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Uganda removes key hurdle to GM crops

October 9th, 2017 / Science Magazine

Biotech researchers here are celebrating the long-awaited passage of a bill this week that clears the way for large-scale field tests and commercial release of genetically modified (GM) crops. Uganda, with several engineered varieties waiting in the wings, is expected to join a handful of other African nations moving quickly …

Agriculture, nutrition and fortification, supplementation and biofortification

October 6th, 2017 / BioMed Central

“…why should Africa be prohibited from growing the most technologically advanced and sustainable crops?” “[African] Farmers need and want choices, not European-imposed restrictions”
The worlds growing population and limited land resources require high intensity of food production. Human nutrition needs both macronutrients and micronutrients. One way of providing micronutrients in …

Uganda allows GMOs use

October 6th, 2017 / New Vision, Uganda

“We need to trust and support our scientists because they are working for Uganda to own its patents and technology so that we are not beholden to foreigners” – Kafeero Ssekitoleko,Nakifuma County MP
Dr Barbara Zawedde Mugwanga, the co-ordinator of the Uganda Biosciences Information Centre (NARO information hub) said the passing …

Tanzania, UN ink $2 million pacts to fight armyworms

September 30th, 2017 / AllAfrica.com

The United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has entered into two agreements worth $2million with the Ministry of Agriculture Livestock and Fisheries to boost surveillance of Fall Armyworm (FAW) across the country.
A fall armyworm outbreak has been causing considerable crop damage in some countries including in Tanzania. The pest …

Delay in using GM crops making Africa lose benefits

August 29th, 2017 / SciDev.net, UK

The delay in approving the use of genetically modified (GM) crops is contributing to malnutrition and poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa, a study says.
Many African governments are grappling with opponents and proponents of GM crops, thus facilitating a delay in adoption, especially when uncertainty about GM crops are announced shortly before …

Zimbabwe and SA lose 1 million chickens to bird flu

August 9th, 2017 / AllAfrica.com

Zimbabwe and South Africa have lost over one million chickens to Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), it has been learnt.
The disease hit the two countries recently, threatening the livelihood and food security status of millions of families.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) confirmed the development in a statement after a …

When genetic engineering is the environmentally friendly choice

August 7th, 2017 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Which is more disruptive to a plant: genetic engineering or conventional breeding?
It often surprises people to learn that GE commonly causes less disruption to plants than conventional techniques of breeding. But equally profound is the realization that the latest GE techniques, coupled with a rapidly expanding ability to analyze …

Capitalize on African biodiversity

August 4th, 2017 / Nature, UK

Artemisinin, ginkgolides, quinine, reserpine, scopolamine, paclitaxel. What do these molecules have in common? They are all extracted from plants and transformed into useful drugs, treating conditions including malaria, nausea, cancer and high blood pressure. None of the plants is from Africa.
Almost 60% of commercially available drugs are based on molecules …

Cracking the code of megapests

August 3rd, 2017 / CSIRO

Led by CSIRO, in collaboration with a team of renowned experts, the researchers identified more than 17,000 protein coding genes in the genomes of the Helicoverpa armigera and Helicoverpa zea (commonly known as the Cotton Bollworm and Corn Earworm, respectively).
They also documented how these genetics have changed overtime.
This level of …

Better communication is essential to the future of agriculture…and the planet

July 27th, 2017 / Huffington Post, US

On June 15, I had the honor of presenting the annual AAAS Charles Valentine Riley Memorial Lecture at the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, D.C. Each year, one person is selected to address scientific thought leaders across all segments of the agriculture and food industry – …