In the news...

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 …

Tackling Uganda’s Banana Crisis

July 27th, 2016 / Crop Life International, Belgium

The banana is a very important part of the Ugandan diet with 70 percent of the population eating the fruit every day. However, as Banana Bacterial Wilt is devastating banana crops across the country, eradicating the disease has become a major focus for Uganda’s government, scientists and industry. Plant …

How we can help reduce the spread of Banana Bacterial Wilt

July 20th, 2016 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali writes: Banana Bacterial Wilt (BBW) is an incurable disease that kills banana plants. It is a big threat to food security in Uganda, where bananas are a major food crop and where an estimated 75 per cent of farmers are engaged in banana production. Uganda is …

Growing hybrid banana revived my business

June 30th, 2016 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

I have been a farmer for 25 years and it is from this that I have gained experience to diversify to other farming enterprises. But when I realised that I could not continue with the local banana varieties, I resorted to the hybrid one—M9, which is resistant to pests, diseases …