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Rwanda: new banana variety to enhance productivity

February 21st, 2018 / New Times, Rwanda

A new variety of highly productive banana plants will be distributed to farmers starting next month in a bid to improve banana production and fight disease in one of the priority crops in the country.
The move, under the government’s seven year programme which will come to an end in 2024, …

Tanzania gets 80bn cassava boost

February 21st, 2018 / AllAfrica.com

TANZANIA’s efforts in increasing food security by having improved varieties of cassava have received a major boost of 35 million US dollars in new funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and UK aid from the United Kingdom.
According to a statement issued by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture …

Rationalizing governance of genetically modified products in developing countries

February 20th, 2018 / Nature, UK

Ever-more powerful genetic technologies, such as genome-editing endonucleases and marker-assisted breeding, continue to facilitate the development of genetically modified (GM) crops engineered with complex traits, such as, nutritional quality, climatic resilience and stacked disease-tolerance mechanisms. But in many developing countries, the uptake of these GM products is being jeopardized by …

Scientists identify factors which drive the evolution of herbicide resistance

February 19th, 2018 / Science Daily, US

Scientists from the University of Sheffield have identified factors which are driving the evolution of herbicide resistance in crops — something which could also have an impact on medicine as well as agriculture.
Xenobiotic chemicals, such as herbicides, fungicides, insecticides and antibiotics, are used in both agriculture and healthcare to manage …

Wild crops could save chickpeas

February 19th, 2018 / Reuters

They are nutritious, versatile and a dietary staple for millions of people from South Asia to Ethiopia, but scientists have warned that the humble chickpea is under threat from climate impacts such as higher temperatures, drought and pests.
The key to saving the chickpea could lie with a project cross-breeding domestic …

Why a global decline in genetic crop variety matters for the future of food

February 16th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Potatoes are native to the Andes, and over 4,000 varieties are grown there now. They come in numerous shapes, sizes and colors – red, yellow, purple, striped and spotted. A colorful mound of them resembles the bold, burnished colors of locally woven shawls.
This wide array of types is an example …

Fighting plant pests

February 14th, 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 field …

Will new regulations stifle innovation in plant and animal breeding?

February 14th, 2018 / Agri-pulse, US

Gene editing is touted as a promising new way of altering the DNA of plants or animals to speed their growth, enhance flavor, extend shelf life or combat viruses. But those who see it as a key component of agriculture’s future want to make sure that the regulations written for …

Cassava coalition calls for transformation of cassava in Africa

February 9th, 2018 / Dispatch, Uganda

The Global Cassava Partnership for the 21st Century (GCP21) has called on policy makers and donors to support the transformation of the Cassava crop in Africa.
The call made ahead of the international conference on cassava comes amidst concern over the decline in harvests per acre of cassava in Africa compared …

CONNECTED – a new network to tackle vector-borne crop disease in Africa

February 7th, 2018 / Cabot Institute, UK

This major new network brings together UK scientists with colleagues from across Africa to co-produce innovative new solutions to vector-borne crop diseases. And it turns out, there are a lot of them.
Almost every major crop in Africa is affected by disease.
Yams, cassava, soy bean, cocoa, maize, coffee, bananas and many …