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This startup wants to save the banana by editing its genes

June 19th, 2018 / Fast Company

In a lab at a U.K. research park, researchers from a startup called Tropic Biosciences are using CRISPR to create a better banana. The startup, which is also using gene editing to improve coffee, believes that technology could help save the fruit. Today, the company announced that it raised $10 …

How much longer do we have to wait?

June 19th, 2018 / Manilla Bulletin, Philippines

Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) continues to be a major public health concern worldwide. It is estimated that 250,000–300,000 vitamin A-deficient children become blind every year, with half of them dying within a year after getting blind.
Here at home, not only are we not making progress, the problem is getting worse. …

Why we need to pay attention

June 18th, 2018 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali writes:
The messages we seem to be getting all the time from our local leaders are about encouraging farmers to increase production. Yet successful farming is not merely about large quantities.
Nor is it true that big volumes always earn high profits. Rather most consumers are more concerned …

AfDB plans $120 million to boost cassava production

June 15th, 2018 / The Guardian, Nigeria

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has disclosed plans to invest $120 million within the next three years to boost productivity and transform cassava and eight other commodities in Africa.
The nine commodities include: cassava, rice, maize, sorghum/millet, wheat, livestock, aquaculture, high iron beans and orange fleshed sweet potatoes.
The Director for Agriculture …

Agriculture, nutrition and fortification, supplementation and biofortification

June 15th, 2018 / Agriculture & Food Security

The worlds growing population and limited land resources require high intensity of food production. Human nutrition needs both macronutrients and micronutrients. One way of providing micronutrients in staple crops of the poor is biofortification, through plant breeding. All methods of plant breeding are acceptable and safe, and some methods can …

New programme to boost soil productivity and reduce soil degradation in Africa

June 15th, 2018 / ReliefWeb

The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and its Global Soil Partnership launched today a new programme to boost soil productivity and reduce soil degradation for greater food and nutrition security in Africa.
The Afrisoils programme aims to increase soil productivity in 47 African countries by 30 percent, and reduce …

GE rice transports micronutrients more efficiently

June 14th, 2018 / ISAAA

Researchers from ETH Zurich led by Navreet Bhullar from the Institute of Molecular Plant Biology have genetically modified (GM) one of the most commonly grown varieties of rice. The ETH researchers developed rice lines with iron increases equaling more than 90% of the recommended iron content and up to 170% …

How we certify, approve genetically modified food in Nigeria – DG Biosafety Agency

June 12th, 2018 / AllAfrica.com

Rufus Ebegba is the Director General of the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA). His agency is responsible for regulating biotechnology and Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). Basically the agency rejects or approves GMOs and its activities in Nigeria.
There has been a protracted debate over the application of genetically modified crops into …

Aiming for aflatoxins

June 12th, 2018 / AgWeb

In the midst of rumors and anti-GMO rhetoric, one researcher is striving to use genetic modification to improve crop health as well as potentially save consumer lives. Aspergillus, which creates carcinogenic aflatoxin, can now be controlled through genetic modification.
Aflatoxins are found in corn, peanuts, cottonseed, milk, walnuts, pistachios and Brazil …

Towards a late-blight resistant potato for Africa

June 12th, 2018 / CIP International Potato Centre

This video describes advances by the International Potato Center and the National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO) of Uganda to develop a potato variety resistant to late blight. Watch …