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Kenyan maize farmers raise alarm as armyworms resurface

April 9th, 2018 / Xinhua, China

Kenyan maize farmers are set to go through another tough year as the fall armyworm strikes the crop again this season.
The pest, which was first detected in Kenya in March last year, contributed to decline in maize production, from over 40 million bags production a year to 32 million, according …

US gene-editing ruling delights plant scientists

April 9th, 2018 / The Guardian, UK

Researchers in the US have been given the go-ahead to use gene-editing techniques to alter crops and plants. The decision opens the door for scientists to create a new generation of genetically altered crops without serious restriction and paves the way for approvals for similar work in Britain and the …

The USDA says Crispr-edited foods are just as safe as ones bred the old-fashioned way

April 4th, 2018 / Quartz

Last week the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that it would no longer regulate crops that have been genetically edited.
Gene editing, which includes Crispr techniques, enables researchers and now farmers, to genetically nip and tuck the DNA of living things and sell them to consumers. This could mean …

Scientists examine threats to food security – even if we meet the Paris climate targets

April 4th, 2018 / The Guardian, UK

We have delayed action for so long on handling climate change, we now can no longer can “will it happen?” Rather we have to ask “how bad will it be?” and “what can be done about it?” As our society thinks about what we should do to reduce our carbon …

GMO maize could halt devastating fall army worm invasion in Uganda—if it gets approved

April 4th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru reports:
Mary Yangi trekked a long journey from South Sudan to Uganda’s West Nile region to settle as a refugee and, a few months later, into farming. Unlike others, who were reliant upon food rations from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, the 59-year-old widow saw …

Nigeria: More farm households adopt improved cassava varieties

April 4th, 2018 / The Guardian, Nigeria

Findings by the Cassava Monitoring Survey (CMS) have shown that over 60 per cent of farm households have adopted improved cassava varieties in the country.
This was revealed at the National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI), Umudike, Abia State, by the Tanzania-based International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) Director, Dr. Victor …

Kenya: Biotech maize field trials fail to get crop agency green light

April 3rd, 2018 / Business Daily, Kenya

Plans for commercial cultivation of genetically modified maize in Kenya have been dealt a blow after a plants agency declined to give State scientists the green light to proceed with the exercise.
National Biosafety Authority, the body responsible for regulating GMOs, had late last year written to the Kenya Agricultural and …

Uganda: MPs want speedy passing of the Biosafety Bill

April 3rd, 2018 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

From B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru:
When scientists are carrying out research to get a solution to a problem be it in health, agriculture, environment and engineering sector, it is important for the public to give them the necessary support, more so policy makers and other government authorities must be at the …

Guarding against post harvest losses

April 3rd, 2018 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali writes:
It is difficult to emphasise clean and safe crop post harvesting practices among cash trapped farmers with very little access to knowledge, information, and improved technology like is the case in most of our rural farming communities.
The effort to guard against post-harvest losses should begin with …

Agricultural diversification as an important strategy for achieving food security in Africa

April 3rd, 2018 / Global Change Biology

Farmers in Africa have long adapted to climatic and other risks by diversifying their farming activities. Using a multi‐scale approach we explore the relationship between farming diversity and food security and the diversification potential of African agriculture and its limits on the household and continental scale. On the household scale …