In the news...

Vitamin A-rich bananas offer new hope to address vitamin A deficiency

October 12th, 2018 / CGIAR

Researchers in East Africa are introducing banana varieties from across the world to address severe vitamin A deficiency. Taste tests help to identify and fast track new varieties that consumers prefer.
Vitamin A deficiency is high in the East African countries of Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, DRC and Kenya, ranging from …

Detoxifying the grass pea – a plant with the poisonous past

October 12th, 2018 / John Innes Centra

Grass pea, the crop with the curse, is set for a major change in reputation thousands of years after it was first cultivated.
The transformation becomes a possibility after researchers at John Innes Centre, along with colleagues in Ethiopia and Kenya, were awarded £1.2m from BBSRC under the Global Challenges Research …

Huge changes to farming are needed to avoid destroying Earth’s ability to feed its population

October 11th, 2018 / The Guardian, UK

Huge reductions in meat-eating are essential to avoid dangerous climate change, according to the most comprehensive analysis yet of the food system’s impact on the environment. In western countries, beef consumption needs to fall by 90% and be replaced by five times more beans and pulses.
The research also finds that …

‘High-yield’ farming costs the environment less than previously thought – and could help spare habitats

October 11th, 2018 / University of Cambridge

New findings suggest that more intensive agriculture might be the “least bad” option for feeding the world while saving its species – provided use of such “land-efficient” systems prevents further conversion of wilderness to farmland.
“Our results suggest that high-yield farming could be harnessed to meet the growing demand for food …

Why Ugandan banana breeders say it’s critical to add genetic engineering to their toolbox

October 11th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru writes:
Ugandan researchers have been successful at developing robust hybrid bananas through conventional breeding techniques. Yet they see a strong need to adopt GM varieties of the fruit that is so critical to the nation.
They argue that using conventional breeding to develop hybrid cooking bananas is a …

Study in Ethiopia links healthy soils to more nutritious cereals

October 10th, 2018 / The Conversation

Large fields, predictable rainfall and favourable temperatures have meant that farmers in Arsi Negele, a town in southeastern Ethiopia, have benefited from good crop yields. Their production of wheat and maize, two of the main food staples in Ethiopia, have also increased over time.
But there are worrying indicators that the …

Biotech has huge potential to transform Uganda’s growth, minister says

October 10th, 2018 / ISAAA, US

Uganda has a hugely untapped but promising potential of biotechnology for her growth, said Hon. Dr. Elioda Tumwesigye, the country’s Minister of Science, Technology and Innovations. The minister was categorical that bio-economy has greater potential to bring Uganda more money than oil. Read …

Kenya: Indigenous seeds key in ensuring food security

October 10th, 2018 / AllAfrica

The solution to achieving food security for the country is based on access to seeds.
This is especially because the quality of seeds determines the quantity of food harvested.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (Fao), about 75 percent of biodiversity has been lost in the last century, globally.
The loss has …

Africa must prioritise agric to ensure food security — Prof. Danquah (WACCI)

October 9th, 2018 / Graphic Online, Ghana

The Director of the West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI), Prof. Eric Danquah, has underscored the need to improve on agriculture sector in sub-saharan Africa to enable it attain food security.
According to him, current forecasts identified sub-Saharan Africa as the only region in the world where hunger and malnutrition …

Scientists’ breakthrough brings hope for banana resistance breeding to deadly bacterial wilt disease

October 9th, 2018 / CGIAR: Roots, Tubers and Bananas

A team, led by scientists from the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), have announced a breakthrough in the search for banana varieties that are resistant to the lethal bacterial banana wilt disease. This debunks the notion that all banana varieties are susceptible to the disease and opens the possibility …