In the news...

Researchers find genetic mechanism that could enhance cereal yields

January 11th, 2018 / ISAAA, US

A research team from the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center led by Andrea Eveland has identified a genetic mechanism that could increase the yields of cereal crops. The team performed the research in Setaria viridis, a grass that is closely related to economically important cereal crops and bioenergy feed stocks …

140 new drought-resistant seeds unveiled to address food insecurity

November 27th, 2017 / The Standard, Kenya

The Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate (Kephis) has released 140 new drought-resistant and fast-maturing seed varieties into the market. Kephis Managing Director Esther Kimani said the new variety of seeds would help to address food insecurity, especially in arid and semi-arid areas. “These varieties are drought-tolerant and early-maturing, and superior to …

Kenyan scientists find new striga resistance genes in wild sorghum

November 9th, 2017 / ISAAA, US

Wild sorghum will soon provide a reservoir for resistance genes against Striga. A research team lead by Dr. Steven Runo of the Plant Transformation Laboratory (PTL) at Kenyatta University and Professor Michael Timko of University of Virginia has identified three wild sorghum accessions resistant to Striga hermonthica (witchweed), a parasitic …

Millets, sorghum, and grain legumes are foods of the future

June 6th, 2017 / Foodtank.com

The Smart Food Project is hoping to popularize nutrient-rich, drought-tolerant crops in an effort to diversify diets and ensure global food security. An initiative by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), the Smart Food Project is promoting the consumption of sorghum, millets, and grain legumes like …

Efforts towards improving sorghum varieties

May 16th, 2017 / AllAfrica.com

In Ethiopia, teff, wheat, maize, sorghum and barley are grown on nearly three quarters of the total arable plots of land. The production and productivity of these crops have shown increment due to the implementation of rigorous researches, provision of various inputs, and application of modern agricultural technologies among other …

Farmers in Makueni reap big after planting drought-tolerant crops

April 17th, 2017 / The Star, Kenya

For many years, farmers in Makueni county have stuck to growing maize, but this has not yielded much, leaving them to rely on relief food when the crop failed and during droughts like the current one.
But now an initiative from the Anglican Development Services-Eastern and the Alliance for a Green …

Farmers abandon maize for drought-resistant crops

March 21st, 2017 / The Star, Kenya

As the drought continues to ravage parts of the country, farmers in Makueni have nothing to worry about since they have millet, sorghum and green grams to eat and sell.
Samuel Mutune, a father of seven, says he grew maize for many years but that the harvests were poor due to …

The sorghum plant that could tackle blindness

March 7th, 2017 / Devex

Up to half a million children around the world are going blind every year due to a lack of Vitamin A in their diets. According to the World Health Organization, Vitamin A deficiency, — which afflicts 250 million children worldwide — is the leading cause of preventable blindness in children …

Unsung Heroes – reversing neglect

November 7th, 2016 / Claudia Canales, B4FA

The third of our periodic blogs which discuss food security, with a specific focus on how plant genetic research might contribute to addressing the challenge of feeding a fast-growing global population in increasingly uncertain climatic conditions.
Achieving food security is a complex problem that goes far beyond just producing more food. …

Charcoal rot: a threat to staple food crops in South Africa

September 2nd, 2016 / The Conversation, UK

Charcoal rot is caused by a fungus that invades various agricultural crops and gives them a charred appearance. The disease is becoming more widespread in South Africa – which is worrying, since it can dramatically affect crop yields which drives up prices and hits farmers’ incomes.
Charcoal rot attacks crops that …