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Planting for food, jobs will fail if…

March 2nd, 2018 / My Joy Online, Ghana

As the government works to implement its flagship program, Planting for Food and Jobs, a soil science and water engineering expert at the University of Cape Coast is cautioning government that the policy could fail should irrigation farming and the creation of dams be ignored.
According to Prof. Livingstone Sam …

Study shows how plants use ‘baits’ to trap pathogens

February 28th, 2018 / Earlham Institute, UK

A study published in Genome Biology shows how plants use ‘baits’ to recognize and trap disease-causing pathogens before infection can start.
Ksenia Krasileva and her team from Earlham Institute, together with researchers from The Sainsbury Laboratory, used phylogenetic analyses to identify how these ‘bait’ genes are distributed throughout different wild and …

Scientists discover secret of how to triple number of sorghum grains

February 28th, 2018 / ISAAA, US

In new research reported by scientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL), a simple genetic modification can triple the grain number of sorghum, a drought tolerant plant that is an important source of food, animal feed, and biofuel in many parts of the world. Led by CSHL Adjunct Associate Professor …

Why we should genetically modify coffee

February 26th, 2018 / RealClear Science

Remember the Gros Michel banana? If you’re under the age of seventy, you probably don’t. That’s because in the 1950s a fungal disease called Panama disease essentially wiped out commercial production of the Gros Michel. In just a few years, growers were forced to switch from the rich, creamy, and …

Africa could become a world agricultural leader in CRISPR and other new breeding techniques

February 26th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru writes:
It’s 8:30 East African Standard Time. I disembark from a van filled with science journalists from Kampala, Uganda and accompanied by stakeholders from Uganda National Farmers Federation at the National Agriculture Crops Resources Research Institute in Namulonge.
We are on a fact-finding trip about research and the …

Fighting plant pests

February 26th, 2018 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali writes:
Pests are described as insects, bacteria, viruses, birds, and rodents that destroy crops by eating them or by infecting them with diseases.
They are often a nuisance which results in huge losses for the farmer. They can damage the crop when it is growing in the …

Green super rice for a greener revolution

February 22nd, 2018 / ISAAA, US

A collaboration with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS), and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) has developed Green Super Rice (GSR), a new breed of rice varieties that perform well in the toughest conditions.
GSR is a mix of more than 250 different …

Tea and potatoes show potential of intra-Africa agricultural trade

February 22nd, 2018 / UNTAD

Basic crops grown in Africa can be made into higher-value products, whether it’s by bagging tea or turning potatoes into frozen French fries, creating jobs and fueling growth in the continent, according to a recent UNCTAD assessment of the continent’s food trade.
The potential of basic crops to form such agricultural …

Improved seeds could help Kenyan farmers battling armyworm

February 22nd, 2018 / Daily Nation, Kenya

During a field tour of farms to investigate the extent of damage caused by fall armyworms, Dr Murenga Mwimali a principal scientist and maize breeder at Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization’s (Kalro), Katumani Station, had something to inspire the farmers.
Dr Mwimali said the organisation had already developed better seeds …

Tanzania sets record in potato research, to release improved varieties

February 21st, 2018 / The Citizen, Tanzania

Tanzania has excelled in experimental trials of high yielding and disease resistant potato varieties under a climate smart agriculture programme aimed to improve food security.
Three of 14 varieties brought into the country by the International Potato Centre (CIP) for field trials in Lushoto district did well and two of them …