In the news...

How much longer do we have to wait?

June 19th, 2018 / Manilla Bulletin, Philippines

Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) continues to be a major public health concern worldwide. It is estimated that 250,000–300,000 vitamin A-deficient children become blind every year, with half of them dying within a year after getting blind.
Here at home, not only are we not making progress, the problem is getting worse. …

Engineered cotton grows on alternative fertilizer

June 19th, 2018 / c&en

Crop feeds on phosphite, potentially allowing it to outwit weeds and mitigate pollution from traditional fertilizer runoff
Wily weeds can develop resistance to herbicides, allowing them to compete with genetically modified crops designed to tolerate weed-killing chemicals. Now, a team is proposing another approach to genetically engineering crops to outwit weeds: …

African smallholder farmers embrace GPS-based digital solution

June 18th, 2018 / CPAfrica

Smallholder farmers are the most vulnerable to impacts of climate change, with rain-fed agriculture accounting for more than 90% of farmed land in sub-Saharan Africa. These farmers face many risks beyond their control, including drought, disease and pest epidemics. But a new GPS-based digital technology may help many African Smallholder …

Why we need to pay attention

June 18th, 2018 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali writes:
The messages we seem to be getting all the time from our local leaders are about encouraging farmers to increase production. Yet successful farming is not merely about large quantities.
Nor is it true that big volumes always earn high profits. Rather most consumers are more concerned …

Repositioning cassava sector will save Africa $1.2b

June 18th, 2018 / The Guardian, Nigeria

If the Cassava sector is properly repositioned, it is capable of saving the African continent about $1.2b, which can be redirected into the continent’s domestic economies.
Director for Agriculture, African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Martin Fregene, disclosed this at the just concluded fourth International conference on cassava, organised by the Global …

AfDB plans $120 million to boost cassava production

June 15th, 2018 / The Guardian, Nigeria

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has disclosed plans to invest $120 million within the next three years to boost productivity and transform cassava and eight other commodities in Africa.
The nine commodities include: cassava, rice, maize, sorghum/millet, wheat, livestock, aquaculture, high iron beans and orange fleshed sweet potatoes.
The Director for Agriculture …

Agriculture, nutrition and fortification, supplementation and biofortification

June 15th, 2018 / Agriculture & Food Security

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 staple crops of the poor is biofortification, through plant breeding. All methods of plant breeding are acceptable and safe, and some methods can …

New programme to boost soil productivity and reduce soil degradation in Africa

June 15th, 2018 / ReliefWeb

The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and its Global Soil Partnership launched today a new programme to boost soil productivity and reduce soil degradation for greater food and nutrition security in Africa.
The Afrisoils programme aims to increase soil productivity in 47 African countries by 30 percent, and reduce …

Kenya starts planting biotech cotton under national performance trials

June 14th, 2018 / ISAAA

Kenya is one step away from commercializing Bt cotton following the commencement of National Performance Trials (NPTs) to identify suitable varieties for different agro-ecological zones. This comes after the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) granted an Environmental Impact Assessment license to Kenya Agricultural Livestock and Fisheries Organization (KALRO) to undertake …

A tobacco-derived insect repellent – for crops

June 13th, 2018 / New Atlas

Although it’s associated with nasty cigarettes, the tobacco plant is also a potential source of vaccines, biofuel and antibiotics. Now, a chemical from the plant is also being used as a bug repellent for crops, which could replace eco-unfriendly insecticides.
One of the problems with insecticides is the fact that they …