In the news...

How climate change is pushing more African countries to accept GM crops

March 1st, 2016 / African Insider

Faced with unpredictable harsh weather conditions more and more African Countries are changing their stance against genetically modified (GM) crops to help improve on farm yields and feed a growing population. For long GM food has been viewed with suspicion by many African governments with vicious debates taking place across …

How technology can be a sweet game-changer for African agriculture

March 1st, 2016 / Mail & Guardian Africa, Kenya

Many fear that the new industrial age will hurt emerging markets, as they are likely to suffer when artificial intelligence and robots become widely used, reducing the competitive advantage of their cheap labour. For 80% of Africans employed in the agriculture sector, this also holds an uncertain future since the …

New genetic advancements in wheat aimed at enhancing yield

February 26th, 2016 / ISAAA

Researchers from Texas A&M AgriLife Research Dr. Shuyu Liu are about to close the knowledge gap on the location of key traits in the wheat genome and how to access them. The study included three wheat populations from two popular AgriLife Research cultivars, TAM 111 and TAM 112, and other …

African scientists work to improve cassava using sophisticated genomics breeding

February 24th, 2016 / The Economist

Cassava, a crop whose starchy roots feed 500m Africans, is in the process of getting a makeover which employs the best that agricultural science has to offer. And Chiedozie Egesi of the National Root Crops Research Institute in Umudike, Nigeria, who leads the NextGen Cassava project, told the meeting of …

South Africa to ease some GM crop rules to avert food crisis

February 23rd, 2016 / The Guardian, UK

South Africa will relax some of its tough rules on genetically modified crops so it can ramp up maize imports from the United States and Mexico to avert a potential food crisis amid a severe drought, officials said. Almost 90% of maize in South Africa is genetically modified and the …

You probably didn’t know smallholder farmers can benefit from GMOs, too

February 23rd, 2016 / Forbes, US

Many smallholder farmer communities are challenging — transportation is difficult, electricity might be rare—but they’re filled with potential… Agricultural technology like GMOs can make a difference. Improved seed varieties can increase farmers’ yields, meaning farmers can harvest more from their land. That increase in yields doesn’t just change a farmer’s …

Nairobi bioscience hub takes Africa to the next scientific frontier

February 23rd, 2016 / The Star, Kenya

Before the Biosciences Eastern and Central Africa (BecA) hub was established at the Nairobi-based International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), scientists from Kenya and the region would flock foreign institutions to seek opportunities for research. Many would graduate from the institutions and opt to work in the host countries. But as …

World hunger: what the Ebola virus can teach us about saving crops

February 22nd, 2016 / The Conversation, UK

If we can bring the same technologies to bear against crop diseases as well as human ones, we can help eradicate hunger – a less newsworthy and more slow-burning problem than Ebola, but far more deadly in terms of the human toll. Read …

Genetically engineered rice with high levels of iron and zinc is developed

February 22nd, 2016 / Rice Today

A transdisciplinary group of scientists has succeeded in increasing iron (Fe) and zinc (Zn) levels in rice through biofortification—a breakthrough in the global fight against micronutrient deficiency or “hidden hunger.” Read …

Why the whitefly is bringing global scientists to Tanzania

February 22nd, 2016 / IPPmedia.com

Scientists and researchers have expressed their concern about the recent upsurge in the number of whiteflies; the tiny, sap-sucking insects that destroy important crops and vegetables such as beans, cassava and sweet potato. The whitefly spreads diseases to important crops very swiftly, a situation which, if not urgently controlled, efforts …