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Revolutionizing breeding programmes

March 27th, 2018 / Leadership, Nigeria

Cassava is one of the most important staple crops in sub-Saharan Africa, yet it stands out from other crops in many ways.
In some ways, cassava may seem an unlikely focus for a flagship project: typically considered a “poor man’s crop” and under-researched, it is the fourth most consumed staple in …

Qualities of a good farm employee

March 27th, 2018 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow, Michael Ssali writes:
In this age of automation and artificial intelligence it is advisable to use machines as much as possible to maximize profits.
Machines such as tractors, motorized grass cutters or spray pumps, and computers can do a lot of work in a short time at relatively little cost.
They …

Women grow 70% of Africa’s food. But have few rights over the land they tend

March 26th, 2018 / World Economic Forum, Switzerland

I recently went to Laikipa North in Kenya and met with Naatum women’s group. The community lives on arid land that has serious land degradation issues due to climate change, on ranches owned by men in the community. Laws dictate that women cannot own land.
In 2016, the Laikipia Permaculture Centre, …

AFRICAN Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF): Hybrid seed to propel yields by 20%

March 26th, 2018 / News Day, Zimbabwe

AATF director of commercialisation, Donald Mavindidze, told journalists last week that breeding of hybrid seed was a good way to improve crop yields.
“Small scale farmers using hybrid seed can increase crop yields by 20% and we have seen that being achieved in other countries in Africa such as Kenya and …

Drought and conflict leave millions more hungry in 2017

March 23rd, 2018 / UN News

“Reports such as this give us the vital data and analysis to better understand the challenge. It is now up to us to take action to meet the needs of those facing the daily scourge of hunger and to tackle its root causes,” said Secretary-General António Guterres in a video …

NAS: Conventional agriculture won’t feed Nigeria

March 23rd, 2018 / Alliance for Science, US

Nigerian scientists are drumming up support for modern agricultural biotechnology, saying the country cannot feed its growing population with the current conventional method of farming.
In an exclusive interview with the Alliance, Nigeria Academy of Science President Mosto Onuoha said the current method of farming would not sustain the nation …

Why African farmers should balance pesticides with other control methods

March 23rd, 2018 / The Conversation

Insect pests cause almost half of the crop losses in Africa. If the continent is to feed its growing population, farmers must find ways to control them. Pests account for high losses in other developing regions too.
For smallholder farmers in particular, pest management needs to be affordable, safe and sustainable. …

Embrace new technologies to increase agricultural production, Africa urged

March 23rd, 2018 / New Times, Rwanda

Africa should embrace technology and innovations to boost agro-production and, hence save the billions of dollars the continent spends on food imports, the Minister for Agriculture and Animal Resources has said.
Dr Gerardine Mukeshimana said use of advanced technology helps increase crop yields across the continent, a development that would help …

Forty years of data quantifies benefits of Bt corn adoption across multiple crops for the first time

March 21st, 2018 / Phys.org

University of Maryland researchers have pulled together forty years of data to quantify the effects of Bt field corn, a highly marketed and successful genetically engineered technology, in a novel and large-scale collaborative study. Other studies have demonstrated the benefits of Bt corn or cotton adoption on pest management for …

Agri-tech is transforming Africa’s agricultural industry

March 21st, 2018 / Aid and International Aid Forum

Agriculture has a significant role in Africa as it employs 65% of the work force and contributes 32% of GDP, according to the World Bank.
Similarly, approximately 70% of Africa’s population depend directly on agriculture for their livelihood.
However, the African agricultural industry is currently facing a number of problems with low …