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Newly elected government poised to open door to GMOs in Kenya

August 23rd, 2017 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Agriculture dominates Kenya’s economy.
Food security played a major role during the presidential campaign. The price of unga—our staple food of maize meal—had risen sharply, due in part to a bad drought. People were hungry and worried about what they would eat next. President Kenyatta and Deputy President Ruto have stressed …

Farmers and scientists embrace Naro technologies

August 22nd, 2017 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru reports:
There are efforts by scientists in agricultural sector in Uganda to breed key crops using conventional and biotechnology mechanism in a bid for farmers to grow crops which are resistant to pests and diseases and tolerant to drought to achieve improved yields.
Scientists from the National Agricultural …

Can crop biotechnology boost food security in Nigeria?

August 21st, 2017 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Since his assumption of office in May 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari has repeated said that the nation’s economy must be diversified to, especially Agriculture which “must cease from being treated as development programme but be treated as business. Our goal will be to pursue government supported private sector agriculture value …

Enhancing powdery mildew resistance in wheat

August 17th, 2017 / ISAAA, US

Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) suffers significant yield losses due to powdery mildew, a major fungal disease caused by Blumeria graminis f. sp. tritici (Bgt). The enhanced disease resistance1 (EDR1) gene plays a negative role in the defense response against powdery mildew in Arabidopsis thaliana, making EDR1 a target for improving …

Tanzania: Ambitious new plan aims to double production of coffee

August 17th, 2017 / AllAfrica.com

Coffee production in Tanzania could more than double in four years’ time if an action programme to increase the competitiveness of small holder farmers is successfully implemented.
The ten-year programme launched in 2011/2012 aims to increase coffee production and quality from 50,000 tonnes a year by then to 150,000 tonnes in …

Multi-nutrient rice to fight malnutrition

August 10th, 2017 / Genomics Research

ETH researchers have developed a new rice variety that not only has increased levels of the micronutrients iron and zinc in the grains, but also produces beta-carotene as a precursor of vitamin A. This could help to reduce micronutrient malnutrition, or «hidden hunger», which is widespread in developing countries.
Nearly every …

Nigeria looks to ‘white gold’ for economic recovery

August 9th, 2017 / BizCommunity, South Africa

Rising rice production is one of the few positives of Nigeria’s recession, which is the West African country’s worst in 25 years. Today about 5.7 million tonnes of rice are being produced every year – three times as much as a decade ago.
“We are now living a white gold revolution,” …

When genetic engineering is the environmentally friendly choice

August 7th, 2017 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Which is more disruptive to a plant: genetic engineering or conventional breeding?
It often surprises people to learn that GE commonly causes less disruption to plants than conventional techniques of breeding. But equally profound is the realization that the latest GE techniques, coupled with a rapidly expanding ability to analyze …

The missing link in global food security

August 7th, 2017 / Agri-Pulse

The African Union is urging all countries to devote at least 10 percent of their respective budgets to agriculture. The African Development Bank has placed a priority on providing capital for agriculture production. The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, AGRA, is focusing on seed development, improving …

Capitalize on African biodiversity

August 4th, 2017 / Nature, UK

Artemisinin, ginkgolides, quinine, reserpine, scopolamine, paclitaxel. What do these molecules have in common? They are all extracted from plants and transformed into useful drugs, treating conditions including malaria, nausea, cancer and high blood pressure. None of the plants is from Africa.
Almost 60% of commercially available drugs are based on molecules …