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Researchers develop first gene drive targeting worldwide crop pest

April 20th, 2018 / Phys.org

Biologists at the University of California San Diego have developed a method of manipulating the genes of an agricultural pest that has invaded much of the United States and caused millions of dollars in damage to high-value berry and other fruit crops.
Research led by Anna Buchman in the lab of …

Scientists want to replace pesticides with bacteria

April 19th, 2018 / Bloomberg, US

Fresh snow coats the sidewalks outside Indigo Ag Inc.’s Boston offices, but inside the temperature is calibrated to mimic spring in the Midwest. Hundreds of almost identical soy seedlings sit beneath high-intensity arc lamps, basking in the artificially sunny 60F weather.
The plants aren’t destined to stay identical for long. “We …

The biotech innovator behind tissue culture in banana farming – Erostus Nsubug

April 18th, 2018 / The Observer, Uganda

EROSTUS NJUKI NSUBUGA is the chairman of the Uganda biotechnology consortium but is best known as the brains behind the groundbreaking of tissue culture of breeding bananas.
Nsubuga holds a master’s degree in agriculture but it means little other than being just part of his long curriculum vitae detailing. He always …

Scientists discover wild relative of tomato resistant to many insects

April 18th, 2018 / ISAAA, US

Scientists from the Wageningen University & Research have discovered a wild tomato species from the Galapagos Islands that is resistant to a wide range of insect pests. The wild tomato is closely related to the cultivated tomato, making the resilience easier to interbreed into the latter and ultimately make it …

Can genetic maize rescue our farmers from Fall Armyworm?

April 16th, 2018 / The Star, Kenya

Genetically modified maize, Bacillus Thuringiensis (BT) could be Kenya’s silver bullet in the fight against Fall Armyworm which has so far destroyed more than 200,000 acres of maize farms since 2016.
The biologically modified seed is incorporated with specific protein content that chocks the worm which continues to wreak havoc across …

Resistance to the usual pesticides makes armyworm more dangerous

April 16th, 2018 / The Star, Kenya

Agriculture is grappling with many pests already, and as USAid’s Regina Eddy says, the armyworm is unique in that it is resistant to many conventional pesticides. Eddy is the coordinator of Fall Armyworm Task Force at the USAid Bureau of Food Security.
She said the pest also has a voracious appetite …

Tanzania: food shortage looms as pests invade 50% of farms – report

April 13th, 2018 / AllAfrica.com

Crop pests have invaded nearly a half of Mainland Tanzania farms, a new report has revealed.
To combat the menace, the government has deployed a team of agriculturalists to train farmers on how to control the situation.
Moreover, pesticides worth $132,439 have been distributed to fight armyworms, rodents and crop diseases, but …

Tanzania: new maize seeds impress farmers as yields improve

April 12th, 2018 / AllAfrica.com

The Commission for Science and Technology (Costech) in cooperation with Ilonga Agricultural Research Institute have produced water-efficient maize seeds under the Water Efficient Maize for Africa (Wema) project.
Trials have been made and Isamilo villagers at Kamwanga Ward in Geita District are happy with results.
Their Muungano Group was given Wema 2109 …

Hybridisation and the new frontier against spread of global pests

April 11th, 2018

IT’S the stuff of science fiction. Hybridisation of two caterpillars in Brazil confirmed through extensive genomic testing by CSIRO researchers.
But it’s real and will enable the international agricultural community to stay ahead in the race to combat the megapest.
Helicoverpa armigera and Helicoverpa zea (commonly known as the cotton bollworm and …

Potential of GMOs to combat crop diseases converting skeptical Ugandan politicians

April 11th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Ugandan banana breeders at Kawanda have improved local banana varieties to resist the devastating banana bacterial wilt.
Potato breeders at Kachwekano in partnership with International Centre for Potato have improved the locally grown Victoria Potato variety to resist late blight disease so that potato farmers will not have to buy fungicides.
Cassava …