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‘If field trials of GM crops were encouraged, we would have drought-resistant varieties by now’

May 3rd, 2016 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Criticising the moratorium on field tests for genetically modified (GM) crops eminent agricultural scientist Dr. M. Mahadevappa opined that such a move was detrimental for the farming sector. “If the field trials of GM crops were encouraged, scientists would have come out with drought-resistant varieties by now,” he said. …

ISAAA 2015 report puts Uganda in special position

May 3rd, 2016 / New Vision, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Christopher Bendana reports: Uganda is the only country in Africa doing biotech crops Confined Field Trials (CFT) with no Biosafety law in place. This precarious position is contained in a recent report released by the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA) an organization that …

Researchers evolve new toxin to target agricultural pests

April 30th, 2016 / Arstechnica, UK

Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) crops have been one of the most successful applications of genetic engineering in agriculture. The crops carry a gene that encodes a bacterial protein that kills insects that ingest it. While it’s possible to spray crops with the Bt toxin instead, farms that rely on Bt …

Global wheat breeding returns billions in benefits but stable financing remains elusive

April 29th, 2016 / World Bank, US

For 45 years, world-class scientists from two research centers of CGIAR – the world’s only global research system that focuses on the crops of most importance to poor farmers in developing countries – have battled the odds to provide wheat and nourish the world’s growing population. Their innovations have …

Boosting agricultural productivity through biotechnology

April 29th, 2016 / Ethiopian Herald

Ethiopia is the second most populous country in Africa next to Nigeria and 85 per cent of the population earn its means of living from traditional farming practice. The country is endowed with abundant natural resources in flora and fauna. The various agro-ecological zones, ecosystems, latitude, altitude and water …

‘I always expect a bumper harvest’

April 27th, 2016 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali reports: for Richard Ssendi Walakira of Busagala Village in Kabonera Sub-county, Masaka District, farming must be focussed on the returns that the farmer expects to get. “The crop or animal must be high yielding and it should be the right breed,” he says. Read …

These 3 GM crops will change how we farm

April 26th, 2016 / Gizmodo, India

Three of the world’s most troubling crop diseases were just hit with three new disease-resistant crops varieties, thanks to genetic modification-each with a slightly different mechanism. The details of these modifications appear in three new papers out today in Nature Biotechnology. Read …

Judge gene-edited crops by what they do

April 26th, 2016 / New Scientist, UK

Here’s a quick quiz for you. Which of the following would you regard as genetic modification?
A: Adding a gene from another organism
B: Inducing mutations with radiation or toxic chemicals
C: Making a single precise change to an organism’s genome
For me, the answer is D: All of the above. For the European …

Farmers endorse biotechnology

April 26th, 2016 / The Nation, Nigeria

The President of the All Farmers’ Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Kabiru Ibrahim, has expressed his group’s support for the introduction of agricultural biotechnology. He spoke yesterday during the 2016 National Agricultural Show in Keffi, Nasarawa State. Ibrahim said: “Farmers are in support of biotechnology but briefcase farmers are …

African smallholders to get stress-tolerant maize

April 23rd, 2016 / SciDev.net, UK

B4FA Fellow Samuel Hinneh reports: A new project that aims to provide farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa with stress-tolerant maize varieties has been launched to help the region boost food security. The Stress Tolerant Maize for Africa (STMA) project will apply conventional breeding techniques to develop maize varieties and hybrids capable …