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Breakthrough in battle against rice blast

March 28th, 2018 / University of Exeter, UK

Scientists have found a way to stop the spread of rice blast, a fungus that destroys up to 30% of the world’s rice crop each year.
An international team led by the University of Exeter showed that chemical genetic inhibition of a single protein in the fungus stops it spreading inside …

Support for cassava development for smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa

March 28th, 2018 / Cornell CALS

Cassava is vital to the food security of millions of Africans who eat some form of the root crop daily. Although cassava breeders are making progress, they still face significant challenges in developing disease-resistant varieties that also increase overall yield and respond to the needs of smallholder farmers and processors. …

Nigeria to use biotechnology to improve crops

March 27th, 2018 / Nws Agency of Nigeria

Dr Rose Gidado, the Country Coordinator, Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB), says Nigeria has concluded plans to use biotechnology as tool to improve agricultural produce and spur economic development.
Gidado made the disclosure on Thursday to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
According to her, the measure will go …

Revolutionizing breeding programmes

March 27th, 2018 / Leadership, Nigeria

Cassava is one of the most important staple crops in sub-Saharan Africa, yet it stands out from other crops in many ways.
In some ways, cassava may seem an unlikely focus for a flagship project: typically considered a “poor man’s crop” and under-researched, it is the fourth most consumed staple in …

Qualities of a good farm employee

March 27th, 2018 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow, Michael Ssali writes:
In this age of automation and artificial intelligence it is advisable to use machines as much as possible to maximize profits.
Machines such as tractors, motorized grass cutters or spray pumps, and computers can do a lot of work in a short time at relatively little cost.
They …

Women grow 70% of Africa’s food. But have few rights over the land they tend

March 26th, 2018 / World Economic Forum, Switzerland

I recently went to Laikipa North in Kenya and met with Naatum women’s group. The community lives on arid land that has serious land degradation issues due to climate change, on ranches owned by men in the community. Laws dictate that women cannot own land.
In 2016, the Laikipia Permaculture Centre, …

Farmers earn double from molasses

March 26th, 2018 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael J Ssali writes:
Aventino Nakaana, of Manja Village, Kisekka Sub-county, in Lwengo District has been growing sugarcanes for the last 40 years for his daily income.
Before value addition, Aventino says he was earning Shs100,000 per tonne from sugarcanes. He would sell them to students and town dwellers. …

AFRICAN Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF): Hybrid seed to propel yields by 20%

March 26th, 2018 / News Day, Zimbabwe

AATF director of commercialisation, Donald Mavindidze, told journalists last week that breeding of hybrid seed was a good way to improve crop yields.
“Small scale farmers using hybrid seed can increase crop yields by 20% and we have seen that being achieved in other countries in Africa such as Kenya and …

NAS: Conventional agriculture won’t feed Nigeria

March 23rd, 2018 / Alliance for Science, US

Nigerian scientists are drumming up support for modern agricultural biotechnology, saying the country cannot feed its growing population with the current conventional method of farming.
In an exclusive interview with the Alliance, Nigeria Academy of Science President Mosto Onuoha said the current method of farming would not sustain the nation …

Why African farmers should balance pesticides with other control methods

March 23rd, 2018 / The Conversation

Insect pests cause almost half of the crop losses in Africa. If the continent is to feed its growing population, farmers must find ways to control them. Pests account for high losses in other developing regions too.
For smallholder farmers in particular, pest management needs to be affordable, safe and sustainable. …