In the news...

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 …

Bringing smallholders and farming startups into the fold

July 13th, 2017 / BizCommunity, South Africa

Transformation. It’s a word we hear, and use, often. But how many of us take the time to pause and think about what it really means? By definition, transformation is “a thorough or dramatic change in form or appearance.”
My specific field of interest is education – and even more specifically, …

As solar refrigerator keeps mangoes cold, farmers’ profits heat up

July 13th, 2017 / Thompson Reuters

It is a hot and cloudless morning, a sign that it will be sunny right through the afternoon. Joseph Mailu moves along rows of fruiting mango trees with a long pole in his hand, harvesting the mature fruits.
The succulent green mangoes drop inside a net tied to the tip of …

Refugee strikes gold in farming

July 11th, 2017 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru writes:
When one is watching news on TV or reading news on print media about the plight of refugees from South Sudan, the common thing you will see is families leading a difficult life. The story is, however, not the same for Mary Yangi, who has found …

Modified maize that kills with RNA is given go-ahead in the US

June 30th, 2017 / New Scientist, UK

For the first time, a crop that produces an RNAi-based pesticide has got the green light.
The US Environmental Protection Agency has approved a genetically modified corn known as SmartStax Pro. In addition to producing two Bt toxins to kill any western corn rootworm larvae that try to eat it, the …

What is drip irrigation?

June 29th, 2017 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

Practical information from B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali:
Agriculturalists describe drip irrigation as a system of providing moisture around the roots of plants by letting water to trickle into the soil.
Some people put water in plastic bottles and make a tiny hole at the bottom of each bottle to allow the water …

World Food Prize laureate: future of African youth lies in agriculture, not Europe

June 28th, 2017 / VoA.com

Making agriculture profitable and “cool” for young people in Africa is key to lifting millions out of poverty and stemming migration to Europe, said the president of the African Development Bank (AfDB).
Akinwumi Adesina was named the winner of this year’s World Food Prize on Monday for his decades-long work to …

The science of soil is easy!

June 28th, 2017 / Soil Hub International

The science of soil is easy!
Well actually, no. That’s not really true. The principles of a healthy, correctly functioning soil are though.
Once you start to consider, even at a very basic level, some of the relationships and manner in which the different components of soil interact with one another, things …

Are Biotech crops safe to eat?

June 27th, 2017 / Business Mirror, Philippines

ARE biotech crops, which are spliced with genetically modified organisms (GMOs), safe to eat?
Opponents, mostly composed of private individuals, non-governmental organizations and international activists, say they are not. Proponents—who are mostly scientists (including Nobel Prize winners), health officials and United Nations agencies—claim they are!
Now, the International Service for the Acquisition …

Improved seeds, the answer to Africa’s food security needs

June 27th, 2017 / News Ghana

For Africa to become self-sufficient in food production, what it needs are improved seeds, rather than huge machinery, Owusu Afriyie Akoto, Minister for Food and Agriculture in Ghana declared here on Wednesday.
In his address at the 10th Anniversary of the West African Center for Crop Improvement (WACCI) the minister said …