In the news...

How do you report on crop biotechnology when critics spread misinformation?

September 25th, 2017 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Interview with B4FA Fellow Christopher Bendana:
Whether its’ the result of global warming or the vagaries of a complex climate, Uganda is facing a scorching reality that is killing crops and animals. Billions of shillings that could have been used in other projects is set aside for food aid to affected …

Uganda harvests another successful GM cassava trial

September 20th, 2017 / ISAAA, US

Cassava mosaic disease (CMD) and cassava brown streak (CBSD) are still the most challenging constraints for cassava production in the Sub-Saharan Africa. Some Ugandans describe them as HIV for cassava. Although, there are CMD resistant cassava varieties, it is still a challenge since a good number of farmers have not …

Scientists intensify crop breeding

September 20th, 2017 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru writes:
Ugandan scientists have intensified efforts to breed key crops using conventional and biotechnology mechanisms in a bid for farmers to grow high yielding crops which are also resistant to pests and diseases.
Scientists from National Agricultural Research Organisation (Naro) have been breeding hybrid varieties of crops such …

New genomics tool is being deployed in East African cassava fields

September 19th, 2017 / Medium

TED Senior Fellow and computational biologist Laura Boykin has made her life’s work to rid cassava — a staple root crop on which 800 million people around the world rely for their daily calories — of whitefly-borne virus. Now, with a team of international scientists, including co-Principal Investigators Dr Joseph Ndunguru and Dr Titus …

Closing the gap between the youth and agriculture in Africa

September 19th, 2017 / CNBC Africa

Agriculture and youth are a compatible pair, particularly in the African context: as one of the continent’s most critical industries and biggest sources of income, contributing a quarter of Africa’s total GDP and employing 70 percent of the labour force, it has the remarkable potential to empower what will be …

Do we need new coffee varieties?

September 18th, 2017 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssale writes:
The Seeds of Gold magazine last week released news that the National Agricultural Research Organisation in collaboration with breeders at National Coffee Research Institute (NaCORI), Kituuza in Mukono District, had introduced new robusta coffee varieties that are resistant to the dreaded Coffee Wilt Disease (CWD).
The …

Promoting bio-fortified crops

September 18th, 2017 / The Nation, Nigeria

Micronutrient malnutrition, also called hidden hunger, is dangerous to health.
To eradicate it, an international global organisation has taken up the challenge.
Spearheading the firms is HarvestPlus, a programme of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). It is seeking to reduce micronutrient malnutrition through bio-fortification; by breeding new varieties of …

Genetic markers against deadly cassava viruses found

September 18th, 2017 / SciDev.net

Scientists have identified genetic markers of resistance to two deadly viral diseases in cassava varieties of East African origin.
According to the scientists, the cassava varieties — Namikonga and Albert — which are genetically related through a West African cassava variety TME117 are preferred by farmers in Tanzania and have …

Hybrid maize boosts yields for Kenyan farmers

September 18th, 2017 / Egghead, US

Hybrid maize seeds and the yields they make possible can make a big difference for small-scale farmers in developing economies worldwide, especially those who are at risk of poverty and food insecurity. However, low adoption rates are common, especially in sub-Saharan Africa.
A randomized controlled trial in Kenya led by Michael …

Training programme set to boost rice output in East Africa

September 12th, 2017 / The Citizen, Tanzania

The Kilimanjaro Agricultural Training Centre (KATC) has offered to train agricultural experts in East Africa on improved production of rice, one of the staple food crops in the region.
This was affirmed last week by the project coordinator, Mr Motonori Tomitaka, at the end of an eight-day training course on improved …