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Bamboo: Africa’s untapped potential

April 27th, 2016 / AfricaRenewal, UN, US

It is a “wonder plant” that is uniquely blessed. Agronomists in Africa believe it can restore degraded landscapes while economists think it is a potential “green gold,” and a silver bullet for design and architecture that is already attracting a global market. Bamboo—the highly versatile giant grass that can …

‘I always expect a bumper harvest’

April 27th, 2016 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali reports: for Richard Ssendi Walakira of Busagala Village in Kabonera Sub-county, Masaka District, farming must be focussed on the returns that the farmer expects to get. “The crop or animal must be high yielding and it should be the right breed,” he says. Read …

Youth multiplying drought-resistant seed

April 27th, 2016 / The Ethiopian Herald

Youth farmers involved in multiplying drought and rust resistant new wheat seed variety are benefitting. Minaleh Agegnew, in his late 20s, is a resident of Kurmi Georgis Kebele of rural Gojam. He is landless. Together with his friends he rent a farmland at a cost of 3,000 Birr and …

Judge gene-edited crops by what they do

April 26th, 2016 / New Scientist, UK

Here’s a quick quiz for you. Which of the following would you regard as genetic modification?
A: Adding a gene from another organism
B: Inducing mutations with radiation or toxic chemicals
C: Making a single precise change to an organism’s genome
For me, the answer is D: All of the above. For the European …

Sub-Saharan Africa feeding itself after years of improving crop varieties

April 23rd, 2016 / Virginia Tech News, US

In regions of Africa, agricultural productivity is increasing and people are thriving. Overall, the prevalence of hunger declined by 30 percent between the early 1990s and 2015, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization. Investments in agricultural research are helping to alleviate crippling food shortages that racked the continent in …

African smallholders to get stress-tolerant maize

April 23rd, 2016 / SciDev.net, UK

B4FA Fellow Samuel Hinneh reports: A new project that aims to provide farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa with stress-tolerant maize varieties has been launched to help the region boost food security. The Stress Tolerant Maize for Africa (STMA) project will apply conventional breeding techniques to develop maize varieties and hybrids capable …

Ugandan scientists start developing aflatoxin-resistant groundnuts

April 21st, 2016 / Sunrise, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Henry Lutaaya reports: It is a busy afternoon at St. Balikuddembe market in down town Kampala. Karimojong girls are working like termites under a temporary shade to remove foreign matter such as stones from broken ground-nuts before their boss hands the stuff over for milling in a locally …

Kenya: failure to use biotechnology hurting farmers

April 19th, 2016 / All Africa.com

Farmers are missing out on opportunities to integrate proven cutting edge biotechnology tools that would boost yields and mitigate the impact of climate change, according to a new report released by the International Services for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA). Read …

SARI to release three hybrid maize varieties

April 18th, 2016 / Youtube.com

B4FA Fellow Noah Nash reports: The Savanna Agriculture Research Institute, SARI, will soon release new hybrid maize seed varieties for the 2016 Farming season, which can withstand the climatic conditions in the northern regions. According to a Plant breeder at the SARI, Dr. Meshack Seidu Abdulai, the varieties will provide …

Are monocultures the great evil of GMOs and modern ag?

April 18th, 2016 / Genetic Literacy Project

One real problem with monoculture is that it is often used as a strong argument but in a poorly defined way. The influential food journalist Michael Pollan has gone as far as to claim that monoculture is the “real problem”, the “great evil in american agriculture”. Another common worry is …