In the news...

Why we must pay attention to irrigation

October 29th, 2018 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali writes:
Uganda has often been described as a beautiful country that is also endowed with fertile soils and two rain seasons every year.
About 75 per cent of households are engaged in agriculture and nearly an equal percentage of our exports are drawn from agriculture.
Yet, ironically, we …

New tomato variety resists leaf curl virus and wilting

October 29th, 2018 / FarmBiz Africa

In dealing with losses caused by leaf curl and other deadly wilts in tomatoes, a seed company has come up with a tomato hybrid that is least affected by the diseases.
TM 20 F1 is hybrid that has been developed to help farmers escape the losses to the above diseases, which …

GMO debate must be refocused on scientific facts

October 26th, 2018 / Joy Online, Ghana

A Plant Breeding lecturer at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) is calling for a refocus of the debate on genetically modified foods in the country.
Dr Alexander Wireko Kena says it is about time that the debate is centred more on scientific facts and less on emotions, adding …

Ethiopian government banking on agri-biotech to help steer economic development

October 26th, 2018 / ISAAA, US

The Ethiopian government is counting on agricultural biotechnology to sustain national economic growth, the country’s State Minister of Science and Innovation, Dr. Shumete Gizaw, has revealed. Speaking during the opening of a technical communications workshop for biotechnology and biosafety scientists in Addis Ababa, the State Minister said the government has …

Uganda politicians engaged to do farmer outreach around GMO crops

October 25th, 2018 / Alliance for Science

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru writes:
Ugandan scientists are accelerating their outreach to lawmakers to make them aware of improved crops like disease-resistant cassava, which farmers cannot grow until the nation adopts a biosafety law.
Cassava, a staple food crop for residents of Eastern and Northern Uganda, has been plagued by cassava brown …

With veganism a rapidly growing dietary choice in developed countries, why should we conserve livestock diversity?

October 25th, 2018 / Food Forever

Jimmy Smith, Director General, International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and Food Forever Champion writes:
In the United States last year, an estimated 6% of the population identified as vegan, a rise of 600% since 2014. On the other side of the Atlantic, the number of Britons who have removed animal products …

Africa Soil Information Service

October 25th, 2018 / CGIAR

The Africa Soil Information Service provides continent-wide digital soil maps and decision-support applications for sub-Saharan Africa, using new types of soil analysis and statistical methods.
The online portal africasoils.net provides practical, timely and cost-effective soil health surveillance services that can help map soil conditions, set a baseline for monitoring changes, develop …

Ministry of Science releases 19 high yield crop varieties, 1 chicken breed

October 24th, 2018 / Vanguard, Nigeria

A total of 19 new high yield crop varieties have been released by the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology to enhance Nigerian agriculture. The National Variety Release Committee (NVRC) approved the release at its 26th meeting held at its secretariat, National Centre for Genetic Resources and Biotechnology (NACGRAB), …

Garlic, chillies among natural fall armyworm measures

October 24th, 2018 / SciDev.net

“Biological pesticides are safer to humans and the environment than synthetic chemicals.”
Roger Day, CABI
Garlic, oranges, chillies and sex pheromones are among the potentially viable natural control measures that could be used against fall armyworm, according to a study.
Researchers have identified a number of pesticides derived from natural materials such as …

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

October 24th, 2018 / The Guardian, UK

Experts have identified safer, effective pesticides they believe can control a plague of caterpillars that is devastating crops across Africa.
Many farmers are attempting to control armyworm – a pest that feasts on maize, rice and sugarcane – through the use of highly hazardous pesticides. But researchers warn such chemicals risk …