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Top scientists debate biotechnology

September 14th, 2016 / New Vision, Uganda

Scientists from different fields discussed the application of biotechnology in Uganda. Dr. Arthur Tuguma, a lecturer of genetics and plant pathology in the department of Plant Sciences, Microbiology and Biotechnology at Makerere University, said there is need to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of the technology.
On his part, Dr Elioda …

Organic farming will not feed growing African population

September 14th, 2016 / ENCA, South Africa

Soil experts gathered in Nairobi for the ongoing African Green Revolution Forum have on Thursday, said that Africa has no choice but to use quality fertilisers to improve the soil quality to produce enough food.
The experts said that Africa cannot rely on organic farming to feed the rapidly growing population …

First drought-resilient, high iron beans for Uganda released

September 5th, 2016 / CIAT, Colombia

Five new bean varieties bred with high iron and resilience to the impacts of drought have been released in Uganda for the first time. The varieties – co-developed by the National Crops Resources Research Institute (NaCRRI), the Rwandan Agricultural Board (RAB) and CIAT through HarvestPlus – were released as part …

DNA can be edited without being cut

September 5th, 2016 / GEN, US

Scientists at Kobe University in Japan have developed a new gene-editing technique by combining elements of a bacterial immune system, CRISPR/Cas9, and a vertebrate immune system, AID, or activation-induced cytidine deaminase. The new technique, called Target-AID, preserves the CRISPR/Cas9’s DNA-targeting machinery but dispenses with its DNA-cleaving functionality. In place of …

Are drought-resistant crops in Africa the tech fix they’re cracked up to be?

September 5th, 2016 / The Guardian, UK

Biotech companies and non-profits are investing heavily in drought-resistant crops, but doubts remain over whether they are the best option for farmers. See …

How agriculture can be intensified in Africa without causing harm

September 3rd, 2016 / The Conversation, UK

Conventional agriculture differs. It aims to maximise yields and economic returns. This is often done with little regard for the environment and the impact on society. Sustainable agriculture, on the other hand, is designed to address problems like environmental pollution from excessive use of fertilisers. It also tries to arrest …

Turning value addition into family business

September 3rd, 2016 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow, Michail Ssali reports: Farmers need some basic skills of food processing and preservation. In most cases, the farmers that try to process their food items end up selling them at better prices and earning higher profits. Food processing is basically about improving the storage life, quality and safety. …

Lack of market for farm produce impoverishing Africa

September 2nd, 2016 / AllAfrica.com

African countries can reverse the crisis of food shortage by creating markets for its farmers, a development banker has advised. At a session on agriculture in Nairobi, Dr Akiwumi Adesina, the President of the African Development Bank said African farmers have been unable to feed the continent because they are …

Innovative use of fertilisers revives hope for Africa’s Green Revolution

September 2nd, 2016 / New Times, Rwanda

Phillip Tshuma is a happy farmer. Despite one of the worst droughts ever to hit his country, Zimbabwe, Tshuma’s maize and small grains harvests this year are 50 per cent more than they were in 2015, thanks to micro-dosing, the targeted application of small quantities of fertiliser in a field.
Using …

Charcoal rot: a threat to staple food crops in South Africa

September 2nd, 2016 / The Conversation, UK

Charcoal rot is caused by a fungus that invades various agricultural crops and gives them a charred appearance. The disease is becoming more widespread in South Africa – which is worrying, since it can dramatically affect crop yields which drives up prices and hits farmers’ incomes.
Charcoal rot attacks crops that …