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African orphan crops consortium tackles 101 crop genomes

January 19th, 2018 / Genome web, US

Researchers at BGI and other centers are in the process of sequencing — and resequencing — the genomes of 101 plants for the African Orphan Crops Consortium (AOCC), an international effort to improve nutrition in Africa through genome-assisted breeding resources and training.
Howard-Yana Shapiro, chief agricultural officer at Mars Incorporated, who …

Increasing food production

January 18th, 2018 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali writes:
Last year the number of food insecure people in Africa rose from 220 million to 224million.
In its Regional Overview report the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) attributed the unfortunate rise to the changing weather patterns that caused poor harvests, loss of livestock, civil conflicts, and …

Rising temperatures put Africa’s rice production at risk

January 18th, 2018 / African Farming, UK

A new modelling study published today warns that the dry-season irrigated rice in West Africa’s Sahel region has reached the critical threshold of 37 degrees Celsius – the tipping point. Further temperature rise could devastate rice yields in this region due to decreasing photosynthesis at high temperatures.
This is an ominous …

Biofortification of beta-carotene in cassava enhances Provitamin A content and shelf life

January 17th, 2018 / ISAAA, US

Findings of a new study in sub-Saharan Africa have indicated that biofortification of beta-carotene concentrations in cassava storage roots significantly increased provitamin A in the cultivars. This may mark an important milestone in addressing the region’s challenge with vitamin A deficiency. The result is published in Plant Biotechnology Journal.
Food and …

Rwanda begins process of legalizing GMO crops

January 17th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA) has drafted a law governing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in Rwanda which will soon be forwarded to the Rwanda Law Reform Commission for review.
The draft bill was prepared along with the National Biosafety Framework, biosafety policy and regulations according to officials.
The objective of the legislation …

In Uganda, anti-GMO scare tactics even taint conventional hybrid crops

January 17th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru reports:
It’s unclear when or if Uganda will grow GMO bananas or any other genetically engineered comment. The nation’s president, Yoweri Museveni, is refusing to sign the recently-approved National Biotechnology and Biosafety Bill, which seeks to pave the way for GMOs.
Scientists in Uganda, working under the National …

How can we farm enough food to feed the world?

January 15th, 2018 / TED.com

TED Video:
Sara Menker was born in Ethiopia and as a child experienced her country’s famine — and the rationing of food — first hand. She is the founder and CEO of Gro Intelligence, a technology company that uses data analysis to help create a more productive global agriculture industry.
Sara believes …

Role of biotechnology in ensuring food security, sustainable agriculture

January 12th, 2018 / Nigerian Observer

By most accounts, low agricultural production is one of the prevailing factors behind the high incidence of poverty and food insecurity across the world.
However, concerned observers note that most poor and food insecure people in the world live in developing countries and rural areas.
They say that one of the most …

GMO crops could help stem famine and future global conflicts

January 12th, 2018 / Alliance for Science, US

Though there a few GE drought-tolerant crops on the market today, scientists all over the world are developing new crops in an effort to better prepare farmers for the increasingly severe droughts we expect to see.
Researchers at the University of Cape Town in South Africa are working to genetically …

Researchers find genetic mechanism that could enhance cereal yields

January 11th, 2018 / ISAAA, US

A research team from the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center led by Andrea Eveland has identified a genetic mechanism that could increase the yields of cereal crops. The team performed the research in Setaria viridis, a grass that is closely related to economically important cereal crops and bioenergy feed stocks …