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Trust, ease and transparency: how one microfinance institution is reaching pural farmers

February 16th, 2018 / AgriLinks

In Kenya, smallholder farmers lack access to financial services and face high barriers to accessing commercial banks and community lending institutions. These institutions rarely approve loans to smallholder farmers or have a slow turnaround time for approval, preventing farmers from getting capital when they need it in the agricultural cycle. …

Aflatoxins jeopardize food safety and entrepreneurial food processing opportunities in Nigeria

February 15th, 2018 / AgriLinks

Aflatoxin is a toxin produced by mold that grows on crops including peanuts and maize. Hard to detect, it can have devastating impacts on human health, including high risk of liver cancer. Aflatoxins have been observed along the maize value chain in Nigeria — in farm storage, in maize containers …

Agriculture business can transform rural economies

February 15th, 2018 / Business a.m. live

Akinwumi Adesina is that President of the African Development Bank (AfDB). His philosophy is not only that Africa has a true comparative advantage in this field but that agriculture should be viewed as a business opportunity as opposed to development. The agricultural sector, he points out, has made more billionaires …

Government may adopt digital tech to reach small-scale farmers

February 14th, 2018 / The Guardian, Nigeria

To address numerous challenges bedeviling small scale farming in the country, the Federal Government may adopt phygital technology to reach farmers across the country.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development Bukar Hassan, while speaking during the presentation of the phygital smallholder value chains technology in Abuja harped on …

How climate change is fuelling innovation in Kenya

February 14th, 2018 / Smithsonian Magazine, US

A new generation of start ups are working to help farmers in a region that faces myriad challenges
On a shopping trip to the rice-trading hub of Mwea, Rigu had an insight. In front of each rice processor’s storefront there were heaps of chaff, the almost weightless husk that is separated …

Fighting plant pests

February 14th, 2018 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali writes:
Pests are described as insects, bacteria, viruses, birds, and rodents that destroy crops by eating them or by infecting them with diseases.
They are often a nuisance which results in huge losses for the farmer. They can damage the crop when it is growing in the field …

African reality show trains youths in farming

February 14th, 2018 / Christian Science Monitor,

The TV show aims to challenge prejudices surrounding farming-related careers to prove that agriculture can be fun and profitable by giving young people in Kenya and Tanzania plots of land to cultivate with a cash prize for the most productive.
As a student, Leah Wangari imagined a glamorous life as a …

How toxic is the world’s most popular herbicide, Roundup?

February 14th, 2018 / The Scientist, Canada

Glyphosate, the active ingredient in the world’s most widely used herbicide, Roundup, is arguably also one of the most contentious. Mass protests erupted in Europe last November after the European Commission, following much discussion, granted a five-year extension for the license to use glyphosate in agriculture in the E.U.
Farmers have …

Will new regulations stifle innovation in plant and animal breeding?

February 14th, 2018 / Agri-pulse, US

Gene editing is touted as a promising new way of altering the DNA of plants or animals to speed their growth, enhance flavor, extend shelf life or combat viruses. But those who see it as a key component of agriculture’s future want to make sure that the regulations written for …

I Didn’t Think There Were Many African Women Scientists. Then …

February 12th, 2018 / NPR

Recently, an online survey asked me to name African women scientists I admired. I found myself struggling — even though I’m a Kenyan entomologist, researching sustainable ways to feed our expanding population amid a changing climate. I thought to myself, why are there so few of us?
I was wrong: We …