In the news...

August 16th, 2018 /

This week, a Californian jury ruled that glyphosate caused the cancer of groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson, awarding him $289 million in damages. While Monsanto maintains glyphosate’s safety (as do many scientific studies and regulatory organisations) and plans to appeal, this decision is likely to have an impact on agriculture worldwide as glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide in the world. An article posted by Genetic Literacy Project states that banning glyphosate could raise food prices, reduce crop yields, and force farmers to use more toxic herbicides from the past.

Turning to Africa, an article in The Citizen states that Tanzania is making progress in biotech agricultural research, citing the report recently launched by the ISAAA on the Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops. According to the article, Tanzania has approved insect-resistant and drought-tolerant maize for confined field trials while agricultural researchers have also developed drought-resistant maize using conventional breeding.

Meanwhile, Ghana is considering adopting Bt cotton in the wake of Nigeria’s decision to commercialize the crop, according to a story in Cornell’s Alliance for Science blog. “Science-focused civil society groups are confident Nigeria’s move will serve as a good role model and push players in the agricultural space to resume work on processes to make Bt cotton available to farmers in Ghana,” the article says. Kenya also plans to release commercial Bt cotton by March 2019, according to The article reports that trials for the transgenic cotton in seven sites under the Kenya Agriculture Livestock Research Organization will continue until year’s end, ensuring that the variety is “distinct, uniform and stable” before release.

On the Fall armyworm front, the pest has been detected for the first time in Asia, according to “Scientists at the Indian Council of Agricultural Research said a survey had identified fall armyworm or Spodoptera frugiperda on more than 70 percent of maize crops examined in the Chikkaballapur area of southern Karnataka state,” says the article, adding that it could quickly migrate to neighboring countries.

The FAO is meanwhile putting out a call for pest management innovations to be applied on smallholder farms in Africa, to be shared at an international technical meeting this coming October in Addis Ababa. “To ensure that all possible management measures are considered and all perspectives included, the organizers are seeking farmers, local practitioners, and civil society organizations who have found local or indigenous innovations and technologies to be effective in different crop systems,” says the call. “These can usefully inform the meeting and themselves be further researched for maximum effectiveness.”

From the B4FA Fellows, we hear from Lominda Afedraru in Uganda’s Daily Monitor on How to ensure bumper harvest from butternut, as well as from Michael Ssali on the role of science in food security in the same publication.

We welcome questions, comments and story links to [email protected]. Please also visit 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!


With glyphosate-cancer legal battles poised to escalate, what are the ramifications for agriculture if the herbicide is restricted?
Genetic Literacy Project

Monsanto ordered to pay $289m as jury rules weedkiller caused man’s cancer

Biotech adoption gathers pace in Tanzania
The Citizen

Ghana eyes Bt cotton following its approval in nearby Nigeria
Alliance for Science

Issues as Nigerian farmers welcome GMO cotton
Daily Trust

Official says Kenya may commercialize genetically modified cotton next March

Crop-destroying armyworm caterpillar detected in Asia

Seeking indigenous innovations for managing Fall armyworm (FAW) in Africa, Addis Ababa

AgBio news

Uganda: Farming, science and population
Daily Monitor, by B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali

Concept of plant genetic engineering towards food security in Africa

Employing wheat’s bacterial partners to fight a pathogen

The consequences when ag technology is withheld: a farmer’s perspective
Global Famer Network

Biotechnology seeks to engineer crops with high economic value
Ghana News Agency

Biotech firm Pivot Bio beta testing ‘clean, alternative’ nitrogen fertilizer to spare farmland and protect waterways
Genetic Literacy Project

Tanzania: Minister Mpina furious over high seed prices, proliferation of fake pesticides

Update on biotech: What is CRISPR and how it works

Josephine Okojie, a Business Day reporter wins Josephine, won the “Best Agric Biotech Reporter (Print)‎ in Nigeria” from Open Forum for Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB)
Business Day

We all want to eat food that is produced sustainably. But it’s not at all clear what that means in practice
Biochemical Society

Workshop report: Livestock breeding and other advances in animal, insect and fish genetic research for Africa
Genetics for Africa

Best practices

Uganda: How to ensure bumper harvest from butternut
Daily Monitor, by B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru

Research: can we grow food without fertiliser?
Technology Networks

A €1.2m Irish Government investment is expected to kick start a bid to plant a million trees as part of the re-greening of one of Africa’s most parched regions
Breaking News

Nigeria: why you should go into ginger farming

5 ways we can make food production more nourishing for the planet


African baobab tree big business
Africa News

30 traditional crops to celebrate indigenous farming

Climate change & environment

The dust in the wind: Africa’s efforts to restore degraded land
Africa Times

Eleven case studies exemplify strategies to scale up climate-smart agriculture

Are honey bees endangered? Here’s the truth of the matter
AG Daily

How the global heatwave is harming agriculture today and creating problems for the bio-economy tomorrow
Bio-Based World News

Consensus grows on nature-based solutions to climate change, but challenges remain

Tanzania: Kitui County has now enacted a law that sets aside one percent of its annual budget towards climate change adaptation
The Exchange

Forests key to Africa ending water crises, meeting SDGs


Adesina calls for technology transfer to farmers

Opinion: China-Africa strategy goes beyond economic cooperation

Big Four agenda: Kenya’s food security in the interest of China
Daily Nation

Uganda: The student trying to solve the food waste crisis

Ghana: Journalists schooled on biotechnology and genetically modified organisms
Ghana News Agency

Need for a coherent development cooperation strategy to address food insecurity in India and Africa

Chinese investment in West Africa’s fishing industry fuels food security fears
Undercurrent News

Women’s roles in the African agricultural sector – women make up a third of total employment in the sector

The World Bank has finally seen the light and is supporting land reform in South Africa
The Herald

Open EU to African goods, German development minister says

AfDB offers new financing opportunities for Zambia’s water and agriculture sectors
African Farming

The high cost of food monopolies in Africa
Project Syndicate

Smallholders in Africa still have limited access to the innovations, technology, knowledge and information, as well as agricultural inputs says FAO
The New Times

Youth employment in agriculture as a solid solution to ending hunger and poverty in Africa

South African farmers play major role in global citrus industry
Low Velder

Farmer-herder conflicts on the rise in Africa

Counterfeit pesticides cost Kenyan farmers Sh120bn
The Star

AfDB targets five million tonnes increase in Africa’s fish production
The Nation

Model farm promises youth better livelihoods
Daily Monitor

Energy and innovation

Farming innovations changing the South African agricultural landscape
Biz Community

Building a big data platform for agriculture

Food security

UN agencies to highlight food and nutrition security situation in Africa’s Sahel

How inadequate agric research funding undermines Nigeria’s food security
Business Day

How do you feed an increasing number of people without harming the environment?

Vaccinating livestock against foot-and-mouth disease could help to reduce poverty in eastern Africa

Food security’s red herrings: GMOs and organic

Pests and diseases

West African Virus Epidemiology (WAVE) sensitises farmers on controlling emerging cassava virus

Video: Managing black rot in cabbage
Access Agriculture

CABI warns of rapid spread of crop-devastating fall armyworm across Asia

The GM debate

How to show consumers the benefits of genetically modified foods
The Conversation

‘GMOs most rigorously tested foods in history of mankind’

Opportunity: Globalink Research Internship is offering a 12-week research project at Canadian universities for high-achieving senior undergraduates from around the world. Apply by September 19, 2018

Opportunity: The International Science Council (ISC) seeks a Communications Officer responsible for developing communications products, including print, digital and audio-visual. Deadline 31 August

Purdue University Scale Up Conference to address how the large-scale adoption of technologies can shift agricultural innovations from research institutions to the developing world Sept. 25-27
Purdue University

3rd International Whitefly Symposium 2018– 16-19 September 2018, The Esplanade Hotel Fremantle, Perth, Western Australia
3rd International Whitefly Symposium 2018

AHDB invites applications for Postgraduate Studentship projects

UK-Africa Food Security Symposium: Developing effective and equitable partnerships to address food insecurity in Africa – Sainsbury Laboratory Auditorium, University of Cambridge, 11 September
JR Biotek Foundation

Pre-call for proposals announcement: strengthening higher agricultural education for Agri-food System Transformation In Africa (SHAEA)

Event: 1st   All Africa Congress on Synthetic Pesticides, Environment, Human and Animal Health. June 18 – 20, 2019. Nairobi, Kenya
World Food Preservation Center

Event invitation Malabo Montpellier Panel discussion on new report Transforming Africa’s Agriculture Value Chains Through Mechanization at House of Commons, UK Parliament, Westminster, London on 12 September 2018 at 1800hrs
Malabo Montpellier Panel