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How biotech could revolutionize a ‘lost’ fruit

August 12th, 2016 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

A tomato’s taste is heavily influenced by its genes. Conventional breeding has not been able to strike a very good balance between taste and productivity, but that’s not the end of the story. Research efforts in genetic modification could bring back flavor in tomatoes, and a research study published mid-May …

Orange farmers get tips on disease management

August 11th, 2016 / Sunrise, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Henry Lutaaya reports: “The potential of orange farming in Uganda is huge, but the benefits are increasingly becoming elusive because of the rise in pests and diseases that attack the crop, costing farmers huge sums of money in pesticides and lost incomes.
“Thanks however to support from Korea Programme …

He grows fruit trees for food security and to conserve the environment

August 11th, 2016 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow, Michael Ssali writes: ‘John Ssentongo of Lukindu Village in Kisekka Sub-county, Lwengo District, loves fruits and believes they are the solution to his community’s food shortage problem.
“When I set out to become a farmer I chose to grow mangoes, jackfruit, avocados, pawpaw and other fruit trees besides bananas, …

Beyond CRISPR: A guide to the many other ways to edit a genome

August 11th, 2016 / Nature, UK

The CRISPR–Cas9 tool enables scientists to alter genomes practically at will. Hailed as dramatically easier, cheaper and more versatile than previous technologies, it has blazed through labs around the world, finding new applications in medicine and basic research.
But for all the devotion, CRISPR–Cas9 has its limitations. It is excellent at …

New technology will re-open GM debate in Europe

August 9th, 2016 / The Independent, Ireland

New plant breeding techniques that can switch genes ‘on’ and ‘off’, and reposition genes within a plant are re-opening the genetically modified (GM) debate within Europe. See …

‘African farmers can benefit from hybrid seed’

August 9th, 2016 / Daily Mail, Zambia

Researchers say African farmers can benefit and attain sustainable agriculture if they use improved hybrid seed technologies. The researchers from DuPoint Pioneer and Mukushi Seeds disclosed that using hybrid seeds, along with agronomic improvements can help increase agriculture production of low yielding African soil to meet nutritional needs of an …

Training institute for farmers launched

August 8th, 2016 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru reports: Most farmers carry out their activities, be it keeping livestock or poultry, crop or fisheries production, do it on subsistence or semi-subsistence scale. So, there is need to encourage these farmers to practise agriculture as a business enterprise to attract a competitive market for their …

“Genetically modified foods do not cause cancer”

August 8th, 2016 / The Nation, Nigeria

The National Biotechnology Management Agency (NBMA) is an organisation of the Federal Government positioned to regulate and ensure safe use of biotechnology in the country. Since its inauguration, it has faced lots of controversies concerning Nigeria’s readiness for such new technology. In this interview with Olugbenga Adanikin, the NBMA Director-General, …

Uganda: new pigeon pea varieties receive positive response

August 6th, 2016 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

Farmers in northern Uganda usually grow apena (pigeon peas) in their gardens. This is because this legume improves soil fertility by fixing nitrogen but soon farmers will find the new pigeon peas varieties with enhanced attributes. See …

Making tech available to smallholders to boost growth

August 6th, 2016 / SciDev.net

Agriculture is the backbone of Sub-Saharan Africa’s economy, with many countries depending on it heavily, a reason many development institutions are investing in the sector. This rhymes well with AU’s agriculture goals of shared prosperity and improved livelihoods to be attained by 2025 as stated in the Malabo Declaration on accelerated …