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ISAAA 2015 report puts Uganda in special position

May 3rd, 2016 / New Vision, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Christopher Bendana reports: Uganda is the only country in Africa doing biotech crops Confined Field Trials (CFT) with no Biosafety law in place. This precarious position is contained in a recent report released by the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA) an organization that …

Burkina Faso puts GM cotton on hold

April 30th, 2016 / Cornell Alliance for Science, US

GM cotton in Burkina Faso has been a runaway success for local farmers, and with new improvements in the pipeline to fix an issue with fiber length, the crop can continue to provide much needed extra income for smallholders keen to emerge from poverty. GM cotton was commercialized in …

Researchers evolve new toxin to target agricultural pests

April 30th, 2016 / Arstechnica, UK

Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) crops have been one of the most successful applications of genetic engineering in agriculture. The crops carry a gene that encodes a bacterial protein that kills insects that ingest it. While it’s possible to spray crops with the Bt toxin instead, farms that rely on Bt …

Drought in Southern Africa: Do GMO policies need to change?

April 29th, 2016 / Dr Jocelyn Webster, B4FA Adviser

Will the issues related to drought and food security in Southern Africa push the approach to biotechnology and biosafety in the region to change? The El Niño-induced drought that is affecting most of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries may spark further debate over the safety of GM crops …

Is there a future for GMO-free soybeans?

April 29th, 2016 / Genetic Literacy Project

During the last 15 years, world-transgenic (GMO) soy production has reached 80 million hectares. It is almost 80 percent of total acreage worldwide as of 2014: 100percent in Argentina, 94 percent in the United States; and 93 percent in Brazil. These developments make it extremely difficult to find GMO-free …

Global wheat breeding returns billions in benefits but stable financing remains elusive

April 29th, 2016 / World Bank, US

For 45 years, world-class scientists from two research centers of CGIAR – the world’s only global research system that focuses on the crops of most importance to poor farmers in developing countries – have battled the odds to provide wheat and nourish the world’s growing population. Their innovations have …

Boosting agricultural productivity through biotechnology

April 29th, 2016 / Ethiopian Herald

Ethiopia is the second most populous country in Africa next to Nigeria and 85 per cent of the population earn its means of living from traditional farming practice. The country is endowed with abundant natural resources in flora and fauna. The various agro-ecological zones, ecosystems, latitude, altitude and water …

Bamboo: Africa’s untapped potential

April 27th, 2016 / AfricaRenewal, UN, US

It is a “wonder plant” that is uniquely blessed. Agronomists in Africa believe it can restore degraded landscapes while economists think it is a potential “green gold,” and a silver bullet for design and architecture that is already attracting a global market. Bamboo—the highly versatile giant grass that can …

‘I always expect a bumper harvest’

April 27th, 2016 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali reports: for Richard Ssendi Walakira of Busagala Village in Kabonera Sub-county, Masaka District, farming must be focussed on the returns that the farmer expects to get. “The crop or animal must be high yielding and it should be the right breed,” he says. Read …

Youth multiplying drought-resistant seed

April 27th, 2016 / The Ethiopian Herald

Youth farmers involved in multiplying drought and rust resistant new wheat seed variety are benefitting. Minaleh Agegnew, in his late 20s, is a resident of Kurmi Georgis Kebele of rural Gojam. He is landless. Together with his friends he rent a farmland at a cost of 3,000 Birr and …