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GMO crops can empower smallholder women farmers in Africa

April 9th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Efforts to get products of modern agricultural technologies, such as GM crops, into the hands of farmers have so far been stymied by the absence of an enabling national policy. Uganda’s National Biosafety Act, passed by Parliament in October 2017, was referred back to lawmakers by President Museveni, who cited …

New genomic tool searches wheat’s wild past to improve crops of the future

April 9th, 2018 / John Innes Centre, UK

A new genetic directory launched today will enable researchers and breeders to scan the genomes of wild relatives of modern wheat to find disease-fighting properties lost to domestication.
The time-travelling trawl is possible following the launch of Open Wild Wheat, a directory which includes the genetic sequences of 150 wild wheats …

Hybrid swarm of ‘mega-pests’ threatens crops worldwide, warn scientists

April 9th, 2018 / The Independent, UK

A pair of major agricultural pests have combined to produce a “mega-pest” that could threaten crops around the world.
Losses from the original pest species, cotton bollworms and corn earworms, already amounts to billions of dollars worth of food.
But a hybrid of the two, shows signs of rapidly developing …

Project using R&D is changing wheat farming in Africa

April 9th, 2018 / SciDev.net, UK

Wheat farmers in 12 African Countries – Benin Republic, Cote d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe – are benefiting from a project aimed at increasing production and reducing demand gap of …

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 …

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 …

Optimism high as Uganda’s biotech bill gets “second chance”

April 2nd, 2018 / Alliance for Science, US

Some Ugandan officials are optimistic that the nation’s biotechnology biosafety bill will soon pass, saying that President Museveni’s concerns have been addressed.
“The president expressed concern on seven out of 44 clauses in the biosafety bill,” noted Kafeero Sekitoleko, chairman of Parliament’s Science and Technology Committee. “These have since been addressed …

How USAID uses GMO crops to improve food security around the world

April 2nd, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Pod cast: Angela Records, science advisor to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), joins Chris Barbey to discuss how the organization uses biotechnology to develop local solutions to crop diseases and other issues impacting food security. USAID is committed to remedies in world food insecurity, with an emphasis …

AFRICAN Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF): Hybrid seed to propel yields by 20%

March 26th, 2018 / News Day, Zimbabwe

AATF director of commercialisation, Donald Mavindidze, told journalists last week that breeding of hybrid seed was a good way to improve crop yields.
“Small scale farmers using hybrid seed can increase crop yields by 20% and we have seen that being achieved in other countries in Africa such as Kenya and …