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Africa still hesitant to adapt agricultural biotech

June 23rd, 2017 / AllAfrica.com

Lack of funding, loss of trained technical expertise, slow development of the biotechnology sector, lack of political will and the issue of public acceptance brought by activism are the main challenges facing many African countries especially, East African countries on biotechnology and bio-safety.
A three-day workshop held in Mwanza Region, organized …

African countries launch the Global Report on Commercialized Biotech/GM

June 22nd, 2017 / ISAAA, US

For Africa, 2016 was the 19th year of commercialization of biotech crops. A total of 13 countries, up from 11 in 2015 either planted, conducted trials or transitioned to granting approvals for general release of various biotech crops. South Africa and Sudan grew a total of 2.8 million hectares of …

Student to boost Vitamin A content of chickpea

June 22nd, 2017 / ISAAA, US

Chickpeas may soon be added to the list of vitamin A-enriched crops. Vitamin A has been proven to enhance brain function, improve sight and skin health, and slow down aging.
According to Bunyamin Tar’an, professor at the University of Saskatchewan and chickpea breeder, chickpeas are a well-known source of protein and …

Research found way to improve nitrogen fixation in legumes

June 22nd, 2017 / ISAAA, US

Scientists from the University of Kentucky led by Professor Hongyan Zhu have discovered a more efficient way for legumes to fix nitrogen. Zhu and his team found two antimicrobial peptides in the legume Medicago truncatula that kill certain rhizobial bacteria as nitrogen fixation begins. M. truncatula is closely related to …

Biotechnology could spur Africa’s industrialisation

June 22nd, 2017 / Southern Times

An industrial development strategy could be built on the back of Africa’s agricultural sector underpinned by the adoption of new and emerging technologies such as biotechnology to support improved yields, value addition and services that feed into the whole agro-processing value chain, a top Common Market for Eastern and Southern …

Climate change, transgenic corn adoption and field-evolved resistance in corn earworm

June 21st, 2017 / Royal Society Open Science, UK

Increased temperature anomaly during the twenty-first century coincides with the proliferation of transgenic crops containing the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Berliner) (Bt) to express insecticidal Cry proteins. Increasing temperatures profoundly affect insect life histories and agricultural pest management. However, the implications of climate change on Bt crop–pest interactions and insect resistance …

Scientist’s tips on better banana yields

June 20th, 2017 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru reports:
Dr Kenneth Akankwasa from Uganda’s National Agricultural Research Laboratories (NARL), takes us through the good agronomy practices.
• When preparing the field, farmers are expected to plant seedlings free of pests and disease.
• The site should have deep well-drained and fertile soils, preferably rich in organic matter …

Striga – how to keep the killer weed off your farm

June 20th, 2017 / Daily Trust, Nigeria

Striga, also known as witch weed, is a parasitic weed that negatively affects the productivity of crops like maize, sorghum, millet and upland rice in sub-Saharan Africa.
Statistics from the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) show that striga infests about 40 million hectares of smallholder farmlands in the region and causes …

Future of corn: genetics could improve maize’s sustainability and productivity

June 20th, 2017 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

A new, much more detailed reference genome for maize, or corn, as it is called in the U.S., [was] published in Nature [June 12]. In its accounting of the sequence of DNA letters in the plant’s 10 chromosomes, the new version helps us understand as never before why maize, and …

How to boost coffee yields amid harsh weather conditions

June 20th, 2017 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru reports:
Coffee is a major agricultural commodity in Africa, including Uganda. It is where most people derive their livelihood because it is mainly grown for commercial benefits.
The main type of coffee produced in Uganda is Robusta and it grows well in low altitude areas of central, eastern, …