In the news...

How to boost coffee yields amid harsh weather conditions

June 20th, 2017 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru reports:
Coffee is a major agricultural commodity in Africa, including Uganda. It is where most people derive their livelihood because it is mainly grown for commercial benefits.
The main type of coffee produced in Uganda is Robusta and it grows well in low altitude areas of central, eastern, …

Why farmers should be interested in beans

June 15th, 2017 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

Traditionally, beans were grown for home consumption but after realising the benefits, bean growing transcended to being commercial. Reasons why you should be grow beans include a ready market, they grow fast, they’re not susceptible to diseases, and they have nutritional value. And we give some quick tips on growing …

Researchers Identify gene against wheat streak mosaic virus

June 14th, 2017 / ISAAA, US

Researchers from Kansas State University have identified a gene that can resist wheat streak mosaic virus. The team identified Wsm3 gene, the third gene known to resist the virus, and the first that can do so at outdoor temperatures of 75 degrees Fahrenheit and higher. Read …

Kenya: govt commits Sh300 million to fight spread of army worms

June 13th, 2017 / AllAfrica.com

The government has committed Sh300 million to fight the spread of army worms, which have been detected in Nyeri, Trans Nzoia, Bungoma and Uasin Gishu counties.
The funds will go towards the management of the pest which if not controlled, can cause a 100 per cent loss of crops.
According to the …

A quick and coordinated regional response to fall armyworm required

June 5th, 2017 / CGIAR/CIMMYT

The recent appearance of the fall armyworm, an insect-pest, which causes damage to more than 80 crop species in 14 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, poses a serious challenge and significant risk to the region’s food security.
In a recent interview, Dr B.M. Prasanna, director of the Global Maize Program, CIMMYT and …

Talking Biotech: Plants that ‘protect themselves’ and reduce pesticide may be future of crop biotech

May 31st, 2017 / Genetic Literacy Project

While the technologies of genetic engineering are quite commonplace, it was not always the case. The scientists that blazed the trail hold tremendous history, and it is good to visit with them to understand where the technology came from and where it is going. Dr. Maurice Moloney was there in …

Fighting fall armyworm in Africa

May 30th, 2017 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali reports:
A FAO news release titled “Multi-pronged approach key for effectively defeating fall armyworm in Africa” has indicated that solutions to the problem include development of pest-resistant, drought tolerant and disease resistant hybrid crops that are more resilient to the fall armyworm, the use of bio-pesticides, pheromone …

Pests and pathogens could cost agriculture billions

May 25th, 2017 / Reuters

The spread of pests and pathogens that damage plant life could cost global agriculture $540 billion a year, according to a report published on Thursday.
The report, released by the Royal Botanic Gardens (RBG) at Kew in London, said that an increase in international trade and travel had left flora facing …

Can CRISPR feed the world?

May 22nd, 2017 / Phys.org

As the world’s population rises, scientists want to edit the genes of potatoes and wheat to help them fight plant diseases that cause famine.
By 2040, there will be 9 billion people in the world. “That’s like adding another China onto today’s global population,” said Professor Sophien Kamoun of the Sainsbury …

Rice plant engineered with a ‘tunable’ immune system could fight multiple diseases at once

May 22nd, 2017 / Science, US

Farmers are constantly spraying pesticides on their crops to combat an array of viral, bacterial, and fungal invaders. Scientists have been trying to get around these chemicals for years by genetically engineering hardy plants resilient to the array of diseases caused by microbial beasties. Most attempts so far confer protection …