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The magic of hybrid seeds

December 18th, 2015 / Daily Nation, Kenya

One of the most important questions that often comes to farmers’ minds is, “what seeds should I plant?” Now, before rushing to the nearest agrovet or seed stockist, arm yourself with this guide that will enable you select the best seeds that fit the location of your farm. Read …

Zanu-PF embraces biotechnology

December 18th, 2015 / Southern Times, South Africa

Zanu-PF is moving closer to embracing biotechnology to increase food production in the country, with the ruling party coming out in its support as a tool to fight hunger and poverty. The party’s secretary of science and technology Professor Jonathan Moyo told delegates at the just-ended Zanu PF’s 15th Annual …

‘Let’s pool knowledge together on biotechnology’

December 17th, 2015 / GhanaWeb.com

The Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovations, Mahama Ayariga has called on the proponents and sceptics of biotechnology to pool their knowledge together to achieve the collective goal of food security and food sovereignty. “If our common goal is to grow African agriculture then fora such as we are …

Growing coffee varieties resistant to CWD

December 17th, 2015 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

Farmer Joseph Musisi Ssebatta talks to B4FA Fellow, Michael Ssali, about his CWD-resistant coffee nursery, “We expected that by 2015 the country (Uganda) would be exporting at least 4.5 million 60-kilogram-bags which it used to export long ago but unfortunately this has not yet happened mainly due to the coffee …

The crop conundrum

December 16th, 2015 / Nature, UK

European Commission directive on releasing GM organisms into the environment covers field trials and cultivation defines GM organisms as having alterations that cannot occur naturally, which were made by genetic engineering. What is unclear is how this relates to experiments in which researchers introduce foreign DNA to direct a precise …

Beyond the poverty of poverty reduction: the case of cotton

December 15th, 2015 / African Arguments, UK

Africa’s cotton producers still seek a better trade deal. But as the WTO Ministerial meeting convenes in Nairobi, the poverty hurdles are much higher than just trade barriers. But to move beyond the poverty of poverty reduction, decision-makers will need to embrace broader and deeper understandings of Africa’s cotton and …

G-33 demands outcome on special safeguards

December 15th, 2015 / Livemint.com

With an agreement on a special safeguard mechanism (SSM) that they want unlikely at the World Trade Organization (WTO)’s 10th ministerial conference starting on Tuesday in Nairobi, a group of developing countries including India has demanded an outcome on special safeguards (SSGs), amending a provision that already exists in Article …

Africa closer to a cure for banana disease

December 15th, 2015 / Inter Press Service

Scientists at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) headquartered in Ibadan, Nigeria in partnership with the National Agriculture Research Organisation (NARO) in Uganda are close to a breakthrough after more than eight years researching solutions to BXW.In one Ugandan dialect, ‘kiwotoka’, describes the steamed look of banana plants affected …

Irish potatoes help combat effect of climate change in Ethiopia

December 14th, 2015 / Irish Times, Ireland

One success story among many that we have had here is the introduction of the humble Irish potato to drought-stricken and hungry areas of the highlands of Ethiopia. In an attempt to find a substitute for local varieties, we introduced the Belete variety which produced extremely high yields of 56.6 …

A new breed of edits

December 14th, 2015 / Nature, UK

Genome editing allows much smaller changes to be made to DNA compared with conventional genetic engineering. In terms of agriculture, this might win over public and regulator opinion. Genome editing offers both subtlety and speed, wherever in the genome a researcher wants to target. The speed comes from the technologies’ …