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Postharvest losses: curse to African farming

May 2nd, 2018 / SciDev.net

Adopting cost-effective technologies could help smallholders in Sub-Saharan Africa tackle postharvest losses and increase their income, a report says.
According to the FAO, postharvest losses reduce the income of the continent’s farmers and value chain actors that depend on farmers by about 15 per cent.
The report by the International Food Policy …

Growing more, growing better for Africa’s food security

May 2nd, 2018 / CTA, Netherlands

Professor Sir Gordon Conway writes:
“There are three pillars of sustainable intensification:
Ecological: harnessing nature to support agricultural production. For example, crop rotation or agroforestry are production methods that work with nature to improve soil fertility and build a more sustainable food and nutrition system.
Genetic: new hybrid crops and improved livestock …

Africa has plenty of land. Why is it so hard to make a living from it?

May 2nd, 2018 / The Economist, UK

Surrounded by tangled shrubland, Wisdom Mababe’s farm in central Zambia seems incongruously neat. “In 2002, when I started, it was bare bush,” he says. Each year since, he has bulldozed an area the size of 40 football pitches. Maize grows in ordered rows; cattle graze behind a fence. “The land, …

Ugandan legislator on why his nation needs to ‘wake up’ on GMOs

May 1st, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Robert Kafeero Sekitoleko is an engineer, legislator and chairperson of the Sectoral Committee on Science and Technology in Uganda’s Parliament. He has faced the wrath of opposing forces in an effort to drive the debate and passing of the Biotechnology and Biosafety Bill to allow GMO crop breeding in Uganda. …

We must stand up for quality seeds

May 1st, 2018 / Daily Nation, Kenya

Seed companies, researchers and dealers recently launched the Global Development Alliance in Nairobi in partnership with USAid. Ian Barker is the Head of Agricultural Partnerships at Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture. He spoke to Leopold Obi about what the alliance is all about and what farmers should expect from it. …

Scientists hail European ban on bee-harming pesticides

May 1st, 2018 / Nature, UK

In a long-awaited decision, the European Union today voted to ban the use of three controversial neonicotinoid insecticides on all crops grown outdoors.
The vote ends years of bitter wrangling between those in favour of a ban, including environmental groups and many scientists, and opponents of further restrictions, including neonicotinoid manufacturers. …

This treadle pump is big deal

April 20th, 2018 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

Samuel Ojok is a vegetable farmer in Otuke District in northern Uganda. Every tomato season, he grows two or more acres of tomatoes and other vegetables such as cabbage, green pepper, onions and watermelons.
He is never worried about his garden running short of water or getting affected by a change …

Uganda: ‘Disaster’: Scientists condemn GM law amendments

April 20th, 2018 / Sunrise, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Henry Lutaaya reports:
A number of scientists have expressed shock and anger at the proposed restrictive requirements that were included in the long-awaited law on Biotechnology with some labelling them a disaster and a huge setback for the country.
The angry reactions come in the wake of a new report …

Researchers develop first gene drive targeting worldwide crop pest

April 20th, 2018 / Phys.org

Biologists at the University of California San Diego have developed a method of manipulating the genes of an agricultural pest that has invaded much of the United States and caused millions of dollars in damage to high-value berry and other fruit crops.
Research led by Anna Buchman in the lab of …

Practicing coffee tissue culture to boost Ethiopian coffee production

April 20th, 2018 / AllAfrica.com

Coffee is an important international commodity next to oil. According to the International Coffee Organization (ICO) report, as more of the world population turns to coffee consumption particularly Latin America and the populous nations like India and china, demand for the beverage estimated to increase by nearly 25 percent over …