In the news...

Avian flu: what farmers should do

January 24th, 2017 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru reports:: This week, the ministries of agriculture and health issued an alert about an avian flu outbreak in Wakiso, Kalangala and Masaka districts. This followed reports of several migratory birds found dead on the shores of Lake Victoria in these areas.
In his statement, Agriculture minister Vincent …

Farmers urged to adapt the use of crop residues to improve soil (video)

January 24th, 2017 / Youtube.com

B4FA Fellow Noah Nash reports: An Agronomist at the Faculty of Agriculture at the University for Development Studies Nyankpala Campus, Professor Israel Dzomeku has advised farmers to adapt use of left over crop residues on their farmlands after harvesting since it increases the organic matter in the soil.
According to him …

The smart way to help African farmers tackle climate change

January 23rd, 2017 / IRIN

The basic recipe for boosting performance is well known: more investment, better access to financial services, improved seeds, and a lot more fertiliser (appropriately applied).
What is less appreciated is the key role played by agricultural extension workers. They link small-scale farmers to new research, helping to improve their knowledge and …

Genetic diversity-the pillar to food security and agricultural productivity

January 23rd, 2017 / Ghana Web

Population expansion coupled with urbanisation of fertile agricultural lands together with modernisation in every aspect of human daily activities which create biodiversity are getting eroded in direct and indirect ways. Deforestation, land degradation, coastal development as well as environmental stress collectively lead to large scale extinction of plant species, more …

Addressing GMO concerns (3): big Ag won’t let farmers save seeds

January 23rd, 2017 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

This is the third article in a three-part series exploring some common concerns heard about GMOs.
There is some odd and fuzzy-headed thinking that asserts that crop breeding should be exempt from intellectual property protection. Often expressed as “Nobody should be able patent life”. There is a certain emotional appeal that …

Make agriculture biotechnology accessible to the public

January 20th, 2017 / Nature Genetics, UK

The benefits of putting a set of variation and selection lines back into the hands of farmers and the gardening public would go beyond creating a social license to operate for gene technologies. There are many ques- tions about local growth conditions and consumer preference that could be crowdsourced for …

Addressing GMO concerns (2): are agricultural chemicals hazardous, overused?

January 20th, 2017 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

This is the second article in a three-part series exploring some common concerns heard about GMOs.
The use of herbicides and pesticides in modern farming may be the most misunderstood issue out there. Let’s try to reconnect it with reality a little bit. There are currently two major traits that GE …

Addressing GMO concerns (1): are foods “made in labs” the same as those “made by nature”

January 19th, 2017 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

This is the first in a three-part series exploring some common concerns heard about GMOs.
An article might make some nod to the fact that genetic engineering and traditional breeding both modify the genetics of plants and they lie on a continuum – and that humans have been modifying the …

Arabica coffee genome sequenced

January 19th, 2017 / UC Davies, US

The first public genome sequence for Coffea arabica, the species responsible for more than 70 percent of global coffee production, was released today by researchers at the University of California, Davis.
Funding for the sequencing was provided by Suntory group, an international food and beverage company based in Tokyo.
Now available for …

Science must grow young advocates

January 18th, 2017 / The Conversation, UK

Science needs more “academic hybrids”: scientists who buck the stereotype of working in silos. This way of thinking must be broken if the narrative around the reality of science’s role in improving society for future generations is to change.
Education will be the key to smashing this stereotype, as will the …