In the news...

Modified maize that kills with RNA is given go-ahead in the US

June 30th, 2017 / New Scientist, UK

For the first time, a crop that produces an RNAi-based pesticide has got the green light.
The US Environmental Protection Agency has approved a genetically modified corn known as SmartStax Pro. In addition to producing two Bt toxins to kill any western corn rootworm larvae that try to eat it, the …

New alliance seeks to fast track crop improvement in Africa

June 29th, 2017 / ISAAA, US

An international alliance was formed to speed up crop improvement in sub-Saharan Africa, which was launched at the John Innes Centre, Norwich, UK on June 16, 2017.
The Alliance to Accelerate Crop Improvements in Africa (ACACIA) aims to support African scientists in their efforts to find ways to address food security …

Are Biotech crops safe to eat?

June 27th, 2017 / Business Mirror, Philippines

ARE biotech crops, which are spliced with genetically modified organisms (GMOs), safe to eat?
Opponents, mostly composed of private individuals, non-governmental organizations and international activists, say they are not. Proponents—who are mostly scientists (including Nobel Prize winners), health officials and United Nations agencies—claim they are!
Now, the International Service for the Acquisition …

Improved seeds, the answer to Africa’s food security needs

June 27th, 2017 / News Ghana

For Africa to become self-sufficient in food production, what it needs are improved seeds, rather than huge machinery, Owusu Afriyie Akoto, Minister for Food and Agriculture in Ghana declared here on Wednesday.
In his address at the 10th Anniversary of the West African Center for Crop Improvement (WACCI) the minister said …

Student to boost Vitamin A content of chickpea

June 22nd, 2017 / ISAAA, US

Chickpeas may soon be added to the list of vitamin A-enriched crops. Vitamin A has been proven to enhance brain function, improve sight and skin health, and slow down aging.
According to Bunyamin Tar’an, professor at the University of Saskatchewan and chickpea breeder, chickpeas are a well-known source of protein and …

Future of corn: genetics could improve maize’s sustainability and productivity

June 20th, 2017 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

A new, much more detailed reference genome for maize, or corn, as it is called in the U.S., [was] published in Nature [June 12]. In its accounting of the sequence of DNA letters in the plant’s 10 chromosomes, the new version helps us understand as never before why maize, and …

How to boost coffee yields amid harsh weather conditions

June 20th, 2017 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru reports:
Coffee is a major agricultural commodity in Africa, including Uganda. It is where most people derive their livelihood because it is mainly grown for commercial benefits.
The main type of coffee produced in Uganda is Robusta and it grows well in low altitude areas of central, eastern, …

Why did Tanzanian farmers demand growing GM crops?

June 19th, 2017 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali reports:
An online weekly newsletter, Crop Biotech Update, reported on June 6, 2017, that farmers in Mwanza Province, North Eastern Tanzania urged their government to hasten delivery of GM crops which they said would save them from crop failure.
The maize, cassava, and cotton farmers whose crop has …

Why farmers should be interested in beans

June 15th, 2017 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

Traditionally, beans were grown for home consumption but after realising the benefits, bean growing transcended to being commercial. Reasons why you should be grow beans include a ready market, they grow fast, they’re not susceptible to diseases, and they have nutritional value. And we give some quick tips on growing …

Researchers Identify gene against wheat streak mosaic virus

June 14th, 2017 / ISAAA, US

Researchers from Kansas State University have identified a gene that can resist wheat streak mosaic virus. The team identified Wsm3 gene, the third gene known to resist the virus, and the first that can do so at outdoor temperatures of 75 degrees Fahrenheit and higher. Read …