In the news...

Nigeria releases GMO cowpea, urges farmers not to reject technology out of fear

December 21st, 2018

After nine years of field trials, the Federal Government has released genetically modified cowpeas to farmers in [Nigeria]. Director General of the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA), Dr. Rufus Ebegba, disclosed this [December 18] …. in Abuja.

He explained that the application for commercial release of GMO crops was the …

Study predicts GMO cowpea will boost Ghana’s economy

December 20th, 2018

A new improved GMO cowpea variety developed by Ghanaian scientists will grow the nation’s cowpea sector by nearly 10 percent annually over the next six years, according to a new economic study.

The study forecasts the new insect resistant cowpea will add US$52million (GH₵230m) to the cowpea production economy by 2025, …

Uganda: GMO law fight not over

December 20th, 2018

Ugandan civil society is celebrating a new law that seeks to regulate the development and application of biotechnology. But it is cautious celebration – until President Yoweri Museveni signs it into law.

The objective of the new regulatory framework is to ensure safe development and application of biotechnology. It will regulate …

Africa can’t afford to miss the gene revolution, ag experts say

December 20th, 2018

Africa can’t afford to be left behind as the gene revolution transforms modern farming, African agricultural experts say.

This is especially true for Nigeria, which must feed its rapidly growing population, said Yarama Ndirpaya, director of partnership and linkages at the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN).

Nigeria and other African nations …

Medium-scale farms are on the rise in Africa. Why this is good news

December 19th, 2018 / The Conservation

Driven by population growth and growing land scarcity, most African farm households are witnessing the gradual sub-division of their land. Over time farms are getting smaller and smaller. Today, over 80% of farms in relatively densely populated countries – like Kenya, Ethiopia, Malawi and Rwanda are smaller than one hectare. …

New biotech crop-breeding technologies struggle for traction across much of Africa

December 19th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru writes:
Around the world, scientists using biotechnology advances to breed new crops are bound by an array of guidelines and regulations enacted by the nations in which they operate. Many of these countries have built these legal frameworks based, at least partly, on guidance from the Convention …

Preparing Africa for ravages of climate change ‘cannot be an afterthought’ – COP24

December 18th, 2018 / Independent, Uganda

Africa is at a “tipping point” as global warming increases, and urgent action needs to be taken across the continent now, to mitigate risks and safeguard a decade of social and economic gains, according to a new report launched by the United Nations Development Agency (UNDP) at the COP24 climate …

The land, agriculture and forestry nexus at the heart of African sustainability

December 18th, 2018 / AllAfrica.com

How Africa manages its land, agriculture and forestry is of critical importance to the health of its people, its economy and the world’s climate.
Not only is Africa the continent with the greatest potential to increase productivity; it also has the highest percentage of rainfed agriculture and therefore among the most …

Smallholders’ global food production underestimated

December 18th, 2018 / SciDev,net

The proportion of smallholder farms globally may be much larger than previously thought, suggesting that their current contribution to global food production could be underestimated, a crowdsourcing study reveals.
According to previous studies, smallholder farms — agricultural fields less than around two hectors in size — make up between 12 and …

Significant progress in pearl millet pre-breeding to develop drought- and blast-resistant varieties

December 17th, 2018 / ICRISAT

Efforts to develop pearl millet with improved resistance to drought and blast disease recently got a major boost. The identification of promising introgression lines after multi-location trials, will help accelerate development of new varieties and increase pearl millet production and productivity.
Pearl millet is an important source of nutrition for millions …