellence

    The programme is implemented at national level for young researchers, regional level for women scientists and continental level open to all scientists. The Continental level is the highest level of the programme. The objective is to give out science awards to top African scientists for their achievements and valuable discoveries and findings in science, technology and innovation. AUKNASE reflects and underscores a success story and the critical role of science and technology in the development and integration of Africa. Under this programme prizes are awarded to top African scientists in each of the following two sectors (a) Life and Earth Science and innovation; and (b) Basic Science, Technology and Innovation at the national, regional and continental levels. The African Union Kwame Nkrumah Awards for Scientific Excellence Programme is implemented using these of rules of procedure.

    Illustration Photo: Mr. Souleymane BADO inspects a banana leaf for the presence of disease symptoms in the greenhouse. The development of disease tolerant banana varieties is one of the themes being investigated in the IAEA Plant Breeding Unit, Seibersdorf. (credits: Dean Calma / IAEA / Flickr Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0))

    Dateline for submission: 10 November 2019 at 17:00 hours Addis Ababa time

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    Agroforestry Standards for Regenerative Agriculture

    Authors: Craig R. Elevitch, D. Niki Mazaroli and Diane Ragone

    Journal: Sustainability 2018, 10(9), 3337

    Publisher: MDPI

    Agroforestry is increasingly being recognized as a holistic food production system that can have numerous significant environmental, economic, and social benefits. This growing recognition is paralleled in the USA by the budding interest in regenerative agriculture and motivation to certify regenerative practices. Current efforts to develop a regenerative agriculture certification offer an opportunity to consider agroforestry’s role in furthering regenerative goals. To understand this opportunity, we first examine how agroforestry practices can advance regenerative agriculture’s five core environmental concerns: soil fertility and health, water quality, biodiversity, ecosystem health, and carbon sequestration. Next, we review a subset of certification programs, standards, guidelines, and associated scientific literature to understand existing efforts to standardize agroforestry. We determine that development of an agroforestry standard alongside current efforts to certify regenerative agriculture offers an opportunity to leverage common goals and strengths of each. Additionally, we determine that there is a lack of standards with measurable criteria available for agroforestry, particularly in temperate locations. Lastly, we propose a framework and general, measurable criteria for an agroforestry standard that could potentially be implemented as a standalone standard or built into existing agriculture, forestry, or resource conservation certification programs.

    Photo: This young Samoan breadfruit agroforest integrates numerous crops including banana (Musa spp.), noni (Morinda citrifolia), cacao (Theobroma cacao), poumuli (Flueggea macrophylla), and coconut (Cocos nucifera). The structure and diversity of crops is an instructive model for regenerative agroforestry. (credit: Craig R. Elevitch)

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    Thailand announced incentives to Boost Investment in Food Innovations

    According to BOI's incentive scheme given to such targeted activities as agricultural and food research and development, biotechnology, animal and plant breeding, and scientific testing services, the incentives range from 5-10 years of corporate income tax exemption depending on the type of business and the level of technological advancement. To make this industry more attractive, BOI has offered addition incentives to top up from normal package. The additional incentives such as 50% corporate income tax holiday for five years or an additional two more years of income tax holiday will also be available.

    Illustration Photo: A scientist checks a banana stem, or cluster, at the IAEA's Plant Breeding Unit in Seibersdorf. (credits: Dean Calma / IAEA / Flickr Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0))

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    African Development Bank seeks partnerships to establish Staple Crop Processing Zones across Africa

    “The Staple Crop Processing Zones will provide several advantages for rural economies. They will create markets for farm produce. Raw materials will no longer be moved out of rural areas, but as finished value-added products. Post-harvest losses will be substantially reduced. Well integrated agricultural value chains will develop, with supportive logistics, especially warehousing and cold chains,” Bank President Akinwumi Adesina told an agriculture conference at Purdue University in Indianapolis on Tuesday, 25 September.

    The African Development Bank has already started investments to develop these SCPZs in a number of pioneering African countries, including Ethiopia, Togo, Democratic Republic of Congo and Mozambique. It expects the processing zones to be active in about 15 countries in the near-term.

    Illustration Photo: Banana market in Kenya(credits: Neil Palmer (CIAT) / Flickr Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0))

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    Posted By Kosona Chriv
    Aug 24, 2018

    International Job vacancy: Plant Tissue Culture Specialist

    Deko Holding is manufacturer and exporter of Agri-Food products. We are looking to recruit a Plant Tissue Culture Specialist who will lead our Plant Tissue Culture Laboratory.

    This will be a challenging position with significant autonomy and responsibility for managing the Tissue Culture Lab.

    This position will report directly to the Chief Operating Officer and will supervise a lab staff.


    1. The Tissue Culture Specialist’s primary responsibility will be to produce sufficient numbers of plantlets for our commercial plantations.
    High throughput axenic plant multiplication of sugarcane, soybean, castor bean, cassava, banana and other crops
    Maintenance of variety and line identity and purity
    Scheduling staff and ordering supplies
    Maintain complete records of accessions, certification testing, and inventories
    Maintain a clone bank of > 100 lines
    2. Continuous improvement and innovation of tissue culture techniques for sugarcane, soybean, castor bean, cassava, banana and potential new crops
    Stay current on new developments in plant tissue culture
    Develop and validate optimal techniques which may include differences among varieties
    Maintain written Standard Operating Procedures for all activities
    Train staff in plant tissue culture technique and evaluate performance of self and others
    Investigate new crop opportunities for both tissue culture and commercial plantations

    Illustration Photo: Researcher checks on the health status of banana in vitro cultures (credits: International Institute of Tropical Agriculture / Flickr Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0))

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    GeoFIS: An Open Source, Decision-Support Tool for Precision Agriculture Data

    Authors: Corentin Leroux, Hazaël Jones, Léo Pichon, Serge Guillaume, Julien Lamour, James Taylor, Olivier Naud, Thomas Crestey, Jean-Luc Lablee and Bruno Tisseyre

    Journal: Agriculture 2018, 8(6), 73;

    Publisher: MDPI

    The world we live in is an increasingly spatial and temporal data-rich environment, and agriculture is no exception. However, data needs to be processed in order to first get information and then make informed management decisions. The concepts of ‘Precision Agriculture’ and ‘Smart Agriculture’ are and will be fully effective when methods and tools are available to practitioners to support this transformation. An open-source software called GeoFIS has been designed with this objective. It was designed to cover the whole process from spatial data to spatial information and decision support. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the abilities of GeoFIS along with its embedded algorithms to address the main features required by farmers, advisors, or spatial analysts when dealing with precision agriculture data. Three case studies are investigated in the paper: (i) mapping of the spatial variability in the data, (ii) evaluation and cross-comparison of the opportunity for site-specific management in multiple fields, and (iii) delineation of within-field zones for variable-rate applications when these latter are considered opportune. These case studies were applied to three contrasting crop types, banana, wheat and vineyards. These were chosen to highlight the diversity of applications and data characteristics that might be handled with GeoFIS. For each case-study, up-to-date algorithms arising from research studies and implemented in GeoFIS were used to process these precision agriculture data. Areas for future development and possible relations with existing geographic information systems (GIS) software is also discussed.

    Photo: Aggregated risk zones of sub-optimal management practices derived using the NDVI, ECa, and elevation layers together with local expert knowledge. (credits: Corentin Leroux, Hazaël Jones, Léo Pichon, Serge Guillaume, Julien Lamour, James Taylor, Olivier Naud, Thomas Crestey, Jean-Luc Lablee and Bruno Tisseyre )

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    Banana peels based bio-plastic

    Author: Taodharos Shady

    Publisher: Zenodo
    Year of Publication: 2018
    Content Provider: DataCite Metadata Store (German National Library of Science and Technology)

    Every developed country depends on the industry as the main factor of its economy. Lack of exports, depression in both the general economy and the value of the currency are consequences of neglecting the industry. All countries work on increasing the efficiency of their industries by whether working on the input, the output, the cost or the time of the process. Plastic industry is considered one of the most important industries because plastic is an important factor in the making of many useful products such as sheets, tubes, rods, slabs, building blocks and domestic products. Making bio-plastic from banana peels instead of the traditional petroleum-based plastic is believed to be a successful solution to increase the efficiency of plastic industry. The solution produces the same amount of plastic with higher efficiency and durability and with a little cost in less time than normal plastic, so it meets the design requirements of any successful solution which are production, efficiency, and cost. The prototype of this project represents the process of manufacturing bio-plastic from banana peels and tests the durability and the efficiency of the plastic produced. The results showed that the plastic produced could bear the weight one and a half time more than petroleum-based plastic so it is suitable for being used in the making of traditional plastic products. In conclusion, test results showed that this project is the perfect solution to develop the plastic industry process.

    Illustration Photo: Banana peels (CC0 Creative Commons from

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    Researchers use DNA prediction models to speed up banana breeding

    An international team of scientists have for the first time demonstrated that it is possible to speed up banana breeding using genomic prediction models that accurately select banana hybrids with desired traits. The models use the plant’s genetic data (DNA landmarks) to estimate its usefulness in breeding and predict the physical traits such as height, yield, and disease resistance before the plant is taken to the field. This study, published in a paper, Genomic prediction in a multiploid crop: genotype by environment interaction and allele dosage effects on predictive ability in banana, in The Plant Genome provides the first empirical evidence on the use of genomic prediction in a banana population.

    Photo: Moses Nyine of IITA explains about his research in a banana field in Uganda (credit: International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA))

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