In the news...

USDA unveils new gene-stacking tool to prevent plant diseases

August 16th, 2018 / The Scientist

If climate change is the new normal, farmers in some regions of the world will have to get used to fighting mold and mildew. For wheat growers in particular, fungal blights are already a big problem—and only expected to worsen as weather patterns change. Fungal pathogens are advancing northwards at …

Ghanaian farmers enlist drones to combat fall armyworm invasion

August 7th, 2018 / Genetic Literary Project, US

Farmers at Janga in the West Mamprusi municipality of the Northern Region [in Ghana] are learning how to use drones and other newly introduced chemicals meant to fight an invasion of fall armyworms in the area. The intervention comes at a time when the worms have wreaked havoc on maize …

Securing East Africa’s cassava

August 1st, 2018 / CGIAR

Morag Ferguson is thrilled with the results of a recent genotyping study. It seems that the cassava landraces she has been working on from South, East and Central Africa are pretty unique. The genetic diversity maps show this specific group of landraces branching off clearly in isolation from the cassava …

Genetically modifying rice to produce HIV-neutralizing proteins

August 1st, 2018 / Phys.org

A team of researchers from Spain, the U.S. and the U.K. has genetically modified a strain of rice to produce HIV-neutralizing proteins. In their paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the group describes the technique by which they modified the rice and how it might …

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: …

How to grow sweet potatoes for cash

July 30th, 2018 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru writes:
Sweet potato is one of the most important starchy crops. It is an herbaceous, perennial creeper cultivated as an annual crop.
In Africa, Uganda is the biggest producer of sweet potatoes and third in the world after China and India.
The orange flesh variety is preferred because it …

How to control bean stem maggot pest

July 27th, 2018 / FarmBiz Africa

Kenya such as Machakos, Makindu and Kajiado where it causes yield losses of between 50 to 100 per cent according to the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization.
The leaves of damaged plants show mining tracks where the maggots feed. The lower parts of the stems become dry, swollen and cracked. …

Deploying the most effective Fall Armyworm-combatting technologies

July 27th, 2018 / Namibia Economist

The African Development Bank will on 26-27 July 2018, host “From Plan to Action,” a meeting on controlling Fall Armyworm in southern Africa.
The meeting will bring together ministerial level government representatives and experts from the government of Zambia, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), United States Agency for International Development …

CABI launches space-age technology to fight crop-devastating pest outbreaks in Kenya

July 24th, 2018 / African Farming, UK

Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI), funded by the UK Space Agency’s International Partnership Programme (IPP), is developing a Pest Risk Information Service (PRISE) to fight against crop-devastating pest outbrakes in Kenya.
The service was launched at a Plantwise plant clinic in Manyatta in Kenya’s Eastern Province.
Cambria Finegold, global director …

Researchers move to contain cassava disease in West Africa

July 18th, 2018 / Today, Nigeria

Researchers in West Africa have stepped up efforts contain a viral disease that could wreck the region’s staple food and condemn millions to hunger.  The West African Virus Epidemiology (WAVE) project, a multi-million-dollar scheme funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, aims to shield the region from the advancing …