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A breeding revolution could unleash the potential of potato

September 4th, 2019 / Science Magazine, US

Unlike other major crops, however, the potato has not had a breeding breakthrough of the kind that helped dramatically boost yields during the Green Revolution of the 1950s and 1960s. The reason is that creating a new potato variety is slow and difficult, even by the patient standards of plant …

The protection of traditional knowledge in Africa

September 3rd, 2019 / Inventa International

Traditional Knowledge (TK) is, in accordance to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), “a living body of knowledge passed on from generation to generation within a community”. Traditional Knowledge is the know-how, skills and practices developed within a community, forming part of its cultural identity, which is passed through generations.

Despite the …

GM tech expands with more crops to more countries

September 3rd, 2019 / SciDev.net

Recent developments in genetic modification (GM) technology include a way to prevent the popular Cavendish banana variety from being wiped out by the Fusarium wilt fungus, according to the latest report of the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) released last week (29 August) in Manila.The Cavendish …

Revolutionary technologies will drive African prosperity – this is why

September 2nd, 2019 / World Economic Forum for Africa

Right now, we’re at a tipping point in Africa’s development. We’re hurtling headlong into the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), which has the potential to turbocharge the socio-economic development of the entire African continent. We’ve got the youngest continent in the world, with 60% of Africa’s 1.25 billion people under the age …

How do you run your cooperative society?

September 2nd, 2019 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali writes:

It is quite common nowadays to hear political leaders calling upon small-scale farmers to form cooperative societies sometimes referred to as groups. The idea is to help farmers pool together their resources in order to produce more and to earn more. 

When 50 tomato farmers in one …

GM cassava research progresses in Uganda

September 2nd, 2019 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

As Ugandan researchers progress in breeding genetically modified (GM)  disease-resistant cassava, they are requesting permission to create permanent demonstration gardens of the improved crops. The goal is to ensure continuous documentation of the ongoing cassava research and also provide a place where people can see GM plants. However, the request …

Is hybrid rice solution to Africa’s food shortage?

August 30th, 2019 / The Standard, Kenya

Every African government today is talking about food and nutrition security and employment for its people especially youth and women.Yet, Africa is still producing too little food for its bourgeoning population to eat. Is the continent really doing everything needed to achieve its aspirations and visions in the agriculture sector?As …

CRISPR and other new breeding techniques could be key to unlocking potential of global wheat production

August 30th, 2019 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru  writes:

To meet a growing global demand for wheat, scientists and policy makers are calling for wider use of new breeding techniques in a quest to increase yields and fight pests, disease and climate change.

While other key commodity crops – including corn, soybeans and cotton – have …

John Innes discovery could pave the way for disease-resistant rice crops

August 23rd, 2019 / Food Ingredients

Researchers at the John Innes Centre have come one step closer to genetically engineering rice that is resistant to a globally devastating fungus. The discovery, published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, provides new insights into how rice’s immune receptors recognize and bind to fungal proteins. With a grip on how …

Ethiopia’s future is tied to water – a vital yet threatened resource in a changing climate

August 23rd, 2019 / The Conversation

In July Ethiopians planted 350 million trees in a single day. This was part of the country’s national green legacy initiative to counter environmental degradation and climate change. The initiative ultimately aims to grow 4 billion trees across the country.

Ethiopia has long struggled with land degradation problems in part caused by unsustainable agricultural practices – like vegetation …