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Why Ugandan banana breeders say it’s critical to add genetic engineering to their toolbox

October 11th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru writes:
Ugandan researchers have been successful at developing robust hybrid bananas through conventional breeding techniques. Yet they see a strong need to adopt GM varieties of the fruit that is so critical to the nation.
They argue that using conventional breeding to develop hybrid cooking bananas is a …

Kenya: Indigenous seeds key in ensuring food security

October 10th, 2018 / AllAfrica

The solution to achieving food security for the country is based on access to seeds.
This is especially because the quality of seeds determines the quantity of food harvested.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (Fao), about 75 percent of biodiversity has been lost in the last century, globally.
The loss has …

Africa must prioritise agric to ensure food security — Prof. Danquah (WACCI)

October 9th, 2018 / Graphic Online, Ghana

The Director of the West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI), Prof. Eric Danquah, has underscored the need to improve on agriculture sector in sub-saharan Africa to enable it attain food security.
According to him, current forecasts identified sub-Saharan Africa as the only region in the world where hunger and malnutrition …

Scientists’ breakthrough brings hope for banana resistance breeding to deadly bacterial wilt disease

October 9th, 2018 / CGIAR: Roots, Tubers and Bananas

A team, led by scientists from the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), have announced a breakthrough in the search for banana varieties that are resistant to the lethal bacterial banana wilt disease. This debunks the notion that all banana varieties are susceptible to the disease and opens the possibility …

Ghana ready to introduce GMOs – Biosafety Authority

October 9th, 2018 / Graphic Online, Ghana

Ghana is now ready to introduce genetically modified organisms (GMOs) food onto the market, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Biosafety Authority (NBA), Dr Amaning Okoree, has announced.
He said the NBA, which is the regulator of the biotechnology industry in Ghana, had put in place the necessary structures …

Equip farmers with information to step up food security

October 8th, 2018 / The Standard, Kenya

An unprecedented population boom which will translate into more mouths to feed is predicted to put a serious strain on food production in 20 years to come, researchers warn. Old threats and emerging ones like the voracious pests, and diseases Fall Arymworm and Tuta Absoluta coupled with weather changes have …

Ugandan scientists reach out to farmers to promote agricultural innovations

October 8th, 2018 / Alliance for Science, US

B4FA Fellow Christopher Bendana reports:
Ugandan agricultural scientists have begun engaging directly with farmers in a bid to encourage greater adoption of innovative farming practices.
Scientists are now a common sight at national farmers’ exhibitions and have begun training farmers through workshops at various national research institutes. Other scientists have enlisted children …

Improved cowpea in the offing for Ghanaian smallholders

October 5th, 2018 / SciDev.net

“These novel cowpeas will sustain the cowpea industry and provide foundation for further breeding and improvement of the crop.”
Aaron Asare, Ghana’s University of Cape Coast.
Ghanaian smallholders could by the end of this year get access to new, disease-resistant cowpea varieties that mature early and improve yields, says an expert who …

Scientists design a more productive maize to cope with future climates

October 5th, 2018 / ISAAA, US

An international research team has found that they can increase the productivity of maize by targeting the enzyme in charge of capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere. Dr. Robert Sharwood from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Translational Photosynthesis at The Australian National University (ANU), said they developed a …

China to train African scientists as part of $60-billion development plan

October 4th, 2018 / Nature, UK

China wants to train Africa’s next generation of scientists. Its lofty goal is to improve African science in fields from agriculture and climate change to quantum physics and artificial intelligence.
The training is one element of a much larger plan adopted by Chinese and African leaders at the third Summit of …