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Young Ugandan farmers push for homegrown GMO crops

December 5th, 2018 / Alliance for Science, US

Though Uganda’s Parliament passed a biosafety bill last week, it remains unclear whether it will benefit a coalition of young cassava farmers who are demanding access to genetically modified (GM) crops.
Some Ugandan scientists have said the bill’s strict liability clause will effectively stifle the research and commercial release of crops …

Apprenticeship will attract young people to agriculture

December 5th, 2018 / Daily Nation, Kenya

Agriculture directly contributes 24 per cent of the annual Kenyan GDP and 27 per cent indirectly.
Apprenticeship would give young people a unique opportunity to earn while as they learn.
Lack of an apprenticeship policy has had adverse impacts on young people interested in agriculture.
The Centre for African Bio-Entrepreneurship has proposed an …

Africa Soil Information Service

December 4th, 2018 / CGIAR

The Africa Soil Information Service provides continent-wide digital soil maps and decision-support applications for sub-Saharan Africa, using new types of soil analysis and statistical methods.
The online portal africasoils.net provides practical, timely and cost-effective soil health surveillance services that can help map soil conditions, set a baseline for monitoring changes, develop …

Satellites warn African farmers of pest infestations

December 3rd, 2018 / BBC, UK

UK researchers have developed an early warning system to prevent the crops of African farmers from being devastated.
The Pest Risk Information Service (Prise) combines temperature data and weather forecasts with computer models.
It then sends farmers a mobile phone alert so that they can take precautions.
It is hoped that the system …

Ugandan scientists skeptical of revised GMO bill

December 3rd, 2018 / Alliance for Science, US

The Ugandan Parliament yesterday approved a bill to regulate genetically modified organisms that has scientists skeptical the technology will ever reach the smallholder farmers it is intended to help.
“Once bitten, twice shy,” said plant biotechnologist Dr. Andrew Kiggundu in reference to last year’s events, when Parliament passed the bill, but …

UN report: food security threatened by changing climate

December 3rd, 2018 / The Weather Channel, US

Climate change is a leading factor in why it’s ever more difficult to feed a hungry planet, the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization said Wednesday as part of an appeal to achieve “zero hunger” worldwide.
But it’s not just the warming planet – humans have outstripped the planet’s carrying capacity with …

Global food system is broken, say world’s science academies

November 30th, 2018 / The Guardian, UK

The global food system is broken, leaving billions of people either underfed or overweight and driving the planet towards climate catastrophe, according to 130 national academies of science and medicine across the world.
Providing a healthy, affordable, and environmentally friendly diet for all people will require a radical transformation of the …

Small-holder farmers need access to financing across the agricultural value chain

November 30th, 2018 / FarmBiz Africa

Access to adequate financing is often identified as one of the key inhibitors to achieving long-term sustainability for Africa’s agricultural practitioners, particularly small-holder and subsistence-level farmers who typically must resort to borrowing from community members or pooling resources in order to make ends meet.
While 55 percent of Africa’s population is …

President Kenyatta ties revival of textile sector to GM cotton

November 30th, 2018 / Sunrise, Uganda

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has instructed key government ministries to identify mechanisms for reviving the nation’s cotton production, which could include growing the genetically modified Bt cotton.
The announcement follows the government’s approval last summer of an environmental assessment that authorized the national performance trials that are required prior to commercial …

Why did Tanzania just pull the plug on its GMO crop trials?

November 29th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

When the Tanzanian government announced Friday [November 23] they were ending field trials of genetically engineered crops in the country and calling for the destruction of the crops, the country’s research community was aghast, with a local paper reporting:
‘Members of the research community were in shock that the government did …