THIS WEEK’S HEADLINES
This week we feature two stories emerging from Ethiopia. First the country recently won patent rights at The Court of The Hague for products made from teff, an ancient grain native to Ethiopia and which is its staple food. The patent will allow Ethiopia to supply teff to Europe, supporting farmers. The victory comes after a dispute with Dutch company Health and Performance Food International (HPFI), which registered patent rights for teff products in the Netherlands, Italy, Britain, Germany and Austria. Winning the patent rights back will allow Ethiopia to sell its teff products to Europe unhindered. Ethiopian diplomat Fitsum Arega, currently the Ethiopian Ambassador to the United States, commented, “I hope we can learn from this that our national assets must be protected by Ethiopians and friends of Ethiopia.”
Ethiopia has also increased its adoption of improved chickpea varieties more than twofold in seven years, reports a post from the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT). A study published in the International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability states that the percentage of smallholder farmers growing improved chickpea varieties grew from 30 to 80 percent. The study argues that smallholder farmers will only adopt innovations if they offer significant benefit. “In the end, only innovations that clearly outperform locally available technologies and manifest limited downside risks are likely to be adopted on a large scale,” it says.
In the United States an international team of researchers has successfully genetically modified cassava to contain high levels of iron and zinc – “up to 50% of the dietary requirement for iron and up to 70% for zinc in children aged 1 to 6 years” according to a report in the American Council on Science and Health. The hope is that this development will help provide substantial nutrition boost for people who rely on the root as their staple food.
From the B4FA Fellows, we hear from Daily Monitor regular contributors Lominda Afedraru, who writes about controlling banana viruses on farm, and Michael Ssali, who considers the need for good post-harvest practices.
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.
Growth of Uganda’s seed sector exposes major anti-GMO claims
Alliance for Science
Nigerian agriculture embraces the future
Global Farmer Network
New GMO cotton variety could boost yields while thriving under drought conditions
Genetic Literacy Project
CRISPR gene editing: Using ‘nature’s own tools’ to combat food waste and climate change
Genetic Literacy Project
New plant genome cloning method promises to bust rust, other diseases in wheat
University of Minnesota
Uganda: Controlling banana viruses on farm
Daily Monitor, by B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru
Need for good post-harvest practices
Daily Monitor, by B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali
AGCO launches Farm in a Box for rural African communities
Feedback: Melon farming do’s and don’ts
Climate change and environment
Why climate resilient crops must be the future
Energy and innovation
African rice smallholders are increasingly using low-quality, unregistered herbicides because of inadequate capacity of governments to enforce strict monitoring of national pesticides regulations
Energy and innovation
Pests and diseases
Since the fall armyworm was confirmed for the first time in India this past summer, it has spread quickly – now confirmed in Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Yemen, and suspected in Nepal
Earth Island Journal
The GM debate
I fight anti-GMO fears in Africa to combat hunger
Opportunities and resources
CRAWFORD FUND: Are you at university studying agriculture, animal production, fisheries, forestry, natural resource management or any area related to food and nutrition security? Would you like to explore your subject area in an international agricultural project context?
UC Davis is partnering with European institutions and associations to offer Class V of the European Plant Breeding Academy. This programme, starting in Oct 2019, is for working professionals who want to become fully trained plant breeders
University of California
Are you a good communicator? Do you want to help improve the lives of smallholder farmers? Work toward food security? Join a global network of dedicated science champions? Apply to be a Global Leadership Fellow!
Cornell Alliance for Science