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March 29th, 2018 / B4FA.org

This week, Rose Gidado, the Assistant Director of the Agricultural Biotechnology Department at the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) in Nigeria and the Nigerian Country Coordinator for the Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB), announced that Nigeria is ready to use biotechnology in agriculture to improve its food and economic security, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals. The crops, Bt cowpea and Bt cotton, have successfully undergone field trials and are ready for the market pending approval by national and international regulatory agencies.

“With this modern technology, we can create employment in line with the goals of the Federal Government. Also, with biotechnology, we can grow our economy beyond mere sustenance to the point of becoming a global major player in food exportation,’ says Gidado. “Though the best technology is used in the production of GMOs … this can only be done within the confines of the law to ensure that the GMOs have no adverse effects,” she continues. “As a giant of Africa, once Nigeria gets it right, it will change the face of Africa in the area of GMOs.”

African leaders have also signed a framework establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area with the goal of creating a single market for goods and services in Africa. If it is ratified, the market size is expected to include 1.7 billion people with over USD$ 6.7 trillion of cumulative consumer and business spending by 2030.

An article about the single market published in AllAfrica says that “grain sector stakeholders, especially farmers, have been urged to improve productivity and enhance grain standards to take advantage of the huge market opportunities presented by the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) agreement.” The article also states that 44 countries signed to the deal, while 30 signed the Protocol on Free Movement of Persons, and 47 supported the creation of Africa’s one market by signing the Kigali Declaration.

East African Green Council (EAGC) executive director Gerald Makau Masila said: “Africa has a ‘big advantage’ as the only continent with huge chunks of arable land, which must now be fully exploited to increase crop productivity to help countries meet their food needs and export demand.”

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Headlines

Nigeria to use biotechnology to improve crops
News Agency of Nigeria

Africa: Improve output, quality to benefit from Africa’s Free Trade Area, farmers told
AllAfrica

Why Africa’s free trade area offers so much promise
The Conversation

Next Einstein Forum launches Scientific African Journal to boost global reach of research from Africa
Africa Business Communities

AgBio news

Global academia and scientists, businesspersons, policymakers in Rwanda for the Next Einstein Forum Global Gathering 2018, a unique international science forum with a focus on Africa
The New Times

Breakthrough in battle against rice blast
University of Exeter

CRISPR-Cas9 can modify cotton bollworm genes
ISAAA

India: Scientists develop biofortified maize to address ‘hidden hunger’
The Hindu Business Line

Viewpoint: Green Revolution II will require GMOs and a paradigm shift toward lower-input farming
Genetic Literacy Project

Hybrid seed to propel yields by 20%, says African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF)
News Day

GM foods safer than conventional, says expert
New Zimbabwe

NAS: Conventional agriculture won’t feed Nigeria
Alliance for Science

Crops hold rare harmful mutations that reduce productivity
ISAAA

Report: Gains in corn production in the Philippines largely due to GE seeds
ISAAA

Plants found to overcome hunger by activating autophagy
ISAAA

Revolutionizing breeding programs, agriculture In Africa: NextGen Cassava, phase two, launches
Leadership

Best practices

Farmers earn double from molasses, by B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali
Daily Monitor, by B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali

Qualities of a good farm employee, by B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali
Daily Monitor, by B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali

Biodiversity

These underutilised crops could be the crops of the future
Star2

Dangerous decline in biodiversity threatens livelihoods, food and water security
Yale Environment 360

World’s biodiversity lost faster than it recovers
SciDevNet

Asia could run out of fish by 2048 and Africa half of some mammal species by 2100, says UN
Newsweek

Climate change

The Great Green Wall of Africa, Sahel needs it
DevDiscourse

Development

African common market will boost trade
Standard Digital

MWAGIRU: Trade agreement expected to make Africa self-reliant
Daily Nation

There will be a new refugee crisis if the world doesn’t address food insecurity in Africa
Think Progress

Foundation selects 1000 entrepreneurs across Africa for its 2018 programme
Pulse

The African scientist making enduring connections between Cambridge and Africa
University of Cambridge

Women grow 70% of Africa’s food. But have few rights over the land they tend
World Economic Forum

Next Einstein Forum announces African Ci2i finalists for its Challenge of Invention to Innovation (Ci2i) innovation competition
Disrupt Africa

Gender gaps – the bane of Africa’s agricultural research and development. Increased gender-responsive research & innovations in agriculture could be a significant game-changer for Africa in realising food security sustainably
BizCommunity

The African Solidarity Trust Fund is bridging critical development gaps on the continent
Ghana News Agency

Ugandan farmer calls for help from world-renowned East Anglian sugar beet growers
Eastern Daily Press

India committed to supporting development in African countries: Naidu
Business Standard

AfDB reports on economic growth in Central Africa
DevDiscourse

Energy and innovation

Scaling up game-changing agricultural innovations and technologies in Africa
AllAfrica

Could Africa’s agricultural challenges be solved by satellite data?
Climate Action

African Regional Data Cube: tool to tackle food security and other challenges in Africa
DevDiscourse

Embrace new technologies to increase  agricultural production, Africa urged
New Times

New satellite technology tool transforms central Africa’s ability to manage food security
Reliefweb

Food security

Photos: Africa’s farmer presidents – Namibia’s Geingob joins Buhari and Museveni
Africa News

UN and EU say food insecurity worsens as conflicts rage
The Straits Times

Drought and conflict leave millions more hungry in 2017 – UN-backed report
UN News

Food insecurity imminent in African Sahel region
NAN

Pests and diseases

Why agriculture stakeholders are rooting for integrated management of fall armyworm
New Times

Why African farmers should balance pesticides with other control methods
The Conversation

Challenges in monitoring and managing plant diseases in developing countries
Springer Nature

Policy

CAST releases new issue paper: “Regulatory Barriers to the Development of Innovative Agricultural Biotechnology by Small Businesses and Universities”
PRWeb

The GM debate

Report: Open Records, Shuttered Labs: Ending Political Harassment of Public University Researchers
SSRN

Opportunities

African Academy of Sciences and partners launch researcher mobility funds

Collaboration among African and Indian scientists to be facilitated. Open on 3 April 2018
AAS

Free online Webinar on: AGRIS for Agricultural Information Data providers  6 April 2018 1400 – 1445 Hrs South Africa standard time
ITOCA

Calling on journalists in Tanzania. Journalism awards on biofortification set for April 2018. Submit entry now!
PressReader

Africa Launch Conference: Kampala, Uganda 7th-9th May 2018, followed by 2-day training course for Early Career Research Network Members 10-11th May
CONNECTED Network

Conference: Scientific innovation for a sustainable development of African agriculture. Deadline for submission abstracts: 1 June 2018. Conference: 30-31 August 2018, VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology Gent-Zwijnaarde, Belgium

Conference: 4th Scientific Conference of the Global Cassava Partnership. GCP21-IV, 11-15 June 2018
Cotonou, Benin

Resources

Global Report on Food Crises 2018
ReliefWeb

Pocket K No. 56: Substantial Equivalence of GM and Non-GM Crops
ISAAA

Book: Agricultural adaptation to climate change in Africa – Food security in a changing environment
FCRN

Report: Some Basis for a Renewed Regulation of Agri-Food Biotechnology in the EU
Springer