In the news...

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 …

Land fragmentation is the biggest challenge we face

November 11th, 2015 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow, Michael Ssali writes: Perhaps the biggest challenge facing Ugandan agriculture today is sub-division of farm lands. It is mainly associated with the traditional inheritance systems of our communities, which also still treasure large families. A man gets married to a number of wives, each one of whom produces …

Smallholders gaining from nitrogen-efficient maize

November 10th, 2015 / SciDev.net, UK

Smallholders face challenges such as poor soils and high cost of fertilisers. New improved varieties can raise yields by 30 per cent even in poor soils. Smallholders are seeing the varieties’ impacts, including aiding food security. Read …

Optimizing Africa’s food systems

November 10th, 2015 / International Policy Digest, UK

In Africa, agriculture is not only a source of food and nutrition but of incomes, employing up to 64 percent of labor on the continent with women producing up to 80 percent of food. It is therefore the most accessible sector. Investments to enhance productivity in this sector will ensure …

Rwanda: Farmers cautioned on seeds with short growth cycle

November 9th, 2015 / AllAfrica.com

In Rwanda farmers have been cautioned against planting seeds with short maturity periods. The advice was given by Dr Daphrose Gahakwa, the deputy director general for research at Rwanda agriculture board (RAB) while advising on how farmers can cope during the dry season.”We have several varieties of short term seeds …

Nigeria: A solution that puts smallholders’ food, nutrition and income in a bag

November 6th, 2015 / IPS, Italy

Sometimes the best solutions can appear to be so simple that it’s hard to imagine why they weren’t invented centuries ago. Take the so-called PICS bags, big plastic storage sacks made of triple-lined plastic that can hold up to 90 kilograms of cowpeas or other farm produce. They cut agricultural …

The importance of using herbicides

November 4th, 2015 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali reports: These days, it is extremely difficult to practice productive farming without the use of chemicals to protect crops from pests, diseases as well as the weeds especially for the farmers that are operating on a large scale. Read …