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Nairobi tech firm gets Sh2bn for maize hybrids

June 25th, 2018 / Business Daily

A Nairobi-based appropriate tech firm has received Sh2.46 billion to pursue regulatory approval for commercialisation of drought-tolerant and insect-resistant maize hybrids.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation grant to non-state research agency African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) will be used to fast-track adoption of the newly developed maize hybrid, Tela, that …

On the offensive against fall armyworm in Africa

June 22nd, 2018 / CIMMYT

The fall armyworm could cause maize yield losses projected at $2.5 to $6.2 billion a year. Experts estimate that Africa will need an investment of at least $150 to $200 million annually for research and pest management to mitigate related damage.
The voracious fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) has marched across Africa …

Encouraging African youth to adopt climate-smart agriculture

June 22nd, 2018 / CCAFS

Twelve million young people enter the African workforce each year with only roughly 3 million jobs available to them. To many, an agricultural career is not a glamorous prospect, particularly as climate change degrades land and disrupts weather patterns, making it harder for farmers to grow enough to feed even …

Are medium-scale farms driving agricultural transformation in Africa?

June 22nd, 2018 / AGRILINKS

For many years, we’ve been trying to understand the implications of shrinking farm sizes for millions of rural African households. Driven by population growth and growing land scarcity, most African farm households are witnessing the gradual sub-division of their farms over time, causing the median African farm to become smaller …

African researchers identify four high-protein maize varieties resistant to or tolerant of Striga

June 21st, 2018 / ISAAA, US

A study by researchers from Africa identified four varieties of high-protein maize, which are resistant to, or tolerant of semi-parasitic weed, Striga.

The high-protein maize varieties would prove to be advantageous for both farmers and consumers around the globe. Many small farmers would not have to buy chemicals to control Striga …

Biofortification’s growing global reach

June 21st, 2018 / Harvest Plus

The diets of more than two billion people lack essential vitamins and minerals, making them vulnerable to disease and disability. But as our latest crop map shows, the global effort to end this hidden hunger is gaining momentum, thanks to hundreds of partners around the world.
To date, more than 290 …

Inter- and transdisciplinary research on yam systems for improved food security in West Africa

June 20th, 2018 / Open Access Government

Professor Emmanuel Frossard from ETH Zurich and his collaborators from Switzerland and West Africa experiment in the YAMSYS project, a novel approach for improved soil and crop management in yam systems.
Whereas food insecurity has decreased in West Africa, it remains a major problem. Many projects aiming at improving agricultural productivity …

This startup wants to save the banana by editing its genes

June 19th, 2018 / Fast Company

In a lab at a U.K. research park, researchers from a startup called Tropic Biosciences are using CRISPR to create a better banana. The startup, which is also using gene editing to improve coffee, believes that technology could help save the fruit. Today, the company announced that it raised $10 …

African smallholder farmers embrace GPS-based digital solution

June 18th, 2018 / CPAfrica

Smallholder farmers are the most vulnerable to impacts of climate change, with rain-fed agriculture accounting for more than 90% of farmed land in sub-Saharan Africa. These farmers face many risks beyond their control, including drought, disease and pest epidemics. But a new GPS-based digital technology may help many African Smallholder …

Why we need to pay attention

June 18th, 2018 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali writes:
The messages we seem to be getting all the time from our local leaders are about encouraging farmers to increase production. Yet successful farming is not merely about large quantities.
Nor is it true that big volumes always earn high profits. Rather most consumers are more concerned …