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Why South Africa and Sudan lead the continent in GMO crops

January 17th, 2019 / Alliance for Science, US

Why are South Africa and Sudan ahead of every other country on the continent when it comes to biotech? The answer is simple. The nations realized early on that they needed to embrace new technologies to develop faster maturing and better yielding disease-resistant and drought-tolerant crop varieties to counter a …

Fixing the nitrogen problem

January 16th, 2019 / Alliance for Science, US

In this video by Robert Hazen of the Alliance for Science, scientists from the Engineering Nitrogen Symbiosis for Africa (ENSA) project discuss how they are using genetic engineering to transfer the nitrogen-fixing capabilities of legumes (peas and beans) into cereal crops. Their work could help small-holder farmers in Africa and elsewhere realize higher yields, …

Scientists using CRISPR-based technology to target agricultural pests

January 15th, 2019 / European Scientist

A new paper published on 8 January in Nature Communications describes a ‘precision-guided sterile insect technique’ that can effectively alter insect genes to control female viability and male fertility. The method could potentially be used to suppress increasing pest populations that threaten agricultural crops and to prevent the transmission of deadly diseases. The controllable, …

Young Ugandan biotech advocates push back against scare tactics

January 15th, 2019 / Genetic Literacy Project

Jonan Twinamatsiko, a recent graduate of biotechnology from Makerere University in Uganda, belongs to a group of young people facing rising unemployment. A Uganda youth survey published by Aga Khan University in 2016 shows 80 percent of Ugandans are under age 35, and 52 percent of that group is unemployed. Jonan had …

Strongest opponents of GM foods know the least but think they know the most

January 15th, 2019 / The Guardian, UK

The most extreme opponents of genetically modified foods know the least about science but believe they know the most, researchers have found.

The findings from public surveys in the US, France and Germany suggest that rather than being a barrier to the possession of strongly held views, ignorance of the matter …

Genetically modified ‘shortcut’ boosts plant growth by 40%

January 7th, 2019 / BBC, UK

Scientists in the US have engineered tobacco plants that can grow up to 40% larger than normal in field trials. 

The researchers say they have found a way of overcoming natural restrictions in the process of photosynthesis that limit crop productivity.

They believe the method could be used to significantly boost yields …

Nigeria leads West Africa on biosafety

January 4th, 2019 / Daily Trust, Nigeria

The Director General of National Biosafety Management Agency, Dr Rufus Ebegba, has said that Nigeria has been mandated to lead the West African sub-region on biosafety.

Dr Ebegba, who said this while presenting the agency’s score card to the public in Abuja, said it was gratifying that the agency under President …

Training youth key to growing African agriculture

January 3rd, 2019

The West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF) is providing education sponsorships, technology training, and mentorship for youth in agriculture, research, and entrepreneurship. CORAF’s programs for youth prepare for the quickly aging population of researchers in agriculture.

In West Africa, 63 percent of the population is under 25 years …

Uganda: GMO law fight not over

December 20th, 2018

Ugandan civil society is celebrating a new law that seeks to regulate the development and application of biotechnology. But it is cautious celebration – until President Yoweri Museveni signs it into law.

The objective of the new regulatory framework is to ensure safe development and application of biotechnology. It will regulate …

Africa can’t afford to miss the gene revolution, ag experts say

December 20th, 2018

Africa can’t afford to be left behind as the gene revolution transforms modern farming, African agricultural experts say.

This is especially true for Nigeria, which must feed its rapidly growing population, said Yarama Ndirpaya, director of partnership and linkages at the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN).

Nigeria and other African nations …