In the news...

China funding agriculture research lab in Kenya

September 30th, 2015 / African Farming, UK

The Chinese government is funding a laboratory at a Kenyan university that will train students and conduct agricultural research. The lab will come up in Egerton University which has its main campus in Njoro in south-western Kenya. A crop molecular laboratory is under construction in the campus, in collaboration …

Genetic diversity in our food systems

September 25th, 2015 / Global Plant Council

Our civilization developed with the domestication of plants for food, fiber and shelter about 10,000 years ago. Since then we have made constant improvements to these domesticated plants based on genetic diversity. It is the conservation, evaluation and utilization of this genetic diversity that will be essential for further …

South Africa: GM corn, soy & cotton OK but not potato

September 25th, 2015 / AFK Insider, US

South Africa has rejected genetically modified potatoes for commercial production, raising questions about a double standard that allows GM corn, cotton and soy to be grown and sold there. See …

Kenya: New coffee variety Ruiru 11 is high yielding

September 22nd, 2015 / The Star, Kenya

The grafted Ruiru 11 coffee variety will lead to increased output by reducing production costs by 30 per cent, Coffee Research Institute director Elijah Gichuru, has said. And unlike the conventional varieties, the grafted Ruiru 11 has more yield ranging between 15 and 20 kg per tree per year. …

Twelve new crop varieties of cowpea, rice & maize released

September 21st, 2015 / Ghanaweb.com

The Crops Research Institute (CRI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has released twelve new crop varieties onto the market. Four cowpea, seven maize varieties and a new rice variety capable to withstand hash weather conditions were released on Friday. The varieties are made up of …

Farmers embracing irrigation, seed beds and fertilisers

September 16th, 2015 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

Most farmers in Uganda use rudimentary methods where they do not apply the often necessary agricultural inputs such as fertilisers. However, this trend is gradually changing with a number of them embracing certain farm practices such as irrigation, seed beds and fertilisers. One such farmer is Esau Okecho, a mixed …

How to boost cassava yields

September 11th, 2015 / The Nation, Nigeria

Many farming families depend on cassava, but low yields are becoming increasingly common. Indeed, productivity has been extremely low and achieving less than 10 tonnes per hectare. This worsens the farmers’ situation and keeps them in a cycle of extreme poverty. The situation, however, is going to change. Thanks …

Adding value to African indigenous vegetables

September 9th, 2015 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru reports: African Indigenous Vegetables (AIVs) are considered a significant contributor to food security and nutrition for smallholder farmers in East Africa. They are also important as a source of income, particularly for women, although the farmers’ capacity to meet a growing demand for vegetables is limited …

An African plant breeder’s opinion on GMOs

September 8th, 2015 / Biology Fortified, US

A modern-day plant breeder uses many different techniques. Transgenic technology (aka GMOs) can precisely change the genetics of a plant. While there are unproven fears about GMO safety, this technology could decrease the death toll from malnutrition. What is the perception of GMOs in the developing world? …

Building better crops from the bottom up

September 7th, 2015 / Global Food Security, UK

Plant breeding using classical, top-down or forward genetic approaches has served us well in the millennia since people settled in agricultural communities and started crossing plants, selecting individuals with traits that made farming easier and the edible parts more nutritious. An alternative to top-down genetic crop improvement is the so …