In the news...

Thirteen nations call for ag policies supporting gene editing

November 7th, 2018 / Alliance for Science, US

Thirteen nations have used the forum of the World Trade Organization to present a position paper supporting policies that advance agricultural innovation, including genome editing.
The United States, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, Jordan, Paraguay, Uruguay, Vietnam and the Secretariat of the Economic Community of West …

Cultivating resilience to climate change

November 7th, 2018 / Food Tank

The Crop Trust is on a mission to improve biodiversity and protect farmers against climate change through their Crop Wild Relatives project.
Crop Trust joined with The Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa) in June on a five-day hunt for wild relatives of potatoes in Brazil. Having found two wild potato relatives …

Irrigation: a game-changer for small-scale farmers

November 6th, 2018 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

Despite previous efforts by the Government of Uganda to promote irrigation, less than 1 per cent of agricultural households practice irrigation in Uganda (UBOS 2010).
The area equipped for irrigation is less than 3 per cent of the total potential irrigable area in Uganda estimated at 567,000 hectares. Therefore, there is …

Ghana prepares to commercialize its first GMO crop

November 6th, 2018 / Alliance for Science, US

Ghanaian scientists have completed field trials on the pest-resistant Bt cowpea and will soon apply for commercial release of the country’s first genetically modified (GM) crop.
The GM crop is expected to help farmers dramatically reduce their use of pesticides, while also enjoying better yields of this important staple food.
Scientists said …

What’s wrong with bananas

November 6th, 2018 / Nautilus

Norman C. Ellstrand, distinguished professor of genetics at the University of California, Riverside where he holds the Jane S. Johnson Endowed Chair in Food and Agriculture, writes:
Of the important global crops, the banana is the most genetically uniform. A single cluster of nearly identical genotypes, the Cavendish subgroup, nearly …

New push in pipeline for acceptance of GMO seeds

November 5th, 2018 / IPP Media

THE Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (TARI) has joined farmers across the country in pushing for changes to existing agricultural laws to allow the use of genetically modified
organism (GMO) seed varieties because they are drought resistant and can’t be easily destroyed by pests.
This follows successful trials conducted at the TARI …

Insect farming can reduce hunger and generate money

November 5th, 2018 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali writes:
Of the hundreds of articles that I have written in the Daily Monitor since 1992, there is hardly any that has attracted as much public reaction as the one I wrote about Mr Deo Kiwanuka of Gulama Village, Buwunga Sub-county, in Masaka District.
He is a beekeeper …

Plague of caterpillars threatening food crisis may be halted with safe pesticides

November 5th, 2018 / The Guardian, UK

Plague of caterpillars threatening food crisis may be halted with safe pesticides
Study suggests biopesticides should be trialled to control the march of armyworm that’s destroying crops across the continent.
Experts have identified safer, effective pesticides they believe can control a plague of caterpillars that is devastating crops across Africa.
Many farmers …

Tech alone ‘won’t raise farm yields’

November 2nd, 2018 / SciDev.net

• African smallholders face challenges including rural-urban migration
• To help smallholders increase yields, strong institutions should aid innovations
• Technology should help spur yields and farm operations, says an expert
Technological innovations such as use of mobile phones to aid farming are unlikely to increase yields unless strong institutions exist, an …

Ugandan researchers hit the road to battle anti-GMO propaganda

November 2nd, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru reports:
As Uganda continues to grapple with its biotech future, scientists have launched an initiative to help local farmers better understand what’s included in the nation’s biotechnology safety law.
The law was approved by the nation’s parliament in December 2017, but still awaits the signature of President Yoweri …