In the news...

Working to save African cassava from whitefly

May 26th, 2015 / TED Blog

For decades, the farmers of East Africa have battled the African whitefly, a tiny insect that infests the cassava crop. Computational biologist Laura Boykin, who studies the Bemisia tabaci whiteflies that plague East Africa, using genomics, supercomputing and evolutionary history. With the data she’s gathering, now publicly available via …

Saving coffee from extinction

May 24th, 2015 / BBC.co.uk

“Richer countries buy it, roast it and drink it, but have not paid for the agronomy. Only now is the industry waking up and seeing the need for it. The coffee industry has realised no-one else is doing it – it’s going to have to be us,” says Dr …

Uganda: fora on modern agro-biotech research

May 20th, 2015 / ISAAA, Kenya

The Uganda Biosciences Information Center (UBIC) in partnership with Science Foundation for Livelihoods Development (SCIFODE) conducted a series of workshops on the application and regulation of modern agro-biotechnology for agricultural development. Read …

Understanding cassava brown streak

May 19th, 2015 / FarmBiz Africa

Cassava brown streak disease is a devastating disease that is hampering cassava yield in most African countries especially in East Africa. In some cases, the disease exposes farmers to 100 per cent loss. While some varieties can show symptoms on leaves, stems and roots, others may only show symptoms …

Plant breeder boosts soybean diversity

May 13th, 2015 / Phys.org

It took decades of painstaking work, but research geneticist Ram Singh managed to cross a popular soybean variety (“Dwight” Glycine max) with a related wild perennial plant that grows like a weed in Australia, producing the first fertile soybean plants that are resistant to soybean rust, soybean cyst nematode and …

Importance of good seed

May 13th, 2015 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow, Michael Ssali reports “One of the issues holding back our country’s agricultural production is farmers’ failure to access good quality seed… Many farmers don’t buy seeds and lack correct information about the advantages of planting good quality seed. Yet under the National Agricultural Research Organization (Naro), several research …

Cameroon: food security – new variety of leguminous plants available

May 12th, 2015 / allAfrica.com

Women from the Centre, North and West Regions in Cameroon are learning how to diversify sources of revenue by baking biscuits using beans, soya beans, groundnuts and peanut flour. The flour is made out of a new varieties of leguminous plants rich in calcium, protein and iron. Read …

Ghana: System Rice intensification Project launched in the Northern Region 15

May 7th, 2015 / Youtube.com

B4FA Fellow Noah Nash reports: The Savannah Agricultural Research Institute, SARI has introduced a System Rice Intensification project to smallholder farmers in the northern region to improve rice yield in the various rice zones in the country. The initiative is also an attempt to ensure that the country meets its …

GMOs: it’s the trait, not the method, that’s important

May 5th, 2015 / The Conversation, UK

Many people have strong opinions about genetically modified plants, also known as genetically modified organisms or GMOs. But sometimes there’s confusion around what it means to be a GMO. It also may be much more sensible to judge a plant by its specific traits rather than the way it was …

Africa: New Global Crop Data Aid in Food Policy Decisions

May 4th, 2015 / AllAfrica.com

Knowing where in the world individual crops are cultivated, their production patterns, and whether they are irrigated or rain fed are essential components for ensuring adequate, sustainable food production and safeguarding food security. Yet this critical data is often inadequate or non-existent, leaving policymakers unable to formulate the best policies …