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Using radioactive material to increase Africa’s crop yields

October 23rd, 2015 / SciDev.net, UK

A tech that uses radioactive material is increasing crop yields in some nations. It has raised tea yields by 17 per cent in Tanzania and aided water use in Ghana.An expert hopes other African nations would adopt it to spur food security. Read …

Local start-ups hold the key to transforming Africa’s seed industry

October 15th, 2015 / The Conversation

The seed industry in sub-Saharan Africa is informal. Approximately 80% of farmers save and replant seeds, offering security of access. But improved varieties – including high-yielding and hybrid crops – will increase productivity and income. To get these seeds into the hands of farmers, a better marketing and distribution system …

Growing the seeds of change in Zambia

October 5th, 2015 / AllAfrica

A photoessay documenting the Pache Pache Seed Growers Association in Zambia, who grow improved seed with the support of Afriseeds – a seed company initially funded by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). The association grows a number of bean varieties, cowpeas, soya, groundnuts and maize and …

Working to allay farmers’ fears of improved seeds

September 30th, 2015 / Daily News, Tanzania

The agriculture sector, while being crippled by poor output brought about by the use of low quality inputs, farmers would rather still stick to traditional seeds than attempt laboratory improved varieties. See …

Genetic diversity in our food systems

September 25th, 2015 / Global Plant Council

Our civilization developed with the domestication of plants for food, fiber and shelter about 10,000 years ago. Since then we have made constant improvements to these domesticated plants based on genetic diversity. It is the conservation, evaluation and utilization of this genetic diversity that will be essential for further …

Seed selection tool for Kenyan farmers goes live

September 23rd, 2015 / Farmbizafrica.com

Informed by the need to guide farmers on proper seed choice, the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) in partnership with the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) have developed an online application, MbeguChoice, which already boasts a database of over 200 commercialized crop varieties, including 61 varieties …

Farmers’ lobby aims to boost East African Community potato yields

September 21st, 2015 / The Standard, Kenya

Lack of improved seeds, use of obsolete technology, lack of access to credit, effects of climate change and cartel-like behaviour are some of the factors that have been blamed for the East African Community’s (EAC) low production of potatoes. Last week during the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme’s (CAADP) …

Adding value to African indigenous vegetables

September 9th, 2015 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru reports: African Indigenous Vegetables (AIVs) are considered a significant contributor to food security and nutrition for smallholder farmers in East Africa. They are also important as a source of income, particularly for women, although the farmers’ capacity to meet a growing demand for vegetables is limited …

An African plant breeder’s opinion on GMOs

September 8th, 2015 / Biology Fortified, US

A modern-day plant breeder uses many different techniques. Transgenic technology (aka GMOs) can precisely change the genetics of a plant. While there are unproven fears about GMO safety, this technology could decrease the death toll from malnutrition. What is the perception of GMOs in the developing world? …

Local start-ups key to transforming Africa’s seed industry

September 3rd, 2015 / The Conversation, UK

Calestous Juma writes: The seed industry in sub-Saharan Africa is informal in nature, with approximately 80% of farmers saving and replanting seeds from year to year. This gives them security of access. But improved varieties – including high-yielding and hybrid crops – will increase productivity and income. See …