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Africa closer to a cure for banana disease

December 15th, 2015 / Inter Press Service

Scientists at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) headquartered in Ibadan, Nigeria in partnership with the National Agriculture Research Organisation (NARO) in Uganda are close to a breakthrough after more than eight years researching solutions to BXW.In one Ugandan dialect, ‘kiwotoka’, describes the steamed look of banana plants affected …

Irish potatoes help combat effect of climate change in Ethiopia

December 14th, 2015 / Irish Times, Ireland

One success story among many that we have had here is the introduction of the humble Irish potato to drought-stricken and hungry areas of the highlands of Ethiopia. In an attempt to find a substitute for local varieties, we introduced the Belete variety which produced extremely high yields of 56.6 …

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 …

Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation save farmers maize disease headache

November 27th, 2015 / Mediamax, Kenya

I have been on a two-week break and I am back to continue preaching the biotechnology gospel — at times to the chagrin of some — but then last week’s announcement on a breakthrough in the fight against the deadly Maize Lethal Necrosis Disease (MLND) by our eminent scientists, …

It is time to store water during this rainy season

November 27th, 2015 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali writes: We live in a world of contrasts. Only a few weeks ago, in most parts of Uganda, we complained about scarcity of rain. Yet, now the general complaint is there is a lot of rain. It makes the on-going political campaigns difficult since most …

B4FA Week in Review – 25 November 2015

November 25th, 2015 / B4FA.org

As governments prepare for the UNFCCC climate conference, which starts in Paris in just a few days, headlines abound with stories about how wayward climate patterns are set to affect many – and already are. A World Bank report states climate change could push 100 million people back into poverty …

We need a voluntary international agreement to protect soil

November 24th, 2015 / Nature, UK

The history now being written in the world’s soils is not so rosy. Every year, 75 billion tonnes of crop soil are lost worldwide to erosion by wind and water, and through agriculture; this costs about US$400 billion a year3. Only a few countries have national legislation protecting soil, …

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 …

GM crops and the developing world: opposing sides miss the bigger picture

November 14th, 2015 / The Conversation, UK

Sally Brooks writes “… The majority of genetically modified (GM) crops are now cultivated in the developing world. In 2014, around 53% of the 182m hectares (nearly two million square kilometres) of GM crops were grown in these countries… but in sub-Saharan Africa, there are only 2.7m hectares of …

New technology to help farmers use fertilisers, boost their yields

November 12th, 2015 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru writes: A study done by National Agricultural Research Laboratories (NARL) Kawanda shows that Uganda faces severe soil nutrient depletion. This is because many farmers keep tilling the land over and over again without applying practices that maintain soil fertility. Therefore, it recommends that small holder farmers …