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Hybrid rice engineered with CRISPR can clone its seeds

December 17th, 2018 / Science News

After more than 20 years of theorizing about it, scientists have tweaked a hybrid variety of rice so that some of the plants produce cloned seeds. No plant sex necessary. The feat, described December 12 in Nature, is encouraging for efforts to feed an increasingly crowded world.
Crossing two good varieties …

Sustainable hybrid seed sector key to Africa’s Green Revolution

December 10th, 2018 / The Standard, Kenya

Africa’s demand for food will more than double by 2050, driven by population growth and rapid urbanisation.
A growing population is not the only challenge. Africa has to contend with new enemies such as climate change and the traditional ones such as pests, poor infrastructure and post-harvest losses.
Some years back, increased …

Shock as government bans GMO trials

November 27th, 2018 / The Citizen, Tanzania

B4FA Fellow B4FA Fellow Rosemary Mirondo reports:
Tanzania orders the Tanzania Agriculture Research Institute to stop all Genetic Modified Organism (GMO) confined trials and destroy all test remnants.
An air of resignation characterised reactions yesterday to the government’s surprise ban on all genetically modified organism (GMO) trials in the country.
Members of the …

DIY crop speed breeding to boost drought research

November 22nd, 2018 / ISAAA, US

Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI) Senior Research Fellow Dr. Lee Hickey said that plant speed breeding could be part of the solution to minimize the devastating effects of drought and climate change on crops in the future. He added that the technique can enable researchers and plant …

Edible GM cotton could supply protein to 600 million people daily

November 13th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

It turns out cotton seed is a great source of protein, except it’s currently toxic for humans. Cotton naturally produces gossypol, which is essentially an insecticide. While that helps the plant fight off insects, it also makes it poisonous to humans and most animals. But scientists at Texas A&M University …

Large NMBU project on seed security

November 7th, 2018 / Norwegian University of Life Sciences

Farmers’ access to seeds is the focus of a new project ‘Access to seeds: From emergencies to seed system development’, led by Ola Westengen and funded by the Research Council of Norway (RCN).
Seeds are vital for food security and are a fundamental asset for the majority of rural communities in …

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 …

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 …

Tech alone ‘won’t raise farm yields’

November 2nd, 2018 / SciDev.net

• African smallholders face challenges including rural-urban migration
• To help smallholders increase yields, strong institutions should aid innovations
• Technology should help spur yields and farm operations, says an expert
Technological innovations such as use of mobile phones to aid farming are unlikely to increase yields unless strong institutions exist, an …

University of Ghana Professor, Eric Yirenkyi Danquah, has won the 2018 World Agriculture Prize

October 30th, 2018 / Modern Ghana

University of Ghana Professor, Eric Yirenkyi Danquah, has won the 2018 World Agriculture Prize in China.
Prof. Danquah who is founding Director of the West Africa Center for Crop Improvement (WACCI) was awarded the prize for his significant contribution to the mission of the University of Ghana through education, research and …