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Using genetic engineering to turn annual crops into perennials could bolster global food production

March 18th, 2019 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

The last several decades have witnessed a remarkable increase in crop yields — doubling major grain crops since the 1950s. But a significant part of the world still suffers from malnutrition, and these gains in grains and other crops probably won’t be enough to feed a growing global population.

These facts …

Population explosion: The main agricultural snag

March 18th, 2019 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

Michael Ssali, B4FA Fellow, writes:

Crop production is bound to be a big challenge given the current circumstances under which farmers work. 

One of the immediate challenges is growing land fragmentation due to uncontrolled population growth. 

Traditional inheritance rules in many communities dictate that every child gets a piece of the garden when …

Ethiopia needs to improve production of its “golden crop” Teff. Here’s how

March 11th, 2019 / The Conversation

Teff, an ancient grain from Ethiopia and Eritrea, has been growing in popularity across the world in recent years. Huge demand meant prices skyrocketed and the Ethiopian government eventually slapped a ban on exports which it kept in place for six years. The aim was to enable Ethiopians, who rely on it as a staple …

Get good seeds for planting

March 11th, 2019 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali writes:

As we begin this rainy season, many crop farmers across the country are preparing to plant seeds. Seeds are a major input in crop production.If the seeds are of poor quality, the farmer will not get high yields even if the soil is good and the …

Connecting food waste and sanitation services can help African farmers

March 3rd, 2019 / Phys.org

Across the continent less than 10% of the population is connected to a sewer system; with most households using some type of onsite sanitation technology (e.g. pit latrines or septic tanks). If not managed properly, untreated excreta can have serious human and environmental health impacts. But if managed adequately, human waste can offer many opportunities: …

Uganda GMO banana research progresses despite legal uncertainty

March 3rd, 2019 / Alliance for Science, US

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afredraru reports:

The Ugandan researchers who have been working since 2005 to breed more nutritious bananas say their progress won’t be hindered by a strict liability clause in the nation’s latest biosafety bill.

The scientists are using genetic engineering to develop bananas rich in such nutrients as vitamin A, …

How genetic engineering can help Africa cope with climate change by tweaking crops, animals

March 3rd, 2019 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Climate change will have a dramatic impact on agricultural production in Africa.  Over the last century, temperatures across the continent increased by around 0.5 degrees Centigrade. If this trend continues as expected, extreme heat waves and droughts are likely to become more common. Climate estimates suggest that there could be an …

Kenya farmers lose over Sh150 billion in post-harvest losses

February 27th, 2019 / CropNuts, Kenya

Post harvest losses in Kenya are startling as revealed by recent stats from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS)

In 2017, Sh150 billion worth of food went to waste, tossed out or left to rot, a report that tries to track food waste has said. According to the National Bureau …

How farmers can control cassava diseases

February 27th, 2019 / AllAfrica.com

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru reports

Farmers across Africa are engaged in growing cassava which is considered as food security and industrial crop but the plant is vulnerable to a broad range of diseases as well as less known viral strains.

In East Africa the most common are Cassava Brown Streak Virus (CBSV), …

Unlocking agricultural potential to achieve food security and sustainability for 9.7 billion

February 26th, 2019 / Professor Christopher J. Leaver, Emeritus Professor of Plant Science, University of Oxford; Founder member of B4FA

‘He who has bread may have troubles, He who lacks it has only one.’Old Byzantine proverb

Since 1950 the world’s population has almost tripled to 7.7 billion and until recently the relative abundance of food has kept pace, with the poorest benefiting the most. Over the years the so-called Green Revolution, despite …