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Nairobi tech firm gets Sh2bn for maize hybrids

June 25th, 2018 / Business Daily

A Nairobi-based appropriate tech firm has received Sh2.46 billion to pursue regulatory approval for commercialisation of drought-tolerant and insect-resistant maize hybrids.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation grant to non-state research agency African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) will be used to fast-track adoption of the newly developed maize hybrid, Tela, that …

On the offensive against fall armyworm in Africa

June 22nd, 2018 / CIMMYT

The fall armyworm could cause maize yield losses projected at $2.5 to $6.2 billion a year. Experts estimate that Africa will need an investment of at least $150 to $200 million annually for research and pest management to mitigate related damage.
The voracious fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) has marched across Africa …

Inside the genetically modified cassava research In Uganda

June 21st, 2018 / Business Focus, Uganda

On May 24, 2018, a few journalists and I visited National Crop Resources Research Institute in Namulonge, located approximately 30 kilometres northeast of Kampala City.
The trip was to assess progress in research that entails developing Genetically Modified (GM) cassava that is resistant to Cassava Brown Streak Disease and Casssava …

Biofortification’s growing global reach

June 21st, 2018 / Harvest Plus

The diets of more than two billion people lack essential vitamins and minerals, making them vulnerable to disease and disability. But as our latest crop map shows, the global effort to end this hidden hunger is gaining momentum, thanks to hundreds of partners around the world.
To date, more than 290 …

Inter- and transdisciplinary research on yam systems for improved food security in West Africa

June 20th, 2018 / Open Access Government

Professor Emmanuel Frossard from ETH Zurich and his collaborators from Switzerland and West Africa experiment in the YAMSYS project, a novel approach for improved soil and crop management in yam systems.
Whereas food insecurity has decreased in West Africa, it remains a major problem. Many projects aiming at improving agricultural productivity …

Gene editing: building better blueprints, one gene at a time

June 20th, 2018 / LinkedIn

Ever since its introduction to the world over five years ago, a gene-editing tool called CRISPR-Cas9 has been the scientific breakthrough that everyone is talking about. And while it’s the one generating the most buzz, CRISPR is just one of the gene-editing tools that scientists have been excitedly exploring over …

Gene editing, GMOs, and fear-based marketing

June 20th, 2018 / ITIF

After decades of special interest groups raising unwarranted fears and misrepresenting every aspect of so-called “GMOs”, opponents of innovation in plant and animal breeding are adding a new under-the-bed-monster to the mythical menagerie. This one is called “gene editing” aka “GE,” and it seems the topic is everywhere these …

This startup wants to save the banana by editing its genes

June 19th, 2018 / Fast Company

In a lab at a U.K. research park, researchers from a startup called Tropic Biosciences are using CRISPR to create a better banana. The startup, which is also using gene editing to improve coffee, believes that technology could help save the fruit. Today, the company announced that it raised $10 …

Engineered cotton grows on alternative fertilizer

June 19th, 2018 / c&en

Crop feeds on phosphite, potentially allowing it to outwit weeds and mitigate pollution from traditional fertilizer runoff
Wily weeds can develop resistance to herbicides, allowing them to compete with genetically modified crops designed to tolerate weed-killing chemicals. Now, a team is proposing another approach to genetically engineering crops to outwit weeds: …

Repositioning cassava sector will save Africa $1.2b

June 18th, 2018 / The Guardian, Nigeria

If the Cassava sector is properly repositioned, it is capable of saving the African continent about $1.2b, which can be redirected into the continent’s domestic economies.
Director for Agriculture, African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Martin Fregene, disclosed this at the just concluded fourth International conference on cassava, organised by the Global …