In the news...

October 21st, 2014

In world news this week, European Parliament is considering overturning a ban on the cultivation of GM crops. Depending which way the debate goes, writes Mark Lynas in the UK Guardian, this may herald the end of crop biotech in Europe. We’ve also included a fascinating profile on BB Singh, the plant breeder famed for improving the diets and incomes of families across Africa, Asia and South America by breeding legume crops, particularly by improving cowpea varieties.

B4FA Fellows Mohammed Kandi and Kenneth Azahan wrote in this week to report on Nigeria’s public hearing on a biosafety bill, which is reported to have been applauded by stakeholders. Leonard David Magomba reports that Tanzania has borrowed $11m to buy its farmers’ bumper maize harvest, while Lominda Afedraru offers an interview with a Ugandan farmer who describes how he makes money from growing vegetables like nakkati, amaranth and African spider flower on a large scale.

We do hope you enjoy the week’s stories. Please send questions, comments, and articles to Karen Eng ([email protected]), and thanks for reading!

Biosciences & plant genetics around the world

Biotech crops in Europe could be ‘dead and buried’ if anti-GM groups succeed
Guardian UK

Here’s why we haven’t quite figured out how to feed billions more people
National Geographic

Thomson Reuters Foundation and FAO launch global food security news platform
FAO

Inventing a GMO apple that won’t brown
Wall Street Journal

The planet needs more plant scientists
The Scientist

The story of cowpea (black-eyed pea) and its remarkable champion, B.B. Singh
American Society of Agronomy

Pan-Africa

Report: Does conservation agriculture work for smallholder farmers in Africa?
CGIAR research program on Climate Change and Food Security

Kenya: Farmer bakes a fortune with orange fleshed sweet potato
FarmBiz Africa

Report: Building a culture of science in sub-Saharan Africa
SciDev

Africa’s agriculture system: need for new approaches
Business Day

Kenya: Farmers speed sweet potato planting with multiplication system
FarmBiz Africa

Senegal: Institute for food tech trains women and farmers to add value to their products and earn a better living
All Africa

Kenya: Banana canopies lead to better coffee crops
FarmBiz Africa

Ghana

Gov’t urged to help demystify use of GMOs
GhanaWeb, by B4FA Fellow Charles Benoni Okine

FAO commends Ghana for achieving MDG One ahead of 2015
GhanaWeb

Nigeria

Hope rises for biosafety law in Nigeria
Nigerian Pilot, by B4FA Fellow Kenneth Azahan

Senate convenes public hearing for the passage of biosafety law
People’s Daily, by B4FA Fellow Kandi Mohammed

Stakeholders applaud Biosafety Bill at Senate hearing
Environews Nigeria

Professor Ene-Obong’s defence of biotechnology in agriculture
AllAfrica

New study finds that orange maize improves Vitamin A in children
Harvest Plus

Titus Awokuse named to Nigerian National Agricultural Policy Committee
University of Delaware

Tanzania

Tanzania borrows $11m to save maize harvest
East African Business Week, by B4FA Fellow Leonard David Magomba

Gov’t urges citizens to embrace beekeeping
Pesa Times

Kilimo bora cha mananasi kimebadiri maisha ya wanawake wa kiwangwa na fukayosi wilayani bagamoyo
Tanzania Yetu, by B4FA Fellow Lydia Mapunda

Uganda

Uganda lags behind hunger reduction targets – FAO
New Vision

Wakiso farmers earn a living from growing green vegetables
Daily Monitor, by B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru

Featured image: Children walk through a field” by Arne Hoel/World Bank, used under a Creative Commons 2.0 license.