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African solutions urgently sought for agricultural revolution

January 2nd, 2018 / AllAfrica.com

Professor Mulwa says that while consumer fears about GMOs may be unfounded, there is room for criticism of the approach of the GMO tech giants.
GMO technology should be strategically embedded in local agriculture, he advises. “I am of course pro-GMO. From a scientific perspective, farmers have a lot to gain …

Milestone reached in fighting deadly wheat disease

December 22nd, 2017 / BBC, UK

Scientists say they have made a step forward in the fight against a wheat disease that threatens food security.
Wheat is a staple food crop, making up a fifth of the calories on our plates.
But in many parts of the world, the crop is being attacked by stem rust (black rust), …

The world’s top banana is doomed and nobody can find a repllacement

December 20th, 2017 / Wall Street Journal, US

In June, a team of European researchers traveled to Papua New Guinea on a mission of global significance. They came to search for the Giant Banana plant.
The scientists traveled through the jungles of the South Pacific nation, by car and on foot, accompanied by two armed guards. They were tantalized …

Taking agricultural innovations to scale: RTB scaling fund awards first grants

December 20th, 2017 / CGIAR: Roots and tubers

Researchers who develop new technologies often face challenges in translating them into adapted innovations that people and enterprises will use. The CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas (RTB) consequently created a flagship project dedicated to improving livelihoods at scale (Flagship 5), which is facilitating the design and implementation …

Why technology should be at the heart of farming

December 19th, 2017 / Daily Nation, Kenya

Nickson Muturi is the project manager for Business Development at Syngenta, and he is leading agricultural data projects across Africa, specifically focusing on mobile technology. He spoke to Leopold Obi.
To what extent is access to agricultural information through the mobile phone of benefit to smallholder farmers?
Farmers in the region …

How gene editing will boost crop yields

December 19th, 2017 / Successful Farming, US

On the surface, a light switch and gene editing have as much in common as a linebacker does with a ballerina.
Dig a bit deeper, though. “In a very simple way, the main application of gene editing is like flipping a light switch on and off,” says Federico Tripodi, …

Tributes pour in for late Kenyan scholar Calestous Juma

December 19th, 2017 / Aljazeera.com

All of us at B4FA are saddened by the untimely death of Calestours Juma, and send condolences to his family and colleagues at Harvard and around the world.
From Aljazeera:
Prominent Kenyan academic Calestous Juma has died in the United States at the age of 64, prompting an outpouring of grief and …

GMOs might feed the world if investors weren’t so scared

December 15th, 2017 / Bloomberg, US

In the basement of Koshland Hall at the University of California at Berkeley is a trove of seeds with the potential to fix some of agriculture’s most vexing problems.
There are wheat seeds—both hypoallergenic, so more people could eat it, and of a variety able to better withstand unpredictable rainfall—a growing …

Biocontrol tech slashes aflatoxin levels in Tanzania

December 15th, 2017 / SciDev.net, UK

A biocontrol technology called AflasafeTZ could help control the deadly aflatoxin contamination in maize and groundnuts in Tanzania, scientists say.
After a two-year field trial conducted in several sites across Tanzania, AflasafeTZ reduced contamination of food crops with the poisonous fungus by over 85 per cent, according to the results of …

Researchers develop viral disease resistant variety of cowpea

December 15th, 2017 / Research Matters, India

Pest infestation of agricultural crops have been a long standing challenge faced by our farmers. In a recent study, researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology here have developed a genetically modified variety of cowpea that is resistant to the Mungbean Yellow Mosaic India Virus (MYMIV).
In this research, the …