In the news...

October 11th, 2018 / B4FA.org

As B4FA went to press this week, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report issuing a stark warning: that the world’s governments have only 12 years to implement changes to energy, food and transport systems that will prevent more than a 1.5 ºC rise in global temperatures. Failing to do so, says the IPCC report, will result in environmental catastrophe including the spread of vector-borne diseases, the extinction of corals, extreme heat and poverty around the globe. A 2 ºC rise in temperature would also mean loss of land suitable for crops and the insects that pollinate them.

Meanwhile, the African Development Bank (AfDB) has called on global partners to invest in Africa to make progress toward food security on the continent, itself pledging US$24bn in African agriculture over the next 10 years. AfDB president Akinwuni Adesina, speaking at an agriculture conference at Purdue University, Indianapolis, also noted that Africa needs to harness the available technologies to raise productivity and incomes for farmers while lowering food prices for consumers – including implementing water-efficient maize and improved, higher-yielding rice and cassava varieties. These changes are particularly urgent given the devastation caused by climate change, he said.

In more uplifting news, scientists from the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), have announced a breakthrough: they’ve identified 13 banana varieties that are resistant to bacterial banana wilt disease by screening the entire banana collection at IITA, Uganda. They’ve also identified several diploid varieties derived from Musa acuminata – another wild banana. Until now, it was believed that only one wild-seeded banana – M. balbisiana – was not susceptible to banana wilt. These discoveries should allow scientists to develop disease-resistant varieties in the future.

We’re pleased to present stories from several B4FA Fellows this week, including Samuel Hinneh (“Improved cowpea in the offing for Ghanaian smallholders”); Michael Ssali (“Pesticides – what we ought to know“); Christopher Bendana (“Ugandan scientists reach out to farmers to promote agricultural innovations“); and Lominda Afedraru (“Uganda: Scientists hatch plans to increase maize production by 30 per cent“).

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

We have 12 years to limit climate change catastrophe, warns UN
Guardian, UK

UN gives 12-year deadline to crush climate change
SciDevNet

The UN’s 1.5°C special climate report at a glance
The Conversation

AfDB seeks partnership to lift one billion people out of hunger
African Review

Scientists’ breakthrough brings hope for banana resistance breeding to deadly bacterial wilt disease
IITA

AgBio news

Uganda: Scientists hatch plans to increase maize production by 30 per cent
Daily Monitor, by B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru

Improved cowpea in the offing for Ghanaian smallholders, by B4FA Fellow Samuel Hinneh
SciDevNet

Ugandan scientists reach out to farmers to promote agricultural innovations
Alliance for Science, by B4FA Fellow Christopher Bendana

Uganda: Pesticides – what we ought to know
Daily Monitor, by B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali

Study in Ethiopia links healthy soils to more nutritious cereals
The Conversation

New wheat variety gets praise in Ethiopia
GFAR

Kenya: Indigenous seeds key in ensuring food security
AllAfrica

IITA Director General receives award at AGRIKEXPO 2018
IITA

Seed scientists in Nigeria canvass for the commercialisation of GM seeds
OFAB Nigeria

Ghana ready to introduce GMOs —Biosafety Authority
Graphic Online

Super-tomato shows what plant scientists can do
Nature

West Africa Centre For Crop Improvement calls for transformative changes of agriculture and food systems
Modern Ghana

Report: Proportionate and scientifically sound risk assessment of gene‐edited plants
EMBO Press

Burkina Faso: SARI applies encourages farmers to cultivate cowpea to address post-flood losses
Daily Guide Africa

Scientists design a more productive maize to cope with future climates
ISAAA

Gene controlling stem juiciness in sorghum identified
ISAAA

IRRI opens regional office in Africa
World Grain

Zinc-biofortified wheat reduces childhood illness
Harvest Plus

Matia stresses Bangladesh-Australia cooperation in agriculture
Dhaka Tribune

Video: Meet the gene-edited cows that could revolutionize beef production
Genetic Literacy Project

Best practices

Uganda: Ssekandi squeezes money out of ignored avocado seeds
Daily Monitor

Biodiversity

Harper Adams researchers say traditional plants could ease hunger in Kenya
AgriLand

Tree to treat: the sweet journey of chocolate
Feed the Future

This Ethiopian seed bank preserves biodiversity by opening its doors to farmers
Atlas Obscura

Climate change

World is at risk if global warming exceeds 1.5°C, UN warns
Dispatch

Climate-Smart Agriculture key to support long-term growth of Near East and North Africa countries UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and Islamic Development Bank gather countries to discuss future of agriculture in the region
New Stage

Potential impacts of climate change on child stunting
FCRN

US prising climate, development apart in IPCC talks
SciDevNet

Climate action held back by conflicting policy in African countries
SciDevNet

Extreme weather threatens African society and economy
AllAfrica

Development

Biotech has huge potential to transform Uganda’s growth, minister says
ISAAA

Maputo at 15 and the future of Africa’s food security
Business a.m.

Linking up the SDGs: the key to food and nutrition security
CGIAR

The Pan African University Institute for Water and Energy Sciences (including Climate Change) (PAUWES) celebrates its third graduating cohort of 79 students from across Africa
African Brains

More women owning agricultural land in Africa means increased food security and nutrition
AllAfrica

China to train African scientists as part of $60-billion development plan
Nature

Boosting farm productivity in Africa through the sustainable use of machines
Africa News

Equip farmers with information to step up food security
Standard Digital

How Africa can capitalize on the pulse and oilseed market boom
AllAfrica

Africa bets on technology to lure youth to farming
Reuters

Ghana: Vice chancellor of University of Ghana urges African governments to invest more in agriculture
Ghana News Agency

China to train African scientists as part of $60-billion development plan
Nature

Change in farming must be cultural, says Nigeria’s agriculture minister
The Guardian

UBIC initiates efforts to integrate biosciences into Uganda’s education system
ISAAA

New project to promote employability for African youth in agriculture
IPP Media

Making the case to the world to invest in Africa
Voice Online

Food security

Africa looking to strategic partnerships to boost food security
Alliance for Science

Africa must prioritise Agric to ensure food security, says Director of the West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement Prof. Danquah
Graphic Online

There is an urgent need for a drastic change in the food and agriculture system in sub-Saharan Africa if the region is to achieve the sustainable development goal on hunger, plant breeding Professor Eric Danquah says
Joy News

Project leads countries to food security
ECNS

EU & AU join forces to save the continent from hunger
EU Bulletin

Pests and diseases

Africa loses $700m to aflatoxin —AU chair, by B4FA Fellow Jimoh Babatunde
Vanguard

Africa sets sights on tackling foodborne disease burden
Food Safety News

Fall armyworm, considered threat for global food security spreads from maize to sugarcane in India
Economic Times

A study to maintain food security in Uganda
Tech Explorist

Policy

Eustice: Gene-edited crops are necessary
ISAAA

The GM debate

Fighting back against GMO pseudoscience
NeuroLogica Blog

Initiative aimed at answering GMO-related questions
Feedstuffs

ITIF files petition to ban non-GMO labels
ISAAA

Opportunities and resources

Call for proposals: Tools and technologies for broad-scale pest and disease surveillance of crop plants in low-income countries (Round 22). Deadline: 14 November
Gates Foundation

Report: Efficient generation of stable, heritable gene edits in wheat using CRISPR/Cas9
BMC Plant Biology