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Agriculture in Africa: Potential versus reality

February 23rd, 2017 / How we made it in Africa

With more than 60% of its 1.166 billion people living in rural areas, Africa’s economy is inherently dependent on agriculture. More than 32% of the continent’s gross domestic product comes from the sector.
However, agricultural productivity still remains far from developed world standards. Over 90% of agriculture depends on rainfall, with …

14 improved crop varieties officially released in the DRC

February 22nd, 2017 / AGRA Digital

Farmers in the Democratic Republic of Congo will reap the benefits of extensive evaluations of improved crop varieties in North and South Kivu that culminated in the release of 14 new and improved varieties of three critical food crops earlier this month. Agricultural authorities from DRC’s “Service National des Semences” …

Agricultural technology can’t be ignored – Kenya ‘on the brink’

February 10th, 2017

Kenya is on the brink of embracing biotechnology in agriculture. The MIT Technology Review made the claim in October: ‘Kenya is thought to be on the brink of reversing its ban on GM imports.’ The news and commentary website Grist said it in June: ‘Kenya is on the brink of …

Finding the best seeds to match Africa’s needs

February 9th, 2017 / Soybean Innovation Lab, Illinois, US

Throughout Africa, soybean farmers may have access only to a few varieties with unimpressive yield potential or to a few high-yielding varieties without performance data for their latitude and altitude. A new evaluation programme will address these deficiencies and give African growers more and better seed options.
“An important component to …

Why microbes are key to solving Africa’s food security crisis

February 6th, 2017 / The Conversation, UK

Microbial-based solutions for agriculture are among some of the new innovations making waves in the sector in the developed world. The market for these products is valued at $2.3 billion globally). Biome Makers raised $2.2 million in seed funding in 2016 alone.
Microbes are tiny microscopic organisms such as bacteria and …

‘GMOs will not replace conventional seeds’

February 1st, 2017 / Tribune, Nigeria

The Country Coordinator of the Open Forum for Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB), Rose Gidado, in this interview says genetically modified seeds will not take over from the conventional seeds, and highlights some characteristics of GMOs and how they can help Nigeria in attaining food security. See …

Why microbes are key to solving Africa’s food security crisis

January 31st, 2017 / The Conversation, UK

Microbial-based solutions, which are formulated from microbes, offer multiple benefits to crops. These include improved growth as well as protection from insects, drought and other climate-related extremities. The solutions also offer environmentally sustainable approaches to improved crops and productivity while ensuring the resilience of agricultural systems. Poncho®/VOTiVO® is an example …

Answering the 3 Most Common Internet Objections to GMOs

January 25th, 2017 / GMO Building Blocks

Any discussion of GMOs on the internet brings a swarm of commenters. No matter the topic, an inevitable pattern of comment is “Yes, but what the author ignores is (insert common anti-GMO myth)”. Here are three of the most common tropes that litter those discussions. See …

Genetic diversity-the pillar to food security and agricultural productivity

January 23rd, 2017 / Ghana Web

Population expansion coupled with urbanisation of fertile agricultural lands together with modernisation in every aspect of human daily activities which create biodiversity are getting eroded in direct and indirect ways. Deforestation, land degradation, coastal development as well as environmental stress collectively lead to large scale extinction of plant species, more …

Addressing GMO concerns (3): big Ag won’t let farmers save seeds

January 23rd, 2017 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

This is the third article in a three-part series exploring some common concerns heard about GMOs.
There is some odd and fuzzy-headed thinking that asserts that crop breeding should be exempt from intellectual property protection. Often expressed as “Nobody should be able patent life”. There is a certain emotional appeal that …