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African universities urged to focus on farming technology

August 15th, 2018 / Business Day, South Africa

The African Development Bank has urged academic institutions to adapt their curriculum to enable technology-driven farming, saying there is no reason why Africa should be spending $35bn a year importing food.
According to the bank’s president, Akinwumi Adesina, the rapid pace of growth in the use of drones, automated tractors, artificial …

Farming, science and population

August 14th, 2018 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow, Michael Ssali writes:
Among the biggest public debates today is producing sufficient food for a global population of 10 billion by 2050. By that time, according to some estimates, Uganda’s population will be 50 million.
One is reminded of the situation when Jesus’ disciples noticed that their master had …

Eleven case studies exemplify strategies to scale up climate-smart agriculture

August 13th, 2018 / ReliefWeb

Many agricultural technologies and practices, including those qualifying as climate-smart, are not achieving their full potential impact because of low levels of adoption by farmers in developing countries. Despite successful pilot projects, uptake of new and innovative agricultural technologies and practices has often been poor, and we have still not …

Open EU to African goods, German development minister says

August 9th, 2018 / DW.com

The European Union should completely open its market to products from Africa in order to promote development and stem migration flows, German Development Minister Gerd Müller said Wednesday.
“Open the market for all African goods,” he told Die Welt newspaper in an interview.
Agricultural products from Africa must be able to enter …

Biotech update: What is CRISPR and how does it works

August 8th, 2018 / ISAAA, US

Researchers have found that the CRISPR – Cas9 system can be applied to nearly every organism. Early studies using CRISPR – Cas9 for gene editing have focused on crops important for agriculture. It was realized early on that the system could be used in crops to improve traits, such as …

13 African countries have biotech crops in different stages of development, but approvals are slow

August 8th, 2018 / Genetic Literary Project, US

13 African countries have some biotech crops in different stages of development; the research involves 12 crops and 14 traits. Governments around the continent are evaluating the research and approving crops that feature stacked traits, like insect-resistance and drought tolerance in corn.
A new report published by the International Service for …

10 ways CRISPR will revolutionize environmental science

July 31st, 2018 / Alliance for Science, US

The hot new gene editing technique CRISPR has been making headlines for its potential to treat or prevent diseases. But medicine isn’t the only science where CRISPR is opening doors. This powerful genetic engineering tool is already helping scientists develop technologies to protect or repair the environment from human harm.
CRISPR: …

CRISPR plants now subject to tough GM laws in European Union

July 27th, 2018 / Nature, UK

Gene-edited crops should be subject to the same stringent regulations as conventional genetically modified (GM) organisms, Europe’s highest court ruled on 25 July.
The decision, handed down by the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) in Luxembourg, is a major setback for proponents of gene-edited crops, including many scientists. …

Africa’s collaborative biotech research bears fruit

July 27th, 2018 / Alliance for Science, US

Dr. Priver Namanya adjusted her view in the microscope, trying to get a better image of the banana cells. Then a smile lit her face. After spending the day trying to ascertain that she had incorporated a vitamin A gene into the banana cells, she had achieved success.
Namanya, a plant …

Synchronised policies needed for biotech

July 26th, 2018 / The Land, Australia

The most recent data shows that in 2017, 189.8 million hectares of biotech/genetically modified (GM) crops were planted across 24 countries, and imported by 43 countries, according to industry organisation the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA).
To date, growth in planted hectares has been largely confined …