In the news...

April 12th, 2017 / B4FA.org

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.

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Global

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CRISPR’s long ‘natural history’ in microbes predated its recent ‘miracle’ applications
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Japanese scientists develop GE rice that flowers on demand
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Drought resistant, higher-yielding GM rice developed by Japanese researchers
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Earthworms are more important than pandas (if you want to save the planet)
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ICRISAT and HarvestPlus named as LAUNCH Food Innovators
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Genetically engineered microbes make their own fertilizer, could feed the world’s poorest
Science

Survey reveals 90% of rural producers in Brazil recognize importance of biotechnology
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Patented seeds are not exclusively GMO: You find them in the fields of organic farmers, too
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Next generation insect-resistant GM cotton could be ‘game changer’ for Australian farmers via Genetic Literacy Project

Mustard seeds without mustard flavor: new robust oilseed crop can resist global warming
University of Copenhagen

Genetically engineered bananas resistant to Xanthomonas wilt disease and nematodes
Food and Energy Security

Manipulating plant enzymes could protect crops from flooding
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New rice fights off drought
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Australia: Tropical Cyclone Debbie has blown a hole in the winter vegetable supply
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Providing holistic and low-cost solutions to water scarcity in India for farmers
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Pan-Africa

Future of agriculture in Africa: Breeding orange-fleshed sweet potato
CIP International Potato Center

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Video: Genetic engineering could help African farmers increase yields without expensive fertilizers
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Bridging Africa’s gender gap in agriculture
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Food prices to rise as East Africa braces for poor harvest
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East Africa Food Security Outlook, February to September 2017
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Strengthening seed supply chains in Africa
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Africa looks for solutions to quelea birds threatening food security
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Stanford study explores risk of deforestation as agriculture expands in Africa
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School feeding schemes can fill children’s tummies and farmers’ pockets
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Kenya

Armyworms are ravaging hundreds of farms – here’s how to defeat them
AllAfrica

Millions staring at death due to starvation, Ethuro tells world leaders
AllAfrica

Blow to Kenya’s food security situation as armyworms invade farms
News Ghana

Kenya’s bread basket under threat from army worms
AllAfrica

Kwale farmers worried after armyworms invade crops
AllAfrica

Why GMO crops need to be embraced
Ureport

Kenyan youth farmers call for adoption of WEMA Bt maize
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Kenyan avocado farmers receive GlobalG.A.P. certification
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Liberia

Cassava processing gets boost
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‘Cassava a magic plant for food security, jobs’
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Booker Washington Institute starts training farmers in agriculture
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Nigeria

Govt to take stand on GM foods – minister
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Sokoto earmarks N20bn for agric, environment
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FAO trains farmers on new technology for rice farming
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Senegal

Senegal ready for GMOs, says President Macky Sall
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Somalia

Drought, cholera kill over 400 people, 18,000 hospitalized
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Tanzania

Tanzania 103 – We welcome this ‘wonder’ cassava seed
AllAfrica

Researchers call for “Wonder” cassava seed
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Uganda

Armyworm – how prepared are we?
AllAfrica, by B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali

Seed shortage: a hidden crisis limiting Uganda’s prosperity
Sunrise, by B4FA Fellow Henry Lutaaya

Time to undertake agricultural reform
Sunrise, by B4FA Fellow Henry Lutaaya

Empowering rural farmers with technologies for improved yields
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How can I start commercial cassava farming in Busia?
Daily Monitor

Parliamentary journalists support dialogue on the Biotech and Biosafety Bill passage in Uganda
ISAAA

Zimbabwe

Govt helps drought-stricken farmers grow more maize
AllAfrica

After drought, Zimbabwe contends with fall armyworm invasion
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Opportunities and resources

Open call for new Chair and Vice-Chair of Global Forum on Agricultural Research and Innovation (GFAR)

University of California, Davis opens registration for Class III of the African Plant Breeding Academy.