In the news...

September 6th, 2017 /

Ahead of the 2017 African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) taking place this week in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, AfDB president Akinwumi Adesina announced a plan to accelerate the development of the African Green Revolution through its Feed Africa Strategy by investing of $24 billion over the next 10 years. ““At AGRF 2016, many of Africa’s steadfast champions of agriculture pledged more than 30 billion dollars in investments to increase production, income and employment for smallholder farmers and local African agriculture businesses over the next 10 years. The ground is already ploughed. Together, let us now sow the seeds of hope and reap a harvest so plentiful in the years ahead,’’ he said. The forum, themed “Accelerating Africa’s Path to Prosperity: Growing Economies and Jobs through Agriculture”, is hosted by Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), an African-led institution focused on putting farmers at the centre of the continent’s growing economies.

Meanwhile, last week at the TEDGlobal conference in Arusha, Tanzania, founder of an agricultural data technology companySara Menker warned that the world could be facing a food deficit by 2027 – more than two decades earlier than previously predicted. Menker pointed out that we should not be measuring food security by weight, but by nutritional value. “Not all foods are created equal even if they weigh the same,” she said, arguing that if food production were measured by nutritional value, the world’s food security situation is already somewhat fragile. Her proposed solutions include reforming agricultural industry in Africa, decreasing food waste and increase farm yields exponentially, using data to inform the process. In another presentation at TEDGlobal, Senegalese chef Pierre Thiam spoke about working to make an ancient grain called fonio – which is gluten-free as well as high in nutrients – into the next trendy superfood. A cross between couscous and quinoa, the drought-resistant grain, which also thrives in harsh environments, has been cultivated on the continent for some 5,000 years, he said.

A post by Feed the Future this week considers how biofortified orange-fleshed sweet potato might be scaled up in distribution to address Vitamin A deficiency and associated health problems in Africa. Challenges for distribution include post-harvest losses and limited storage, high power costs and lack of infrastructure. However, inroads have been made into sweet potato processing into shelf-stable products that can be more widely distributed in Kenya, Rwanda, Malawi and Mozambique – including purees, flour, chips, and so on. Also in Kenya, 15 high-yielding, locally developed rice varieties may soon be commercialized. These indigenous rice hybrids offer higher yields and are disease resistant. Kenya has also introduced 53 new varieties of Irish potatoes that meet the standards set by international fast food restaurants operating in the country. Both developments could help Kenya reduce food imports.

Finally, from the Fellows this week, we hear from Michael Ssali, who writes for the Daily Monitor about making the best use ofagricultural land.

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Grim outlook: world could run out of food 20 years earlier than thought says Sara Menker, chief executive of Gro Intelligence

10th Global Agriculture Leadership Awards declared
World Food Prize

New study: fortified rice can reduce anaemia and zinc deficiency among poor in Bangladesh
World Food Programme

Next generation Golden Rice could be driven by CRISPR gene editing
Genetic Literacy Project

Alfatoxins: Brazil nuts are contaminated by toxins produced by diverse species of fungi

A worsening water crisis in North Africa and the Middle East
The Conversation

Opponents of GMOs have no scientific proof: environment chief
Tehran Times

Some farmers, activist critics concerned agri-business mergers could increase costs, reduce biodiversity
Genetic Literacy Project

Unraveling the paradox: Why GMO drugs and GMO foods are treated differently by critics
Genetic Literacy Project

Temperature increase reduces global yields of major crops in four independent estimates

Scientists make breakthrough in fight against cassava diseases

Neonics and bees under the microscope: Foraging benefits of neonic-treated crops outweigh negative effects
Genetic Literacy Project

Challenging idea organic fruits, vegetables more nutritious, better for the environment
Genetic Literacy Project

Crops forgotten over the last century are being rediscovered as scientists & policymakers begin to recognize ‘orphan’ crops’ value
EIN News

Greenhouse gas emission analyses from nine agricultural development projects reveal mitigation options

Bt cotton the only genetically modified (GM) crop approved in India, but gov’t and CSOs have made conflicting claims about its success


AfDB urges greater focus on implementation, as African Green Revolution Forum begins
This Day Live

AfDB plans $24bn investment to accelerate African Green Revolution
Daily Trust

African Development Bank, AfDB, plans to invest US$24 billion over the next 10 years to accelerate the food sufficiency agenda

Africa must invest in advanced technology as one of the strategies to deal with challenges of climate change

One potato, two potatoes… three million potatoes and more! how can we further scale orange-fleshed sweet potatoes in Africa?

Africa’s most notorious insects – the bugs that hit agriculture the hardest

Here’s how China Is changing Africa’s future
Huffington Post

Changing agricultural education in Africa as we know it

Climate-smart agriculture urgently needed in Africa
IPS News

Beyond access: Putting women first in agriculture
News Ghana

Kenya/Tanzania: Plotting new ways to encourage youth into farming through TV
Farming First

Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso farmers advocate for return of GMO insect-resistant Bt cotton
Genetic Literacy Project


The fall armyworm has spread to Cameroon and has infested six of the central African state’s 10 regions
VOA News


Women entrepreneurs in Ethiopia lead the way from poverty to empowerment
UN Women


Kenya to introduce 15 high-yielding, locally developed rice varieties that once commercialised could reduce the country’s imports

Kenya has introduced 53 new varieties of Irish potatoes that meet the standards set by international fast food joints

Allow farmers to grow GM maize, scientists plead
Daily Nation


AfDB trains 129 young “agripreneurs” in Liberia


Mauritius seeks Indian expertise for better yield of sugarcane


How agro-tech helps farmers increase productivity

Building Nigeria’s agribusiness through smallholder farmers: the AATF Initiative

How cassava mechanisation is sparking industrial revolution in Ogun


Senegalese ‘miracle grain’ could see Sahel prosper. Nutty tasting “fonio” is gluten-free & bursting with nutrients and amino acids
Daily Mail

South Africa

SA Minister Zokwana awards female excellence in the agriculture, forestry and fisheries sector


Are we making the best use of land?
Daily Monitor, by B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali

From scorching drought to ravaging worms, poor pay the price for missing out on a biotech solution
Genetic Literacy Project


Why support for local farmers is vital

Opportunities and resources

Webinar: GFAR forum, “Communications Success Stories” September 12th

Public meeting: U.S. Govt’s Global Food Security Research Strategy; 08:00 EDT Sept 12, National Press Club,Washington & online livestream

EVENT: The Road out of Poverty—2017 Borlaug Dialogue International Symposium, Oct 18-20, Des Moines, IA