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How the science of biofortification grew from an idea to a food revolution

October 18th, 2018 / CGIAR

A major global success in nutrition in recent decades started with a simple idea from young CGIAR researchers back in the 1990s: What if we could breed vitamins and minerals into the staple crops that people consume daily?
The idea was biofortification, and the lead researcher was Dr. Howarth Bouis – …

Great expectations from Ethiopia’s wheat initiative

October 18th, 2018 / AllAfrica.com

Ethiopia provides a clear example of agricultural underperformance, as the country’s wheat production has consistently lagged other African nations. In 2012, Ethiopia’s wheat yields were 29 percent below neighboring Kenya, 13 percent below the African average, and 32 percent below the global average.
To help address these shortcomings, Ethiopia’s Agricultural Transformation …

First ever gene-edited wheat that produces high fibre flour could hit the market by 2020

October 17th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project

The biotech firm Calyxt has completed the inaugural harvest of its high-fibre wheat product, the world’s first gene-edited, consumer-focused wheat product. The high-fibre wheat product is already the seventh Calyxt product that has been deemed non-regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) ….
“The completion of these field trials for …

Introduce students to biotechnology early

October 16th, 2018 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow MichaelSsali who has often argued that the school is the best place to introduce agricultural skills to young people through practical work in the school garden, writes:
Perhaps due to lack of correct information about the many benefits of agricultural biotechnology, it has taken so long for Ugandan policy …

Why Kenya should shift to genetically modified maize

October 15th, 2018 / CropNuts

The use of Bt maize is not a silver-bullet solution to at our food insecurity challenges, but has potential to contribute towards reduced suffering of the food deficits especially due to maize. By deploying Genetically Modified Maize products, Kenya has the potential of solving food insecurity problems. KALRO has done …

Biosafety: A sure path to sustainable economic development

October 15th, 2018 / NAIJ.com

World over there is no Biosafety Agency created with an aim to stop the practice of modern Biotechnology or GMOs but rather these Agencies are created to help it thrive in a positive way by harnessing their potentials for farmers and the Agricultural sector for economic growth and Nigeria should …

Vitamin A-rich bananas offer new hope to address vitamin A deficiency

October 12th, 2018 / CGIAR

Researchers in East Africa are introducing banana varieties from across the world to address severe vitamin A deficiency. Taste tests help to identify and fast track new varieties that consumers prefer.
Vitamin A deficiency is high in the East African countries of Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, DRC and Kenya, ranging from …

Detoxifying the grass pea – a plant with the poisonous past

October 12th, 2018 / John Innes Centra

Grass pea, the crop with the curse, is set for a major change in reputation thousands of years after it was first cultivated.
The transformation becomes a possibility after researchers at John Innes Centre, along with colleagues in Ethiopia and Kenya, were awarded £1.2m from BBSRC under the Global Challenges Research …

Huge changes to farming are needed to avoid destroying Earth’s ability to feed its population

October 11th, 2018 / The Guardian, UK

Huge reductions in meat-eating are essential to avoid dangerous climate change, according to the most comprehensive analysis yet of the food system’s impact on the environment. In western countries, beef consumption needs to fall by 90% and be replaced by five times more beans and pulses.
The research also finds that …

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 …