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The sorghum plant that could tackle blindness

March 7th, 2017 / Devex

Up to half a million children around the world are going blind every year due to a lack of Vitamin A in their diets. According to the World Health Organization, Vitamin A deficiency, — which afflicts 250 million children worldwide — is the leading cause of preventable blindness in children …

Kenya GMO corn trials said to face obstacle over import ban

March 6th, 2017 / Bloomberg Makets

Kenya is withholding approval for field trials of genetically modified corn because some officials argue that a ban on GMO imports applies to controlled growing tests as well, according to a person familiar with the deliberations.
Talks involving representatives from the health and environment ministries and the National Biosafety Authority reached …

Kenyan lawmakers back commercialization of GMO cotton

February 27th, 2017 / News Ghana

Kenyan crop researchers are free to start commercial growing of Genetically Modified (GMO) cotton, the country’s lawmakers said last Tuesday. Noor Mohammed, Chairman of Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture, Livestock and Cooperatives, however cautioned Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) to ensure that the by-products do not get to the …

Kenya: parliamentary team recommends local production of GMO crops

February 23rd, 2017 / CitizenTV, Kenya

The National Assembly’s Agriculture Committee wants the country to beef up its capacity in developing genetically modified foods (GMO) locally.
Speaking during an industry consultative meeting on Tuesday, Chairman of the Agriculture Committee Noor Mohammed said this move would play a major role in mitigating against perennial food shortages in the …

Genetics to guide coffee breeding

February 13th, 2017 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow, Michael Ssali writes: Genetic modification (GM) is the future of coffee and the scientists have made their findings public. “With this information in hand, producers can begin to more accurately breed coffee varieties, as opposed to traditional selective breeding where you see a trait you like and breed …

Agricultural technology can’t be ignored – Kenya ‘on the brink’

February 10th, 2017

Kenya is on the brink of embracing biotechnology in agriculture. The MIT Technology Review made the claim in October: ‘Kenya is thought to be on the brink of reversing its ban on GM imports.’ The news and commentary website Grist said it in June: ‘Kenya is on the brink of …

A coffee renaissance is brewing, and thanks to genetics

February 1st, 2017 / Wired, US

Genes are the future of coffee. Not nitro cold brewing or beans pooped out by civets, but genes. And coffee’s gene-fueled future just drew nearer, now that scientists have sequenced the genome of the Coffea arabica coffee plant—the species that makes up the vast majority of global production—and made the …

Mastercard launch mobile marketplace for Africa’s agricultural sectors

January 20th, 2017 / African Farming, UK

In Nairobi, Kenya, on 17 January, Mastercard launched 2KUZE, which is Swahili for “let’s grow together.” The marketplace will enable farmers to buy, sell and receive payments for agricultural goods via feature phones. The platform will bring together the benefits and security of mobile commerce and payments to famers in …

Arabica coffee genome sequenced

January 19th, 2017 / UC Davies, US

The first public genome sequence for Coffea arabica, the species responsible for more than 70 percent of global coffee production, was released today by researchers at the University of California, Davis.
Funding for the sequencing was provided by Suntory group, an international food and beverage company based in Tokyo.
Now available for …

Kenyan smallholders team up to confront climate change impacts

January 16th, 2017 / SciDev.net, UK

Smallholder farmers have been losing up to about 80 per cent of their recent harvest, many water sources have dried up and some are having to travel up to 20 kilometres to collect water. Much of the water that is available is of poor quality, with some containing a high …