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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 …

Hybrid maize resists lethal necrosis

September 26th, 2018 / Daily Nation, Kenya

The disease can destroy entire harvests and is thus a severe food security risk.
A centralised maize lethal necrosis disease screening facility established in Naivasha five years ago has released 15 disease-resistant hybrid maize varieties in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.
After screening more than 150,000 maize germplasms, the team validated genomic regions …

Nairobi tech firm gets Sh2bn for maize hybrids

June 25th, 2018 / Business Daily

A Nairobi-based appropriate tech firm has received Sh2.46 billion to pursue regulatory approval for commercialisation of drought-tolerant and insect-resistant maize hybrids.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation grant to non-state research agency African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) will be used to fast-track adoption of the newly developed maize hybrid, Tela, that …

Musa project develops hybrids of local Tanzanian cooking banana “Mchare”

May 24th, 2018 / IITA

The banana breeding team at IITA in partnership with the national research team in Tanzania, has developed hybrids of one of the most popular cooking bananas in Tanzania and part of the East African Highland cooking banana called “Mchare.” These hybrids were bred with disease-resistant wild bananas and are high …

Growing more, growing better for Africa’s food security

May 2nd, 2018 / CTA, Netherlands

Professor Sir Gordon Conway writes:
“There are three pillars of sustainable intensification:
Ecological: harnessing nature to support agricultural production. For example, crop rotation or agroforestry are production methods that work with nature to improve soil fertility and build a more sustainable food and nutrition system.
Genetic: new hybrid crops and improved livestock …

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 …

Seed Co introduces new maize variety tolerant to lethal necrosis disease

March 12th, 2018 / Farmbiz Africa

Seed Co, a company that develops and markets certified crop seeds, mainly hybrid maize seed has introduced a new maize variety that is tolerant to the maize lethal necrosis disease (MLND).
“The new maize variety KATEH 01 was developed over a period of three years since 2016 by Seed Co in …

In Uganda, anti-GMO scare tactics even taint conventional hybrid crops

January 17th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru reports:
It’s unclear when or if Uganda will grow GMO bananas or any other genetically engineered comment. The nation’s president, Yoweri Museveni, is refusing to sign the recently-approved National Biotechnology and Biosafety Bill, which seeks to pave the way for GMOs.
Scientists in Uganda, working under the National …

Saving chocolate: Scientists develop disease-resistant hybrid cacao clones that dramatically increase yields

October 3rd, 2017 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Few cacao varieties are widely cultivated, and that’s a problem: Like many other crops, cacao is under constant threat from diseases and environmental challenges exacerbated by our tendency to grow only a few varieties with similar or identical genetic traits and defects.
In the early 1980s, Dr. Phillips-Mora worked to identify …

Scientists intensify crop breeding

September 20th, 2017 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru writes:
Ugandan scientists have intensified efforts to breed key crops using conventional and biotechnology mechanisms in a bid for farmers to grow high yielding crops which are also resistant to pests and diseases.
Scientists from National Agricultural Research Organisation (Naro) have been breeding hybrid varieties of crops such …