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African farmers want GMO seeds to help weather climate change

March 18th, 2019 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

It’s an old proverb in these lands that since man has learned to shoot without missing, birds have learned to fly without perching — and the same is true with farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).

As climate change becomes more of a reality, bringing uneven seasons, longer droughts and heavy rains …

Let’s make farming attractive to youths

March 18th, 2019 / The Sunday Mail, Zimbabwe

We need to realise that if Zimbabwe is ever to address the perennial food-related challenges such as food insecurity, malnutrition, and increasing food prices, in a sustainable manner, there is urgent need to make sure that more and younger people are incentivised to go into farming and remain there. Read …

Population explosion: The main agricultural snag

March 18th, 2019 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

Michael Ssali, B4FA Fellow, writes:

Crop production is bound to be a big challenge given the current circumstances under which farmers work. 

One of the immediate challenges is growing land fragmentation due to uncontrolled population growth. 

Traditional inheritance rules in many communities dictate that every child gets a piece of the garden when …

Ethiopia needs to improve production of its “golden crop” Teff. Here’s how

March 11th, 2019 / The Conversation

Teff, an ancient grain from Ethiopia and Eritrea, has been growing in popularity across the world in recent years. Huge demand meant prices skyrocketed and the Ethiopian government eventually slapped a ban on exports which it kept in place for six years. The aim was to enable Ethiopians, who rely on it as a staple …

Unlocking agricultural potential to achieve food security and sustainability for 9.7 billion

February 26th, 2019 / Professor Christopher J. Leaver, Emeritus Professor of Plant Science, University of Oxford; Founder member of B4FA

‘He who has bread may have troubles, He who lacks it has only one.’Old Byzantine proverb

Since 1950 the world’s population has almost tripled to 7.7 billion and until recently the relative abundance of food has kept pace, with the poorest benefiting the most. Over the years the so-called Green Revolution, despite …

Boosting plants’ uptake of vitamins and minerals

February 26th, 2019 / The Scientist, US

The corn Elsbeth Walker grows looks a bit strange. Its leaves are streaked with yellow, instead of being entirely green. This yellow-streaked corn is a mutant that has trouble taking in iron, making it hard for the plant to create chlorophyll, a green pigment involved in photosynthesis.

Walker, a molecular biologist at the …

Genetically modified beans safe for consumption, scientists insist

February 26th, 2019 / The Guardian, Nigeria

Following fears and concerns by some civil society orgnisations and farmers over the safety of the newly commercialised Bt Cowpea (beans), scientists have reaffirmed that the pulse is safe for consumption.The president of the National Biotechnology and Bio-safety Consortium (NBBC), Prof. Celestine Agboru, during a news conference in Abuja, debunked …

Why do we need to keep breeding new crop varieties?

February 26th, 2019 / Sustainable, Secure Food Blog

Global warming and changes in the amount – and location – of water, are key factors in the need to continue crop breeding programs. In addition, there are many diseases that affect crop yield and quality. We need to continue breeding new disease resistant crop varieties to ensure a healthy, …

GM maize’s surprising benefit

February 25th, 2019 / Youtube.com

Reporter Joseph Opoku Gakpo tells the story of how African farmers are excited about GMO maize engineered to resist the destructive stem borer pest, which has also shown promising resistance to the devastating fall armyworm pest. Watch the …

New crop loss study underscores urgent need for resistant varieties

February 25th, 2019 / Alliance for Science, US

Plant pests and diseases are significantly reducing yields of five major food crops across the globe, underscoring the critical need to develop new resistant varieties, according to a new study.

Some 137 pathogens and pests cause losses of 10 to 40 percent in the staple crops — wheat, maize (corn), soybeans, …