In the news...

A tobacco-derived insect repellent – for crops

June 13th, 2018 / New Atlas

Although it’s associated with nasty cigarettes, the tobacco plant is also a potential source of vaccines, biofuel and antibiotics. Now, a chemical from the plant is also being used as a bug repellent for crops, which could replace eco-unfriendly insecticides.
One of the problems with insecticides is the fact that they …

What are the challenges facing modern farming around the world?

June 13th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

“Kenya is on the brink of embracing biotechnology in agriculture. On the brink. Now I’m ready to say something new. We’ve been on the brink for too long.”
These words, offered by Gilbert arap Bor, a Kenyan smallholder farmer and lecturer at the Catholic University of East Africa- Eldoret, illustrate the …

How we certify, approve genetically modified food in Nigeria – DG Biosafety Agency

June 12th, 2018 / AllAfrica.com

Rufus Ebegba is the Director General of the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA). His agency is responsible for regulating biotechnology and Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). Basically the agency rejects or approves GMOs and its activities in Nigeria.
There has been a protracted debate over the application of genetically modified crops into …

Aiming for aflatoxins

June 12th, 2018 / AgWeb

In the midst of rumors and anti-GMO rhetoric, one researcher is striving to use genetic modification to improve crop health as well as potentially save consumer lives. Aspergillus, which creates carcinogenic aflatoxin, can now be controlled through genetic modification.
Aflatoxins are found in corn, peanuts, cottonseed, milk, walnuts, pistachios and Brazil …

Towards a late-blight resistant potato for Africa

June 12th, 2018 / CIP International Potato Centre

This video describes advances by the International Potato Center and the National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO) of Uganda to develop a potato variety resistant to late blight. Watch …

In a variable climate, good science pays

June 11th, 2018 / ACIAR

Climate variability significantly affects cropping productivity around the world, but perhaps nowhere more so than in eastern and southern African countries. Compounding this, low agricultural productivity and research capacity have historically led to chronic food insecurity.
Responding to this critical situation, ACIAR’s work over the past eight years in the region …

Why climate-smart agriculture is crucial to Africa

June 11th, 2018 / SciDev.net

Agriculture is a risky business in Africa due to dangers such as uncertain weather and poor rural infrastructure but a new detailed guide on the status of and opportunities for climate smart agriculture (CSA) could offer farmers the much needed break.
The detailed guide for CSA that cover 14 African countries …

Africa’s first biofortified pearl millet variety aims to combat anaemia

June 8th, 2018 / ICRISAT

For millions of women and children in Africa anaemia is a significant public health concern—and diets deficient in iron are often to blame. But consuming a new variety of pearl millet called chakti—with an additional 20% of the estimated average requirement of iron—may improve their nutritional status and help them …

‘Sexy plants’ on track to replace harmful pesticides to protect crops

June 8th, 2018 / The Guardian, UK

“Sexy plants” are on the way to replacing many harmful pesticides, scientists say, by producing the sex pheromones of insects which then frustrate pests’ attempts to mate.
Scientists have already genetically engineered a plant to produce the sex pheromones of moths and are now optimising that, as well as working on …

Breeding a better cowpea

June 8th, 2018 / AgriLinks

Q&A with Timothy Close, Director of the Feed the Future Climate-Resilient Cowpea Innovation Lab. Based at University of California, Riverside, the Feed the Future Climate-Resilient Cowpea Innovation Lab develops and applies advanced genomic tools to cowpea breeding to increase yield, drought tolerance and fungal resistance in cowpea (commonly known as …