This week in Libreville, Gabon, more than 100 African agriculturalists met to discuss lessons learned from inaugural Biennial Review (BR) Report on the implementation of the 2014 Malabo Declaration – an agreement to track progress on agricultural goals for the continent every two years starting in 2018, endorsed by African Union heads of state. According to an article posted on ReliefWeb, the inaugural BR report was groundbreaking in that it successfully gathered data from 47 of the 55 member states – a crucial first step. “The biennial review report is an important tool for monitoring the progress we are making… That we collected 78 per cent of the data needed is very encouraging and we will build on this in the next reporting cycle,” said Dr. Godfrey Bahiigwa, Director of Rural Economy and Agriculture at the AUC, in the article.
However, according to the BR report, only 20 of the 47 reporting states are on track towards achieving the commitments set out in the Malabo Declaration – which include ending hunger and reducing poverty by 2025. According to ReliefWeb: “Rwanda led the top 10 best performers with a score of 6.1, followed by Mali (5.6), Morocco (5.5), Ethiopia (5.3), Togo (4.9), Malawi (4.9), Kenya (4.8), Mauritania (4.8), Burundi (4.7), and Uganda (4.5). The Africa Agriculture Transformation Scorecard (AATS) of the report sets the benchmark at 3.9 out of 10 as the minimum score for a country to be considered on track towards achieving the Malabo commitments by 2025. Regionally, East Africa performed best with a score of 4.2, followed by Southern Africa with a score of 4.02.”
Meanwhile, in Uganda, agricultural scientists are asking for a review of the most recent recommendations the Parliamentary Committee made on the Biosafey Bill, saying that imposing too-tight restrictions – including strict isolation policies with life-imprisonment penalties – will hamper the efforts of Ugandan scientists, and lead to delays in rolling out agricultural innovations that would offer relief from crop pests and diseases and help alleviate hunger and poverty in the country.
An opinion piece published by Mark Lynas in New Vision comments on the situation, saying that “anti-science” forces are responsible for politically detaining such home-grown improvements as WEMA maize and disease-resistant cassava, banana and potato crops. “In the meantime,” he writes, “climate change accelerates and fall armyworm continues its lethal spread through Uganda’s farmland. The deteriorating political situation is already having predictable knock-on effects with food insecurity, environmental destruction and higher use of chemicals. Uganda is a country with much promise, but banning science and innovation is surely not the way to make the most of it.”
Finally, B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru interviews chair of the Sectoral Committee on Science and Technology in Uganda’s Parliament Robert Kafeero Sekitoleko on “Why Uganda needs to “wake up” to GMOs” for Genetic Literacy Project – offering a view of the GMO conflict from within the country.
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Anti-GMO activism is hindering Uganda’s scientific progress
New Vision, by Mark Lynas
Ugandan legislator on why his nation needs to ‘wake up’ on GMOs
Genetic Literacy Project, by B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru
Farm technology is getting CRISPR
Africa should promote the wealth of its local foods, by B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali
Daily Monitor, by B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali
Can genomics deliver climate-change ready crops?
EAC trailing in exportation of bananas
We must stand up for quality seeds
Nigeria to face unprecedented pressure in livestock production – FAO
The Eagle Online
Energy and innovation
Food security: Kenya moves to empower farmers with sci-tech
The News Nigeria
Pests and diseases
Farmers crippled by Fall armyworm outbreak are selling off farms
Farmers Review Africa
Armyworm tech prize is financed by Nesta
India in a race against wilt in Cavendish banana
The Hindu Business Line
The GM debate
Let’s recognize Roundup Ready and Bt crops as major contributions to sustainable farming
Genetic Literacy Project
Online discussion: Partnerships, innovations and financing for youth in climate-smart agriculture, 23 April-21 May. Climate and Agriculture Network for Africa
Climate & Agriculture Network for Africa