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How dysfunctional regulation has decimated entire sectors of biotechnology

November 4th, 2019

“To observe government is to observe the absence of accountability,” James Freeman wrote in the Wall Street Journal.1 That’s certainly true of unwise regulation of many innovative technologies; and modern biotechnology, also known as “genetic engineering (GE)” or “genetic modification (GM),” perhaps along with civilian applications of nuclear power, could be the poster …

Quarter of world’s pig population ‘to die due to African swine fever’

November 1st, 2019

About a quarter of the global pig population is expected to die as a result of an epidemic of African swine fever (ASF), according to the intergovernmental organisation responsible for coordinating animal disease control.

In the last year the spread of the disease has taken policymakers by surprise, and has been …

Developing climate smart grain value chains in East Africa

October 31st, 2019

Grain demand is booming in East Africa – but supply is threatened by climate change

The grain sector, and its entire value chain, play an important role in enhancing food security, household incomes and job creation in East Africa. This is especially important given the rapidly increasing Sub-Saharan population. However, the …

HarvestPlus supports sweet potato mobile app project

October 31st, 2019

HarvestPlus Uganda has been collaborating with the BioInnovate Africa project and the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry & Fisheries (MAAIF) to develop an information and communication technology (ICT) platform for certifying vitamin A orange sweet potato vines.

The ICT platform, which is accessible via a mobile application and a website, allows farmers to …

Biotech soybeans now cover 50% of the world’s biotech crop area

October 31st, 2019

The four major biotech crops — soybeans, maize, cotton, and canola — were the most adopted biotech crops by 26 countries in 2018, according to the ISAAA report, Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops in 2018. Soybeans lead at 95.9 million hectares, followed by maize (58.9 million hectares), cotton (24.9 million), and canola (10.1 million hectares). Based on …

Can TELA maize solve the acute food shortages in sub-Saharan Africa?

October 30th, 2019

Sub-Saharan Africa remains the most food-insecure region in the world, with an estimated 237 million throughout the region suffering from chronic undernutrition.

Frequent droughts are partially to blame for the persistent food shortages and the dry conditions make farming particularly challenging for the region’s smallholders. The TELA Maize Project has been working …

Soil fungi turn struggling wheat into ‘climate-smart’ crop with boosted nutrient uptake

October 30th, 2019

Introducing fungi to wheat boosted their uptake of key nutrients and could lead to new, ‘climate smart’ varieties of crops, according to a new study.

Researchers at the University of Leeds have demonstrated a partnership between wheat and soil fungi that could be utilized to develop new food crops and farming …

Engineered molecule could protect key food crops from intensifying droughts as climate changes

October 29th, 2019

An engineered small molecule called opabactin that targets the receptor for the hormone abscisic acid (ABA), which plants release in stressful conditions, limited water loss in Arabidopsis, tomato, and wheat, and improved wheat’s tolerance of drought-like conditions in the lab, according to a study published today (October 24) in Science. It …

Fighting Africa’s fall armyworm invasion with radio shows and phone apps

October 29th, 2019

The invasive fall armyworm is native to the Americas and was first found in Africa in early 2016. It has since spread to nearly all of sub-Saharan Africa.Fall armyworm is a voracious pest of over 80 plant species including maize, millet, rice, and sorghum and has been causing food insecurity …

How to start fish farming on a small-scale

October 29th, 2019

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru writes:

The atmosphere at the 16th edition of Seeds of Gold Farm Clinic at the National Coffee Research Institute (NaCORI) in Kituuza, Mukono District was expressed by farmers being attentive to learn best methods applicable in the farm enterprises exhibited.

One such an enterprise was where scientists took …