In the news...

November 1st, 2018 / B4FA.org

This week, University of Ghana plant geneticist Eric Yirenkyi Danquah won the 2018 World Agriculture Prize in Nanjing, China, to recognize his founding and leadership of the West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI). WAACI serves as an educational center for Ghana-based plant breeders and seed scientists, working in partnership with International Programs in Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (IP-CALS).

Danquah is the first African to be awarded the prize, which was established in 2013 by the Global Confederation of Higher Education Associations for Agricultural and Life Sciences and Nanjing Agricultural University. The prize recognizes faculty members from agricultural and life science universities who contribute to the mission of the university through education, research and knowledge transfer for the benefit of society.

“Professor Dr. Eric Danquah has been the driving force behind the West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement, training the next generation of African plant breeders in Africa for Africa,” said IP-CALS Ronnie Coffman in a release. “This is a breakthrough effort to establish and sustain the science needed for the improvement of lives and livelihoods in rural Africa. Eric’s global impact will be evidenced well into the future because of WACCI’s success at promoting the careers of up-and-coming plant breeders. Making the most of young people’s potential is the planet’s best hope for survival.”

Meanwhile, 35 organizations are uniting in a global coalition of research for development partners to create a sustainable integrated Fall armyworm management programme adapted to Africa. They held their first meeting from 29-31 October at the African Union Commission in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. According to a release by CIMMYT, the conference was organized by the African Union Commission (AUC), AGRA, CABI, CIMMYT, FAO, icipe, IITA and USAID. We look forward to hearing about the outcomes of this meeting in the near future.

From the B4FA Fellows we heard from Lominda Afedraru, who writes about the hoped-for release of a vitamin-fortified GMO banana, which Ugandan scientists have been working on since 2005 with the aim of helping rural families consume enough of this vital nutrient. Researchers have successfully bred the banana to produce a high vitamin A content, and its colour is more golden than that of conventional bananas. The National Agricultural Research Laboratories (NaRL) is prepared for a 2021 release date provided that the nation passes its biosafety law. We also hear from B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali, who writes about why the nation needs to pay attention to irrigation for its agricultural sector.

We welcome questions, comments and story links to [email protected]. Please also visit B4FA.org for further reading and useful resources – and follow us on Twitter or Facebook to keep up with daily news and join the conversation. We look forward to hearing from you!

Headlines

University of Ghana professor wins 2018 World Agriculture Prize
Modern Ghana

World Agriculture Prize winner is Cornell partner
Cornell University

First conference of new global research alliance to establish practical field solutions against Fall Armyworm
CIMMYT

Ugandan scientists poised to release vitamin-fortified GMO banana
Cornell Alliance for Science, by B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru

Leading plant scientists in EU call for science-based policy making to safeguard plant breeding innovation
ISAAA

AgBio news

Biotech crops could make Kenya major cotton producer again, government says
Genetic Literacy Project

Uganda: Farming together reaps benefits for Mubende family
Daily Monitor, by B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru

Grass genes tapped to breed better crops
Cornell University

Plants bred to survive freezing temperatures could save crop harvests from destruction
Genetic Literacy Project

Genetic search reveals key to resistance in global cotton pest
PhysOrg

Great expectations from Ethiopia’s Wheat Initiative
Reuters

Technology will improve food access and health for all Nigerians
Global Farm Network

A fight against vitamin A deficiency
Business Mirror

New tomato variety resists leaf curl virus and wilting
Farm Biz Africa

Understanding enzyme could help produce frost-resistant crops
Seed World

Kenyan president gives Bt cotton a boost
Alliance for Science

Ministry of Science releases 19 high yield crop varieties, 1 chicken breed
Vanguard

Tanzania: Govt asked to provide improved seeds to farmers
AllAfrica

CRISPR gene editing offers hope for struggling French seed maker Vilmorin
Genetic Literacy Project

Cassava stakeholders meet to plan crop’s transformation in Tanzania
IPP Media

4 Irish bulls to participate in African nation’s breeding programme
Agriland

Meet the guitar-playing plant scientist who describes genetic engineering with playing cards and cookbooks
Alliance for Science

First GM crop in Indonesia soon to be commercialized
ISAAA

Best practices

Uganda: Why we must pay attention to irrigation
Daily Monitor, by B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali

Zimbabwe: Seed Co promotion delivers weighty results
AllAfrica

Kenya: Smallholder farmers urged to embrace oil crops
Kenya News

Biodiversity

Burkina Faso aims to fight malaria with GMO mosquitoes, but activists warn of ‘species contamination’
Genetic Literacy Project

With veganism a rapidly growing dietary choice in developed countries, why should we conserve livestock diversity?
Food Forever

Climate change and environment

High agricultural yields for Nigeria in 2018 due to better rainfall
AllAfrica

Nigeria: As ravaging floods threaten national food security
This Day

African Union: The Great Green Wall initiative
The East African

Redrawing the map: how the world’s climate zones are shifting
YaleEnvironment360

Development

China’s agriculture cooperation in Africa highlighted at UN
XinHuaNet

China and UNDP partner to highlight the impact of China’s agriculture cooperation in Africa
UNDP

Agri-tech can turn African Savannah into global food basket – African Development Bank
Ecofin Agency

Agriculture should now be great career choice for youths
AllAfrica

Increasing global food demand provides opportunities for young African entrepreneurs
How We Made It In Africa

Africa needs its young people to modernize its agricultural sectors
Africa News

Africa needs access to markets, not dependence on aid, and Britain can provide it
The Telegraph

African free trade could increase resilience to climate change and conflict
New Security Beat

Ethiopian government banking on agri-biotech to help steer economic development
ISAAA

US invests $24m to boost local enterprises, farming in Nigeria
Vanguard

Students get more practical lessons on agriculture
The Citizen

Food security

Food Security in Nigeria’s Changing Climate – Call to Action
YouTube

What Kenya must do to achieve food security
Standard Media

Insufficient fruit and vegetables grown to feed the world
Technology Networks

To improve food security, increase water productivity
ReliefWeb

WATIMA: Establish sustainable nutrition system
Business Daily Africa

Rich in agriculture, Madagascar suffers from extreme malnutrition
Africa

Wheat and barley shortage devastates Iraq
SciDevNet

Pests and diseases

US launches aflatoxin and chronic malnutrition study in Mozambique
African Farming

New pest in India could threaten national and Asian food security
The Quint

The GM debate

Ghana: A plant breeding lecturer at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology is calling for a refocus of the debate on genetically modified foods in the country
MyJoy Online

Viewpoint: Biotech industry must invest more in public outreach, or risk losing GMO debate to activists
Genetic Literacy Project

European scientists unite to safeguard precision breeding for sustainable agriculture
VIB

John Innes Centre joins European scientists to safeguard precision breeding for agriculture
John Innes Centre

Strict EU ruling on gene-edited crops squeezes science
Nature

High profile dispute over GMO safety shines spotlight on China’s biotech handwringing
Genetic Literacy Project

Opportunities and resources

Africa Soil Information Service
CGIAR

Practical Guide to Participatory Scenario Planning: Seasonal climate information for resilient decision-making
Care

Pocket K No. 45: Biotechnology for Sugarcane; More than Just a Sugar Crop
ISAAA

Olam to award US$75,000 grant for breakthrough food security research
Food Ingredients First

SARECA recruiting for regional positions based at ASARECA (Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa ) Secretariat in Entebbe, Uganda
ASARECA

CSIS Food seeks a full-time, paid research Intern to provide research, writing, and administrative support to the Global Food Security Project
CSIS

Event: Pore Safari Kenya – hear the latest technology updates from Oxford Nanopore and the latest research from local scientists using nanopore sequencing 13-14 November 2018
Nanopore Tech

Event: Global Sustainable Technology & Innovation Conference, 28-30 November, Brussels  
G.STIC

Opportunity: Project Coordinator (Online Education), Gatsby Plant Science Education Programme, Sainsbury Laboratory Cambridge University, Closing Date: 18th November 2018
University of Cambridge

The State of Food and Agriculture: 2018
Migration, agriculture and rural development
FAO