In the news...

Technology much needed on farming

December 11th, 2017 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali writes:
The passing of the Biotechnology and Bio-safety Bill by parliament about two months ago has cast a chill over some people and according to media reports; there is an attempt to institute legal proceedings to block GMO technology adoption in Uganda.
Yet this is the technology …

Experts intensify war on aflatoxins

December 7th, 2017 / Daily New, Tanzania

Various stakeholders from across the African continent are meeting in Dar es Salaam to step up efforts in the fight against aflatoxin contamination in the maize value chain.
The two-day regional workshop, organised by the Partnership for Aflatoxin Control in Africa (PACA) in collaboration with its partners, seeks to address the …

Government vows to tackle armyworm

November 5th, 2017 / The Herald, Zimbabwe

Government has secured knapsack sprayers that will be distributed to smallholder farmers in an attempt to fight the risk which might be caused by the fall armyworm this season. This development comes after chiefs told President Mugabe when he attended their annual meeting in Bulawayo last week that their subjects …

Scientists engineer cowpea to produce Bt protein against raruca pod borer

November 2nd, 2017 / ISAAA, US

In a report in Plant Cell Tissue and Organ Culture (PCTOC), scientists have engineered cowpea — one of the most important sources of vegetable protein for rural families in Sub-Saharan Africa — to produce a Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) protein, which protects against the Maruca pod borer that plagues the crop. …

Scientists develop groundnut resistant to aflatoxin

November 2nd, 2017 / Phys.org

Scientists at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, in St. Louis, MO and their collaborators at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in Hyderabad, India, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Louisiana State University have made a significant research breakthrough by suppressing the aflatoxin-producing fungus …

Cowpea protected from a devastating pest, free for smallholder farmers

October 27th, 2017 / Science Magazine, US

Across Africa, armies of hungry caterpillars destroy the flowers and pods of cowpeas; casualties can reach 80 percent of this staple food crop if no measures are taken. But the real victims are smallholder African farmers who feed their families on farms smaller than five acres. Next year, they will …

SA scientist’s maize weevil control breakthrough

October 27th, 2017 / Farmers Weekly, South Africa

Maize is the most widely grown grain variety in the world, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. It is a vital staple food for primarily lower income groups, especially in Africa, and is grown on both a subsistence and large commercial scale.
Pests therefore pose a serious threat …

Is this $13 billion food security crisis (the armyworm) an opportunity?

October 26th, 2017 / Motley Fool

A few years ago, engineered biology conglomerate Intrexon (NYSE:XON) acquired a pioneering company called Oxitec. While there are plenty of whacky technology platforms in next-generation biotech, the start-up’s technical niche still caught many people off guard: genetically engineered insects incapable of passing their genes on to the next generation.
The sudden …

Biosafety law a red card to pests, says pro-biotech campaigner

October 11th, 2017 / Sunrise, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Henry Lutaaya reports:
The newly enacted Biosafety Act 2017 is a Red Card to some of the most menacing crop pests and diseases that are currently ravaging hundreds of farms owned by smallholder farmers across Uganda, leading to food insecurity and economic instability, according to one pro-GMO campaigner.
Arthur Makara, …

New app diagnoses crop diseases in the field and alerts rural farmers

September 30th, 2017 / CGIAR

The team behind a new mobile app that uses artificial intelligence to accurately diagnose crop diseases in the field has won a $US100,000 award to help expand their project to help millions of small-scale farmers across Africa.
Cassava brown streak disease is spreading westward across the African continent, and together with …