In the news...

A new breed of edits

December 14th, 2015 / Nature, UK

Genome editing allows much smaller changes to be made to DNA compared with conventional genetic engineering. In terms of agriculture, this might win over public and regulator opinion. Genome editing offers both subtlety and speed, wherever in the genome a researcher wants to target. The speed comes from the technologies’ …

WHO reveals scale of foodborne disease

December 14th, 2015 / SciDev.net

Africa and Asia have the highest health burden from foodborne diseases of any region, according to the WHO’s first ever estimates of the global impact of such diseases. Eating food contaminated by bacteria, viruses, parasites, toxins and chemicals kills around 420,000 people a year around the world, including 125,000 children …

Tanzania gives farmers U.S.$36 million for inputs and improved seeds

December 1st, 2015 / AllAfrica.com

Tanzania has disbursed 2,999,778 vouchers for agriculture inputs worth $36.4 million (Tsh78.1 billion) to 999,993 farmers on the mainland so as to prepare for the new agricultural season 2015/2016. “The input subsidy vouchers have benefited many farmers of maize and rice crops by increasing production of these crops and …

Budget squeeze for South Africa’s Agricultural Research Council amid drought

December 1st, 2015 / AllAfrica.com

The Agricultural Research Council (ARC), one of South Africa’s key weapons in the fight against the current drought, has seen its net surplus decline by 300% during 2014/2015. While still in the black the ARC has experienced a 300% decrease in its surplus from R137m to R34m for the …

Namulonge releases new maize, cassava varieties

December 1st, 2015 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru reports: The National Crop Resources Research Institute in Namulonge (NaCCRI), the maize varieties recently released are Naro Maize-03, Naro Maize-56, Naro Maize-57. These are high yielding hybrids to address the problems of diseases and declining soil fertility. Dr Michael Otim, the head of the cereals …

Alliance to tackle African food security challenges

December 1st, 2015 / Business Weekly, UK

The John Innes Centre in Norwich and Nairobi’s Biosciences east and central Africa (BecA) research hub have announced advances in their collaboration which aims to find scientific solutions to African food security challenges. The BecA-John Innes Centre (JIC) alliance works on collaborative research projects and, in doing so, builds …

Seeds without borders – using and sharing plant genetic diversity

November 27th, 2015 / AllAfrica.com

11 African countries gathered last week in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to implement seed sharing and use for climate change adaptation, food security and poverty alleviation. No single country has all the genetic resources it needs to adapt to global challenges of climate change, food security and poverty alleviation – …

Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation save farmers maize disease headache

November 27th, 2015 / Mediamax, Kenya

I have been on a two-week break and I am back to continue preaching the biotechnology gospel — at times to the chagrin of some — but then last week’s announcement on a breakthrough in the fight against the deadly Maize Lethal Necrosis Disease (MLND) by our eminent scientists, …

It is time to store water during this rainy season

November 27th, 2015 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali writes: We live in a world of contrasts. Only a few weeks ago, in most parts of Uganda, we complained about scarcity of rain. Yet, now the general complaint is there is a lot of rain. It makes the on-going political campaigns difficult since most …

Are young people the answer to Africa’s food security?

November 25th, 2015 / Inter Press Service, Italy

Are you young, energetic, creative, ambitious and need a job? Africa’s agriculture sector needs you! This is a potential sales pitch to Africa’s “youth dividend” to make a living from agriculture, considered a less attractive sector for a career but the mainstay of a number of economies on the …