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Bananas genetically modified not to rot

June 29th, 2016 / Scientific American, US

Israeli scientists find the specific gene to block the ageing process in bananas, allowing them to stay fresh for longer. Watch …

Setting out to grow bananas

June 23rd, 2016 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali writes: Over 70 per cent of farmers in Uganda grow bananas. It is one our major food crops and in order to enjoy good harvests the farmer should apply the right farming practices. It is important to begin with clearing the site to remove bushes and …

Genes used to extend banana lifespan

April 18th, 2016 / Reuters.com

Dr. Haya Friedman, a researcher at Israel’s Volcani Institute, also known as the Agricultural Research Organization (ARO), told Reuters that the genetically-altered bananas can stay fresh for at least double the time of normal bananas. “You can see here that these are bananas that we changed the expression of the …

Africa’s key food crops threatened

March 16th, 2016 / The East African, Kenya

Agriculture in parts of sub-Saharan Africa needs to be transformed for key food crops to be produced, a new study published in Nature Climate Change notes. The study examines region-by-region the likely effect of different climate change scenarios on nine crops that constitute 50 per cent of food production in …

Staple plantains at risk of same diseases as bananas

March 11th, 2016 / AllAfrica.com

Plantains, an important staple through much of the tropical world, are susceptible to the same diseases currently threatening the world’s most popular banana the Cavendish. “All 120 plantain varieties suffer from the same susceptibility to black sigatoka, nematodes and weevils, like the cavendish, so there’s no variation in response to …

Climate deadline looms for African food crops

March 8th, 2016 / BBC, UK

Researchers have produced a timescale of how projected climate change is set to alter the face of agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa. Climate change is widely projected to have a significant adverse impact on food security if no adaptation measures are taken, they explain. In their study, the team provides timings …

Climate change could make growing these crops in African regions impossible

March 8th, 2016 / Climate Change News

Global warming threatens some of sub-Saharan Africa’s most important crops, growers have been warned. Key cultivating regions could become unviable in the coming decades under projected climate change scenarios, according to research published in Nature on Monday. Bananas, beans and maize are most at risk of the nine staples that …

Scientists race to halt banana catastrophe

March 1st, 2016 / SciDev.net, UK

Scientists in developing countries are scrambling to find a cure for a devastating fungus that threatens to wipe out the global banana trade and plunge millions of farmers into poverty. Around the world, banana farmers are fighting a losing battle against Tropical Race 4, a soil fungus that kills Cavendish …

Saving the banana

February 8th, 2016 / Scroll.in

Catastrophe is looming for the banana industry. A new strain has emerged of a soil-borne fungus known as “Panama disease” which can wipe out entire plantations – and it is rapidly spreading around the world. Farmers in Australia, Latin America and across Asia and Africa all fear the worst. The …

The need to prioritize farmer perspective

February 1st, 2016 / Alliance for Science, US

For many in Uganda, banana bacterial wilt disease is having devastating effects on their staple carbohydrate, the Matooke banana. Genetic engineering offers a promising option for mitigating its effects. While Matthew Schnurr, PhD, an environmental geographer at Dalhousie University, remains skeptical of the benefits of first generation biotechnologies to smallholder …