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Pearl millet genes hold key to climate-proof cereals

October 16th, 2017 / SciDev.net

The key to breeding heat- and drought-tolerant rice, maize and wheat may lie in the ‘waxy biosynthesis’ genes of a related cereal, the pearl millet, according to a study by an international team of scientists.
In a study published in September in Nature Biotechnology, the scientists show the potential use of …

Kenya launches task force to facilitate commercialization of GM cotton

October 13th, 2017 / Xinhua, China

Kenya on Wednesday unveiled a national task force to oversee the commercialization of genetically modified cotton in the next five years.
Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Willy Bett said the team will build the capacity of key stakeholders involved in the rollout of genetically engineered cotton.
“The government is committed …

Fall armyworm arrives in Africa on the heels of climate change

October 13th, 2017 / Sierra Magazine

Tobias Okwara is a farmer in Kayoro Parish in southeastern Uganda. In the midst of a long drought that began in May 2016, he and his neighbors got together to discuss what to do. Food was becoming scarce, and they hoped to recover quickly once the rains started again. They …

Fixing the food system to solve humanity’s greatest challenges

October 13th, 2017 / InterPress News

We are at a moment of huge opportunity in the world’s food system. We can continue on our current trajectory of consuming too little, too much, or the wrong type of food at an unsustainable cost to the environment, health care and political stability. Or we can change course. Fixing …

Uganda biotech law opens door to disease-resistant GM crops

October 13th, 2017 / Cornell Alliance for Science, US

Joan Conrow and Mark Lynas write:
Genetically engineered crops that promise to benefit both farmers and consumers are poised to enter Uganda’s marketplace now that its Parliament has adopted a law to regulate agricultural biotechnology.
Ugandan plant scientists are already in the later stages of conducting field trials for banana varieties that …

Only modernised commercial farms will fill Africa’s plate, economists warn

October 12th, 2017 / The Guardian, UK

African farming must modernise and replace its ageing workforce if the continent is going to be able to feed its rising population, a report by leading economists has warned.
A transformation from small-scale subsistence farms to mechanised, more commercially viable farms is essential, said experts at the Ghana-based African Centre for …

Genetically modified organisms are improvements on conventional crops

October 12th, 2017 / Vanguard, Nigeria

The National Bio-safety Management Agency (NBMA) says Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are the same conventional crops but improved versions for the purpose of sustainability and improved yields
Dr Rufus Egbegba, the Director-General of the agency made the clarification in an interview on Monday in Abuja. According to him, GMOs are not …

CGIAR wants to build a big data platform and innovate with startups to help smallholder farmers

October 12th, 2017 / AllAfrica.com

A fortnight ago CGIAR – one of the world’s major agriculture research networks – met in Cali with a wide range of partners to look at how they could use their data using AI and Big Data to drive farming improvements in continents like Africa. Part of the Convention was …

Ghana aims to regain top spot in cocoa production

October 12th, 2017 / AllAfrica.com

Ghana is home to the world’s favourite cocoa beans. They’re bigger in size, have a higher butter content and superior flavour – all qualities which make Ghana’s cocoa the world standard against which all cocoa is measured.
But while cocoa used to be the biggest foreign exchange earner for the West …

Genetically improving nutritional value of corn could benefit millions

October 12th, 2017 / ISAAA, US

In a discovery that could benefit millions of people in the world, Rutgers University scientists have found a way to enhance the nutritional value of corn by inserting a bacterial gene that causes it to produce the key nutrient methionine. Read more …