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Substantial investment to tackle challenges of African vector-borne plant diseases

October 9th, 2017 / Univ. of Bristol, UK

The University of Bristol has been awarded £2 million to lead a major new project that aims to tackle the devastation caused by vector-borne plant diseases in Africa.
In much the same way as insects can transmit human diseases, destructive plant diseases are transmitted by aphids, beetles, whitefly and other insects.
These …

Uganda removes key hurdle to GM crops

October 9th, 2017 / Science Magazine

Biotech researchers here are celebrating the long-awaited passage of a bill this week that clears the way for large-scale field tests and commercial release of genetically modified (GM) crops. Uganda, with several engineered varieties waiting in the wings, is expected to join a handful of other African nations moving quickly …

African Development Bank decentralizes structure and reframes key issues

October 9th, 2017 / Devex.com

The African Development Bank is decentralizing its structure and repackaging how it tackles key issues in development, as part of implementing it’s new 10-year strategy, bank representatives said this week at their Business Opportunities Seminar in Nairobi, Kenya.
Bank President Akinwumi Adesina, formerly Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, is …

Plants become more tolerant when living in symbiosis with fungi

October 9th, 2017 / EurikaAlert

By developing a symbiotic relationship with fungi, plants not only become more tolerant to diseases but can also help contribute to more sustainable agricultural practices. This is the conclusion of a new study from the University of Gothenburg.
Most crops can form symbiosis with fungi to gain key nutrients. The fungi …

The immense challenge of desertification in sub-Saharan Africa

October 9th, 2017 / The Conversation

Today, dry areas represent more than 41% of land on the globe and they are home to more than two billion people.
They are the stage for the ongoing process of land degradation that is aggravated by climate fluctuations – particularly drought – and pressure exerted by human activities (including demographic …

AGCO starts course to develop skills for African agricultural prosperity

October 6th, 2017 / African Farming, UK

AGCO, Your Agriculture Company, has signed a MoU to inaugurate a new agribusiness course aiming to fill junior management roles in African agriculture and the supply chain, thus upgrading the continent’s skill resources.
AGCO has partnered with Strathmore Business School (SBS) in Kenya, Harper Adams University in the UK and Kenya-based …

Uganda allows GMOs use

October 6th, 2017 / New Vision, Uganda

“We need to trust and support our scientists because they are working for Uganda to own its patents and technology so that we are not beholden to foreigners” – Kafeero Ssekitoleko,Nakifuma County MP
Dr Barbara Zawedde Mugwanga, the co-ordinator of the Uganda Biosciences Information Centre (NARO information hub) said the passing …

Grafting helps pepper plants deal with drought

October 5th, 2017 / SciDev.net

Joining a high-yield pepper plant sapling to the roots of a strong and resistant variety could help pepper farmers cope with lower rainfall, a study has found.
An experiment using the technique of merging two plants, known as grafting, resulted in higher fruit yield during periods of less rain. Plants also …

Climate science: Getting African researchers involved

October 5th, 2017 / SciDev.net

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) met for its 46th session in Montreal, Canada, from September 6-10. It reached an agreement on an outline of contributions from its three working groups to the Sixth Assessment Report, which is due to be published in 2022. It will now recruit a …

Africa’s agriculture needs a big dose of digital transformation

October 5th, 2017 / Digital Journal

Scientists are now calling for a technological transformation in how Africans undertake agricultural production. With almost three quarters of the workforce on the continent focussed on agriculture, such a change could lead to rapid innovation.
Looking at Africa as a whole, it is the agricultural sector that will see a revolution …