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Solution to virus-threatened African cassava faces anti-GMO protests

May 14th, 2015 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Cassava, Uganda’s major staple after matooke, feeds over half a billion people in the world with Africa contributing to about 50% of the global production. But the crop is threatened, and it appears that only the only solution rests with advanced biotechnology to create virus resistant transgenic varieties. Read …

Plant breeder boosts soybean diversity

May 13th, 2015 / Phys.org

It took decades of painstaking work, but research geneticist Ram Singh managed to cross a popular soybean variety (“Dwight” Glycine max) with a related wild perennial plant that grows like a weed in Australia, producing the first fertile soybean plants that are resistant to soybean rust, soybean cyst nematode and …

India eases stance on GM crop trials

May 13th, 2015 / Nature, UK

Five years ago, India was a hostile place for researchers testing genetically modified (GM) crops. Its government barred the commercial planting of a transgenic aubergine (a vegetable locally known as brinjal) after protests from anti-GM activists. But under the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi India is changing course. In …

Importance of good seed

May 13th, 2015 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow, Michael Ssali reports “One of the issues holding back our country’s agricultural production is farmers’ failure to access good quality seed… Many farmers don’t buy seeds and lack correct information about the advantages of planting good quality seed. Yet under the National Agricultural Research Organization (Naro), several research …

Cameroon: food security – new variety of leguminous plants available

May 12th, 2015 / allAfrica.com

Women from the Centre, North and West Regions in Cameroon are learning how to diversify sources of revenue by baking biscuits using beans, soya beans, groundnuts and peanut flour. The flour is made out of a new varieties of leguminous plants rich in calcium, protein and iron. Read …

Attack by two parasites reduces cattle death

May 12th, 2015 / Farmbiz Africa

A calf infected by two parasites of the same species is more likely to live and develop immunity against the deadly East Coast Fever than one attacked by a single parasite a new study says. The findings of the study which could offer real insights in understanding, and taming a …

Soil erosion may threaten global food security

May 12th, 2015 / SciDevNet

Soils are being lost faster than they are being naturally produced in many parts of the world. In addition, there is increased pressure on farmland from non-food uses, such as crops being grown for biofuels, and there may be future shortages of rock phosphate, which is used to make fertiliser. …

Using crop genetic resources to help agriculture adapt to climate change

May 11th, 2015 / USDA Report

Climate change poses significant risks to future crop productivity as temperatures rise, rainfall patterns become more variable, and pest and disease pressures increase. The use of crop genetic resources to develop varieties more tolerant to rapidly changing environmental conditions will be an important part of agricultural adaptation to climate change. …

Uganda ruling party greenlights superbananas and other GMOs

May 11th, 2015 / AllAfrica.com

Uganda’s ruling party has approved a bill that will give the green light to superbananas and other genetically modified foods. The ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) parliamentary caucus has agreed on the controversial National Biotechnology and Biosafety Bill, signaling that Uganda will soon adopt a “GMO bill”. Read …

Weaver ants lift cashew nut yields in Benin trial

May 11th, 2015 / SciDevNet, UK

Patrols of ants on cashew nut trees can roughly double the yield of the crop, according to researchers in Benin. The researchers say that African weaver ants (Oecophylla longinoda) are an effective natural way to reduce considerable losses of cashew nuts from insect pests, such as fruit flies, and improve …