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Maruti, the pigeonpea saviour

April 24th, 2018 / CGIAR

A direct release of the pigeonpea variety ICP 8863, also known as Maruti, from the ICRISAT genebank helped revitalize the pigeonpea industry in Karnataka, India. Maruti was released in 1986 at a time when the pigeonpea industry in parts of India was being hit hard by Fusarium wilt. Within a few seasons, Maruti …

GCP21, IITA call for support of cassava transformation in Africa

April 23rd, 2018 / The Sun

The Global Cassava Partnership for the 21st Century (GCP21) and International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) have called on policymakers, donors and the international community to support efforts that will bring about cassava transformation in Africa. Despite the key role cassava is playing in Africa’s food security, its production has …

This treadle pump is big deal

April 20th, 2018 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

Samuel Ojok is a vegetable farmer in Otuke District in northern Uganda. Every tomato season, he grows two or more acres of tomatoes and other vegetables such as cabbage, green pepper, onions and watermelons.
He is never worried about his garden running short of water or getting affected by a change …

Uganda: ‘Disaster’: Scientists condemn GM law amendments

April 20th, 2018 / Sunrise, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Henry Lutaaya reports:
A number of scientists have expressed shock and anger at the proposed restrictive requirements that were included in the long-awaited law on Biotechnology with some labelling them a disaster and a huge setback for the country.
The angry reactions come in the wake of a new report …

FAO – Lack of modern farming techniques threaten food security in Africa

April 19th, 2018 / PM News, Nigeria

The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has warned that lack of modern farming techniques threatens Africa’s food security.
Josef Kienzle, FAO’s Leader of the Mechanisation task team, said that unless the governments adopt new technologies of farming, the continent will continue relying on food aid.
“There is need for a paradigm …

Scientists want to replace pesticides with bacteria

April 19th, 2018 / Bloomberg, US

Fresh snow coats the sidewalks outside Indigo Ag Inc.’s Boston offices, but inside the temperature is calibrated to mimic spring in the Midwest. Hundreds of almost identical soy seedlings sit beneath high-intensity arc lamps, basking in the artificially sunny 60F weather.
The plants aren’t destined to stay identical for long. “We …

The biotech innovator behind tissue culture in banana farming – Erostus Nsubug

April 18th, 2018 / The Observer, Uganda

EROSTUS NJUKI NSUBUGA is the chairman of the Uganda biotechnology consortium but is best known as the brains behind the groundbreaking of tissue culture of breeding bananas.
Nsubuga holds a master’s degree in agriculture but it means little other than being just part of his long curriculum vitae detailing. He always …

Water from the sun: solar-powered water pumps offer African farmers a way out of poverty

April 18th, 2018 / GTM

Joshua Okundi’s five-acre farm is his classroom. A longtime schoolteacher who left his job to become a farmer in 2013, Okundi is an instructor to the constant stream of visitors who arrive at his home in Kendu, a small rural village in the western reaches of Kenya.
Visitors come seeking advice, …

Scientists discover wild relative of tomato resistant to many insects

April 18th, 2018 / ISAAA, US

Scientists from the Wageningen University & Research have discovered a wild tomato species from the Galapagos Islands that is resistant to a wide range of insect pests. The wild tomato is closely related to the cultivated tomato, making the resilience easier to interbreed into the latter and ultimately make it …

Seed companies must show commitment to end food insecurity in Africa

April 17th, 2018 / New Vision, Uganda

The rainy season is already here with us and most farmers have begun to plant various seeds nearly across Africa.
As the farmers descend upon their farms, one big issue that lingers among researchers is the inability of these farmers to access certified seed that can serve their immediate …