In the news...

June 7th, 2018 /

Last week, we reported that the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given approval for the safety of Golden Rice, a genetically engineered biofortified crop that promises to help alleviate Vitamin A deficiency — a serious health concern in 250 million preschool-age children globally. According to an article published in Cornell University’s Alliance for Science blog last week, this marks the third positive assessment of the crop by national food standards agencies, the first two being from Australia and New Zealand.

The FDA wrote to the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) that “Based on the information IRRI has presented to FDA, we have no further questions concerning human or animal food derived from GR2E rice at this time.” IRRI has been applying for approval internationally to ensure smooth trade in the commodity but the crop is intended for people in Asia and Africa who depend on rice as a staple food. This approval should help the beta-carotene enriched rice, which has long been held up due to the GM debate, get to populations in need.

This week, we include follow-up articles on this milestone, “Embattled Golden Rice is now allowed in US food supply” in Futurism, “GM golden rice gets approval from food regulators in the US” in New Scientist, and “FDA approves Golden Rice for consumption” from the Progressive Farmer. To read a copy of the FDA’s letter to IRRI, follow this link.

Rice also features in other headlines from around the world this week, including “Gene-edited rice plants could boost the world’s food supply” from Engadget, “India: Hybrid rice clicks better in poor than agriculturally prosperous states” in Indian Express, and “Free app to help rice farms lessen losses from weeds” in AllAfrica.

From the B4FA Fellows this week, we also hear from Lominda Afedraru, who writes about Uganda’s scientists’ use of biotechnology to solve agricultural, health and environmental challenges, and Michael Ssali, who writes “When agriculture is sick we are sick”, a report on the farm clinic organized by the Daily Monitor at the Mbarara Zonal Agricultural and Research Development Institute (MBAZARDI), an opportunity for farmers and other stakeholders to learn about new farming technologies agricultural solutions.

We welcome questions, comments and story links to [email protected]. Please also visit 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!


Embattled Golden Rice Is now allowed in US food supply

GM golden rice gets approval from food regulators in the US
New Scientist

FDA approves Golden Rice for consumption
DTN: The Progressive Farmer

Gene-edited rice plants could boost the world’s food supply

India: Hybrid rice clicks better in poor than agriculturally prosperous states
Indian Express

AgBio news

Uganda’s scientists strive to use biotechnology to solve agricultural, health and environmental challenges
Genetic Literacy Project, by B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru

Uganda: When agriculture is sick we are sick
Daily Monitor, by B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali

12 African countries to meet in Cotonou on impending cassava diseases
The Guardian

Bill Gates support African countries to battle cassava disease
Business Insider

Kenya unveils plans to revamp ailing cotton industry

Reviving the American chestnut: Genetic modification can save the iconic tree from extinction
Genetic Literacy Project

Malawi: Seed industry is essential to high productivity

Namibia: African small-scale farmers need more than just land to survive climate change

Is agricultural diversification necessary for achieving global food security?
Malabo Montpellier Panel

African Farming’s Agroinvestment Summit to open in London

India: With missed-call campaign, Maharashtra farmers pitch for GM seeds
The Print

Candidate gene for drought tolerance found in wheat

West Africa Key Message Update: Concerning levels of food insecurity in the pastoral areas of the Sahel and the Lake Chad Basin, May 2018

African countries need to push climate smart agriculture

Akufo-Addo launches Ghana Zero Hunger Strategic Review Report
Daily Guide

Boost for food security efforts as West African Center for Crop Improvement at the University of Ghana receives international accreditation
Modern Ghana

Research and collaboration yields zinc maize in Colombia and Guatemala

Hyderabad-based Icrisat, KeyGene sign pact that will benefit farmers in Asia and Africa
The Times of India

Award-winning Rwandan scientist keen to help end hunger

Best practices

Kenyan farmers embrace new and sustainable way to build resilience
Down to Earth

What does a seed farmer do?
Modern Farmer

Conservation agriculture increasing yields, incomes in Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania

Trees and indigenous crops for food security in Africa

From living in a mud house to a fixed roof, this Malawian farmer knows the value of climate-smart agriculture
Down to Earth


FAO: Incorporating biodiversity as a priority in agriculture can yield multiple benefits

Climate change

Climate change and threat of food insecurity
The Guardian

GM crops offer hope in hotter times
Bangkok Post


FAO, Rabobank renew partnership to help African farmers
African Farming

Africa needs another million PhD scientists to develop homegrown solutions
Quartz Africa

Helping smallholder farmers participate in the rise of agribusiness in Africa
Biz Community

Interview with Josefa Sacko Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture of the African Union

Positioning Africa’s agricultural sector to feed the world
The Nigerian Voice

The question of land grabbing for commercial agriculture in Uganda
Farmers Review Africa

Land reform and hunger in South Africa: why the two go hand in hand
The Conversation

Ghana: Make agricultural machines women friendly
Ghana News Agency

Regional countries urged to increase agric funding to reduce food imports
The New Times

African Development Bank to host US $3-million Rockefeller Trust Fund to spur agriculture and youth employment in Africa
African Development Bank Group

Opinion: Government of Ghana lies to farmers

Journalists charged to develop keen interest in science and technology reporting
News Ghana

Energy and innovation

Free app to help rice farms lessen losses from weeds

New Agri App uLima will optimise the farming potential of Africa – provide African farmers with access to a toolset, database & the latest market information
Biz Community

Agricultural digital conference takes farming beyond tilling and weeding
Standard Digital

Food security

Food waste enough to feed world’s hungry four times over

How potatoes can alleviate hunger

The GM debate

Opinion: Are the anti-GMO activists in Ghana following CRISPR?

GM convert claims Scottish ban has impact around world…
The Courier

Why not genetically engineered organic foods?
Washington Examiner

How GMOs go mainstream: lessons from impossible foods
Stephen Lamb, Medium

The agreeable face of genome editing
Global Institute for Food Security

Organic vs conventional food fight: Focus on pesticides distracts from real environmental problems
Genetic Literacy Project

Pests and diseases

Tanzania: Tarime district council out to combat armyworm to save maize farms

Minimising further insect pests invasions in Africa

Sub-Saharan farmers are being bankrupted…by a worm
Huffington Post


Ghana: Economic growth hinges on agricultural transforming – Dr. K.Y Amoako
News Ghana

Farmers await lifting of ban on GMO cotton
Daily Nation

The GM debate

Here’s everything wrong with the government’s confusing new GMO labeling law
The New Food Economy


Opportunity: John Innes Centre Chris J Leaver Research Fellowship – leading to a tenure-track faculty position, aimed at individuals wanting to start their own research group
John Innes Centre

Event: Fourth Scientific Conference of the Global Cassava Partnership for the 21st – GCP21-IV,: Benin, June 11-15

Do you have an inspiring success story of agricultural innovation? Send it in for the November 2018 FAO International Symposium on Agricultural Innovation for Family Farmers will take place at HQ. Deadline: 15 June.

Fellowship Career opportunities for researchers from Central Africa!! IITA CGIAR has several opportunities: 3 PhD positions for Rwanda and Burundi. Apply by 30 June 2018

MTFC launches Innov8Agric Challenge to promote Innovation in Agric Entrepreneurship. Deadline: 30 June
Business Day

The Marketplace for Nutritious Foods, Kenya is pleased to invite applications to its second Innovation Accelerator call for proposals 2018. Deadline, 30 June

Vacancy: Agri-business expert

Online event: Ask the Expert: Africa’s Green Revolution and Policy Levers, Jun 07, 10:00 to 10:30 am EDT

Agriculture webinar on Talking Books for Audio-Based Agriculture Extension, 5 June

Agriculture, Nutrition & Health Academy Week 2018, Accra, Ghana. 25-29 June


Vectors of viral cassava diseases

Assessment of genetically modified maize 4114 for food and feed uses, under Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 (application EFSA‐GMO‐NL‐2014‐123)