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The rise and rise of African agri-tech

February 7th, 2018 / Disrupt Africa

Agriculture is big business in Africa. The sector employs 65 per cent of the continent’s labour force, and accounts for 32 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP), according to the World Bank.
Yet it is beset by problems. Africa’s population is growing – it is projected to reach two million …

Evidence patchy on value of mobile apps for farmers

February 6th, 2018 / SciDev.net

A review of research on how information services based on mobile phone technology can improve the lives of farmers has found only patchy evidence of success.
The review, which looked at 23 studies of such services in Africa, Asia and Latin America, found that although users often reported improvements, these were …

The future of farming

February 6th, 2018 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow, Michael Ssali writes:
Land disputes are getting more frequent as population pressure on land builds up. The population is increasing at the same rate as the struggle for people to get farming space.
Chunks of natural forests and wetlands have been turned into farmlands. In the majority of cases …

Centre aims to bridge gaps in climate-smart agriculture

February 6th, 2018 / AllAfrica.com

Africa Center of Excellence for Climate Smart Agriculture and Biodiversity Conservation (Climate SABC) hosted by Haromaya University is aiming to train efficient agricultural and climate change experts in Africa.
The Center financed by the World Bank came to be operational in 2017 and is currently teaching 51 students drawn from Ethiopia, …

Researchers learn from plant viruses to protect crops

February 6th, 2018 / The Scientist, Canada

In recent years, however, scientists have turned to inventive new ways to protect crops. Genetic modification techniques developed over the last 30 years, for example, can arm plants with defenses against viral invasion, while leaving crop yields and food quality unaffected. Some of these modified plants are now in the …

Nigeria’s biosafety agency, activist clash over safety of GMOs

February 5th, 2018 / Premium Times, Nigeria

The disagreement between the National Biosafety Management Agency and anti-GMO campaigners over the safety of genetically modified foods took a new twist Wednesday with the agency accusing the activists of being “unpatriotic.”
Specifically calling out the Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), a nongovernmental organization at the forefront of the campaign …

Uganda: Improving breeds to enhance food production

February 5th, 2018 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru writes:
Breeding agricultural products for improvement is not a recent technology because scientists in the entire globe have been doing it over a long period of time mainly for purposes of improvement for the benefit of farmers and consumers.
This started with mankind domesticating crops and animals from …

Nigerian entrepreneur: ‘We’re farming in a shipping container’

February 5th, 2018 / BBC, UK

Video: Oluwayimika Angel Adelaja got around the costs of transporting farm produce from the countryside to the city, by trying organic container farming.
She moved her farm into Nigeria’s capital Abuja – cutting fuel costs and reducing the amount of produce ruined on the way to market. Read more …

Nigeria: National Biosafety Management Agency committed to safe use of GMOs

February 2nd, 2018 / Independent, Nigeria

The National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) says it is committed to ensuring the safe use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in Nigeria.
The Director-General of NBMA, Dr Rufus Ebegba, gave the assurance on Wednesday in a statement signed by Mrs Gloria Ogbaki, the agency’s Head of Press in Abuja.
He said that …

Genetic engineering, CRISPR and food: What the ‘revolution’ will bring in the near future

February 2nd, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Humankind is on the verge of a genetic revolution that holds great promise and potential. It will change the ways food is grown, medicine is produced, animals are altered and will give rise to new ways of producing plastics, biofuels and chemicals.
Many object to the genetic revolution, insisting we should …