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Improved seeds could help Kenyan farmers battling armyworm

February 22nd, 2018 / Daily Nation, Kenya

During a field tour of farms to investigate the extent of damage caused by fall armyworms, Dr Murenga Mwimali a principal scientist and maize breeder at Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization’s (Kalro), Katumani Station, had something to inspire the farmers.
Dr Mwimali said the organisation had already developed better seeds …

Does GMO corn increase crop yields? 21 years of data confirm say ‘yes’

February 20th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

The analysis of over 6,000 peer-reviewed studies covering 21 years of data found that GMO corn increased yields up to 25 percent and dramatically decreased dangerous food contaminants. The study, published in Scientific Reports, analyzed field data from 1996, when the first GMO corn was planted, through 2016 in the …

FAO launches guide to tackle Fall Armyworm in Africa head-on

February 19th, 2018 / Reliefweb

Faced with the infestation of millions of hectares of maize, most in the hands of smallholder farmers, and the relentless spread of Fall Armyworm (FAW) across most of Africa, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) launched today a comprehensive guide on the integrated pest management of the FAW on …

Aflatoxins jeopardize food safety and entrepreneurial food processing opportunities in Nigeria

February 15th, 2018 / AgriLinks

Aflatoxin is a toxin produced by mold that grows on crops including peanuts and maize. Hard to detect, it can have devastating impacts on human health, including high risk of liver cancer. Aflatoxins have been observed along the maize value chain in Nigeria — in farm storage, in maize containers …

CONNECTED – a new network to tackle vector-borne crop disease in Africa

February 7th, 2018 / Cabot Institute, UK

This major new network brings together UK scientists with colleagues from across Africa to co-produce innovative new solutions to vector-borne crop diseases. And it turns out, there are a lot of them.
Almost every major crop in Africa is affected by disease.
Yams, cassava, soy bean, cocoa, maize, coffee, bananas and many …

Opinion: Africa should follow in South Africa’s ‘food steps’ and embrace genetic modification

January 25th, 2018 / Huffington Post, South Africa

While there was also an outbreak of the fall armyworm in South Africa, farmers experienced minimal crop damage as genetically modified crops proved far more resistant.
More than 80 percent of South Africa’s maize production is now genetically modified, which is why the country managed to harvest its biggest crop in …

Scientists recommend Bt maize as solution to fall armyworm Infestation in Kenya

January 24th, 2018 / ISAAA, US

Kenyans are on the brink of starvation following a heavy infestation by the fall armyworm on their maize farms. First reported in the country in March last year, the pest has ravaged over 250,000 hectares of maize farms in 27 out of 47 counties.
A fact-finding mission by an OFAB-Kenya-led team …

Researchers find genetic mechanism that could enhance cereal yields

January 11th, 2018 / ISAAA, US

A research team from the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center led by Andrea Eveland has identified a genetic mechanism that could increase the yields of cereal crops. The team performed the research in Setaria viridis, a grass that is closely related to economically important cereal crops and bioenergy feed stocks …

Biocontrol tech slashes aflatoxin levels in Tanzania

December 15th, 2017 / SciDev.net, UK

A biocontrol technology called AflasafeTZ could help control the deadly aflatoxin contamination in maize and groundnuts in Tanzania, scientists say.
After a two-year field trial conducted in several sites across Tanzania, AflasafeTZ reduced contamination of food crops with the poisonous fungus by over 85 per cent, according to the results of …

South African farmer offers ‘living testimony’ to safety of biotech

December 11th, 2017 / Alliance for Science, US

“At first I was resistant due to some of the negative stories about biotechnology that are out there, like hearing that some people develop cancer and stuff,” she said.
After being persuaded to plant biotech seeds on one hectare of land, that resistance quickly faded away.
“Guess what? I saw …