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Uganda seeks ways to manage the regulation of biotechnology

March 25th, 2016 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru writes: Biotechnology is one of the fast growing sectors in the world and the pace of this places unique demands on management of the technology. The managers must be able to create and sustain entrepreneurship, collaboration and research within a high-risk environment. So, they cannot adapt …

Kenyan researchers step up trials for GM crops to fight hunger

March 16th, 2016 / Daily Nation, Kenya

National field trials for genetically modified maize (BT maize) have reignited interest in the bid by government and private companies to use science to produce more food cheaply. The situation has been made more urgent as the population continues to grow and worsening climatic conditions make more and more people …

Africa’s key food crops threatened

March 16th, 2016 / The East African, Kenya

Agriculture in parts of sub-Saharan Africa needs to be transformed for key food crops to be produced, a new study published in Nature Climate Change notes. The study examines region-by-region the likely effect of different climate change scenarios on nine crops that constitute 50 per cent of food production in …

B4FA evidence to UK House of Commons Select Committee

March 15th, 2016 / B4FA

In January 2016, the UK Parliament’s Science and Technology Committee launched an inquiry into the impact of European Union (EU) regulation and policy on the UK life sciences. The inquiry will look at how EU legislation and regulation can best facilitate, and avoid impeding, collaboration and innovation in life sciences …

Coffee farming: planning for the next generation

March 11th, 2016 / Daily Monitor

Farmer and B4FA Fellow, Michael Ssali, writes: Joseph Nkandu, the executive director, National Union of Coffee Agribusiness and Farmers Enterprises (Nucafe), believes that teaching Ugandans to build and sustain family-based coffee enterprises is crucial for creating sustainable wealth and jobs. Read …

How the US CRISPR patent probe will play out

March 11th, 2016 / Nature, UK

There is no shortage of optimism about the scientific potential of CRISPR–Cas9, a technique that can precisely alter the genomes of everything from wheat to elephants. But there is a great deal of confusion over who will benefit financially from its use. On 10 March, the US Patent and Trademark …

Staple plantains at risk of same diseases as bananas

March 11th, 2016 / AllAfrica.com

Plantains, an important staple through much of the tropical world, are susceptible to the same diseases currently threatening the world’s most popular banana the Cavendish. “All 120 plantain varieties suffer from the same susceptibility to black sigatoka, nematodes and weevils, like the cavendish, so there’s no variation in response to …

Anti-science the biggest threat to modern farming and food security

March 9th, 2016 / ISAAA, US

“We are going to need all kinds of agriculture technology, including genetic engineering, if we are going to ensure global food security,” says Robert Saik, Canadian agricultural consultant, “the anti-science movement is the largest threat to agriculture in terms of our ability to feed the future planet … the voices …

Climate deadline looms for African food crops

March 8th, 2016 / BBC, UK

Researchers have produced a timescale of how projected climate change is set to alter the face of agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa. Climate change is widely projected to have a significant adverse impact on food security if no adaptation measures are taken, they explain. In their study, the team provides timings …

Without women, African agriculture won’t withstand climate change

March 8th, 2016 / Thomson Reuters

On International Women’s Day: the outcomes agreed at the U.N. climate change summit in Paris, which will shape future policies, fell short on a critical issue. Mentions of gender were mostly confined to how climate change will impact women, and how they are considered “vulnerable populations”. Discussions on how to …