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Is this $13 billion food security crisis (the armyworm) an opportunity?

October 26th, 2017 / Motley Fool

A few years ago, engineered biology conglomerate Intrexon (NYSE:XON) acquired a pioneering company called Oxitec. While there are plenty of whacky technology platforms in next-generation biotech, the start-up’s technical niche still caught many people off guard: genetically engineered insects incapable of passing their genes on to the next generation.
The sudden …

Disease resistant potato field tests show positive results

October 25th, 2017 / ISAAA, US

Ugandan scientists are positive that GM potatoes will be commercially available in their country in 2020.
According to Dr. Alex Barekye, Director of Kachwekano Zonal Agriculture Research Institute, research on disease resistant potato is underway. So far, three trials of Victoria potato variety have been conducted and the performance of the …

Research that’s revolutionising the way we build food and nutrition security in Africa

October 18th, 2017 / AllAfrica.com

Research focusing on traditional crops that are often ignored and known as “orphan crops” shows they contain minerals and vitamins that are essential for the body and are mostly consumed by rural African people. Various agricultural research institutions in Africa are currently carrying out research among these crops mainly to …

Akinwumi Adesina on investing in Africa

October 17th, 2017 / World Policy

“First and foremost, the most influential challenge that Africa faces is infrastructure, and on top of that agenda is electricity. Today, we have 645 million people in Africa who don’t have access to electricity, and there’s no way that a continent like Africa can develop in the dark. Electricity can …

GMO debate needs more innovation, not scientific consensus

October 16th, 2017 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Wouldn’t it be better to continue to work on the technology, refine it, produce further benefits and advance the knowledge and understanding of biotech? The new breeding techniques, the incredible developments (like the Innate potato or the Bt brinjal), the challenges met with impressive solutions … these are things we …

Pearl millet genes hold key to climate-proof cereals

October 16th, 2017 / SciDev.net

The key to breeding heat- and drought-tolerant rice, maize and wheat may lie in the ‘waxy biosynthesis’ genes of a related cereal, the pearl millet, according to a study by an international team of scientists.
In a study published in September in Nature Biotechnology, the scientists show the potential use of …

Fall armyworm arrives in Africa on the heels of climate change

October 13th, 2017 / Sierra Magazine

Tobias Okwara is a farmer in Kayoro Parish in southeastern Uganda. In the midst of a long drought that began in May 2016, he and his neighbors got together to discuss what to do. Food was becoming scarce, and they hoped to recover quickly once the rains started again. They …

Uganda biotech law opens door to disease-resistant GM crops

October 13th, 2017 / Cornell Alliance for Science, US

Joan Conrow and Mark Lynas write:
Genetically engineered crops that promise to benefit both farmers and consumers are poised to enter Uganda’s marketplace now that its Parliament has adopted a law to regulate agricultural biotechnology.
Ugandan plant scientists are already in the later stages of conducting field trials for banana varieties that …

Only modernised commercial farms will fill Africa’s plate, economists warn

October 12th, 2017 / The Guardian, UK

African farming must modernise and replace its ageing workforce if the continent is going to be able to feed its rising population, a report by leading economists has warned.
A transformation from small-scale subsistence farms to mechanised, more commercially viable farms is essential, said experts at the Ghana-based African Centre for …

Genetically modified organisms are improvements on conventional crops

October 12th, 2017 / Vanguard, Nigeria

The National Bio-safety Management Agency (NBMA) says Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are the same conventional crops but improved versions for the purpose of sustainability and improved yields
Dr Rufus Egbegba, the Director-General of the agency made the clarification in an interview on Monday in Abuja. According to him, GMOs are not …