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The future of farming

February 6th, 2018 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow, Michael Ssali writes:
Land disputes are getting more frequent as population pressure on land builds up. The population is increasing at the same rate as the struggle for people to get farming space.
Chunks of natural forests and wetlands have been turned into farmlands. In the majority of cases …

Centre aims to bridge gaps in climate-smart agriculture

February 6th, 2018 / AllAfrica.com

Africa Center of Excellence for Climate Smart Agriculture and Biodiversity Conservation (Climate SABC) hosted by Haromaya University is aiming to train efficient agricultural and climate change experts in Africa.
The Center financed by the World Bank came to be operational in 2017 and is currently teaching 51 students drawn from Ethiopia, …

Researchers learn from plant viruses to protect crops

February 6th, 2018 / The Scientist, Canada

In recent years, however, scientists have turned to inventive new ways to protect crops. Genetic modification techniques developed over the last 30 years, for example, can arm plants with defenses against viral invasion, while leaving crop yields and food quality unaffected. Some of these modified plants are now in the …

Nigeria’s biosafety agency, activist clash over safety of GMOs

February 5th, 2018 / Premium Times, Nigeria

The disagreement between the National Biosafety Management Agency and anti-GMO campaigners over the safety of genetically modified foods took a new twist Wednesday with the agency accusing the activists of being “unpatriotic.”
Specifically calling out the Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), a nongovernmental organization at the forefront of the campaign …

Uganda: Improving breeds to enhance food production

February 5th, 2018 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru writes:
Breeding agricultural products for improvement is not a recent technology because scientists in the entire globe have been doing it over a long period of time mainly for purposes of improvement for the benefit of farmers and consumers.
This started with mankind domesticating crops and animals from …

Why the genome of wheat is so massive

January 30th, 2018 / The Economist, UK

It has over five times as much DNA as the human genome!
THE domestication of wheat and other staple crops in the Levant some 10,000 years ago allowed for persistent settlement above a level of mere subsistence—one possible definition of the beginning of civilisation. Early farmers grew naturally occurring hybrids of …

Global cassava coalition calls for support for cassava transformation in Africa

January 30th, 2018 / National Accord, Nigeria

Ahead of the international conference on cassava, the Global Cassava Partnership for the 21st Century (GCP21) has called on policy makers, donors and the international community to support all efforts that will bring about cassava transformation in Africa.
The call is coming at a time when cassava is becoming central to …

Gene edited crops should be exempted from GM food laws, says EU lawyer

January 19th, 2018 / The Guardian, UK

Gene editing technologies should be largely exempted from EU laws on GM food, although individual states can regulate them if they choose, the European court’s advocate general has said.
The opinion may have far-reaching consequences for new breeding techniques that can remove specific parts of a plant’s genetic code and foster …

Scientists are breeding super-nutritious crops to help solve global hunger

January 19th, 2018 / The Conversation

An incredible 155m children around the world are chronically undernourished, despite dramatic improvements in recent decades. In view of this, the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals include Zero Hunger. But what do we understand by the word hunger?
It may refer to lack of food or widespread food shortages caused by war, …

African orphan crops consortium tackles 101 crop genomes

January 19th, 2018 / Genome web, US

Researchers at BGI and other centers are in the process of sequencing — and resequencing — the genomes of 101 plants for the African Orphan Crops Consortium (AOCC), an international effort to improve nutrition in Africa through genome-assisted breeding resources and training.
Howard-Yana Shapiro, chief agricultural officer at Mars Incorporated, who …