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How rice became one of the world’s most important food crops

April 24th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project

Rice is a world food staple with an incredible story. Susan McCouch from Cornell University has been studying rice genetics for decades, and directs efforts in rice education in conjunction with the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines. This episode of the Talking Biotech podcast features stories about rice …

Banana experts converge in Tanzania for meeting

April 24th, 2018 / AllAfrica

Agricultural experts are meeting today to discuss how to improve production of banana, a staple food in eastern and central Africa. In so doing, they will review a five-year project that aims to expand and speed up existing banana breeding efforts in Tanzania and Uganda. The breeding is intended to …

Maruti, the pigeonpea saviour

April 24th, 2018 / CGIAR

A direct release of the pigeonpea variety ICP 8863, also known as Maruti, from the ICRISAT genebank helped revitalize the pigeonpea industry in Karnataka, India. Maruti was released in 1986 at a time when the pigeonpea industry in parts of India was being hit hard by Fusarium wilt. Within a few seasons, Maruti …

Championing vitamin A–rich orange-fleshed sweet potato in Nigeria

April 23rd, 2018 / International Potato Center

Micronutrient malnutrition is widespread in Nigeria, particularly vitamin A deficiency, which affects at least 30% of the population. Women of reproductive age, infants and young children mostly are vulnerable to micronutrient malnutrition. Many of them suffer multiple deficiencies of essential micronutrients such as vitamin A, iron and zinc, which can …

Microbes in soil help sorghum stay strong against droughts

April 23rd, 2018 / Inside Science

Scientists want to know how one of the world’s most important grain crops, sorghum, can tolerate months of harsh, dry conditions. Now, for the first time, scientists have looked at the soil near sorghum plants to learn what role microbes play in the crop’s unique ability to endure drought. Scientists hope …

GCP21, IITA call for support of cassava transformation in Africa

April 23rd, 2018 / The Sun

The Global Cassava Partnership for the 21st Century (GCP21) and International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) have called on policymakers, donors and the international community to support efforts that will bring about cassava transformation in Africa. Despite the key role cassava is playing in Africa’s food security, its production has …

This treadle pump is big deal

April 20th, 2018 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

Samuel Ojok is a vegetable farmer in Otuke District in northern Uganda. Every tomato season, he grows two or more acres of tomatoes and other vegetables such as cabbage, green pepper, onions and watermelons.
He is never worried about his garden running short of water or getting affected by a change …

Uganda: ‘Disaster’: Scientists condemn GM law amendments

April 20th, 2018 / Sunrise, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Henry Lutaaya reports:
A number of scientists have expressed shock and anger at the proposed restrictive requirements that were included in the long-awaited law on Biotechnology with some labelling them a disaster and a huge setback for the country.
The angry reactions come in the wake of a new report …

Researchers develop first gene drive targeting worldwide crop pest

April 20th, 2018 /

Biologists at the University of California San Diego have developed a method of manipulating the genes of an agricultural pest that has invaded much of the United States and caused millions of dollars in damage to high-value berry and other fruit crops.
Research led by Anna Buchman in the lab of …

Practicing coffee tissue culture to boost Ethiopian coffee production

April 20th, 2018 /

Coffee is an important international commodity next to oil. According to the International Coffee Organization (ICO) report, as more of the world population turns to coffee consumption particularly Latin America and the populous nations like India and china, demand for the beverage estimated to increase by nearly 25 percent over …