In the news...

August 23rd, 2017 / B4FA

In a week in which AGDaily reminds us that while most people are familiar with just maize, soy and beet GMOs, dozens exist that have been used to benefit human health, animal welfare, and to safeguard the environment for more than 30 years, there are a number of stories of significant bioscience developments. From ETH Zürich, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, we hear of a new rice variety that has increased levels of the micronutrients iron and zinc, and also produces beta-carotene, a precursor of vitamin A. There’s news of a breakthrough in breeding drought tolerant crops – scientists have discovered that the solution may depend on breeding and cultivating plants that protect themselves with a thicker layer of leaf wax, and also of a genetically modified clover that could improve livestock digestion moving into field tests. And we also hear of scientists in Kenya using modelling techniques to develop ways of combatting two co-infecting viruses that cause maize lethal necrosis (MLN).

From across Africa, we report on the level of food imports to Africa – US$35 million each year – and the African Development Bank’s (AfDB’s) determination, through investment, to stimulate the continent’s agriculture and local supply chains. This is backed up by a report that African farm leaders are convinced that agricultural development on the continent will see Africa, led by South Africa, feed itself in the decades to come, meaning it will actually reduce its reliance on the global community for food security. And our featured article focuses on the benefits of developing Africa’s smallholder sector – developing responsible smallholder agriculture, it argues address the UN’s sustainable development goals and contribute to achieving the AfDB’s “High 5” priorities – lighting up Africa, feeding Africa, industrialising Africa, integrating Africa and improving the quality of life of the continent’s people.

This week we hear from two B4FA Fellows – Michael Ssaliasks ‘is our type of agriculture working’, arguing for the enlargement of farms in Uganda as it is ‘large farms, heavy machines like tractors, application of modern science and technology as well as fertiliser usage that have banished hunger and poverty’. And Lominda Afedraru reports on farmers and scientists embracing developments from Uganda’s National Agricultural Research Organisation(NARO) which has bred new hybrid varieties of maize, cassava, sweet potato and banana as well as using modern biotechnology approaches to address issues of pests and diseases, drought tolerance and the nutritional content of foods.

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
10 amazing GMOs that you need to know about
AGDaily

Genetically modified multi-nutrient rice offers three micronutrients against malnutrition
ISAAA

The key to drought-tolerant crops may be in the leaves
Phys.org

Researchers model ways to control deadly maize disease
SciDev.net

GMO clover that could improve livestock digestion in field tests
Genetic Literacy Project

Genetic reason why tomatoes come in such a variety of sizes
Genetic Literacy Project

Challenging evolution: How GMOs can influence genetic diversity
Science in the News, Harvard University

How big is biotech?
Science Blogs

Agri-biotech global market may reach US$39.5B in 2022
ISAAA

New method to measure non-photochemical quenching for better photosynthesis
ISAAA

From research to startup — how this scientist uses technology to help farmers
GMO Answers

Converting forests into farms is only economically viable except in a few selected regions, says new global study
SciDev.net

Plants ‘hijacked’ to make polio vaccine
BBC

Anti-GMO claim: Big Ag controls farmers through seeds patents — here’s the reality
Genetic Literacy Project

CRISPR-Mediated Modification of <i>TaEDR1</i> Homologs Enhances Powdery Mildew Resistance in Wheat
ISAAA

Thirty-three agricultural economists write to PM for approval of GM mustard
Smart Indian Agriculture

Food system crowdsourcing to share resources and reduce food waste
Foodtank

Neil deGrasse Tyson explains why the term “GMO” is misleading
Food & Wine

Pan-Africa
Genetically modified foods: the future for Africa?
The Herald

Africa imports $35 billion food a year – can this be reduced? AfDB to invest $24 billion to encourage agriculture and reduce imports
The Guardian

Africa Green Forum to promote sustainable rural development in Africa
Business Report

The benefits of developing Africa’s smallholder sector
African Business

Women in African agricultural research, data portal
ASTI led by IFPRI

African farmers sowing plans to feed the continent
Country Guide

Africa must invest in systems to harness future agricultural technologies
African Agricultural Technology Foundation

Private equity investors can help Africa to feed itself
Business Day

The foundations of the Marshall Plan with Africa
The Zimbabwean

AFDB to establish fund to support youth in agriculture
Ghana News Agency

AFDB ready to be at the forefront of SADC’s quest for industrialisation and urges resistance to shocks linked to global commodity prices
Southern Times

IMF’s African Caucus agrees an holistic approach to transform agriculture and agri-business on the continent
Southern Times

Dr Baba Berthe, President of the African Cotton Association, says most African countries neglect cotton production
Daily Trust

Ethiopia
A new manual shares best environmentally friendly commercial coffee-production practices
AllAfrica

Kenya
Amid drought and cattle raids, women in Kenya try new livestock: bees
BizCommunity

Malawi
Facing climate change, uncertain markets and confusing government policies, farmers feel ill-equipped to decide which crop to plant and when
AllAfrica

Mozambique
Mozambique: livestock farmers challenged by ministry to improve quality of meat
AllAfrica

Mozambique’s IIAM harvesting first GM maize which has been grown in a test field of Chókwè research station
AllAfrica

Q&A on biofortified Vitamin A orange flesh sweet potato and its use in combating malnutrition
Times of India

Malawi
Facing climate change, uncertain markets and confusing government policies, farmers feel ill-equipped to decide which crop to plant and when
AllAfrica

Mozambique
Mozambique: livestock farmers challenged by ministry to improve quality of meat
AllAfrica

Mozambique’s IIAM harvesting first GM maize which has been grown in a test field of Chókwè research station
AllAfrica

Q&A on biofortified Vitamin A orange flesh sweet potato and its use in combating malnutrition
Times of India

Nigeria
Distribution of expired seeds, inputs will affect harvest, say women farmers
AllAfrica

Can crop biotechnology boost food security in Nigeria?
Genetic Literacy Project

Niger State has capacity to feed Africa – Osinbajo
AllAfrica

The National Directorate of Employment trains 400 youths on agricultural skills
AllAfrica

Nigeria: CBN moves to make agriculture lending less risky
AllAfrica

Rwanda
Experts call for more potato varieties
New Times

Rwanda: government to scale up use of greenhouses for high value crops
AllAfrica.com

South Africa
Food waste increases as people go hungry
Business Day

Dr Brylyne Chitsunge, one of South Africa’s most successful female farmers, appointed Pan African Parliament’s food security ambassador
ENCA.com

Tanzania
Tanzania: Ambitious new plan aims to double production of coffee
AllAfrica

Tanzania: big relief to farmers after fertiliser prices come down 40 pc
AllAfrica

Uganda
The costs of GMO delays in Uganda revealed
The Sunrise

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali asks “Is our type of agriculture really working?”
Daily Monitor

Uganda declares end of the bird flu outbreak that led to the death of thousands of birds and affected the country’s poultry exports
Coast Week

B4FA’s Lominda Afedraru reports: farmers & scientists embrace NARO technologies – hybrid varieties of maize, cassava, sweet potato & banana
Daily Monitor

AgDevCo invests in Ugandan maize and cassava miller to tap into the growing regional food markets in East Africa
Markets Insider

Opportunities and resources
Guidelines for innovation platforms in agricultural research for development
CG Space

WEBINAR: Agriculture to Nutrition (ATONU)
24 Aug, 4pm SAST

TropAg2017 Int’l Tropical Agriculture Conference 20-22 Nov, Brisbane, Australia.

European Commision: Call for proposals: Establishment of grant scheme for improved value chain integration of smallholder farmers, Kenya

Royal Society grant opportunity: Scientists in UK or US who want to stimulate new collaborations with scientists overseas