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Banana breeding and Vitamin A-rich millet: how can plant genetics make a difference?

December 19th, 2012

Lominda Afedraru, a B4FA Media Fellow in Uganda, has recently published two intriguing articles on banana breeding to fight pests and diseases and on the prospect of Vitamin A-rich millet.
In her article on the challenges facing banana production in Uganda, she highlights the diseases that have plagued bananas.  Fortunately, researchers have accepted the …

$25.2m to be devoted to cassava in Africa, reports B4FA Media Fellow

December 16th, 2012

Writing in The East African,  B4FA Media Fellow Isaac Khisa reports that cassava research, breeding and production has recently received a boost in the form of a $25.2m five-year project, dubbed “Next Generation Cassava”, that is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DfID).

The aim of …

2013 B4FA Media Fellowship: Applications now open!

December 11th, 2012

Deadline: 31 December 2012

Following the success of the 2012 Media Fellowship, a second round of Media Fellows will be selected to participate in four-day workshops where they will gain insight into the history of plant breeding, how plant genetics work and whether plant breeding could help their country’s farmers cope …

Tanzanian Media Fellow highlights role of U.S., EU in African GMO debate

December 3rd, 2012

In an article in Tanzania’s The Citizen, B4FA media fellow Polycarp Machira suggests that Africa is being drawn into a US/EU disagreement on the adoption of GMO’s in African countries.  Machira notes the importance of African policymakers and scientists deciding for themselves the most appropriate course to take, describing a recent …

Leading scientists analyse African innovation in Addis Ababa workshop

November 28th, 2012

Last week, a joint workshop “Governance of Science, Technologies and Innovation including Genetics for Farming, Biotechnologies, Nanotechnologies and Indigenous Knowledge” with the European Academies Science Advisory Council (EASAC), National Academies Sciences in Africa (NASAC), African Technology Policy Studies (ATPS), Malaysian Commonweatlh Study Centre, Cambridge, and B4FA was held at the African …

B4FA Media Fellow: Can plant breeding help feed Uganda?

November 26th, 2012

In two recent articles, Michael J. Ssali, a journalist at Uganda’s Daily Monitor and a B4FA Media Fellow, reported on advances in plant breeding currently taking place in Uganda to improve the country’s food supply and offered farmers insight into hybrid seeds. His articles arise from a recent B4FA genetics …

B4FA Media Fellow: ‘B4FA fires up journalists with knowledge on modern plant breeding’

November 26th, 2012

Do journalists get excited about plant breeding and genetics? And does it matter to Uganda’s population? According to Henry Luttaya, a B4FA Media Fellow who writes for Sunrise in Uganda, the answer is a resounding ‘yes’ to both questions. In his recent article, ‘B4FA fires up journalists with knowledge on …

Tanzanian journalists cultivate plant science curiosity

November 8th, 2012

Tanzanian journalists gathered in Arusha, Tanzania from 4-9 November 2012 to cultivate their knowledge about plant science and why it matters to smallholding farmers across their country through a series of insightful workshops and hands-on science experiments with leading experts from Tanzania, Europe and North America.  Over the course of …

Ugandan journalists sharpen science skills – B4FA Media Fellows workshop, 31 Oct. – 3 Nov.

November 5th, 2012

Can training in science sharpen journalists’ skills?  Do genetics matter to journalists?  From 31 October – 3 November, twenty-one journalists from Uganda gathered in Kampala, Uganda to ask these – and other – questions.  Through hands-on experiments and interactive presentations from leading scientists and science journalists, B4FA’s Ugandan Media Fellows …

Uganda: Do agricultural cooperatives need to be re-imagined?

October 31st, 2012

In this insightful opinion article, Morrison Rwakakamba discusses the current debates over the future of cooperatives, with a focus on smallholder farmers and their future.  Is the cooperative model of the 1970s and 1980s still relevant?  Does this concept really need to be ‘re-imagined’?  The author argues that cooperatives are …