In the news...

Revolutionizing breeding programmes

March 27th, 2018 / Leadership, Nigeria

Cassava is one of the most important staple crops in sub-Saharan Africa, yet it stands out from other crops in many ways.
In some ways, cassava may seem an unlikely focus for a flagship project: typically considered a “poor man’s crop” and under-researched, it is the fourth most consumed staple in …

AFRICAN Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF): Hybrid seed to propel yields by 20%

March 26th, 2018 / News Day, Zimbabwe

AATF director of commercialisation, Donald Mavindidze, told journalists last week that breeding of hybrid seed was a good way to improve crop yields.
“Small scale farmers using hybrid seed can increase crop yields by 20% and we have seen that being achieved in other countries in Africa such as Kenya and …

NAS: Conventional agriculture won’t feed Nigeria

March 23rd, 2018 / Alliance for Science, US

Nigerian scientists are drumming up support for modern agricultural biotechnology, saying the country cannot feed its growing population with the current conventional method of farming.
In an exclusive interview with the Alliance, Nigeria Academy of Science President Mosto Onuoha said the current method of farming would not sustain the nation …

Empowering African women through plant breeding

March 21st, 2018 / CropLife Interntional

While plant breeding has historically focused on improvements to a plants immunity, productivity, or quality, researchers are increasingly looking to understand and enhance traits which make crops more attractive to both men and women. Male and female farmers are just like consumers in that they look for certain traits …

Fast maturing maize, onion offers hope to farmers

March 21st, 2018 / The Standard, Kenya

A seed company has unveiled new maize and onion varieties that are drought tolerant and guarantee increased yields. EA seeds introduced the new maize variety — Tosheka, an early maturing type that takes 90 days and is drought tolerant.
According to EA seed Marketing and Sales Manager, Macharia Chege, the maize …

The fuss about biotechnology: Why?

March 19th, 2018 / The Nigerian Voice

Science, technological innovation and a fundamental understanding of nature are among the major drivers of progress. Today’s advances in the treatment of human disease have been made possible by the discovery of penicillin by Alexander Fleming in 1928 and the DNA double-helix structure by Watson and Crick in 1953. These …

Disease-resistant GMO crops can reduce pesticide use

March 19th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Recently, University of Florida plant geneticists Zhonglin Mou and Kevin Folta, along with their team of graduate students, announced a new method to fight common diseases in fruit plants. Their discovery could drastically reduce the use of fungicides if widely implemented by growers!
Unfortunately, their methods may never be put to …

Is nature “natural” anymore?

March 16th, 2018 / Mapping Ignorance, Spain

It seems that we are definitely heading towards the bio-based society, a new way of interacting with the environment where fossil fuels won’t be needed anymore and “more natural” processes for producing energy, food and materials will prevail. Remarkably, this bio-turn often involves highly advanced biotechnology and strict competitive targets, …

Vitamin A-biofortified maize: exploiting genetic native variation for nutrient enrichment

March 16th, 2018 / Crop Trust, Germany

Nutrition trials in countries administering Vitamin A capsules resulted on average in a 24% reduction in child mortality. By breeding staple crops with higher amounts of Vitamin A, the supply of Vitamin A in our food sources can be sustainably increased.
Maize provides approximately 30% of the total calories of more …

Tanzania: New improved high-iron and zinc beans released

March 15th, 2018 / Sweet Potato Knowledge Portal

The high-iron beans are a special type of conventionally bred biofortified beans that contain high levels of iron and zinc. Biofortification enhances the nutritional value of staple food crops by increasing the density of vitamins and minerals in a crop through either conventional plant breeding, agronomic practices or biotechnology. Examples …