In the news...

Hope for Uganda

October 11th, 2017 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali wirties:
Last week, Uganda hosted a three-day high-level conference on the application of science, technology, and innovation in harnessing African agricultural transformation at Speke Resort, Munyonyo.
It attracted delegates from across the world, mainly agricultural biotechnology scientists, farmers’ group leaders, senior science journalists, entrepreneurs, and politicians, among others. …

Drought tolerant maize provides extra 9 months of food for farming families

October 11th, 2017 / CIMMYT

Drought is a major limiting factor for maize production and can reduce maize yields by up to nearly 40 percent. In the past 10 years, most farmers in southern Africa have experienced around 1–3 drought years, potentially due to climate change.
A new study from scientists with the International Maize and …

Substantial investment to tackle challenges of African vector-borne plant diseases

October 9th, 2017 / Univ. of Bristol, UK

The University of Bristol has been awarded £2 million to lead a major new project that aims to tackle the devastation caused by vector-borne plant diseases in Africa.
In much the same way as insects can transmit human diseases, destructive plant diseases are transmitted by aphids, beetles, whitefly and other insects.
These …

African Development Bank decentralizes structure and reframes key issues

October 9th, 2017 / Devex.com

The African Development Bank is decentralizing its structure and repackaging how it tackles key issues in development, as part of implementing it’s new 10-year strategy, bank representatives said this week at their Business Opportunities Seminar in Nairobi, Kenya.
Bank President Akinwumi Adesina, formerly Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, is …

Tanzania unveils mega sugarcane production project

October 6th, 2017 / The East African

Two pension schemes in Tanzania have ventured into sugarcane farming to address the current shortage of sugar in the country.
The National Social Security Fund and the PPF Pensions Fund recently launched the 12,000-acre Mbigiri Farm and the 63,000-acre Mkulazi Farm in Morogoro region of eastern Tanzania.
The schemes have also established …

Agriculture, nutrition and fortification, supplementation and biofortification

October 6th, 2017 / BioMed Central

“…why should Africa be prohibited from growing the most technologically advanced and sustainable crops?” “[African] Farmers need and want choices, not European-imposed restrictions”
The worlds growing population and limited land resources require high intensity of food production. Human nutrition needs both macronutrients and micronutrients. One way of providing micronutrients in …

Grafting helps pepper plants deal with drought

October 5th, 2017 / SciDev.net

Joining a high-yield pepper plant sapling to the roots of a strong and resistant variety could help pepper farmers cope with lower rainfall, a study has found.
An experiment using the technique of merging two plants, known as grafting, resulted in higher fruit yield during periods of less rain. Plants also …

Foreigners grabbing land in second scramble for Africa

October 4th, 2017 / African Exponent

Oakland Institute, The Land Matrix, World Bank and Oxfam have detailed reports on the land grabs in Africa and the rest of the world.
An area the size of Spain is believed to be leased to foreign investors in Africa. An estimated 66% of the land in sub-Saharan Africa is held …

Local – not just commercial – crop seeds key to food security, Malawi admits

October 3rd, 2017 / Thompson-Reuters

Malawi’s government has given in to mounting pressure to recognise the importance of locally grown and saved crop seeds, as well as commercially produced varieties, as it revises the country’s farm policies.
In a meeting in the capital this month, representatives of non-governmental organisations told Erica Maganga, principal secretary in the …

Safe crop storage – vital for farmers

October 3rd, 2017 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali writes:
Farmers cannot put a lot of effort into crop production without giving due consideration to its storage. Crop storage is an important issue in the farming business which agricultural extension services providers and local leaders should emphasise to the farmers as much as they emphasise efficient …