In the news...

GM may be needed to save the popular and nutritionally important Cavendish banana

July 17th, 2015 / Good Magazine, US

It may be a bitter pill to swallow for some, given society’s disdain for GMOs. But to preserve the Cavendish, the banana at large, and the millions of lives and livelihoods they are tied to it, as a society we might just have to learn to accept a genetically modified …

Cameroon: In vitro plantain project to produce 5 million plantlets this year

June 8th, 2015 / Cameroon Tribune, Cameroon

Essimi Menye, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, has praised researchers of the Institute for Agronomic Research For Development (IRAD) in Ekona for their expediency in carrying out the FCFA one billion in vitro plantain plantlets project initiated in April, 2013. The Minister was speaking at IRAD-EKONA last weekend …

Uganda ruling party greenlights superbananas and other GMOs

May 11th, 2015 / AllAfrica.com

Uganda’s ruling party has approved a bill that will give the green light to superbananas and other genetically modified foods. The ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) parliamentary caucus has agreed on the controversial National Biotechnology and Biosafety Bill, signaling that Uganda will soon adopt a “GMO bill”. Read …

GMOs could save banana industry but could consumers accept it?

May 4th, 2015 / Genetic Literacy Project

The international banana industry only has itself to blame for its vulnerability to panama disease, and faces annihilation if the fungus continues to spread, according to an expert on global banana production.The banana industry is a monoculture, focussing primarily on the growth and trade of the Cavendish banana. Read …

Fighting the banana bacterial wilt

April 30th, 2015 / Sunday Monitor, Uganda

They say a journey of a thousand miles starts with one step. This is the long walk towards eliminating the Banana Xanthomonas Wilt, commonly known as banana bacterial wilt, which is a major threat to the crop. B4FA Fellow, Lominda Afedraru traces the spread of disease in Uganda, its impact …

Dealing with major banana diseases

March 27th, 2015 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

Diseases are caused by small micro-organisms, which we cannot see with our naked eyes. Just as animals fall sick, plants fall sick and even die too. Diseases are usually rampant in plantations which full of weeds, are un-mulched, and unprunned, and are normally spread by planting infected suckers from …

Heated debate in Uganda over super crops

March 18th, 2015 / Business Daily Live

Green cooking bananas, or matooke, is a national staple in Uganda but in recent years a deadly bacterial disease, known as “banana wilt”, has had a devastating effect, driving some farmers to abandon their beloved crop altogether. It has also sparked a Ugandan version of the global row over …

Six B4FA Media Fellows get hands-on knowledge of biosciences in action

February 22nd, 2013

As part of their B4FA Media Fellowship, six fellows had the opportunity to make a field trip to Arusha, Tanzania on 18 February 2013 to visit three sites where science is being put into practice to help Tanzania’s farmers: a commercial tissue culture facility, the Selian Agricultural Research Institute (SARI …

Banana breeding and Vitamin A-rich millet: how can plant genetics make a difference?

December 19th, 2012

Lominda Afedraru, a B4FA Media Fellow in Uganda, has recently published two intriguing articles on banana breeding to fight pests and diseases and on the prospect of Vitamin A-rich millet.
In her article on the challenges facing banana production in Uganda, she highlights the diseases that have plagued bananas.  Fortunately, researchers have accepted the …

B4FA Media Fellow: Can plant breeding help feed Uganda?

November 26th, 2012

In two recent articles, Michael J. Ssali, a journalist at Uganda’s Daily Monitor and a B4FA Media Fellow, reported on advances in plant breeding currently taking place in Uganda to improve the country’s food supply and offered farmers insight into hybrid seeds. His articles arise from a recent B4FA genetics …