Farmers and the local agriculture sector hope that implementing these revolutionary farming methods in Can Tho will help raise rice quality, while also cutting emissions from cultivation. (Image source: MARD)

5 April marked the launch of a high-quality, low-emission rice production pilot model in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho

The 50-acre model that will apply sustainable farming practices, will first be tested at the Thuan Tien Cooperative in Thanh An commune. Once the model proves successful, it will be replicated in all of the cooperative’s 512 hectares, as well as other localities. The project has managed to garner support from numerous international organisations and businesses such as the World Bank and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI)

The launching ceremony of the project was attended by representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), and 12 Mekong Delta localities, farmers, experts and those from international organisations. With the aim of training local farmers, the MARD on the same day, launched five demonstration sites on high-quality, low-carbon rice cultivation

Farmers and the local agriculture sector hope that implementing these revolutionary farming methods in Can Tho will help raise rice quality, while also cutting emissions from cultivation. IRRI deputy director general, Joanna Kane-Potaka also hopes that this private model will enable farmers to reflect on the experience of experts and partners in low-carbon rice cultivation. 


The initiative's success reflects the combined efforts of partners, collaborators, and the farming community. (Image source: ICRISAT)

Powered by research and data from the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), farmers can quickly address numerous agricultural challenges by leveraging the strengths of the Plantix app's AI-driven diagnostics

Thanks to the seamless integration of technology and agricultural expertise, more than 30 million smallholder farmers in the semi-arid tropics have been empowered with real-time plant health management advice, significantly improving farming practices. 

The initiative's success reflects the combined efforts of partners, collaborators, and the farming community. CEO of Plantix, Simone Strey extended gratitude to all stakeholders involved in the decade-long initiative, while also encouraging like-minded entities to join the mission of transforming agriculture through science and technology. 

"We believe in the power of shared visions, combining science, innovation and technology to create effective solutions that truly benefit smallholder farmers,” stated director general of ICRISAT, Dr Jacqueline d’Arros Hughes. “Together, we have achieved over 30 million downloads of the Plantix app and analysed more than 100 million images, providing critical agricultural insights to millions of farmers worldwide.” 

In recognition of the 10-year milestone, ICRISAT and Plantix also unveiled a commemorative brochure, 'Sowing a Seed of Change'. According to Dr Srikanth Rupavatharam, senior Scientist-Digital Agriculture, Global Research Programme for Resilient Farm and Food Systems at ICRISAT, the brochure which is a testament to a decade of dedication and progress serves as a catalyst for conversations within agricultural networks worldwide. 

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The BBL2-2 maize is set to herald a new era of crop innovation. (Image Source: Adobe Stock)

Leading Chinese agricultural technology company, Origin Agritech Ltd., has announced a milestone achievement with the issuance of a GMO safety certificate for its transgenic maize BBL2-2, heralding a new era for crop innovation

The newly-certified BBL2-2 maize contains two insect-resistant genes, Cry1AB and Cry3Bb, and one herbicide-tolerance gene, Cp4-epsps, making this maize type resistant to various lepidopteran pests such as corn borer, cotton bollworm and armyworm.

Paving the way

The certification of BBL2-2 confirms its adherence to stringent safety standards and paves the way for its commercial launch. The introduction of the maize crop is expected to significantly enhance agricultural productivity and sustainability, providing a powerful tool for farmers to manage pests effectively and significantly reduce the environmental impact of agriculture.

Dr. Gengchen Han, chairman and CEO of Origin Agritech, said, “Receiving this GMO safety certificate is a transformative moment for Origin Agritech and agricultural biotechnology in China. BBL2-2 exemplifies our capabilities in genetic innovation and sets a new standard in sustainable agriculture.

“We are eager to lead the commercialisation of this technology, which promises significant improvements in crop resilience and yield.”

SaliCrop’s seed innovation is bearing fruits of success in tomato cultivation: More yield and flavorful tomatoes. (Image source: Guy Shery)

Leveraging its expertise in desert technology, agritech start-up, SaliCrop Ltd., recently introduced a breakthrough seed treatment innovation that is capable of transforming arid terrains into flourishing landscapes for growing food

Boosting crop cultivation in arid regions raises yields, eventually promising greater food security for the future. With a focus on crops such as onions, chili rice and broccoli, field trials are currently being carried out across Africa, India and Europe.

Tackling abiotic stress

Two main abiotic stressors that hinder crop development include saline soil and heat stress. To combat these issues, SaliCrop has developed a novel, non-GMO approach to bolster seeds' resilience to abiotic stresses. The various seed enhancement protocols that have been designed, target a plant’s internal stress-response mechanisms by intentionally exposing the plant to controlled abiotic stressors, while at the same time, ensuring to keep the plant DNA intact. In brief, SaliCrop's green solution acts as a gentle nudge to preemptively stimulate the stress responses even before the plant finds itself in salty or hot conditions.

"Under SaliCrop's treatment, plants not only thrive in poor quality, highly saline soil through enhanced nutrient absorption and improved root structures, but they also exhibit increased vigor and superior germination rates," affirmed CEO of SaliCrop, Carmit Oron. "This innovation turns marginal lands, previously considered barren, into fertile grounds capable of abundant food production. As climate change intensifies, farmers globally are in urgent need of sustainable solutions to adapt and succeed. SaliCrop is at the forefront, with leading agricultural players already integrating our technology," Oron added.

The SaliCrop solution is currently bearing fruit in tomato cultivation in multiple locations, including Spain.

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The new bioinsecticide from Bayer can be used in oilseed rape and cereals. (Image source: Bayer)

Global healthcare and nutrition company, Bayer announces its signing of an agreement with leader of crop protection solutions, AlphaBio Control, to secure a license for a new biological insecticide, targeted towards arable crops

Infestation by insects like the cabbage stem flea beetle (CSFB), can be devastating for oilseed rape crops throughout the growing season and even cause seedling death. Keeping this in mind, the new bioinsecticide has been designed for use against coleoptera insects like these. 

Moreover, by including it in a digitally-supported integrated pest management system, Bayer’s systems approach—which combines various solutions—will help to maximise the cost efficiencies of this new product. 

“We are delighted to license Bayer exclusive rights to our latest bioinsecticide which will significantly improve the choices available to arable farmers wishing to reduce the environmental impact of food production,” said general manager for AlphaBio Control, Marta Ruiz.

Moreover, the new insecticide also aligns with Bayer's commitment to help reduce the environmental impact of crop protection products by 30% by 2030. The initial launch of the product is planned for 2028. 

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