In the news...

Parliament passes GMO Bill

December 4th, 2018 / The Observer, Uganda

Parliament has passed the Genetic Engineering Regulatory Bill, 2018, formerly known as the National Biotechnology and Bio-safety Bill. The bill seeks to provide a regulatory framework for safe development and application of biotechnology and release of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).
Parliament earlier passed the same bill on October 4, 2017 but …

Satellites warn African farmers of pest infestations

December 3rd, 2018 / BBC, UK

UK researchers have developed an early warning system to prevent the crops of African farmers from being devastated.
The Pest Risk Information Service (Prise) combines temperature data and weather forecasts with computer models.
It then sends farmers a mobile phone alert so that they can take precautions.
It is hoped that the system …

Ugandan scientists skeptical of revised GMO bill

December 3rd, 2018 / Alliance for Science, US

The Ugandan Parliament yesterday approved a bill to regulate genetically modified organisms that has scientists skeptical the technology will ever reach the smallholder farmers it is intended to help.
“Once bitten, twice shy,” said plant biotechnologist Dr. Andrew Kiggundu in reference to last year’s events, when Parliament passed the bill, but …

Global food system is broken, say world’s science academies

November 30th, 2018 / The Guardian, UK

The global food system is broken, leaving billions of people either underfed or overweight and driving the planet towards climate catastrophe, according to 130 national academies of science and medicine across the world.
Providing a healthy, affordable, and environmentally friendly diet for all people will require a radical transformation of the …

Small-holder farmers need access to financing across the agricultural value chain

November 30th, 2018 / FarmBiz Africa

Access to adequate financing is often identified as one of the key inhibitors to achieving long-term sustainability for Africa’s agricultural practitioners, particularly small-holder and subsistence-level farmers who typically must resort to borrowing from community members or pooling resources in order to make ends meet.
While 55 percent of Africa’s population is …

New biocontainment strategy controls spread of escaped GMOs

November 30th, 2018 / Phys.org

Hiroshima University (HU) researchers successfully developed a biocontainment strategy for genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. Their new method prevents genetically modified cyanobacteria from surviving outside of their test environment, enabling ways to more safely research the effects of GMOs. Their results were published in ACS Synthetic Biology.
The applications of bioengineered …

President Kenyatta ties revival of textile sector to GM cotton

November 30th, 2018 / Sunrise, Uganda

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has instructed key government ministries to identify mechanisms for reviving the nation’s cotton production, which could include growing the genetically modified Bt cotton.
The announcement follows the government’s approval last summer of an environmental assessment that authorized the national performance trials that are required prior to commercial …

Why did Tanzania just pull the plug on its GMO crop trials?

November 29th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

When the Tanzanian government announced Friday [November 23] they were ending field trials of genetically engineered crops in the country and calling for the destruction of the crops, the country’s research community was aghast, with a local paper reporting:
‘Members of the research community were in shock that the government did …

Closer to harvest? The status of the Golden Rice project

November 29th, 2018 / Flip Science, Philippines

A variety of Oryza sativa (rice) genetically engineered using recombinant DNA technology, Golden Rice contains beta carotene, an antioxidant which the body converts into Vitamin A. This gives the rice grain the yellow-orange or gold color that inspired its name.
However, the Golden Rice project is still on its way to …

How radio changes maize farmers’ lives

November 28th, 2018 / The Citizen, Tanzania

Maize production in various areas of Tanga has more than doubled during the past year as farmers adopt modern farming practices, thanks to joint promotional initiatives by the government and other stakeholders.
One of such stakeholders is Farm Radio International (FRI), a non-profit organisation that works to deliver effective programmes to …