In the news...

Sequencing date palm genomes could lead to drought, disease resistant varieties

November 20th, 2015 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

A a team of scientists has found the genetic mutation responsible for the red or yellow colour of the sugary date fruit. The discovery is part of the ongoing 100 dates! gene sequencing project at NYUAD. Thanks to a three-year collaboration between researchers in the United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Syria, …

Squash pots and bad bananas

November 19th, 2015 / Huffington Post Green, US

A promising biotech solution (developed by Ugandan scientists for Ugandan farmers) involves the transfer of 2 genes from green peppers into the banana plant to give it resistance to wilt. It has had tremendous success in field trials but is running into opposition from anti-GMO activists who, not unlike Honeycutt, …

How modern biotechnology can create 25 000 jobs

November 19th, 2015 / NewsDiary Online, Nigeria

B4FA Fellow, Abdallah el-Kurebe reports: Nigeria Federal Government’s (FG) determination to diversify the economy as a result of the challenges in the oil sector has set it to develop immutable strategies that would ensure the creation of, at least, 25,000 jobs annually from the biotechnology sector. A statement by the …

Acceptance of GM crops spreads

November 18th, 2015 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow, Michael Ssali reports: The Kenyan government is considering lifting the ban on GMOs, which will probably be this month. Previously, the Deputy President, William Ruto, made the announcement at the fourth Annual Biosafety Conference organised by the Kenya National Biosafety Authority (NBA) in Nairobi. “Mark my words, in …

20 years experience of GM crops

November 18th, 2015 / ISAAA, US

In spite of the rapid adoption of GM crops, their use remains contentious. Public opposition and overregulation have become real threats to further developments in modern plant sciences. It is widely believed that GM crops are bad for human health, damage the environment, and hurt smallholder farmers in developing countries, …

El Niño: food shortages, floods, disease and droughts set to put millions at risk

November 17th, 2015 / Guardian, UK

The UN has warned of months of extreme weather in many of the world’s most vulnerable countries with intense storms, droughts and floods triggered by one of the strongest El Niño weather events recorded in 50 years, which is expected to continue until spring 2016. Its effects are already being …

Kenyan farmers thrive with modern crop and animal husbandry techniques

November 16th, 2015 / Farmbiz Africa

After close to 10 subsequent years without decent maize and bean harvests, farmers in Nyamira County are gradually diversifying into different crops, some of which are now being grown in the area for the first time. But two neighbours from Riomoro village, Priscillah Moseti and Nicholas Mang’era, have stood out …

Sustainable agriculture is all about smart technology and scaling up

November 16th, 2015 / Aeon

Louise O Fresco writes “… New generations of farmers must receive assistance in order to increase productivity, and reduce hard labour and negative environmental impact. The challenge is not to maintain traditional production, but to protect tradition by combining it with the greatest advances in science to create truly sustainable …

New potato varieties to boost productivity in Tanzania, Kenya could borrow some tips

November 14th, 2015 / Farmbiz Africa

Brian Moseti writes “… Mtanga Farms Limited (MFL), in partnership with the Tanzanian government, announced the registration of four new potato varieties with the company promising to multiply and sell these seed potatoes to local farmers. With access to clean seed material, Tanzanian farmers for whom potatoes are a major …

GM crops and the developing world: opposing sides miss the bigger picture

November 14th, 2015 / The Conversation, UK

Sally Brooks writes “… The majority of genetically modified (GM) crops are now cultivated in the developing world. In 2014, around 53% of the 182m hectares (nearly two million square kilometres) of GM crops were grown in these countries… but in sub-Saharan Africa, there are only 2.7m hectares of …