Connect with us
[bsa_pro_ad_space id=12]

Ag meets Food

IDEAS UNCUT – Dr. Margaret Karembu


“God was the biggest of geneticists. You can imagine how he genetically modified everything here.”Dr. Margaret Karembu

IDEAS UNCUT is a long format interview series brought to you by Know Ideas Media. Nick has spent years interviewing key players and thought leaders in the fields of biotechnology and agriculture.

Rather than letting these interviews get stale on the editing room shelf, Nick thought it was better to share them as is. These interviews will be largely uncut and may range in topics of discussion. You’ll rarely get the chance to see conversations like this with individuals like this. We hope you enjoy the experience!

Dr. Margaret Karembu is the Director of ISAAA AfriCenter. She also serves as the chair of the Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB) Programming Committee, Kenya Chapter. Dr. Karembu holds a PhD in Environmental Science Education and a Master’s Degree in Education from Kenyatta University. Prior to joining ISAAA, Dr. Karembu was a Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Environmental Studies, Kenyatta University from 1992–2003.

She has extensively published and has authored and co-authored various books, papers and policy briefs. Some highlights from her repertoire of publications include: Developing a Biosafety Laws – Lessons from the Kenyan Experience (2009); Biotech Crops in Africa: The Final Frontier (2009); The Adventures of Mandy and Fanny in Africa cartoon booklet on Biotechnology (2012); and the OFAB-Kenya book of experience (various series) among others.

This video was produced independently by Know Ideas Media

Ag meets Food

Respecting Food and Agriculture Vol. 2




Anywhere near marestail, soybean cyst nematode and sudden death syndrome outbreaks will be a region where the right crop choice is hard to make. Already farmers in Michigan are struggling with this issue.

Quoting from the piece, “One of the challenges with using Peking soybeans to manage soybean cyst nematodes and sudden death syndrome is that there are far fewer varieties of this type that are either Liberty Link, GT 27 (liberty and glyphosate resistant) or Roundup Ready 2 Xtend (dicamba resistant). This can leave growers with relatively few options when tracking down Peking source varieties with the traits to be able to manage multiple herbicide resistant marestail effectively with a post emergence program. MSU Extension nematologist Marisol Quintanilla shared that the yield advantage from using Peking tends to go away if Peking varieties are used back to back for two years or more.“

Expect seed companies to react.

Multiple Resistant Pests Make Soybean Management Difficult


There have long been strong agricultural ties between Australia and North America, but as some regions are predicted to go into potential drought conditions, the Australian science on water conservation and heat tolerance may offer significant value to North American farmers.

Despite already being the third most common legume, agricultural science hopes chickpeas can become an increasingly important crop as the world seeks viable ways to feed a world with 9.5 billion or more people. The challenge with that solution is that heat stress is predicted to impact 70% of the world’s chickpea yields. By checking the tolerance levels of various strains from around the world, scientists are homing in on the traits that will simultaneously provide increased yield, more tolerance to heat and a better ability to survive on less water.

This is the sort of quiet, background work that is done in universities the world over, and it’s discoveries and applications like these that have allowed the world to largely do what seemed impossible in the 1980’s: feed our current planet

Australian Researchers Make Key Discoveries in Chickpea Resilience

Animal Science

In crops it makes sense that we seek the seeds that best match a plant’s genome to any given set of environmental circumstances. And better crops can help by supplying society with some of its much-needed protein. But many people today falsely believe that there are environmentally easy answers for fully replacing animal protein, when any massive food source will obviously demand a huge environmental impact because the universe has laws about something never being created from nothing.

Additionally, changing longheld cultural dietary habits is extremely difficult. Due to these and other very understandable supply chain challenges, farming animals will continue to contribute enormously to supplying the world with protein for a very long time.

Fortunately, the same ideas around maximizing the usefulness of a plant’s genome can also hold true for an animal’s genome as well. This science is about how to make that process more environmental, more cost effective and more profitable for the farmers, distributors and retailers.

A Blueprint for Genomics in Animal Agriculture

Understanding Agriculture

There is no way to create food for 7.5 billion human beings every day without economies of scale that make the food both affordable and environmentally viable. While most consumers presume that large areas of mono-cropping are automatically detrimental to the environment, in the cases of the world’s largest crops –the few that provide 90% of the calories that humans eat– monocropping large areas can in fact be the least detrimental approach when it comes to the environment.

Even outside of those staple crops, uniformity does not necessarily run contrary to environmental efficiency. Papaya trees come in three sexes; male, female and hermaphrodite. Since we need both sexes to create the fruit, it makes more sense for farmers to have hermaphrodite’s because then every tree can play both roles and bear fruit, thereby increasing production on the same geographic footprint –which is good for the environment, the farmer and an increasing population. But without modern technology, farmers plant five seeds to get one hermaphrodite tree.

With a high production rate, that could really help greenhouse growers around the world as well as those outdoors, like at the Kamiya’s, where this was filmed.

How a Sex-Changing Papaya Can Help
Both Farmers and the Environment

Continue Reading

Ag meets Food

WATCH: If the media is right… we’re all doomed! Glyphosate and other class 2 carcinogens



I want to address a couple of issues with the video. First, this is a very quick overview. So quick in fact, that it borders on over-simplifying a really important concept: Hazard vs. Risk. For example, when I say “hairdressing is just as likely to cause cancer” it would have been more accurate to say it’s just as hazardous as glyphosate.  I don’t think it ruins the overall point of the video, so I hope this note will suffice as correction.
I also said “all shift work is carcinogenic”, which is also not quite accurate enough. The IARC’s definition of the kind of work that is carcinogenic is a bit fuzzy to begin with, but they do clearly state that they mean work that disrupts your circadian or light cycles. That  means work at odd hours more than it means 9 to 5 work. The fuzziness comes in because you can totally have a 9 to 5 job and not get natural light cycles as a result. In Canada, if you have an indoor job 9 to 5 in the winter and you aren’t near a window, you can go the whole week without seeing the sun. (I’ve experienced that personally) Also, if you aren’t going to bed early enough, getting up at 7:30 for a 9am job can disrupt your circadian cycles. I should have been more accurate, but the IARC’s words leave quite a bit open to interpretation. They are in fact revising their monograph on shift work in the near future to make it more clear.
That being said, their whole system of categorization is a little unclear, and can be tough to explain.  This video is about a ruling by The International Agency for Research on Cancer that we’ve all been hearing a lot about. The IARC says glyphosate (also known as Roundup) is carcinogenic. According to the media and anti-glyphosate interests, that means we’re all pretty much doomed. (Thanks a lot, Monsanto) But… before you get all riled up, maybe you should see some of the other things that IARC says are just as hazardous as glyphosate.
Does it really matter to you if glyphosate is safe, or do you hate it no matter what because Monsanto invented it?
Be honest with yourself. 

More information on IARC’s carcinogen classification system:
The post this video was based on:
This video was produced independently by Know Ideas Media

Continue Reading

july, 2019

wed24julAll Daysat27Medicine Hat Exhibition and Stampede(All Day) MST