In the news...

Our food system is at risk of crossing ‘environmental limits’ – here’s how to ease the pressure

October 12th, 2018 / The Conversation

The global food system has a lot to answer for. It is a major driver of climate change, thanks to everything from deforestation to cows burping. Food production also transforms biodiverse landscapes into fields inhabited by a single crop or animal. It depletes valuable freshwater resources, and even pollutes ecosystems …

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 …

Study in Ethiopia links healthy soils to more nutritious cereals

October 10th, 2018 / The Conversation

Large fields, predictable rainfall and favourable temperatures have meant that farmers in Arsi Negele, a town in southeastern Ethiopia, have benefited from good crop yields. Their production of wheat and maize, two of the main food staples in Ethiopia, have also increased over time.
But there are worrying indicators that the …

Biotech has huge potential to transform Uganda’s growth, minister says

October 10th, 2018 / ISAAA, US

Uganda has a hugely untapped but promising potential of biotechnology for her growth, said Hon. Dr. Elioda Tumwesigye, the country’s Minister of Science, Technology and Innovations. The minister was categorical that bio-economy has greater potential to bring Uganda more money than oil. Read …

Scientists’ breakthrough brings hope for banana resistance breeding to deadly bacterial wilt disease

October 9th, 2018 / CGIAR: Roots, Tubers and Bananas

A team, led by scientists from the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), have announced a breakthrough in the search for banana varieties that are resistant to the lethal bacterial banana wilt disease. This debunks the notion that all banana varieties are susceptible to the disease and opens the possibility …

Ghana ready to introduce GMOs – Biosafety Authority

October 9th, 2018 / Graphic Online, Ghana

Ghana is now ready to introduce genetically modified organisms (GMOs) food onto the market, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Biosafety Authority (NBA), Dr Amaning Okoree, has announced.
He said the NBA, which is the regulator of the biotechnology industry in Ghana, had put in place the necessary structures …

Equip farmers with information to step up food security

October 8th, 2018 / The Standard, Kenya

An unprecedented population boom which will translate into more mouths to feed is predicted to put a serious strain on food production in 20 years to come, researchers warn. Old threats and emerging ones like the voracious pests, and diseases Fall Arymworm and Tuta Absoluta coupled with weather changes have …

Ugandan scientists reach out to farmers to promote agricultural innovations

October 8th, 2018 / Alliance for Science, US

B4FA Fellow Christopher Bendana reports:
Ugandan agricultural scientists have begun engaging directly with farmers in a bid to encourage greater adoption of innovative farming practices.
Scientists are now a common sight at national farmers’ exhibitions and have begun training farmers through workshops at various national research institutes. Other scientists have enlisted children …

Improved cowpea in the offing for Ghanaian smallholders

October 5th, 2018 / SciDev.net

“These novel cowpeas will sustain the cowpea industry and provide foundation for further breeding and improvement of the crop.”
Aaron Asare, Ghana’s University of Cape Coast.
Ghanaian smallholders could by the end of this year get access to new, disease-resistant cowpea varieties that mature early and improve yields, says an expert who …

Scientists design a more productive maize to cope with future climates

October 5th, 2018 / ISAAA, US

An international research team has found that they can increase the productivity of maize by targeting the enzyme in charge of capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere. Dr. Robert Sharwood from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Translational Photosynthesis at The Australian National University (ANU), said they developed a …