In the news...

Biotech adoption gathers pace in Tanzania

July 31st, 2018 / The Citizen, Tanzania

The rate of biotech adoption has risen globally as Tanzania makes progress in research of
genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
A new report which indicates the global status of the commercialised GM crops indicate that planting of the biotech crops increased by three per cent to 189.8 million hectares in 2017.
It is also …

Building research capacity for sustainable water and food security in drylands of sub-Saharan Africa

July 30th, 2018 / ReliefWeb

BRECcIA is an ambitious programme that aims to develop research capacity in institutions in three sub-Saharan countries.
Climate variability is a key feature of dryland ecosystems across sub-Saharan Africa, where rain-fed agriculture and pastoralism characterises local subsistence and is the mainstay of national economies. Demand for water and food from growing …

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 …

CRISPR plants now subject to tough GM laws in European Union

July 27th, 2018 / Nature, UK

Gene-edited crops should be subject to the same stringent regulations as conventional genetically modified (GM) organisms, Europe’s highest court ruled on 25 July.
The decision, handed down by the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) in Luxembourg, is a major setback for proponents of gene-edited crops, including many scientists. …

How to protect your soils for bumper crop yield

July 27th, 2018 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru writes:
Land degradation can either be a natural or man-made process which impairs the capacity of the land to function.
Soils are affected in the process when acidification, sedimentation, contamination and erosion, occurs.
Land degradation lowers the soil fertility status due to the removal of change in …

Africa’s collaborative biotech research bears fruit

July 27th, 2018 / Alliance for Science, US

Dr. Priver Namanya adjusted her view in the microscope, trying to get a better image of the banana cells. Then a smile lit her face. After spending the day trying to ascertain that she had incorporated a vitamin A gene into the banana cells, she had achieved success.
Namanya, a plant …

Synchronised policies needed for biotech

July 26th, 2018 / The Land, Australia

The most recent data shows that in 2017, 189.8 million hectares of biotech/genetically modified (GM) crops were planted across 24 countries, and imported by 43 countries, according to industry organisation the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA).
To date, growth in planted hectares has been largely confined …

The ABCs of growing watermelons

July 26th, 2018 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru writes:
To yield five to six watermelons per plant, it is critical that pollination is successful. The farmer must also choose a variety that is resistant to wilt, for example, Charleston Gray and Sukari F1, writes Lominda Afedraru.
Growing watermelon has become a lucrative business in the country …

European ruling could slow Africa’s push for CRISPR crops

July 26th, 2018 / Wired.com

Many European scientists cheered back in January when it seemed the court of the European Union would ease its restrictions on gene-editing technology in food. In a 15,000-word opinion, an advisor to the European Court of Justice suggested that gene-edited crops should not face the same stiff regulations as genetically …

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 …