In the news...

April 12th, 2017 /

Bad news is emerging from Kenya this week as armyworm infestation spreads throughout the country, threatening to devastate maize, sorghum, millet and wheat, as well as the possibility of damaging livestock pasture – on top of a drought-inflicted food crisis. According to an article in AllAfrica, worms have been sighted “in Trans Nzoia, Nakuru and Uasin Gishu in Rift Valley, Kakamega and Bungoma in Western Kenya, and Kwale at the Coast.” Stories covering the crisis include “Blow to Kenya’s food security situation as armyworms invade farms”, “Kenya’s bread basket under threat from army worms”, and “Kwale farmers worried after armyworms invade crops.” Armyworm also continues to worry Zimbabwe (“After drought, Zimbabwe contends with fall armyworm invasion”), and B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali asks in Uganda’s Daily Monitor, “Armyworm – how prepared are we?”, noting that the outbreak has affected more than 30 districts so far.

Meanwhile, in Tanzania, government has been asked to permit the release of a new so-called “wonder” cassava seed to farmers for commercial use. The Tanzania 130 Cassava Seed is drought tolerant and resistant to cassava brown streak virus, and is now awaiting certification from the Tanzania Official Seed Certification Institute. This variety, which was developed using non-GM tissue-culture technology, is said to substantially increase yields. Cassava news is coming out of Liberia this week too, as Liberians from Bong, Bomi, Margibi, Gbarpolu, Cape Mount and Montserrado counties are being trained by local non-governmental organization ZOA in cassava processing, in the hope of adding value to the staple crop to bolster food and economic security. Products include high quality flour, starch, cassava chips, and cassava beer, among others.

We also hear from B4FA Fellow Henry Lutaaya this week, who writes of Uganda’s seed shortage: a hidden crisis limiting Uganda’s prosperity, as well as an op-ed stating that it is time for Uganda to undertake agricultural reform.

As ever, please send questions, comments and story links to [email protected] and visit  for further reading and useful resources. Follow us on Twitter or Facebook to keep up with daily news and join the conversation.


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