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New potato varieties to boost productivity in Tanzania, Kenya could borrow some tips

November 14th, 2015 / Farmbiz Africa

Brian Moseti writes “… Mtanga Farms Limited (MFL), in partnership with the Tanzanian government, announced the registration of four new potato varieties with the company promising to multiply and sell these seed potatoes to local farmers. With access to clean seed material, Tanzanian farmers for whom potatoes are a major …

GM crops and the developing world: opposing sides miss the bigger picture

November 14th, 2015 / The Conversation, UK

Sally Brooks writes “… The majority of genetically modified (GM) crops are now cultivated in the developing world. In 2014, around 53% of the 182m hectares (nearly two million square kilometres) of GM crops were grown in these countries… but in sub-Saharan Africa, there are only 2.7m hectares of …

Former biotech critic authors science-based book on GM crops

November 12th, 2015 / ISAAA, US

The book “Extreme Misunderstanding of GM Crops”, the first science based publication on GM crops was recently released in Japanese by Mr. Masami Kojima. Mr. Kojima was an active anti-GM newspaper journalist in Japan. The book documents scientific information and benefits of GM crops from credible scientific studies, as well …

New technology to help farmers use fertilisers, boost their yields

November 12th, 2015 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru writes: A study done by National Agricultural Research Laboratories (NARL) Kawanda shows that Uganda faces severe soil nutrient depletion. This is because many farmers keep tilling the land over and over again without applying practices that maintain soil fertility. Therefore, it recommends that small holder farmers …

Ghana high court rules in favour of biotech

November 12th, 2015 / ISAAA, US

An Accra Fast Track High Court dismissed the request of food advocacy organization, Foreign Sovereignty Ghana (FSG), to shelve the commercialization of biotech cowpea and rice until the provisions of the Biosafety Act were fully implemented. According to Justice Dennice Adjei, the commercialization of biotech products would not affect Ghanaians …

Land fragmentation is the biggest challenge we face

November 11th, 2015 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow, Michael Ssali writes: Perhaps the biggest challenge facing Ugandan agriculture today is sub-division of farm lands. It is mainly associated with the traditional inheritance systems of our communities, which also still treasure large families. A man gets married to a number of wives, each one of whom produces …

The role of plant science in food security

November 11th, 2015 / University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Plant science has a necessary but not sufficient role to play in meeting the global food security challenge.Rising temperatures are reducing yields; an effect which is projected to intensify over the coming decades. And increases in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events such as floods and droughts, widely …

Smallholders gaining from nitrogen-efficient maize

November 10th, 2015 / SciDev.net, UK

Smallholders face challenges such as poor soils and high cost of fertilisers. New improved varieties can raise yields by 30 per cent even in poor soils. Smallholders are seeing the varieties’ impacts, including aiding food security. Read …

Optimizing Africa’s food systems

November 10th, 2015 / International Policy Digest, UK

In Africa, agriculture is not only a source of food and nutrition but of incomes, employing up to 64 percent of labor on the continent with women producing up to 80 percent of food. It is therefore the most accessible sector. Investments to enhance productivity in this sector will ensure …

Drought takes terrible toll in Ethiopia

November 10th, 2015 / BBC, UK

The United Nations has warned that more than 15 million people in Ethiopia will be in need of food aid by the beginning of 2016 because of a severe drought. A lack of rain has meant that crop yields in the worst-affected areas are down by 90% this year. The …