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Zanu-PF embraces biotechnology

December 18th, 2015 / Southern Times, South Africa

Zanu-PF is moving closer to embracing biotechnology to increase food production in the country, with the ruling party coming out in its support as a tool to fight hunger and poverty. The party’s secretary of science and technology Professor Jonathan Moyo told delegates at the just-ended Zanu PF’s 15th Annual …

Tanzania gives farmers U.S.$36 million for inputs and improved seeds

December 1st, 2015 / AllAfrica.com

Tanzania has disbursed 2,999,778 vouchers for agriculture inputs worth $36.4 million (Tsh78.1 billion) to 999,993 farmers on the mainland so as to prepare for the new agricultural season 2015/2016. “The input subsidy vouchers have benefited many farmers of maize and rice crops by increasing production of these crops and …

Namulonge releases new maize, cassava varieties

December 1st, 2015 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru reports: The National Crop Resources Research Institute in Namulonge (NaCCRI), the maize varieties recently released are Naro Maize-03, Naro Maize-56, Naro Maize-57. These are high yielding hybrids to address the problems of diseases and declining soil fertility. Dr Michael Otim, the head of the cereals …

Acceptance of GM crops spreads

November 18th, 2015 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow, Michael Ssali reports: The Kenyan government is considering lifting the ban on GMOs, which will probably be this month. Previously, the Deputy President, William Ruto, made the announcement at the fourth Annual Biosafety Conference organised by the Kenya National Biosafety Authority (NBA) in Nairobi. “Mark my words, in …

New potato varieties to boost productivity in Tanzania, Kenya could borrow some tips

November 14th, 2015 / Farmbiz Africa

Brian Moseti writes “… Mtanga Farms Limited (MFL), in partnership with the Tanzanian government, announced the registration of four new potato varieties with the company promising to multiply and sell these seed potatoes to local farmers. With access to clean seed material, Tanzanian farmers for whom potatoes are a major …

Tackling post-harvest losses towards food security

November 9th, 2015 / Leadership, Nigeria

Post-harvest losses are losses which occur between the time of harvest and the time of human consumption and can be divided into quantitative and qualitative losses. Whichever way they occur, it is usually a loss to the farmer in particular and the nation at large as the value of that …

Rwanda: Farmers cautioned on seeds with short growth cycle

November 9th, 2015 / AllAfrica.com

In Rwanda farmers have been cautioned against planting seeds with short maturity periods. The advice was given by Dr Daphrose Gahakwa, the deputy director general for research at Rwanda agriculture board (RAB) while advising on how farmers can cope during the dry season.”We have several varieties of short term seeds …

New plant breeding techniques: Innovation breakthrough or GMOs in disguise?

November 5th, 2015 / EurActiv.com

‘New plant breeding techniques’ focus on developing new seed traits within a given species through genetic engineering. A troubling question for policymakers is whether these techniques should fall under GMO legislation. Read …

Breeding higher yielding crops by increasing sugar import into seeds

November 3rd, 2015 / Science Daily, US

A team of scientists led by Carnegie’s Wolf Frommer has now discovered that a sugar-transport protein in maize and rice called SWEET4 is both necessary for successful seed filling and shows genome changes that indicate domestication by humans. The new research is published in Nature Genetics. Read …

Patents fail to boost crop yields, says study

October 30th, 2015 / SciDevNet

Policies that secure intellectual property rights (IPRs) for agricultural innovations often fail to encourage technology transfer to developing countries or increase crop yields, a study shows. IP protection can take legal form in patents or be ensured biologically, for example by making hybrids of existing crops difficult to copy or …