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GMO crops can empower smallholder women farmers in Africa

April 9th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Efforts to get products of modern agricultural technologies, such as GM crops, into the hands of farmers have so far been stymied by the absence of an enabling national policy. Uganda’s National Biosafety Act, passed by Parliament in October 2017, was referred back to lawmakers by President Museveni, who cited …

New genomic tool searches wheat’s wild past to improve crops of the future

April 9th, 2018 / John Innes Centre, UK

A new genetic directory launched today will enable researchers and breeders to scan the genomes of wild relatives of modern wheat to find disease-fighting properties lost to domestication.
The time-travelling trawl is possible following the launch of Open Wild Wheat, a directory which includes the genetic sequences of 150 wild wheats …

Project using R&D is changing wheat farming in Africa

April 9th, 2018 / SciDev.net, UK

Wheat farmers in 12 African Countries – Benin Republic, Cote d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe – are benefiting from a project aimed at increasing production and reducing demand gap of …

US gene-editing ruling delights plant scientists

April 9th, 2018 / The Guardian, UK

Researchers in the US have been given the go-ahead to use gene-editing techniques to alter crops and plants. The decision opens the door for scientists to create a new generation of genetically altered crops without serious restriction and paves the way for approvals for similar work in Britain and the …

The USDA says Crispr-edited foods are just as safe as ones bred the old-fashioned way

April 4th, 2018 / Quartz

Last week the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that it would no longer regulate crops that have been genetically edited.
Gene editing, which includes Crispr techniques, enables researchers and now farmers, to genetically nip and tuck the DNA of living things and sell them to consumers. This could mean …

Nigeria: More farm households adopt improved cassava varieties

April 4th, 2018 / The Guardian, Nigeria

Findings by the Cassava Monitoring Survey (CMS) have shown that over 60 per cent of farm households have adopted improved cassava varieties in the country.
This was revealed at the National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI), Umudike, Abia State, by the Tanzania-based International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) Director, Dr. Victor …

Kenya: Biotech maize field trials fail to get crop agency green light

April 3rd, 2018 / Business Daily, Kenya

Plans for commercial cultivation of genetically modified maize in Kenya have been dealt a blow after a plants agency declined to give State scientists the green light to proceed with the exercise.
National Biosafety Authority, the body responsible for regulating GMOs, had late last year written to the Kenya Agricultural and …

Breakthrough in battle against rice blast

March 28th, 2018 / University of Exeter, UK

Scientists have found a way to stop the spread of rice blast, a fungus that destroys up to 30% of the world’s rice crop each year.
An international team led by the University of Exeter showed that chemical genetic inhibition of a single protein in the fungus stops it spreading inside …

Support for cassava development for smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa

March 28th, 2018 / Cornell CALS

Cassava is vital to the food security of millions of Africans who eat some form of the root crop daily. Although cassava breeders are making progress, they still face significant challenges in developing disease-resistant varieties that also increase overall yield and respond to the needs of smallholder farmers and processors. …

Nigeria to use biotechnology to improve crops

March 27th, 2018 / Nws Agency of Nigeria

Dr Rose Gidado, the Country Coordinator, Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB), says Nigeria has concluded plans to use biotechnology as tool to improve agricultural produce and spur economic development.
Gidado made the disclosure on Thursday to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
According to her, the measure will go …