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Why Ugandan banana breeders say it’s critical to add genetic engineering to their toolbox

October 11th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru writes:
Ugandan researchers have been successful at developing robust hybrid bananas through conventional breeding techniques. Yet they see a strong need to adopt GM varieties of the fruit that is so critical to the nation.
They argue that using conventional breeding to develop hybrid cooking bananas is a …

Study in Ethiopia links healthy soils to more nutritious cereals

October 10th, 2018 / The Conversation

Large fields, predictable rainfall and favourable temperatures have meant that farmers in Arsi Negele, a town in southeastern Ethiopia, have benefited from good crop yields. Their production of wheat and maize, two of the main food staples in Ethiopia, have also increased over time.
But there are worrying indicators that the …

Kenya: Indigenous seeds key in ensuring food security

October 10th, 2018 / AllAfrica

The solution to achieving food security for the country is based on access to seeds.
This is especially because the quality of seeds determines the quantity of food harvested.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (Fao), about 75 percent of biodiversity has been lost in the last century, globally.
The loss has …

Africa must prioritise agric to ensure food security — Prof. Danquah (WACCI)

October 9th, 2018 / Graphic Online, Ghana

The Director of the West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI), Prof. Eric Danquah, has underscored the need to improve on agriculture sector in sub-saharan Africa to enable it attain food security.
According to him, current forecasts identified sub-Saharan Africa as the only region in the world where hunger and malnutrition …

Scientists’ breakthrough brings hope for banana resistance breeding to deadly bacterial wilt disease

October 9th, 2018 / CGIAR: Roots, Tubers and Bananas

A team, led by scientists from the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), have announced a breakthrough in the search for banana varieties that are resistant to the lethal bacterial banana wilt disease. This debunks the notion that all banana varieties are susceptible to the disease and opens the possibility …

Ghana ready to introduce GMOs – Biosafety Authority

October 9th, 2018 / Graphic Online, Ghana

Ghana is now ready to introduce genetically modified organisms (GMOs) food onto the market, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Biosafety Authority (NBA), Dr Amaning Okoree, has announced.
He said the NBA, which is the regulator of the biotechnology industry in Ghana, had put in place the necessary structures …

Equip farmers with information to step up food security

October 8th, 2018 / The Standard, Kenya

An unprecedented population boom which will translate into more mouths to feed is predicted to put a serious strain on food production in 20 years to come, researchers warn. Old threats and emerging ones like the voracious pests, and diseases Fall Arymworm and Tuta Absoluta coupled with weather changes have …

Pesticides: what we ought to know

October 8th, 2018 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali writes:
Pests are a big nuisance to farmers because, among other things, they reduce crop production.
To overcome the problem, farmers often resort to buying pesticides which are poisonous chemicals manufactured to kill the pests. They may be dusted or sprayed on the crop to prevent pest attack.
The …

Africa bets on technology to lure youth to farming

October 5th, 2018 / Reuters

“A simple text to a farmer just to say, ‘The weather outlook for the next three days is this’ can fundamentally change what they do.”
Africa has the world’s youngest population – 60 percent of its 1.2 billion people are under 25 – but only 3 million jobs are created …

Improved cowpea in the offing for Ghanaian smallholders

October 5th, 2018 / SciDev.net

“These novel cowpeas will sustain the cowpea industry and provide foundation for further breeding and improvement of the crop.”
Aaron Asare, Ghana’s University of Cape Coast.
Ghanaian smallholders could by the end of this year get access to new, disease-resistant cowpea varieties that mature early and improve yields, says an expert who …