In the news...

Are GMO critics more open to gene editing that targets plant and human diseases?

November 12th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

The early generations of transgenic plants focused primarily on increasing productivity, either by reducing pest damage or increasing yields by minimizing the impact of weeds. These have met with fierce opposition from anti-GMO groups and some government quarters (such as Green Party members in European parliaments).
But transgenics and other modifications …

Scientists use potato wild relatives to produce climate-resilient varieties

November 12th, 2018 / International Potato Center

As millions of small-scale farmers struggle with the effects of climate change, scientists at the International Potato Center (CIP) are using wild potatoes to develop climate-resilient varieties. The resulting potatoes combine heat and drought tolerance with resistance to the most important diseases affecting potato crops, late blight and bacterial wilt, …

Safeguarding food security with plant health

November 9th, 2018 / International Potato Centre

By the year 2050, the global population is estimated to exceed 9 billion. We will need to feed more people with fewer resources while addressing the challenges posed by climate change. An expected side-effect of rising temperatures is a population boom of the insects and diseases that threaten agricultural productivity. …

Tanzania: Use of fertilisers to revitalise cassava production

November 9th, 2018 / AllAfrica

WITH modern methods of cassava farming in the country, farmers are set to increase their crop production from the ordinary 10 tonnes per hectare to 60 tonnes.
In a recent tour to cassava farmers in Kisarawe District organised by International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), experts expressed their optimism of reaching …

Researchers shine a light into the mechanisms of potato late blight infection

November 8th, 2018 / James Hutton Institute, UK

Scientists at the James Hutton Institute, in collaboration with colleagues of the University of Dundee, Huazhong Agricultural University, Heilongjiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences (both China) and Wageningen University (Netherlands), have shed further light into the mechanisms through which the potato blight pathogen interacts with plant cells to promote disease.
Late blight …

Cultivating resilience to climate change

November 7th, 2018 / Food Tank

The Crop Trust is on a mission to improve biodiversity and protect farmers against climate change through their Crop Wild Relatives project.
Crop Trust joined with The Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa) in June on a five-day hunt for wild relatives of potatoes in Brazil. Having found two wild potato relatives …

Irrigation: a game-changer for small-scale farmers

November 6th, 2018 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

Despite previous efforts by the Government of Uganda to promote irrigation, less than 1 per cent of agricultural households practice irrigation in Uganda (UBOS 2010).
The area equipped for irrigation is less than 3 per cent of the total potential irrigable area in Uganda estimated at 567,000 hectares. Therefore, there is …

What’s wrong with bananas

November 6th, 2018 / Nautilus

Norman C. Ellstrand, distinguished professor of genetics at the University of California, Riverside where he holds the Jane S. Johnson Endowed Chair in Food and Agriculture, writes:
Of the important global crops, the banana is the most genetically uniform. A single cluster of nearly identical genotypes, the Cavendish subgroup, nearly …

New push in pipeline for acceptance of GMO seeds

November 5th, 2018 / IPP Media

THE Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (TARI) has joined farmers across the country in pushing for changes to existing agricultural laws to allow the use of genetically modified
organism (GMO) seed varieties because they are drought resistant and can’t be easily destroyed by pests.
This follows successful trials conducted at the TARI …

Ugandan scientists poised to release vitamin-fortified GMO banana

October 31st, 2018 / Alliance for Science, US

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru reports:
Ugandan scientists are eying a 2021 release date for genetically modified bananas fortified with vitamin A, provided the nation passes its biosafety law.
In 2005, Ugandan scientists began using the tools of biotechnology to breed bananas fortified with vitamin A. Their goal was to help rural families …