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Gene-edited crops ‘should not be subject to government oversight’

February 9th, 2016 / Nature Genetics

An editorial in Nature Genetics has called for gene-edited crops to be subject to no more regulation than crops developed through conventional breeding. In an accompanying commentary, Chinese, German and US researchers make the case that many applications of gene-editing would lead to crops that would, at least in theory, …

Suppressing growth: how GMO opposition hurts developing nations

February 9th, 2016 / Information Technology & Innovation Foundation

Meet Campaigns against genetically modified organisms (GMOs), originating primarily in Europe, have created significant obstacles to the development and adoption of genetically modified crops. While the policies and practices resulting from these campaigns impose considerable costs on the economies of origin, they disproportionately hurt those nations with the greatest need …

The importance of plant science

February 9th, 2016 / The Scientist

Meet Professor Natasha Raikel and hear her explain why studying plant genetics is crucial. View …

Saving the banana

February 8th, 2016 / Scroll.in

Catastrophe is looming for the banana industry. A new strain has emerged of a soil-borne fungus known as “Panama disease” which can wipe out entire plantations – and it is rapidly spreading around the world. Farmers in Australia, Latin America and across Asia and Africa all fear the worst. The …

Fungus-resistant wheat varieties released, farmers to get seed

February 6th, 2016 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru reports: National Agricultural Research Organisation (Naro) is to make available a couple of disease-resistant wheat varieties to farmers for the next planting season. The three recently released varieties are resistant to UG99 stem rust virus and were developed by Buginyanya Zonal Agricultural Research and Development Institute …

Initiative targets job creation and decent work for young people

February 6th, 2016 / FAO, Italy

“Poverty and hunger cannot be eradicated without addressing the inadequacy of employment conditions and opportunities facing the world’s young people, especially for young women and those living in rural areas,” said Brave Ndisale, FAO Social Protection Division Deputy Director. Read …

“GM crops could help save lives” …

February 6th, 2016 / IOL, South Africa

Modifying plants to be drought tolerant may help secure South Africa’s future of food production, a leading researcher from the University Cape Town has said. Jill Farrant, Professor of molecular and cell biology at UCT, has spent the last 21 years researching the benefits that could come from genetically modifying …

Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe declares drought disaster

February 6th, 2016 / BBC, UK

The United Nations World Food Programme has said some 14 million people face hunger in southern Africa because of a drought that has been exacerbated by the El Nino weather phenomenon. South Africa, Namibia and Botswana have also been badly hit. Read …

Four African agricultural start-ups leading the field

February 5th, 2016 / CNN, US

As The World Bank recently reported, food production in sub-Saharan Africa needs to increase by 60 percent over the next 15 years to feed a growing population. But with the challenges to improve production, come new opportunities. Women across the continent are taking matters into their own hands, and kick-starting …

Local scientists creating global impacts in agriculture

February 2nd, 2016 / SciDev.net, UK

Nina Dudnik writes “In a three-room lab outside Nairobi, Kenya, cutting-edge science is meeting time-honoured farming practices. Steven Runo, a senior lecturer with a specialisation in molecular biology, and his colleagues at Kenyatta University are using the tools of modern molecular biology to overcome constraints of growing maize, sorghum and …