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January 3rd, 2019 / B4FA.org

New year’s greetings from all of us at B4FA. We enter 2019 highlighting a forward-looking piece posted in Cornell’s Alliance for Science blog – “Africa can’t afford to miss the gene revolution, ag experts say” – that interviews African agricultural experts encouraging the continent’s embrace of biotechnology.

In the article, Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria’s (ARCN) Yarama Ndirpaya urges African leaders to avoid “dragging their feet” on joining the genetic revolution. “If we have issues of feeding ourselves today then tomorrow must be very important to us,” Ndirpaya said. “Our effort is to see what technologies are available around the whole globe that can help us improve and make sure that this productivity increase is sustained not by increasing the number of hectares, because land is also running out, but by increasing the productivity per unit area. We found biotechnology to be one of the very important and critical technologies for a teeming population like ours.”

Meanwhile, West Africa regional representative for the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) Issoufou Kollo Abdourhamane said: “We have realized that any time a new technology to improve agricultural production is coming out there are some very intelligent people who’ll say ‘No, this is not for Africa,’ or they find excuses to deny Africans of it. This is how the agricultural revolution bypassed Africa many years ago.” 

“At AATF, we believe that there is no technology good for the rest of the world that is not good for Africa…,” he continued. “[A]ny technology good for USA, South Africa, China, India can also be good for Africa. Technology is technology, science is science. It is universal. When science is good, it is good, it has no color or tribal origin. This is our philosophy.”

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.

Headlines

Africa can’t afford to miss the gene revolution, ag experts say
Cornell Alliance for Science

AgBio news

Nigeria leads West Africa on biosafety
Daily Trust

Nigeria releases GMO cowpea, urges farmers not to reject technology out of fear
Genetic Literacy Project

A breakthrough by the African Centre for Crop Improvement in the breeding of sorghum could have far-reaching implications for the biofuel and bioplastic industries in South Africa
ACCI

Uganda’s Animal Genetic Centre positioned as a leader in Africa
Observer

Drought stress changes microbes living at sorghum’s roots
Newswise

Japan may allow genome-edited food sale
ISAAA

Geneticist PC Kesavan and agriculture scientist MS Swaminathan have set the cat among the pigeons by saying that the Green Revolution has been a failure
Daily Pioneer

Scientists discover way to make rice plants replicate through seeds as clones
ISAAA

Should GM crops feature in the ‘Evergreen Revolution’ India dearly needs?
The Wire Science

Australian OGTR receives license application for field trial of GM chickpea
ISAAA

Why Nigeria should embrace gene revolution
Leadership NGA

The challenge of cassava seed multiplication
Next Generation Cassava Breeding Project

Sunflower pan-genome analysis shows that hybridization altered gene content and disease resistance
Nature

Best practices

How farmers can reap big from pigeon peas
Daily Monitor, by B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru

How to produce clean milk on farm
AllAfrica, by B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali

Uganda: Farmers get tips on high yielding crops
Daily Monitor

Irrigation doubles African food production
New Business Ethiopia

Climate change and environment

Climate change would compound Nigeria’s agriculture production challenges
ProShare

Check out how climate change impacts agriculture
Crop Life

We need more magic beans to help us offset the effects of climate change
Telegraph News

The threat of environmental hazards in Africa
Modern Ghana

They survive droughts, they eat trees — South Africa’s goats are helping farmers weather climate change
LA Times

Development

Farming in Nigeria: what types of farming will be profitable in 2019
Legit

The national dialogue held recently in Accra, Ghana, promoted investment in food and agriculture
African Farming

Africa has received new trade alliance guarantees from the European Union of more than $200 million
New Times

Mobile network operators in Africa are conquering banks’ fight for clients
International Policy Digest

Q/A: Transforming agriculture with tech scale-up
SciDevNet

Training youth key to growing African agriculture
Food Tank

Changing the gender bias in agriculture
ReliefWeb

Tanzania: sunflower farming set to be boosted
AllAfrica

Energy and innovation

Embracing AI in Africa is crucial
IT News Africa

Food security

Nigeria: Batanai Chikwene of ECA: African leaders should honour their commitment to allocate 10 percent of their budgets to agriculture
The National

Nigeria: Dying extension services threatening food security
Guardian

Still a long walk to food security
The National

African countries with the highest hunger rate in 2018
African Exponent

Pests and diseases

Interventions such as disease-free seeds and field hygiene have helped cut new cases of maize lethal necrosis in Sub-Saharan Africa, scientists say
SciDevNet

As temperatures rise, farmers will have to deal with even more bugs. Read what could happen if climate change is left unchecked
Crop Life

Opportunities and resources

The Jeff Schell Scholarship supports students and graduates in international research exchanges.
Bayer Crop Science

Photo: Cowpeas. Global Crop Diversity Trust/Flickr CC2.0