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Study finds large chromosomal swaps key to banana domestication

June 7th, 2017 / Phys.org

Bananas are one of the most important staple crops of the tropics, transported with great care over great distances to satisfy the world’s appetite. And today, with more than half the world’s bananas coming from a single, Cavendish variety, they may increasingly become susceptible to funguses that threaten its livelihood, …

Biofortification: is it the next ‘Green Revolution’ for more nutritious food?

June 5th, 2017 / Genetic Literacy Projects, US

The Green Revolution that began in the 1940s and 50s brought about large increases in crop yields and saved millions of people from mass famine. Yet malnutrition remains widely prevalent around the globe. And, while many people eat enough calories, many do not get enough nutrients.
Now, plant breeders and biotechnologists …

Grow rice, bananas together to fight climate change

May 30th, 2017 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

They say desperate times call for desperate measures and for farmers in northern Uganda grappling with climate change, intercropping rice with bananas has helped a great deal, writes Tobbias Jolly Owiny.
Growing banana in rice fields and vice versa would probably have been dismissed as “unthinkable” by traditional farmers, but farmers …

Malawi progresses GM crop trials

April 26th, 2017 / Alliance for Science, US

Bolstered by a solid and functional biosafety framework, Malawi is one of the few countries in Africa poised to move forward in commercializing genetically modified crops, with cotton, cowpea and banana now in field trials.
The Biosafety Act was passed in 2002, biosafety regulations in 2007 and the National Biotechnology and …

Seed shortage: a hidden crisis limiting Uganda’s prosperity

April 11th, 2017 / The Sunrise, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Henry Lutaaya reports:
The ongoing rains in most parts of the country will likely go without being optimally used because farmers are unable to access sufficient quantities of quality seeds for the important staple foods like maize, beans, bananas, cassava and sweet potatoes.
The latest blow comes from the government’s …

Irrigation boosts banana yield by 30% in Kenya

April 4th, 2017 / Farmbiz Africa

Farmers, who regularly irrigate bananas, can boot the weight of the fruit by more than 30 per cent.
More than 90 per cent of famers in Kenya- especially in Nyanza and Central regions- do not know bananas have to be irrigated like other horticultural crops for high yields. Read …

The unfortunate sex life of the banana

February 7th, 2017 / DamnInteresting, US

The banana is a freakish and fragile genetic mutant; one that has survived through the centuries due to the sustained application of selective breeding by diligent humans. Indeed, the “miraculous” banana is far from being a no-strings-attached gift from nature. Its cheerful appearance hides a fatal flaw— one that threatens …

Unsung Heroes – beyond scientific attention

November 14th, 2016 / Claudia Canales, B4FA

The next of our periodic blogs which discuss food security, with a specific focus on how plant genetic research might contribute to addressing the challenge of feeding a fast-growing global population in increasingly uncertain climatic conditions.
Achieving food security is a complex problem that goes far beyond just producing more food. …

He does his farming the smart way

August 25th, 2016 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Henry Michael Ssali reports: Luka Kwesigabo from Ruhimbo in Kabingo Town Council practises mixed agriculture. He has his hands on various enterprises, which both mitigate the effects of climate change and earn him a decent living.
Armed with technical information from resource persons such as Sedrach Muhangi, a climatic …

Banana fungus DNA unravelled

August 18th, 2016 / ISAAA, US

Researchers at the University of California Davis and Wageningen UR have unravelled the DNA of Pseudocercospora fijiensis, the fungus that causes black Sigatoka disease in bananas globally.
The Sigatoka complex’s three fungal diseases — yellow Sigatoka (P. musae), eumusae leaf spot (P. eumusae) and black Sigatoka (P. figiensis) — emerged as …

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