In the news...

Scientists make breakthrough in fight against cassava diseases

August 29th, 2017 / Daily News, Tanzania

Scientists have identified the first ever genetic markers associated with resistance to two deadly cassava viral diseases in Tanzania’s grown varieties.
The International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), in a statement availed to the ‘Daily News’ yesterday, identified the two varieties as Namikonga and Albert.
Mostly grown by Tanzanian farmers, the varieties …

Farmers and scientists embrace Naro technologies

August 22nd, 2017 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru reports:
There are efforts by scientists in agricultural sector in Uganda to breed key crops using conventional and biotechnology mechanism in a bid for farmers to grow crops which are resistant to pests and diseases and tolerant to drought to achieve improved yields.
Scientists from the National Agricultural …

Enhancing powdery mildew resistance in wheat

August 17th, 2017 / ISAAA, US

Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) suffers significant yield losses due to powdery mildew, a major fungal disease caused by Blumeria graminis f. sp. tritici (Bgt). The enhanced disease resistance1 (EDR1) gene plays a negative role in the defense response against powdery mildew in Arabidopsis thaliana, making EDR1 a target for improving …

Plants love microbes – and so do farmers

August 10th, 2017 / UQ News, Australia

Increasingly, farmers want to capitalise on beneficial microbes to support their crops, and science can assist the design of effective crop probiotics to make crops healthier, hardier and more productive, by increasing their resilience to pests, diseases and environmental stresses, and improving access to nutrients. Read …

Zimbabwe and SA lose 1 million chickens to bird flu

August 9th, 2017 / AllAfrica.com

Zimbabwe and South Africa have lost over one million chickens to Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), it has been learnt.
The disease hit the two countries recently, threatening the livelihood and food security status of millions of families.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) confirmed the development in a statement after a …

Scientists unlock planthoppers’ potential to control future crop disease outbreaks

July 20th, 2017 / EurekAlert, AAAS

Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Zoology have discovered how a severe rice virus reproduces inside the small brown planthopper, a major carrier of the virus.
Rice stripe virus (RSV) causes major damage to rice crops each year. The study could inform future strategies for controlling the spread …

East African scientists turn to gene sequencing against Cassava Brown Streak Disease (CBSD)

July 13th, 2017 / African Marketplace, CNN

Cassava has no defense against a tiny insect that is decimating crops across East Africa, with dire economic and humanitarian consequences.
The whitefly carries two viruses that together destroy over $1 billion worth of cassava in Sub-Saharan Africa each year. Cassava Mosaic Disease (CMD) is the more established threat and does …

IITA: Diseases threatening Nigeria’s $6bn turnover from maize

July 3rd, 2017 / Development Cable, Nigeria

The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) says Nigeria’s annual turnover of $6 billion from the maize industry is currently being threatened by diseases and pests especially African army worm caterpillar. Robert Asiedu, research for development director, West Africa, said the diseases may threaten national food security if it …

Student to boost Vitamin A content of chickpea

June 22nd, 2017 / ISAAA, US

Chickpeas may soon be added to the list of vitamin A-enriched crops. Vitamin A has been proven to enhance brain function, improve sight and skin health, and slow down aging.
According to Bunyamin Tar’an, professor at the University of Saskatchewan and chickpea breeder, chickpeas are a well-known source of protein and …

Scientist’s tips on better banana yields

June 20th, 2017 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru reports:
Dr Kenneth Akankwasa from Uganda’s National Agricultural Research Laboratories (NARL), takes us through the good agronomy practices.
• When preparing the field, farmers are expected to plant seedlings free of pests and disease.
• The site should have deep well-drained and fertile soils, preferably rich in organic matter …