A $35 million dollar grant made from the Bill & Melinda Gates Agricultural Innovations, will help researchers at Cambridge University to develop plants for African farmers that can efficiently uptake nutrients from both soil and air. Such a development should help to combat several current issues that many farmers are facing in the continent, such as small livestock numbers, and depleting soil quality.
The new plants should help small-scale African farmers to increase their productivity and see higher yields, which in turn, will help them to maintain a sustainable livelihood. Even better, the new developments would eliminate the need for costly, inorganic fertilizers, which pollute the environment. This would allow farmers in both low and middle-income countries to boost their crop yield. Other innovations, such as the 'Hello Tractor' application, are also helping African farmers to increase their potential income and manage their crops better.
Giles Oldroyd, the Director of the Crop Science Centre stated: "Increasing sustainable production of crops in small-holder farming systems, like those in sub-Saharan Africa, directly addresses some of the worst poverty on the planet."
The work is set to take place over the next five years, and sets a spark of hope for the future of sustainable crop production within the continent. If successful, both farmers and consumers will benefit.