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Nigeria’s first confined field trial of genetically improved rice

November 5th, 2015 / This Day, Nigeria

The Federal Government, and the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), on Wednesday commissioned Nigeria’s first Confined Field Trial (CFT) facility for the production of a genetically improved African rice variety. It is known as Nitrogen-Use Efficient, Water-Use Efficient and Salt Tolerant (NEWEST) rice and is aimed at addressing the country’s …

New plant breeding techniques: Innovation breakthrough or GMOs in disguise?

November 5th, 2015 / EurActiv.com

‘New plant breeding techniques’ focus on developing new seed traits within a given species through genetic engineering. A troubling question for policymakers is whether these techniques should fall under GMO legislation. Read …

Pineapple genome unlocked

November 4th, 2015 / ISAAA, US

Pineapple has been cultivated for more than 6,000 years, thriving in water-starved environments. To understand how pineapples grow to be juicy under such conditions, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign took a closer look at the plant’s genes and genetic pathways. Read …

The importance of using herbicides

November 4th, 2015 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali reports: These days, it is extremely difficult to practice productive farming without the use of chemicals to protect crops from pests, diseases as well as the weeds especially for the farmers that are operating on a large scale. Read …

Breeding higher yielding crops by increasing sugar import into seeds

November 3rd, 2015 / Science Daily, US

A team of scientists led by Carnegie’s Wolf Frommer has now discovered that a sugar-transport protein in maize and rice called SWEET4 is both necessary for successful seed filling and shows genome changes that indicate domestication by humans. The new research is published in Nature Genetics. Read …

Amaranth has bundles of money hidden in its grain

November 3rd, 2015 / Farmbiz Africa, Kenya

Amaranth can easily be mistaken for just another wondering weed. Yet, while some people sparingly use the plant as vegetables, Ann Muthoni, a nutrition expert in Kenya, is making unique flour out of it, which she sells through various supermarkets across the country including Tuskys, Clean Shelf and Kamidi. …

Morocco’s progress on food security acknowledged by UN

November 3rd, 2015 / The Guardian, UK

Morocco’s progress on reducing poverty and eliminating hunger through a nationwide plan has received qualified praise from the UN special rapporteur on the right to food. Hilal Elver acknowledged the country’s achievements in boosting production through “plan Maroc vert” (plan for a green Morocco, or PMV), but cautioned that more …

Kenya considers lifting GMO ban, debates traditional seeds v. patents

November 2nd, 2015 / AFK Insider

The Kenyan government announced plans to legalize technology for genetically modified organisms, prompting protests. During a biosafety conference in Nairobi in August, Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto said the government would legalize GMO technology in November. This decision was made following intensive research, Ruto said, that GMO technology will improve …

The World Bank Group welcomes Sudan’s decision to Join the CGIAR fund

November 2nd, 2015 / AllAfrica

Sudan has decided to join the CGIAR Fund, the world’s largest public vehicle for financing the agricultural research advances needed to tackle complex global development challenges. As a donor to the CGIAR Fund, Sudan supports the development and dissemination of improved crop varieties, livestock vaccines, and sustainable agroforestry and farming …

Uganda: ‘GMO bill’ continues to divide civil society, scientists

November 2nd, 2015 / Sunrise

Certain civil society organizations want the government to shelve the biotechnology and biosafety bill, alleging that it is being pushed by foreign interests. But the Head of the Biotechnology Center at the National Agricultural Research Laboratories at Kawanda, Dr Andrew Kiggundu, dismissed this as both irresponsible and myopic. Kiggundu and …