In the news...

Can crop biotechnology boost food security in Nigeria?

August 21st, 2017 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Since his assumption of office in May 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari has repeated said that the nation’s economy must be diversified to, especially Agriculture which “must cease from being treated as development programme but be treated as business. Our goal will be to pursue government supported private sector agriculture value …

Is our type of agriculture really working?

August 21st, 2017 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali writes:
Most of our farmers work on small plots of land and can be described as family farmers, smallholders or just peasants. This kind of farming provides employment to about 70 per cent of our adult population.
Typically a peasant farmer uses a hand hoe and a machete, …

The key to drought-tolerant crops may be in the leaves

August 21st, 2017 / Phys.org

A solution to help farmers to grow crops in dry areas or during stretches of drought may depend on breeding and cultivating plants that protect themselves with a thicker layer of leaf wax, a new study shows.
Sarah Feakins, a scientist at USC who has studied leaf wax in the context …

Enhancing powdery mildew resistance in wheat

August 17th, 2017 / ISAAA, US

Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) suffers significant yield losses due to powdery mildew, a major fungal disease caused by Blumeria graminis f. sp. tritici (Bgt). The enhanced disease resistance1 (EDR1) gene plays a negative role in the defense response against powdery mildew in Arabidopsis thaliana, making EDR1 a target for improving …

Tanzania: Ambitious new plan aims to double production of coffee

August 17th, 2017 / AllAfrica.com

Coffee production in Tanzania could more than double in four years’ time if an action programme to increase the competitiveness of small holder farmers is successfully implemented.
The ten-year programme launched in 2011/2012 aims to increase coffee production and quality from 50,000 tonnes a year by then to 150,000 tonnes in …

Nigeria: The National Directorate of Employment trains 400 youths on agricultural skills

August 17th, 2017 / AllAfrica.com

The National Directorate of Employment (NDE) in collaboration with C. Hassan Consultancy Ltd. has commenced a refresher training of 400 unemployed youths in Kaduna state on agricultural skills for gainful employment.
The training, according to the Director-General of NDE, Dr. Nasiru M. Ladan is to impart on the trainees, skills such …

Kenya to provide farmers with insect resistant Bt cotton seeds in pilot trials

August 11th, 2017 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

A genetically modified cotton seed variety with high resistance to the Boll worm infestation is due to be released to the farmers in Kenya soon.
Director of the Thika based Horticultural Research Institute and lead Researcher Dr Charles Waturu, said the new variety will be released to farmers in dry irrigation …

Why do consumers prefer organic to conventional produce when both use pesticides?

August 11th, 2017 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

What gets overlooked by [activist] groups are the reports from the USDA itself that show that even organic foods have pesticide residues on them — some are synthetic pesticides and some, like Spinosad, are ones approved for organic uses. Feel comfortable, though, because that same USDA data showed safe levels …

Plants love microbes – and so do farmers

August 10th, 2017 / UQ News, Australia

Increasingly, farmers want to capitalise on beneficial microbes to support their crops, and science can assist the design of effective crop probiotics to make crops healthier, hardier and more productive, by increasing their resilience to pests, diseases and environmental stresses, and improving access to nutrients. Read …

Multi-nutrient rice to fight malnutrition

August 10th, 2017 / Genomics Research

ETH researchers have developed a new rice variety that not only has increased levels of the micronutrients iron and zinc in the grains, but also produces beta-carotene as a precursor of vitamin A. This could help to reduce micronutrient malnutrition, or «hidden hunger», which is widespread in developing countries.
Nearly every …