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African countries launch the Global Report on Commercialized Biotech/GM

June 22nd, 2017 / ISAAA, US

For Africa, 2016 was the 19th year of commercialization of biotech crops. A total of 13 countries, up from 11 in 2015 either planted, conducted trials or transitioned to granting approvals for general release of various biotech crops. South Africa and Sudan grew a total of 2.8 million hectares of …

Research found way to improve nitrogen fixation in legumes

June 22nd, 2017 / ISAAA, US

Scientists from the University of Kentucky led by Professor Hongyan Zhu have discovered a more efficient way for legumes to fix nitrogen. Zhu and his team found two antimicrobial peptides in the legume Medicago truncatula that kill certain rhizobial bacteria as nitrogen fixation begins. M. truncatula is closely related to …

Biotechnology could spur Africa’s industrialisation

June 22nd, 2017 / Southern Times

An industrial development strategy could be built on the back of Africa’s agricultural sector underpinned by the adoption of new and emerging technologies such as biotechnology to support improved yields, value addition and services that feed into the whole agro-processing value chain, a top Common Market for Eastern and Southern …

When is the right time to plant sweet potatoes and how best?

June 21st, 2017 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

Dr. Jolly Mary Kabirizi, Senior Principal Research Officer/Forage scientist, National Livestock Resources Research Institute (NaLIRRI) writes:
Sweet potatoes are planted at the beginning of the rainy season to get best results. The vines are grown on mounds and ridges of varying sizes. A mound should be 100cm wide and 60cm high, …

Climate change, transgenic corn adoption and field-evolved resistance in corn earworm

June 21st, 2017 / Royal Society Open Science, UK

Increased temperature anomaly during the twenty-first century coincides with the proliferation of transgenic crops containing the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Berliner) (Bt) to express insecticidal Cry proteins. Increasing temperatures profoundly affect insect life histories and agricultural pest management. However, the implications of climate change on Bt crop–pest interactions and insect resistance …

Scientist’s tips on better banana yields

June 20th, 2017 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru reports:
Dr Kenneth Akankwasa from Uganda’s National Agricultural Research Laboratories (NARL), takes us through the good agronomy practices.
• When preparing the field, farmers are expected to plant seedlings free of pests and disease.
• The site should have deep well-drained and fertile soils, preferably rich in organic matter …

Future of corn: genetics could improve maize’s sustainability and productivity

June 20th, 2017 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

A new, much more detailed reference genome for maize, or corn, as it is called in the U.S., [was] published in Nature [June 12]. In its accounting of the sequence of DNA letters in the plant’s 10 chromosomes, the new version helps us understand as never before why maize, and …

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 did Tanzanian farmers demand growing GM crops?

June 19th, 2017 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali reports:
An online weekly newsletter, Crop Biotech Update, reported on June 6, 2017, that farmers in Mwanza Province, North Eastern Tanzania urged their government to hasten delivery of GM crops which they said would save them from crop failure.
The maize, cassava, and cotton farmers whose crop has …

Aflasafe products tested in Ghana for aflatoxin control in maize and groundnut

June 19th, 2017 / Africa Rising

Aflatoxin contamination of maize and groundnut by Aspergillus section Flavi fungi is perennial in Ghana. Consumption of foods with high aflatoxin content can cause acute liver cirrhosis and death, while sub-lethal chronic exposure may cause cancer, stunting in children, immune system suppression, and impaired food conversion. Animal productivity likewise becomes …