In the news...

Insurance programme launched to support African women farmers

January 23rd, 2018 / Africa Business Chief

The African and Asian Resilience in Disaster Insurance Scheme (ARDIS) was launched on 18 January in order to help African and Asian farmers affected by climate disasters.
The scheme will target up to 4mn people, particularly focusing on women and their families, in areas of drought such as Kenya, Malawi, Mali, …

Coalition for African Rice Development (CARD) aims of double rice production in 10 years

January 23rd, 2018 / CARD, Kenya

Coalition for African Rice Development (CARD) is a consultative group of bilateral and multilateral donors and African/international institutions, namely AGRA, AfricaRice, AfDB, FAO, FARA, IFAD, IRRI, JICA, JIRCAS, NEPAD and WB.
With the aim of doubling the rice production in ten years from 14 million tons in 2008, thereby closing the …

Plagued by pests – African farmers may soon have access to insect-resistant GMO cowpeas – for free

January 23rd, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

project begun nearly 15 years ago is finally coming to fruition, as Nigeria is poised to become the first country to release a genetically modified variety of insect-resistant cowpeas to farmers.
“The cowpea growers have been very supportive. They like the GM crop. They have seen it perform and they are …

Burkina Faso is moving forward with GMO research

January 22nd, 2018 / Alliance for Science, US

Agriculturalists in Burkina Faso say their country is still open to using the tools of biotechnology, despite the decision to stop growing genetically modified cotton.
A controversy erupted over the low quality of fiber produced by GMO (Bt) cotton, prompting a withdrawal of the seeds in 2015 after they had been …

IITA /AfDB launches bold plan to revolutionise agriculture in Africa

January 22nd, 2018 / The Guardian, Nigeria

International Agriculture research institute, IITA and Africa Development Bank, AfDB are set to launch a bold plan to revolutionize African agriculture as
Scientists, development specialists, agricultural experts, representatives from national agricultural research and extension systems (NARES), and entrepreneurs from the private sector mainly from Africa will assemble in IITA, Ibadan, Nigeria …

Easing the regulatory process around certain genetic engineering techniques

January 22nd, 2018 / Alliance for Science, US

The European Union and Australia took steps this week toward easing the regulatory process around certain genetic engineering techniques.
In the EU, a legal opinion found that mutagenesis techniques are, in principle, exempt from the rules that govern genetically modified organisms (GMOs), though individual EU states can regulate their use. Meanwhile, …

Gene edited crops should be exempted from GM food laws, says EU lawyer

January 19th, 2018 / The Guardian, UK

Gene editing technologies should be largely exempted from EU laws on GM food, although individual states can regulate them if they choose, the European court’s advocate general has said.
The opinion may have far-reaching consequences for new breeding techniques that can remove specific parts of a plant’s genetic code and foster …

Scientists are breeding super-nutritious crops to help solve global hunger

January 19th, 2018 / The Conversation

An incredible 155m children around the world are chronically undernourished, despite dramatic improvements in recent decades. In view of this, the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals include Zero Hunger. But what do we understand by the word hunger?
It may refer to lack of food or widespread food shortages caused by war, …

African orphan crops consortium tackles 101 crop genomes

January 19th, 2018 / Genome web, US

Researchers at BGI and other centers are in the process of sequencing — and resequencing — the genomes of 101 plants for the African Orphan Crops Consortium (AOCC), an international effort to improve nutrition in Africa through genome-assisted breeding resources and training.
Howard-Yana Shapiro, chief agricultural officer at Mars Incorporated, who …

Increasing food production

January 18th, 2018 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali writes:
Last year the number of food insecure people in Africa rose from 220 million to 224million.
In its Regional Overview report the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) attributed the unfortunate rise to the changing weather patterns that caused poor harvests, loss of livestock, civil conflicts, and …