In the news...

Science, if used correctly, has no political affiliation

July 26th, 2017 / Salon, US

Show us your data and we’ll show you ours. That’s the stance of Scott Hamilton Kennedy, the director of the new documentary “Food Evolution,” which takes the — gasp! — position that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the agriculture industry might well be the best thing to happen to the …

Communicating agricultural science

July 26th, 2017 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru reports:
Agriculture scientists from 20 countries converged in Uganda to discuss ways of easing communication in agriculture science.
According to the organisers, the scientists deliberated on several pertinent issues themed: “Strengthening Communication for Improved Biosafety Management.”
The executive director Malaysian Biotechnology Information Centre, Dr Mahaletchumy Arujanan, in the key …

Scientists launch alliance to hasten crop improvements in Africa

July 24th, 2017 / Coastweek.com

Scientists have launched an international scientific alliance to fast track crop improvement in sub-Saharan Africa.
The Alliance to Accelerate Crop Improvements in Africa (ACACIA) will also contribute in helping African scientists to fasten solutions to local food security challenges.
“This initiative will harness the strengths of the global scientific community, as well …

Plant genetics, ecologically based farming and the future of food

July 21st, 2017 / John Wiley, US

For 10,000 years, we have altered the genetic makeup of our crops. Conventional approaches are often quite crude, resulting in new varieties through a combination of trial and error, and without knowledge of the precise function of the genes that are being transferred. Such methods include grafting or forced pollinations …

Policy perspective: how implementation of the SDGs can put an end to undernutrition

July 20th, 2017 / Global Nutrition Report

Global levels of undernutrition are still unacceptably high, with 155 million children under five stunted and 52 million threatened by wasting. Over 3 million children still die of malnutrition every year. Factors and pathways leading to undernutrition are diverse, complex, and most often interconnected. In order to address the scourge …

Scientists unlock planthoppers’ potential to control future crop disease outbreaks

July 20th, 2017 / EurekAlert, AAAS

Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Zoology have discovered how a severe rice virus reproduces inside the small brown planthopper, a major carrier of the virus.
Rice stripe virus (RSV) causes major damage to rice crops each year. The study could inform future strategies for controlling the spread …

Bio tech crops help African countries

July 18th, 2017 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali writes:
It was reported in this column last month that maize, cassava, and cotton farmers in North Eastern Tanzania, had appealed to senior government officials to give them Genetically Modified (GM) crops to plant in order to avoid persistent crop failure.
This followed vain attempts made for years …

Agritech will not take root without better communication

July 18th, 2017 / Eco-business

Technology has the potential to raise crop yields, cut fertiliser use, improve farming efficiency and, by its nature, make the world’s oldest and least digitised industry more sustainable.
But without better communication of the benefits to farmers and the end consumer, agritech could suffer the same fate as genetically modified crops …

East African scientists turn to gene sequencing against Cassava Brown Streak Disease (CBSD)

July 13th, 2017 / African Marketplace, CNN

Cassava has no defense against a tiny insect that is decimating crops across East Africa, with dire economic and humanitarian consequences.
The whitefly carries two viruses that together destroy over $1 billion worth of cassava in Sub-Saharan Africa each year. Cassava Mosaic Disease (CMD) is the more established threat and does …

Scientists biofortify wheat to produce flour with more iron

July 13th, 2017 / ISAAA, US

Researchers from the John Innes Centre (JIC) have developed a variety of wheat that has high levels of iron. This new biofortified variety could help decrease the number of people with iron deficiency around the world.
Wheat contains iron in parts that are removed before milling. With the use of the …