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 China.com. 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 Phys.org. “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 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!
Biotech adoption gathers pace in Tanzania
Ghana eyes Bt cotton following its approval in nearby Nigeria
Alliance for Science
Issues as Nigerian farmers welcome GMO cotton
Uganda: Farming, science and population
Daily Monitor, by B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali
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
Uganda: How to ensure bumper harvest from butternut
Daily Monitor, by B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru
Research: can we grow food without fertiliser?
African baobab tree big business
Climate change & environment
The high cost of food monopolies in Africa
Model farm promises youth better livelihoods
Energy and innovation
Pests and diseases
Video: Managing black rot in cabbage
The GM debate
How to show consumers the benefits of genetically modified foods
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
3rd International Whitefly Symposium 2018– 16-19 September 2018, The Esplanade Hotel Fremantle, Perth, Western Australia
3rd International Whitefly Symposium 2018
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
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