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SA is world’s 9th largest GM crop producer

November 6th, 2015 / News24.com, South Africa

South Africa was the world’s ninth largest producer of genetically modified (GM) crops, Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe said on Thursday. Briefing the media on a Cabinet decision to approve the country’s Third National Report on the Implementation of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, Radebe said the country remained …

Weeding through the facts on herbicide resistance

November 5th, 2015 / Food Insight, US

As long as farmers have been farming, crops have faced considerable damage from diseases, insects, and weeds. To combat these problems, producers use a range of crop protection products to keep their plants safe. Lately, we hear media reports about more and more weeds becoming resistant to herbicides. So what …

Nigeria’s first confined field trial of genetically improved rice

November 5th, 2015 / This Day, Nigeria

The Federal Government, and the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), on Wednesday commissioned Nigeria’s first Confined Field Trial (CFT) facility for the production of a genetically improved African rice variety. It is known as Nitrogen-Use Efficient, Water-Use Efficient and Salt Tolerant (NEWEST) rice and is aimed at addressing the country’s …

New plant breeding techniques: Innovation breakthrough or GMOs in disguise?

November 5th, 2015 / EurActiv.com

‘New plant breeding techniques’ focus on developing new seed traits within a given species through genetic engineering. A troubling question for policymakers is whether these techniques should fall under GMO legislation. Read …

The importance of using herbicides

November 4th, 2015 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali reports: These days, it is extremely difficult to practice productive farming without the use of chemicals to protect crops from pests, diseases as well as the weeds especially for the farmers that are operating on a large scale. Read …

Breeding higher yielding crops by increasing sugar import into seeds

November 3rd, 2015 / Science Daily, US

A team of scientists led by Carnegie’s Wolf Frommer has now discovered that a sugar-transport protein in maize and rice called SWEET4 is both necessary for successful seed filling and shows genome changes that indicate domestication by humans. The new research is published in Nature Genetics. Read …

Amaranth has bundles of money hidden in its grain

November 3rd, 2015 / Farmbiz Africa, Kenya

Amaranth can easily be mistaken for just another wondering weed. Yet, while some people sparingly use the plant as vegetables, Ann Muthoni, a nutrition expert in Kenya, is making unique flour out of it, which she sells through various supermarkets across the country including Tuskys, Clean Shelf and Kamidi. …

Morocco’s progress on food security acknowledged by UN

November 3rd, 2015 / The Guardian, UK

Morocco’s progress on reducing poverty and eliminating hunger through a nationwide plan has received qualified praise from the UN special rapporteur on the right to food. Hilal Elver acknowledged the country’s achievements in boosting production through “plan Maroc vert” (plan for a green Morocco, or PMV), but cautioned that more …

Help improve online data on agricultural biodiversity

October 26th, 2015 / Biodiversity International

In 2015, the GBIF Secretariat and Bioversity International created a ‘Task Group on Data Fitness for Use in Agrobiodiversity’ to improve the quality and quantity of data on the GBIF portal that are important to agricultural biodiversity research and policy communities. These include data on agricultural biodiversity monitoring, gaps in …

Facing drought-induced food shortage, Zimbabwe confronts GMO dilemma

October 26th, 2015 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Zimbabwe is facing a crippling maize (staple in Zimbabwe) shortage. Vice President of Zimbabwe, Emmerson Mnangagwa, has revealed that the cash strapped government needs at least US$300 million to import 700 000 tons of maize to meet national consumption. And According to the World Food Program (WFP), Zimbabwe’s food crisis …