In the news...

African biotech students remain hopeful, despite obstacles

November 15th, 2018 / Alliance for Science, US

B4FA Fellow Christopher Bendana writes:
Though most African nations have been slow to commercialize genetically modified crops, students across the continent remain committed to earning advanced degrees in biotechnology.
Ironically, Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda, has become a hub for such students, though the country has yet to pass its own biosafety …

Researchers discover how to engineer plants with enhanced drought resistance without affecting growth

November 15th, 2018 / ISAAA, US

Drought is one of the effects of climate change that needs serious attention. This year’s decreased rainfall and abnormally hotter temperatures in northern and eastern Europe caused large losses in cereals and potato crops and in other horticultural species.
Experts have long believed that that to ensure food security, it is …

Can we separate science from agriculture?

November 14th, 2018 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali writes:
It is a big paradox that our leaders are talking passionately about training scientists and raising science teachers’ salaries and at the same time being slow to accept new scientific ideas even when they are meant to boost the country’s agricultural output, the economy, and food …

Africa: making agriculture ‘cool’ … for youth

November 14th, 2018 / AllAfrica.com

At every conference she has attended on the youth, Nawsheen Hosenally has been frustrated to hear that agriculture is not ‘cool’. The 29-year-old graduate in agricultural extension and information systems knew she wanted to do something to redeem the image of agriculture among young people.
So the Mauritian and her Burkanibe, …

Edible GM cotton could supply protein to 600 million people daily

November 13th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

It turns out cotton seed is a great source of protein, except it’s currently toxic for humans. Cotton naturally produces gossypol, which is essentially an insecticide. While that helps the plant fight off insects, it also makes it poisonous to humans and most animals. But scientists at Texas A&M University …

Small genetic differences turn plants into better teams

November 13th, 2018 / Science Daily

The ongoing worldwide loss of biological diversity is one of the most pressing challenges humankind currently faces. Biodiversity is vital to humans not least because it supports ecosystem services such as the provision of clean water and the production of biomass and food. Many experiments have shown that diverse communities …

Uganda MPs accept Museveni’s proposals on GMO Bill

November 13th, 2018 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

Legislators on the Parliamentary Committee on Science, Technology and Innovation have changed their positions on the GMO Bill and considered proposals suggested by President Museveni, Daily Monitor has established.
This comes after the President declined to sign the Bill into law in December 2017, citing lack of clarity in the legislation. …

Africa needs a green revolution … and there are signs

November 12th, 2018 / The Economist, UK

Something akin to Asia’s rural development may, at last, be happening in parts of Africa. Since 2002 the proportion of African workers employed in agriculture has fallen from 66% to 57%. Yet the real value of agricultural production has grown at an average pace of 4.6% a year, double the …

Scientists use potato wild relatives to produce climate-resilient varieties

November 12th, 2018 / International Potato Center

As millions of small-scale farmers struggle with the effects of climate change, scientists at the International Potato Center (CIP) are using wild potatoes to develop climate-resilient varieties. The resulting potatoes combine heat and drought tolerance with resistance to the most important diseases affecting potato crops, late blight and bacterial wilt, …

Safeguarding food security with plant health

November 9th, 2018 / International Potato Centre

By the year 2050, the global population is estimated to exceed 9 billion. We will need to feed more people with fewer resources while addressing the challenges posed by climate change. An expected side-effect of rising temperatures is a population boom of the insects and diseases that threaten agricultural productivity. …