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Modified maize that kills with RNA is given go-ahead in the US

June 30th, 2017 / New Scientist, UK

For the first time, a crop that produces an RNAi-based pesticide has got the green light.
The US Environmental Protection Agency has approved a genetically modified corn known as SmartStax Pro. In addition to producing two Bt toxins to kill any western corn rootworm larvae that try to eat it, the …

A quick and coordinated regional response to fall armyworm required

June 5th, 2017 / CGIAR/CIMMYT

The recent appearance of the fall armyworm, an insect-pest, which causes damage to more than 80 crop species in 14 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, poses a serious challenge and significant risk to the region’s food security.
In a recent interview, Dr B.M. Prasanna, director of the Global Maize Program, CIMMYT and …

Video: Pest-resistant GE cowpeas could reduce pesticide use, increase yields of African staple

June 4th, 2017 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Dr. TJ Higgins discusses a global effort to genetically engineer a pest-resistant variety of cowpea (black-eyed peas) that will help small-holder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa reduce pesticide use and enjoy higher yields of a crop that is an important source of protein for more than 200 million people. View …

Fighting fall armyworm in Africa

May 30th, 2017 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali reports:
A FAO news release titled “Multi-pronged approach key for effectively defeating fall armyworm in Africa” has indicated that solutions to the problem include development of pest-resistant, drought tolerant and disease resistant hybrid crops that are more resilient to the fall armyworm, the use of bio-pesticides, pheromone …

Pests and pathogens could cost agriculture billions

May 25th, 2017 / Reuters

The spread of pests and pathogens that damage plant life could cost global agriculture $540 billion a year, according to a report published on Thursday.
The report, released by the Royal Botanic Gardens (RBG) at Kew in London, said that an increase in international trade and travel had left flora facing …

Nigeria: Armyworms invade maize farms

May 18th, 2017 / AllAfrica.com

Farmers in Benue State are worried as army worms wreak havoc on newly cultivated maize farms across the state.
Similar incident is being experienced in some parts of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) as farmers are recording isolated cases of armyworms attacks, which affected some farms particularly farms at the outskirt …

Action plan developed to tackle fall armyworm in Africa

May 16th, 2017 / SciDev.net

B4FA Fellow Samuel Hinneh reports: Research that explores the interaction between fall armyworm life patterns and insecticide spray timing is urgently needed to tackle the pest currently devastating maize in Africa, scientists say.
The fall armyworm, scientifically called Spodoptera frugiperda, is native to the Americas, and attacks maize and a variety …

Disastrous tomato pest, Tuta Absoluta, returns

May 16th, 2017 / AllAfrica.com

Nigeria: The Gombe State Agricultural Development Project, ADP, says that the tomato pest, Tuta Absoluta, has seriously affected tomato harvests in three of the state’s 11 local government areas.
Tuta absoluta, a destructive tomato pest, ravaged many tomato farms across Nigeria in 2016 causing an astronomical increase in the market price …

Armyworm invasion forces Ghana to declare agricultural state of emergency

May 9th, 2017 / Face2FaceAfrica

The Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, asked the Ghanaian Parliament to declare an “agricultural state of emergency” in the country as the current armyworm invasion jeopardizes agriculture as a source of food and income.
In a memo addressed to the Cabinet Monday, Akoto called on Parliament to allow the …

Maize scientists vow to intensify research on armyworm invasion in Africa

May 3rd, 2017 / PAEPARD, Kenya

Nairobi. Scientists from the global maize research center vowed to intensify eradicate fall army worms that had invaded hundreds of farms in various regions across Africa. This two-day meeting was attended by 130 experts and stakeholders from African governments, international and national agricultural research organizations, non-governmental organizations, national plant protection …