In the news...

Crops you harvest in less than six months

March 17th, 2017 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

Currently, due to climate change as a result of deforestation, reclamation of swamps, and industrialisation, among other factors, traditional farmers who depended on the traditional crop growing calendar of March are no longer to tell seasons due to unpredictable dry spells, since there was no mitigation.
This, in part, implies that …

BT cotton varieties with reusable seeds

March 17th, 2017 / ISAAA, US

Scientists at Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) in India has developed genetically engineered Bt cotton seeds that can be reused, thus saving farmers’ input costs. These cotton varieties are PAU Bt 1 and F1861. Rajasthan Agricultural University also developed RS 2013. The F1861 and RS 2013 varieties were transformed into Bt …

CRISPR, microbes and more are joining the war against crop killers

March 17th, 2017 / Nature, UK

Resistance to conventional pesticides — among insects, weeds or microbial pathogens — is common on farms worldwide. CropLife International, an industry association based in Brussels, supports efforts that have counted 586 arthropod species, 235 fungi and 252 weeds with resistance to at least one synthetic pesticide (see ‘The rise of …

Unlocking the power of African soil microbes

March 17th, 2017 / Scientific American

Like the developed world, the African continent soil also harbors billions of beneficial soil bacteria that can be utilized to revolutionize African agriculture. And for many smallholder farmers across Africa who have few resources, microbe inoculants can open new opportunities. Such opportunities can range from increase in crop yields to …

Glyphosate: dangerous chemical or anti-GMO bogeyman?

March 17th, 2017 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

No other chemical in modern agriculture has attracted as much scrutiny and criticism as glyphosate. The herbicide–widely sold generically but also under the trade name of Roundup, and originally patented by Monsanto–has been used in home gardens and by farmers for decades. It has played a key role in the …

Raising crop productivity in Africa through intensification

March 14th, 2017 / Agronomy, Switzerland

The population of Africa will double in the next 33 years to reach 2.5 billion by 2050. Although roughly 60% of the continent’s population is engaged in agriculture, the produce from this sector cannot feed its citizens. Hence, in 2013 alone, Africa imported 56.5 million tons of wheat, maize, and …

Video: Managing aflatoxins in groundnuts during drying and storage

March 14th, 2017 / Access Agriculture, Kenya

Certain moulds grow on groundnut, maize and other foods. These moulds produce a poison called aflatoxin. To have healthy groundnuts it is important to care for the groundnut during its whole growth, but especially during drying and storage. See …

Environmentalists urged to embrace biotechnology to improve food security

March 14th, 2017 / B4FA Fellow, Hope Mafaranga

B4FA Fellow, Hope Mafaranga reports: The Ethiopian Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Kare Chawicha, called on environmentalists to embrace biotechnology as one way of mitigating climate change. His comments came when he opened a communication training workshop on biotechnology and biosafety for media practitioners from Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, …

Plowing a new path for female farmers in South Africa

March 13th, 2017 / Women & Girls, US

As the first South African to win the prestigious Nuffield Agricultural Scholarship, Thato Moagi is shattering the stereotypes of what it means to be a young black woman and a female African farmer. Women & Girls spoke to Moagi about her career, her expectations from the Nuffield Scholarship, and her …

Technologies that help farmers respond to climate change

March 13th, 2017 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru reports: Agriculture in many parts of Africa, Uganda inclusive, is mainly rain-fed yet farmers usually experience severe periods of drought where they would require water to irrigate their farms during times of such weather.
During extreme dry seasons, many farmers are forced to abandon farming with very …