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Climate change threatens to poison the food supply of some of the world’s poorest people

March 25th, 2019 / Independent, UK

The alarm was raised by Professor Jacqueline McGlade, a former chief scientist at the United Nations Environment Programme, at a Gresham College lecture in London.

Her interest in the problem was first roused when reports emerged from Ethiopiaof impoverished farmers and their animals dying in mysterious circumstances.

The country was in the grip …

African farmers want GMO seeds to help weather climate change

March 18th, 2019 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

It’s an old proverb in these lands that since man has learned to shoot without missing, birds have learned to fly without perching — and the same is true with farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).

As climate change becomes more of a reality, bringing uneven seasons, longer droughts and heavy rains …

Is agribusiness the problem or the solution?

March 18th, 2019 / Africa.com

For two centuries, all too many discussions about hunger and resource scarcity has been haunted by the ghost of Parson Thomas Malthus. Malthus warned that rising populations would exhaust resources, especially those needed for food production. Exponential population growth would outstrip food output.

Humanity now faces a major challenge as global …

Using genetic engineering to turn annual crops into perennials could bolster global food production

March 18th, 2019 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

The last several decades have witnessed a remarkable increase in crop yields — doubling major grain crops since the 1950s. But a significant part of the world still suffers from malnutrition, and these gains in grains and other crops probably won’t be enough to feed a growing global population.

These facts …

Connecting food waste and sanitation services can help African farmers

March 3rd, 2019 / Phys.org

Across the continent less than 10% of the population is connected to a sewer system; with most households using some type of onsite sanitation technology (e.g. pit latrines or septic tanks). If not managed properly, untreated excreta can have serious human and environmental health impacts. But if managed adequately, human waste can offer many opportunities: …

Uganda GMO banana research progresses despite legal uncertainty

March 3rd, 2019 / Alliance for Science, US

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afredraru reports:

The Ugandan researchers who have been working since 2005 to breed more nutritious bananas say their progress won’t be hindered by a strict liability clause in the nation’s latest biosafety bill.

The scientists are using genetic engineering to develop bananas rich in such nutrients as vitamin A, …

How genetic engineering can help Africa cope with climate change by tweaking crops, animals

March 3rd, 2019 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Climate change will have a dramatic impact on agricultural production in Africa.  Over the last century, temperatures across the continent increased by around 0.5 degrees Centigrade. If this trend continues as expected, extreme heat waves and droughts are likely to become more common. Climate estimates suggest that there could be an …

How farmers can control cassava diseases

February 27th, 2019 / AllAfrica.com

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru reports

Farmers across Africa are engaged in growing cassava which is considered as food security and industrial crop but the plant is vulnerable to a broad range of diseases as well as less known viral strains.

In East Africa the most common are Cassava Brown Streak Virus (CBSV), …

Boosting plants’ uptake of vitamins and minerals

February 26th, 2019 / The Scientist, US

The corn Elsbeth Walker grows looks a bit strange. Its leaves are streaked with yellow, instead of being entirely green. This yellow-streaked corn is a mutant that has trouble taking in iron, making it hard for the plant to create chlorophyll, a green pigment involved in photosynthesis.

Walker, a molecular biologist at the …

Genetically modified beans safe for consumption, scientists insist

February 26th, 2019 / The Guardian, Nigeria

Following fears and concerns by some civil society orgnisations and farmers over the safety of the newly commercialised Bt Cowpea (beans), scientists have reaffirmed that the pulse is safe for consumption.The president of the National Biotechnology and Bio-safety Consortium (NBBC), Prof. Celestine Agboru, during a news conference in Abuja, debunked …