In the news...

Next generation Golden Rice could be driven by CRISPR gene editing

September 1st, 2017 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Rice breeders today develop improved varieties from genetic breeding stock that has been advanced through thousands of generations and over many decades with conventional crossbreeding techniques, said Vibha Srivastava, professor of crop, soil and environmental sciences for the Division of Agriculture at the University of Arkansas. Read …

Scientists make breakthrough in fight against cassava diseases

September 1st, 2017 / BizCommunity, South Africa

Scientists have identified the first ever genetic markers associated with resistance to two deadly cassava viral diseases in Tanzania’s grown varieties. The International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), in a statement availed to the ‘Daily News’, identified the two varieties as Namikonga and Albert. Read …

Building Nigeria’s agribusiness through smallholder farmers: the AATF initiative

September 1st, 2017 / The Vanguard, Nigeria

B4FA Fellow Abdallah el-Kurebe reports:
Nigeria is the largest producer of cassava in the world with an annual output of 34 million tonnes of tuberous roots. It is produced mostly by smallholder farmers by use of ‘traditional instruments’ with an average landholding of less than two hectares per smallholder farmer.
But the …

Delay in using GM crops making Africa lose benefits

August 29th, 2017 / SciDev.net, UK

The delay in approving the use of genetically modified (GM) crops is contributing to malnutrition and poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa, a study says.
Many African governments are grappling with opponents and proponents of GM crops, thus facilitating a delay in adoption, especially when uncertainty about GM crops are announced shortly before …

Scientists make breakthrough in fight against cassava diseases

August 29th, 2017 / Daily News, Tanzania

Scientists have identified the first ever genetic markers associated with resistance to two deadly cassava viral diseases in Tanzania’s grown varieties.
The International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), in a statement availed to the ‘Daily News’ yesterday, identified the two varieties as Namikonga and Albert.
Mostly grown by Tanzanian farmers, the varieties …

Can epigenetics change the way we breed crops for drought and climate change?

August 24th, 2017 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Crops that can withstand the ravages of climate change or resist killer diseases? Many already have been developed — including varieties of bananas, cassava, wheat and oranges — but they languish on laboratory shelves as their creators navigate the complex, and sometimes contradictory, regulations developed over the years to deal …

Newly elected government poised to open door to GMOs in Kenya

August 23rd, 2017 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Agriculture dominates Kenya’s economy.
Food security played a major role during the presidential campaign. The price of unga—our staple food of maize meal—had risen sharply, due in part to a bad drought. People were hungry and worried about what they would eat next. President Kenyatta and Deputy President Ruto have stressed …

Farmers and scientists embrace Naro technologies

August 22nd, 2017 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru reports:
There are efforts by scientists in agricultural sector in Uganda to breed key crops using conventional and biotechnology mechanism in a bid for farmers to grow crops which are resistant to pests and diseases and tolerant to drought to achieve improved yields.
Scientists from the National Agricultural …

Can crop biotechnology boost food security in Nigeria?

August 21st, 2017 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Since his assumption of office in May 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari has repeated said that the nation’s economy must be diversified to, especially Agriculture which “must cease from being treated as development programme but be treated as business. Our goal will be to pursue government supported private sector agriculture value …

Is our type of agriculture really working?

August 21st, 2017 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali writes:
Most of our farmers work on small plots of land and can be described as family farmers, smallholders or just peasants. This kind of farming provides employment to about 70 per cent of our adult population.
Typically a peasant farmer uses a hand hoe and a machete, …