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GMOs have a place in African agriculture

December 4th, 2019 / GhanaWeb

The founding director of West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI) at the University of Ghana, has called on African governments to open the doors for the cultivation and use of genetically modified crops to address the food and nutrition insecurity challenges on the continent.

Professor Eric Danquah said the challenges …

GM potato trials point to blight resistant crops of the future

December 4th, 2019 / TSL

A genetically modified potato with improved tuber quality and resistance to the devastating disease late blight has progressed successfully through the latest stage of trials.

The field trials follow successful lab experiments to modify Maris Piper potatoes with late blight resistance genes from wild relatives of potato called Solanum americanum and Solanum venturii.

To improve …

What must be done to get toxin out of Kenya’s food supply

November 27th, 2019 / The Conversation, UK

An exposé in Kenya has revealed that there are high amounts of a poisonous substance, known as aflatoxin, in many of Kenya’s popular maize flour brands. This is particularly worrying as maize flour is a staple food for most Kenyans. Part of the problem is in how maize is processed and distributed in …

CRISPR, disease-sensing technologies could yield a ‘cornucopia’ of healthier, tastier foods

November 25th, 2019 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Consumers may soon begin purchasing fun-sized fruits and vegetables, as well as processed foods that incorporate healthier ingredients …. And producers may be able to grow crops that are drought- and flood-tolerant, yield more per acre, and are easier to harvest and transport—and are tastier, more nutritious, and less allergenic, …

Key steps in curbing aflatoxin in maize

November 25th, 2019 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

Aflatoxin is a fungal polyketide secondary metabolite caused by two main fungi; Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus, both of which produce four types of aflatoxins; aflatoxin B1, B2, G1 and G2. Aflatoxin B1 is the most common and can be carcinogenic if the toxicity level exceeds the set thresholds. 

Maize is …

Europe-banned insecticide ‘threatens Africa’s food security’

November 22nd, 2019 / SciDev.net

Scientists are calling on African policymakers to act urgently to control the use of pesticides called neonicotinoids, which threaten the wider ecosystem and food security, and have been banned by the European Union.

Neonicotinoids are nicotine-like insecticides that are used in plant protection products to fight harmful insects.

Previous studies by the European Academies’ …

Bangladesh could be the first to cultivate golden rice, genetically altered to fight blindness

November 22nd, 2019 / Science Magazine, US

Soon. That has long been scientists’ answer when asked about the approval of golden rice, a genetically modified (GM) crop that could help prevent childhood blindness and deaths in the developing world. Ever since golden rice first made headlines nearly 20 years ago, it has been a flashpoint in debates …

Rice yields could plummet 40% by 2100 due to climate change

November 22nd, 2019 / Down to Earth

Global yields of rice, the world’s largest staple food crop, could plummet by as much as 40 per cent by 2100, affecting two billion people, a new study by Stanford University in the United States has said.

The plummeting of the yields would be caused by increasing temperatures. Moreover, changes in …

Why food systems need to change

November 5th, 2019

An interview with UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP) food systems expert James Lomax.

Before joining UNEP, I worked in commercial food production and farming in both Europe and East Africa. The underlying ethos of this work was sustainability within a commercial setting. We had outgrower groups supplying fresh produce for the market. …

Researchers double sorghum grain yield to improve food supply

November 4th, 2019

Plant scientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) and USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS), in their search for solutions to global food production challenges, have doubled the amount of grains that a sorghum plant can yield.

Sorghum, one of the world’s most important sources of food, animal feed, and biofuel, is …