In the news...

Will new regulations stifle innovation in plant and animal breeding?

February 14th, 2018 / Agri-pulse, US

Gene editing is touted as a promising new way of altering the DNA of plants or animals to speed their growth, enhance flavor, extend shelf life or combat viruses. But those who see it as a key component of agriculture’s future want to make sure that the regulations written for …

I Didn’t Think There Were Many African Women Scientists. Then …

February 12th, 2018 / NPR

Recently, an online survey asked me to name African women scientists I admired. I found myself struggling — even though I’m a Kenyan entomologist, researching sustainable ways to feed our expanding population amid a changing climate. I thought to myself, why are there so few of us?
I was wrong: We …

Scientists are on a mission to save chocolate

February 12th, 2018 / MACH

For people who love sweets, 2018 started on a sour note: Headlines claimed that cacao, the tropical tree whose beans contain the raw ingredients for chocolate, was on the brink of extinction as a result of climate change.
As with many sensational stories, this one turned out to be inaccurate. Cacao …

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 …

‘Wild’ genes open up opportunities for healthier, climate-smart rice

January 31st, 2018 / International Rice Research Institute

The genome sequencing of seven wild rice varieties has finally been completed. This breakthrough is expected to provide opportunities for breeders worldwide in developing better rice varieties that will respond to the changing needs of the farmers and the consumers.
This discovery is outlined in the article Genomes of 13 domesticated …

Understanding GMOs: genetic engineering and the future of coffee

January 31st, 2018 / Daily Coffee News

Studies suggest that by 2050, climate change will impact more than half the land currently used for coffee cultivation, creating conditions unsuitable for production. While climate change is difficult to predict, the scientific community agrees the future outlook for coffee production is dire unless immediate action is taken. The response …

Uganda: farmers should embrace technology

January 30th, 2018 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali writes:
We came to learn about a month ago that President Museveni had referred the Biotechnology and Bio-safety Bill back to parliament for further debate. He was reportedly concerned about some issues that according to him were not well clarified in the bill.
His refusal to sign …

Farming is not a bed of roses

January 26th, 2018 / Daily Monitor

B4FA Fellow, Michael Ssali writes
Nobody should deceive you that farming is a bed of roses and that it always leads to riches. Like all other occupations, there are big challenges that farmers face in form of risks and uncertainties.
Anybody planning to go into farming must be determined to work hard …