Feeding a growing world poses complex challenges for which new technologies can help provide solutions.   We share information on improved food production that is balanced with issues related to international trade, certification, animal welfare and health.  We also share information on areas such as deforestation.

Solar Power Spurs Community-Based Development

Can nations in Africa and other parts of the developing world leapfrog over the use of fossil fuels and go straight to renewable energy sources? Understandably, the focus in rural development settings is often on generating centralized electrical capacity through renewable energy. Through the use of solar powered technologies, rural farmers can live healthier lives, create efficiencies to reduce their hard physical labor and create food security year-round.

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Remotely Sensing Crop Nutrients

Not to be confused with remote viewing which finds its home in parapsychology, remote sensing involves collecting data about an object without having any physical contact with the object being observed. There are several types of remote sensing systems used in agriculture but the most common is a passive system that senses the electromagnetic energy reflected from plants. The sun is the most common source of energy for passive systems. 

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Getting SMART About Biotechnology

To GM or not to GM remains the Shakespearean conundrum a number of African countries still find themselves in. But is there a way to exploit biotechnology without causing such public unease? Selection with Markers and Advance Reproductive Technology (SMART) breeding could be the answer.

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STRAWTEC brings its green building technology to Rwanda

Urbanization in Africa is still a critical issue that preoccupies a good number of governments and getting enough resources is also a big challenge. Solutions are coming in the form of green building solutions -  STRAWTEC has recently built factory in Rwanda that produces strawboards panels and the factory has more ambitious projects to improve urbanization in the country with carbon-negative-footprint building materials.

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The Global Cleantech Innovation Index 2014

WWF International and Cleantech Group partnered to release the second report, in a biennial series, on where the likely leading entrepreneurs in clean technology will emerge from over the next 10 years. The report is a ranking of each countries inputs into innovation, such as investment by governments and the outputs of innovation such as the commercialization of new clean technology. The report uses interesting metrics to map out the growth cycle of a clean tech startup for each country.

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Building a real world Farmville

In many households around the world the words “don’t play with your food” quickly followed by “you know there are people out there who…” have been uttered in one form of another. But what if playing with your food could better feed the future? Research scientist Caleb Harper and a team of students at MIT are creating a real-life FarmVille - a food computer. FarmVille is a farming simulation social network game that allows players to plant and harvest crops. Based on these ideas, Caleb has found a way to import climates and make growing food both faster and more efficient.

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Acoustic Pest Control

Did you know that eavesdropping has been going on for centuries? Acoustics – an interdisciplinary science, which includes topics such as vibration, sound, ultrasound and infrasound. Hearing is a crucial means of survival for all species in the animal world - including bugs, which, ironically, are now being bugged. Vibration sensors are monitoring their communication in a bid to hijack their mating calls to develop an acoustic pesticide.

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Rwanda: Biogas in prisons saves millions of dollars

It’s been 21 years since the Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, such devastating tragedy there are always losses in most areas of a country life. One of the biggest issues was that there were almost 100,000 prisoners in prisons who were all waiting for their trials. There have been a lot of environmental issues related to the prisons’, one being that the wood from neighboring forests was used for cooking to feed the prisoners, which was accelerating deforestation until the time Rwanda Correctional Service started using biogas. 

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Watered By Sunlight

Less than 2 per cent of the Kenya's agriculture is irrigated, largely due to the prohibitive cost of equipment and diesel. This leaves farmers extremely vulnerable to drought and puts the country’s food security at great risk. The Sunflower water pump hits all the right environmental notes - running on clean and renewable energy. It retails at around USD 400 which, in comparison to its diesel-fuelled counterparts - costing roughly USD 2,800 - is a near night and day difference. Furthermore, as there are no fuel costs, the initial investment can be recouped in 1-2 years. As such, Sunflower presents a compelling economic case.

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Growing At The Wavelength Of Light

BioLumic has developed a UV lighting technology called Smart Light Array technology, which manipulates the quantities of UV light at different wavelengths. Using what they call "light recipes", BioLumic's technology can accelerate or slow down certain growth characteristics in plants. This has numerous potential applications from bolstering disease resistance to enhancing flavour.

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