India took the spotlight this week in response to the recently released ISAAA report Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops: 2014, which stated that developing countries planted more biotech crops than industrialised nations. According to a Hindustan Times article, India’s 11.6 million hectares of GM crops now equals Canada’s and is bigger than China’s, while another story states that India’s government is working to introduce even more.
Other interesting biotech stories include a project to unlock the genomes of 100 melon varieties as well as five wild melon relatives in order to help accelerate the breeding process. Sought-after traits include resistance to fungi, viruses and insects, as well as drought tolerance and longer shelf life. Science Daily reports how plant biologists are improving drought tolerance by engineering them to activate water-conserving processes in response to an anti-blight agrochemical that’s already in use.
We also hear from B4FA Fellows: from Ghana, Noah Nash sends a new video about how the Ghanaian chapter of OFAB (Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology in Africa) is working to sensitize science students to GM issues and encourage them to take up biotech careers. Michael Ssali writes about why farmers should plant improved seed in Uganda, while Lominda Afedraru offers a report on how researchers and farmers are gaining ground in the fight against deadly maize disease.
Thank you as ever for joining us. We look forward to receiving your questions, comments, and story links at [email protected].
Biosciences & plant genetics around the world
Scientists reprogram plants for drought tolerance
Modern genetics – not necessarily GM – can help spur next Green Revolution
Genetic Literacy Project
Nine steps to food security – Kofi Annan
New Vision Wire
Report: Revealing agriculture’s place in Africa
Video: OFAB Ghana sensitizes science students to GM issues and biotech careers
by B4FA Fellow Noah Nash
India gives Ghana $150m line of credit for agriculture
Ghana Business News
Researchers, farmers gain ground in fight against deadly maize disease
Daily Monitor, by B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru
New soya bean varieties boost farmers and country’s income
Why farmers should plant improved seed
Daily Monitor, by B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali