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October 14th, 2017

New on B4FA.org:
Blog: Brachiaria, the homecoming of African pasture grasses, Brachiaria grasses, which originated primarily from natural grasslands in Africa, do not look particularly remarkable. Yet these forage species for feeding farm animals are the most widely used in the tropics. Because Brachiaria is adapted to acidic, low-fertility soils and is much more …

Kenya launches task force to facilitate commercialization of GM cotton

October 13th, 2017 / Xinhua, China

Kenya on Wednesday unveiled a national task force to oversee the commercialization of genetically modified cotton in the next five years.
Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Willy Bett said the team will build the capacity of key stakeholders involved in the rollout of genetically engineered cotton.
“The government is committed …

Fixing the food system to solve humanity’s greatest challenges

October 13th, 2017 / InterPress News

We are at a moment of huge opportunity in the world’s food system. We can continue on our current trajectory of consuming too little, too much, or the wrong type of food at an unsustainable cost to the environment, health care and political stability. Or we can change course. Fixing …

Uganda biotech law opens door to disease-resistant GM crops

October 13th, 2017 / Cornell Alliance for Science, US

Joan Conrow and Mark Lynas write:
Genetically engineered crops that promise to benefit both farmers and consumers are poised to enter Uganda’s marketplace now that its Parliament has adopted a law to regulate agricultural biotechnology.
Ugandan plant scientists are already in the later stages of conducting field trials for banana varieties that …

Genetically modified organisms are improvements on conventional crops

October 12th, 2017 / Vanguard, Nigeria

The National Bio-safety Management Agency (NBMA) says Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are the same conventional crops but improved versions for the purpose of sustainability and improved yields
Dr Rufus Egbegba, the Director-General of the agency made the clarification in an interview on Monday in Abuja. According to him, GMOs are not …

Genetically improving nutritional value of corn could benefit millions

October 12th, 2017 / ISAAA, US

In a discovery that could benefit millions of people in the world, Rutgers University scientists have found a way to enhance the nutritional value of corn by inserting a bacterial gene that causes it to produce the key nutrient methionine. Read more …

DNA of the world’s largest collection of lettuce to be unravelled

October 12th, 2017 / Wageningen University

It is to be the second largest DNA dataset of plants in the world, after the one for rice. The Centre for Genetic Resources, the Netherlands, which is part of Wageningen University & Research, and China’s Beijing Genomics Institute have formed a unique partnership to unravel the DNA of the …

Rural areas have potential to feed and employ ‘younger, more crowded planet’

October 12th, 2017 / UNiv. of Bristol, UK

Long seen as poverty traps, rural areas are in fact key to economic growth in developing countries when pegged to food production, according to a new United Nations agriculture agency report released Monday.
With ‘sweeping transformations’ that can unlock the potential of rural areas to help feed and employ a younger, …

Biosafety law a red card to pests, says pro-biotech campaigner

October 11th, 2017 / Sunrise, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Henry Lutaaya reports:
The newly enacted Biosafety Act 2017 is a Red Card to some of the most menacing crop pests and diseases that are currently ravaging hundreds of farms owned by smallholder farmers across Uganda, leading to food insecurity and economic instability, according to one pro-GMO campaigner.
Arthur Makara, …

Hope for Uganda

October 11th, 2017 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali wirties:
Last week, Uganda hosted a three-day high-level conference on the application of science, technology, and innovation in harnessing African agricultural transformation at Speke Resort, Munyonyo.
It attracted delegates from across the world, mainly agricultural biotechnology scientists, farmers’ group leaders, senior science journalists, entrepreneurs, and politicians, among others. …