ILRI and Farm Ink ‘Facebook project’ to track livestock diseases in Kenya among five winners of research grants
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ILRI and Farm Ink ‘Facebook project’ to track livestock diseases in Kenya among five winners of research grants

The CGIAR Platform on Big Data in Agriculture has awarded five research proposals USD100,000 each during its inaugural convention 19–22 Sep 2017. Using Facebook to track the spread of livestock diseases and your smartphone to diagnose crop diseases in realtime, could soon be a reality thanks to a series of research grants awarded by the CGIAR Platform for Big Data in Agriculture. Continue reading

Kenya risks losing 18 animal and bird species, and the ecosystem services they provide—Research report
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Kenya risks losing 18 animal and bird species, and the ecosystem services they provide—Research report

A group of scientists led by Dr Joseph Ogutu say Kenya risks losing 18 animal and bird species due to negligence. They include warthogs, lesser kudu, Thomson’s gazelle, eland, oryx, topi, hartebeest, impala, Grévy’s zebra, waterbuck, wildebeest, giraffe, gerenuk, Grant’s gazelle, buffalo, elephant, ostrich and Burchell’s zebra. Continue reading

First map of smallholder farms in the developing world: They produce more than half the planet’s food calories
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First map of smallholder farms in the developing world: They produce more than half the planet’s food calories

Researchers at the University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment have used household census data to map smallholder farms in developing countries. Despite the fact that smallholder and family farms are crucial to feeding the planet, little is known regarding the location and size of smallholder farms. This study attempts to fill this knowledge gap. Continue reading

Sheep genomics: ‘Sheep—A very long yarn’—Financial Times
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Sheep genomics: ‘Sheep—A very long yarn’—Financial Times

‘Archaeologists have long known that people started to domesticate animals for food at the dawn of agriculture in the Fertile Crescent (the curve of land across the Middle East from the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf) about 10,000 years ago. But details of the complex pathways through which improved livestock spread across Europe and Asia are only now emerging, as genomic technology makes it practical to compare the DNA of hundreds of animals across continents. . . . ‘A Chinese consortium led the sheep study in collaboration with the International Livestock Research Institute in Nairobi; it is published in the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution. Continue reading

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Livestock in poor countries need drugs to stay alive and productive, but how to avoid the rise of ‘super bugs’?

Developing-country livestock keepers need more and better drugs to keep their animals alive and productive, and there are increasing numbers of livestock in the South, where there is increasing use of antimicrobial drugs, and poor livestock keepers will be hurt the most by development in pathogens of antimicrobial resistance. So what’s needed to avoid ‘super bugs’ arising? A new PNAS paper has this to say. Continue reading