PRESS REVIEW - MAY 1/7, 2021

SF Gate

Scientists breed starfish to reduce ocean warming

In a laboratory on an island off the coast of Washington State, researchers are breeding marine organisms that are officially extinct due to rising ocean temperatures. The starfish should help to combat the increase in sea urchins, which in turn feed on the now disappeared marine algae, useful regulators of CO2. 

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The Guardian

Vital soil organisms harmed by pesticides

Researchers have discovered that the impact of farm chemicals on earthworms, beetles and other organisms are worse that predicted and alarming. Pesticides are in fact causing widespread damage according to the first comprehensive review. The study also warned that soil organisms are rarely considered when assessing the environmental impact of pesticides. 

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All Africa

Avocado farming on the rise in Africa

Due to high global demand, avocados have become a lucrative export product. Per capita consumption in the US increased by 406% between 1990 and 2017. The so-called green gold is rapidly gaining popularity in the African continent. Both Nigeria and Uganda are aiming to rapidly increase their avocado production and become top exporters in the next ten years, while Kenya is already among the top ten in the world. 

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Europe faces an obesity epidemic

According to the WHO, 39% of adults across the globe are overweight and 13% of them are obese. The obesity rate has almost tripled since 1975. According to Our World in Data, 22.82% of the EU population was obese in 2016 compared to just 9.3% in 1975, meaning that there was a 161% increase in about 40 years. Malta, Hungary and Lithuania are the worst affected countries, while Austria, Italy and Denmark have the lowest rates. 

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Food Navigator

Europe may open up to genetically modified crops

The European Commission would like to review the regulations on genetically modified crops. In particular, consideration is being given to allowing CRISPR techniques, which could contribute to a more sustainable food system and play an active part in the European Green deal and in the Farm to Fork strategy. 

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Technology to defeat desert locusts

Desert locusts, a plague that has decimated crops in Africa and Asia, are being fought with technology, collecting data on winds, swarm movements and temperatures. Local farmers are given tablets and training is provided to query databases and shelter crops whenever possible. This is the complex strategy that FAO has put in place to counter a real scourge. 

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