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As Nigeria makes final move to commercialise Bt cowpea

January 16th, 2019 / Leadership, Nigeria

After nine years of intensive trials of the Bacillus thuringiences (Bt) cowpea (beans), Nigeria finally begins the final processes towards the commercialisation of the crop with a public presentation to get input from scientists, farmers, policy makers, civil society organisations, experts, faith-based organisations and the media.

The public presentation by …

Scientists using CRISPR-based technology to target agricultural pests

January 15th, 2019 / European Scientist

A new paper published on 8 January in Nature Communications describes a ‘precision-guided sterile insect technique’ that can effectively alter insect genes to control female viability and male fertility. The method could potentially be used to suppress increasing pest populations that threaten agricultural crops and to prevent the transmission of deadly diseases. The controllable, …

Young Ugandan biotech advocates push back against scare tactics

January 15th, 2019 / Genetic Literacy Project

Jonan Twinamatsiko, a recent graduate of biotechnology from Makerere University in Uganda, belongs to a group of young people facing rising unemployment. A Uganda youth survey published by Aga Khan University in 2016 shows 80 percent of Ugandans are under age 35, and 52 percent of that group is unemployed. Jonan had …

Strongest opponents of GM foods know the least but think they know the most

January 15th, 2019 / The Guardian, UK

The most extreme opponents of genetically modified foods know the least about science but believe they know the most, researchers have found.

The findings from public surveys in the US, France and Germany suggest that rather than being a barrier to the possession of strongly held views, ignorance of the matter …

Genetically modified ‘shortcut’ boosts plant growth by 40%

January 7th, 2019 / BBC, UK

Scientists in the US have engineered tobacco plants that can grow up to 40% larger than normal in field trials. 

The researchers say they have found a way of overcoming natural restrictions in the process of photosynthesis that limit crop productivity.

They believe the method could be used to significantly boost yields …

Nigeria leads West Africa on biosafety

January 4th, 2019 / Daily Trust, Nigeria

The Director General of National Biosafety Management Agency, Dr Rufus Ebegba, has said that Nigeria has been mandated to lead the West African sub-region on biosafety.

Dr Ebegba, who said this while presenting the agency’s score card to the public in Abuja, said it was gratifying that the agency under President …

Nigeria releases GMO cowpea, urges farmers not to reject technology out of fear

December 21st, 2018

After nine years of field trials, the Federal Government has released genetically modified cowpeas to farmers in [Nigeria]. Director General of the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA), Dr. Rufus Ebegba, disclosed this [December 18] …. in Abuja.

He explained that the application for commercial release of GMO crops was the …

Study predicts GMO cowpea will boost Ghana’s economy

December 20th, 2018

A new improved GMO cowpea variety developed by Ghanaian scientists will grow the nation’s cowpea sector by nearly 10 percent annually over the next six years, according to a new economic study.

The study forecasts the new insect resistant cowpea will add US$52million (GH₵230m) to the cowpea production economy by 2025, …

Uganda: GMO law fight not over

December 20th, 2018

Ugandan civil society is celebrating a new law that seeks to regulate the development and application of biotechnology. But it is cautious celebration – until President Yoweri Museveni signs it into law.

The objective of the new regulatory framework is to ensure safe development and application of biotechnology. It will regulate …

Africa Sub-regions lack knowledge of GMOs , says foundation

December 19th, 2018 / The Guardian, Nigeria

African Agricultural Technology Foundations (AATF) on Sunday expressed displeasure over lack of knowledge of Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) among the African Sub-region farmers.
The Foundation’s Regional Director, Dr Issouhou Abdurhamane, made the observation when he led a team to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) forum to sensitize Nigerians on Genetically …