What we’ve been reading this week

This week’s summary on the news stories, reports and blogs that have grabbed our attention. We welcome your thoughts and comments on these articles.

The global food fight: can agribusiness avert a crisis?, fDi Intelligence

While Global Bee Colonies Struggle, European Politicians Seem Determined To Kill Them Off, Forbes

Chief EU scientist backs damning report urging GMO ‘rethink’, EurActive

Is getting out of farming the best bet for smallholder farmers?, IRRI

Economic rewards of better land management: Estimated 2.3 billion tons of crops worth $1.4 trillion, EurekAlert

The Urgent Need for African Leadership in Science, Engineering and Technology to Transform African Agriculture into Agri-Food Value Chains, African Journal of food, agriculture, nutrition and development

Satisfy Your Curiosity with Our New E-Book, Can We Feed the World? The Future of Food, Scientific American

New technology and agriculture: A sluggish uptake, The Africa Report [Read more…]

Africa Soil Information Service

A survey of African soils, the African Soil Information Service (AfSIS), was launched in 2009 with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and also from the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) through a grant to the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT).

AfSIS, led by Pedro Sanchez, former World Food Prize Laureate, is developing continent-wide digital soil maps for sub-Saharan Africa that will cover more than 90% of Africa’s human population living in 42 countries. Using techniques such as digital soil mapping, infrared spectroscopy, remote sensing, statistics, and integrated soil fertility, the survey aims to build up a more comprehensive picture of African soils and to not only make these results available to farmers but to help them understand the implications for land management through extension and training. Indeed capacity building is a key part of the AfSIS project delivered through education to strengthen individual and institutional abilities to produce and use soil information as well as training for soil scientists.

Currently AfSIS ground teams are surveying and sampling 60, 100 km2 sentinel sites, which are statistically representative of the variability in climate, topography and vegetation of the project area. For more information on the survey, which feeds into larger projects to map global soils, visit their website.