In the news...

June 24th, 2015

Good news this week on the fight against Yellow Rust. Scientists who created a method to track the spread of the disease are now working on a faster and cheaper diagnostic tool, resulting in a bigger, more accurate dataset that will quickly inform breeders and farmers to take early action on choosing resistant varieties and protecting crops. Scientists have also made progress in identifying maize varieties resistant to maize lethal necrosis (MLN), a viral disease that affects crop in parts of sub-Saharan Africa.

There’s also big news in nutrition-led health: researchers have found that the Vitamin A in orange sweet potato reduces prevalence and duration of diarrhea in young children in Mozambique. Among the study’s findings is that in children under 3 who ate orange sweet potato in the previous week, the likelihood of having diarrhoea was reduced by 52%. The findings will help public health experts save lives by informing mothers about food intake and supplements. Sweet potato also made news in Kenya, where high yielding, fast-maturing varieties are becoming more and more popular due to its suitability for arid and semi-arid areas.

Elsewhere in Kenya, a new app has been released that helps connect Kenyan farmers with seeds that could help farmers adapt to climate change. The free app, called MbeguChoice, offers information on the best seeds for changing growing conditions.

From the B4FA Fellows, Lominda Afedraru writes about a research institute that’s helping West Nile farmers boost productivity, while Michael Ssali reports on why agriculture deserves a bigger share in Uganda’s budget. Noah Nash’s video reports from Ghana include rice production projections for 2015  and women smallholder farmers receiving support from USAID Ghana, which presented them with 100 multipurpose crop planters to boost productivity.

Finally, we’re pleased to invite you to browse our newly designed website. It features daily news highlights for easy perusal, and comprehensive, easily accessible resources on crop biotech and African agriculture. Please do drop by – and if you can, take a couple of minutes to tell us how you like it in the survey provided!

Thank you as ever for joining us, and please send questions, comments and links to [email protected].

Biosciences & plant genetics around the world

Scientists close the gap on Yellow Rust

UC Berkeley researchers find a new approach in biocontainment, using E. coli

Ancient perennial wheat relative Kernza resists diseases and pests, builds soil quality
Civil Eats

New study finds that orange sweet potato reduces diarrhea in children

Is plant science the answer to improved food security?
Earth Island Journal

Seed companies can help make quality seeds available to smallholders: methodology report for the forthcoming Access to Seeds Index
Access to Seeds Index

VIDEO: Why don’t farmers save seeds? Hybrids and their benefits
Biology Fortified

Israel’s disease-resistant cloned bananas to be trialled in Australia
Farm Online

Report: Towards and water- & food-secure future: critical perspectives for policymakers

China’s spending on genetics research making huge advances in biotech
Genetic Literacy Project

More than 240 organizations and scientific institutions support the safety of GM crops
Siquiero Transgenicos

Audio: Journalism can raise awareness about ethical issues & informing smallholders about technologies

‘India will be food secure by 2050’ – Dr S Ayappan
New Indian Express

Climate data project seeks to prepare poorer nations

Beating drought: solutions that can be tested in the global laboratory that Israel is and then scaled elsewhere
Yahoo! News

FAO launches digital platform on family farming


New app to connect Kenyan farmers with climate-smart seeds 

Kenya: High-yielding, fast-maturing and drought tolerant sweet potatoes become food of choice in arid areas
FarmBiz Africa

Maize lethal necrosis (MLN) threatens food security in sub-Saharan Africa, but scientists say they are on track to develop MLN-resistant varieties

New web portal provides open data on food and nutrition security in Africa

Report launched in Kenya, reiterating support for emerging technologies, including agricultural biotechnology

Pay attention to improving soil fertility says head of crop science, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Uyo Nigeria
Leadership Nigeria

South Africa: Youth are agriculture’s future – the sector is growing and facing changes that increasingly require more skilled labour
Mail & Guardian

New farming methods to help Ethiopian farmers
African Farming

Gambia: Community gardens provide significant source of food, income for farmers

Nairobi farmer champions urban vegetable farming with soilless medium
FarmBiz Africa

Zambia: ‘With my vegetable garden, I am now able to support my family.’


Video: Rice production projections in Northern Regions for 2015 by rice expert Dr. Wilson Dogbe, of SARI
by B4FA Fellow Noah Nash

Video: USAID Ghana give 100 multipurpose crop planters for women smallholder farmers
by B4FA Fellow Noah Nash

Vodaphone Farmers’ Club assists daily activities of farmers, boosting productivity


IITA project has enhanced rice, cassava, maize, wheat production

Govt releases 15 new crop varieties to farmers

Rice production increases by 140 percent after introduction of certified seeds

African Development Bank (AfDB) president-elect Dr. Akinwumi Adesina pledges to focus on power, food, agric

Charting a new course for the future of agriculture

Northern Nigerian farmers worry over effect of delayed rainfall 

Disease ravages tomato farms, causes scarcity nationwide


Poor seeds hold back Tanzania’s cotton


A research institute that is helping West Nile farmers boost productivity
Daily Monitor, by B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru

Why agriculture deserves a bigger share in the budget
Daily Monitor, by B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali

Seed plant opened to provide healthy seed as well as tissue culture for banana, maize and sweet potato
Daily Monitor

With a growing population, we need crop intensification – survey
Daily Monitor

Budget for agriculture not enough, say experts
Daily Monitor

Focus on agriculture financing in Uganda
African Farming

Why Bunkonzo Joint Cooperative Society may save Africa’s agriculture
New Vision

Views and opinions in Week in Review are solely those of the author or authors and do not necessarily represent those of B4FA.