In the news...

September 13th, 2017 / B4FA.org

The week saw a stream of news coming out of the 7th African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) meeting that recently concluded in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. Stories included a speech by Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, who stressed the need for accelerated agricultural progress in order to keep African people safe from food insecurity.  “Until we manage to turn agriculture around, feed ourselves quantitatively and qualitatively, our people will remain at risk of famine, hunger and malnutrition,” she said at AGRF. “We must seize the moment and tackle food urgency, while we protect the environment by reducing the land mass used for cultivation,” she added, noting that African countries now have the potential for the coordinated effort needed for a successful Green Revolution. Other key topics included agripreneurship and financing, building climate change resilience in smallholder farmers, challenges faced by women in agriculture, the African Development Bank’s (AfDB) Feed Africa Strategy, which is to accelerate agricultural development with investment of US $24 billion over the next 10 years, and policy reform.

During AGRF, two women were also awarded the 2017 Africa Food Prize – the continent’s most predigious prize for African agricultural development. Ruth Oniang’o is a nutrition advocate from Kenya who pioneered nutrition leadership in academia, research, and policy, and who works with farmers’ groups and rural communities to connect agriculture and nutrition in research and practice. Malian agriculture entrepreneur Maïmouna Sidibe Coulibaly, from Mali, produces and supplies high-yielding seeds with her company Faso Kaba, leading to improved nutrition and income for families in Mali and other West African countries.

Meanwhile, fall armyworm has invaded Cameroon, where it pose a serious threat to such crops as maize, sorghum, rice, cowpea and bean. Authorities are particularly worried for citizens and Nigerian refugees at the northern border, who are already suffering from food scarcity due to conflict. Fall armyworm has already affected at least 24 African countries and shows no sign of stopping. A piece by B4FA Fellow Jimoh Babatunde in Vanguard highlights the danger of permanent agricultural damage to Africa’s maize harvests as reported by Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International (CABI), and the solutions under discussion, including chemical pesticide and biopesticides.

We also hear from B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali, writing from Uganda about the country is paying for rejecting biotechnology, and are pleased to report that B4FA Fellow Abdallah el-Kurebe has won the Open Forum for Agricultural Biotechnology in Africa Award for “Best Agric Biotech Reporter (Print)”‎ in Nigeria. Our congratulations to to him.

As ever, please send questions, comments and story links to [email protected] and visit B4FA.org for further reading and useful resources. Follow us on Twitter or Facebook to keep up with daily news and join the conversation.

Global

Crop yields expected to fall as temperatures rise
Science

First detailed decoding of complex finger millet genome
PhysOrg

Taxonomy is thriving in the age of genomics and biotechnology
Nature

GM moths may be key to saving cabbage crops from diamondback moths, without pesticides
Genetic Literacy Project

Global GMO crops and seeds market driven by leap in agricultural practices, finds Transparency Market Research
Business Insider

Saving our seeds for the future
Cyprus Mail

UN science report to guide countries on the SDGs
SciDevNet

Pesticides to be replaced gradually in agriculture
Swiss Info

Is China really helping Africa?
Forbes

Systems thinking for sustainable intensification: Q&A with Innovation Lab Director Vara Prasad
Feed the Future

Some like it HOT: Protecting plants from heat stress
Plant Cell Extracts

The future of GMO food
Scientific American

Chinese varsity mulls partnership with African Academy of Sciences
XinhuaNet

First US field trials under way for self-limiting “GMO” insect
Cornell Alliance for Science

Healthy soils can boost food security and climate resilience for millions
Mongabay

UCLA assistant adjunct professor partners with Congo Basin Institute
Daily Bruin

Pan-Africa

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf says Africa risks famine without a successful Green Revolution
AllAfrica

Creation of agribusinesses and ‘agripreneurs’ key topics at AGRF
Devex

Women in agriculture must be facilitated, panel hears
ReliefWeb

The frontier for climate resilience begins with smallholder farmers
ReliefWeb

African leaders validate AfDB’s Feed Africa Strategy at African Green Revolution Forum
AllAfrica

3 things to watch at the African Green Revolution Forum
Devex

These outstanding women have been named winners of 2017 Africa Food Prize
Ventures Africa

Africa faces $2bn maize deficit if Fall Armyworm is not managed
Vanguard

Science academies should influence education in Africa
SciDevNet

Sprouting grains for stronger bones: The power of finger millet
Farming First

African leaders set to accelerate Africa’s path to prosperity by growing economies and jobs through agriculture
AfDB

Mixed rainfall pattern for SADC
Herald

Closing the gap between youth & agriculture in Africa
BizCommunity

African countries hope to attract more Chinese investment
XinhuaNet

Chinese, African scientists endorse joint pact to promote sustainability agenda
XinHuaNet

Researchers explore new source of virus resistance in wheat
ISAAA

South American agriculture ministers urge EU & China to stop delaying GMO import authorizations
ISAAA

Davao’s vegetable council backs commercial planting of Bt eggplant in the Philippines
ISAAA

Conference on biotech applications held in Phu Yen, Vietnam
ISAAA

Can agriculture help tackle Africa’s looming food crisis?
Huffington Post

Yara boss: Africa has major potential in future food security
EURACTIV

New multi-million dollar partnership for inclusive agricultural transformation in Africa launched
Pulse

Revolutionising African agriculture through urban farming
BizCommunity

Agribusinesses, African smallholders seize $1trn food market
Vanguard, by B4FA Fellow Jimoh Babatunje

Economic Commission for Africa and partners to fight food insecurity in Africa
Ghana News Agency

Women in agriculture must be facilitated, panel hears
AfDB

AfDB steadily pioneers major strategy shift in Africa’s agriculture financing
AfDB

Pan African University to enrol over 500 postgraduates
The Pie

Europe’s anti-GMO stance is killing Africans
Reason

Policy reforms key in biotech/GM crops adoption in Africa
ISAAA

African smallholders can double their yields with half the water
Thomson Reuters

Angola

Inside Biocom’s $1bn, 80,000-hectare Angolan sugarcane enterprise
African Business Review

Cameroon

Fall armyworm spreads to Cameroon
VOA News

Ethiopia

Ethiopia’s Lake Tana is losing the fight to water hyacinth
The Conversation Africa

Ghana

More efforts are needed to curb the spate of malnutrition in Ghana and other parts of Africa
MyJoyOnline

Talking alone does not create jobs
GhanaWeb

The National Seed Trade Association of Ghana throws its weight behind plans to commercialise GM food
MyJoyOnline

Kenya

Hot weather sweetens harvest for mango farmers
AllAfrica

The key quality hybrid maize needs for better productivity in Western Kenya
Feed the Future

Video: Successful Kenya GMO corn field trials show 40% yield increase compared to conventional corn
Genetic Literacy Project

Malawi

Malawi Parliamentary Women’s Caucus backs GM crop trials to avert food crisis
Marabi Post

Nigeria

B4FA Media Fellow Wins 2017 OFAB Nigeria Media Award
NewsDiaryOnline

Food shortages loom as Nigeria battles fall armyworm infestation
Genetic Literacy Project

Research: Unpacking Nigeria’s agriculture opportunities
How We Made It in Africa

Federal government urged to formulate policies on agric anchor groups
Tribune Online

‘Modern Biotechnology has come to stay’
Scientific Nigeria

Experts fault proposed field trial of genetically modified cassava
Guardian Nigeria

Rwanda

Rwanda workshop to focus on mainstreaming land policy and governance into national developmental plan
AllAfrica

Tanzania

Ecstasy as India accepts Tanzanian pigeon peas
AllAfrica

FAO assured of action to curb hunger
AllAfrica

Uganda

The price we pay for rejecting biotechnology
Daily Monitor, by B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali

Brazil drought gain for Uganda coffee
AllAfrica

Does Uganda need GMOs? Scientists look to gene editing to spur innovation
Genetic Literacy Project

Open letter to the President on the Biotechnology and Biosafety Bill
Daily Monitor

Zimbabwe

Nestlé to revive coffee estates
AllAfrica

Zimbabwe maize seed demand up 50 percent
AllAfrica

Quality seeds key to food security, says minister of agriculture
AllAfrica

Cropping season inputs distribution in full swing
Chronicle

How niche markets influence agricultural commodity prices
AllAfrica

Opportunities and resources

New book from IFPRI: Agriculture, development, and the global trading system: 2000–2015
Webinar: Private sector & smallholder adaptation: what we know, September 19, 9:30am EDT