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Govt, stakeholders in push to improve agric production

March 25th, 2016 / New Times, Rwanda

When African leaders pledged to support agriculture by allocating over 10 per cent of their budget to the sector under the Maputo Declaration over 10 years ago, Rwanda was the first country to endorse the initiative. Though governments across the continent committed to increasing agro-funding to at least 5 per …

Science plays crucial role in SDG success

March 25th, 2016 / SciDev.net, UK

Last night SciDev.Net hosted a panel discussion with the British Council as part of the council’s exhibition on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The panellists discussed how conversations around science can support the implementation of the SDGs. During the discussion, several distinct roles for science emerged. Read …

Biotech benefits: drought- and salt-resistant crops

March 25th, 2016 / Food Insight, US

Biotech crops, designed to withstand the effects of climate change, are one tool that could help us meet the challenge of feeding more people in a changing world. Read …

Newly-released sorghum types offer biodiversity & crop improvement

March 25th, 2016 / Newswire

Sorghum has many benefits for farmers, consumers, and the environment. It is a drought-tolerant crop. In many areas, it needs significantly less water than rice and corn. With fresh water becoming more limited for agriculture, crops such as sorghum may become more attractive to farmers. Sorghum has also been bred …

New rice seed promises high yields, income

March 16th, 2016 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

New rice varieties that will enable growing of the crop with less pesticides, less fertilizers and less water have showed yields of 20-30 times more than traditional ones under trials on farmers’ fields. Read …

Kenyan researchers step up trials for GM crops to fight hunger

March 16th, 2016 / Daily Nation, Kenya

National field trials for genetically modified maize (BT maize) have reignited interest in the bid by government and private companies to use science to produce more food cheaply. The situation has been made more urgent as the population continues to grow and worsening climatic conditions make more and more people …

B4FA evidence to UK House of Commons Select Committee

March 15th, 2016 / B4FA

In January 2016, the UK Parliament’s Science and Technology Committee launched an inquiry into the impact of European Union (EU) regulation and policy on the UK life sciences. The inquiry will look at how EU legislation and regulation can best facilitate, and avoid impeding, collaboration and innovation in life sciences …

Coffee farming: planning for the next generation

March 11th, 2016 / Daily Monitor

Farmer and B4FA Fellow, Michael Ssali, writes: Joseph Nkandu, the executive director, National Union of Coffee Agribusiness and Farmers Enterprises (Nucafe), believes that teaching Ugandans to build and sustain family-based coffee enterprises is crucial for creating sustainable wealth and jobs. Read …

How the US CRISPR patent probe will play out

March 11th, 2016 / Nature, UK

There is no shortage of optimism about the scientific potential of CRISPR–Cas9, a technique that can precisely alter the genomes of everything from wheat to elephants. But there is a great deal of confusion over who will benefit financially from its use. On 10 March, the US Patent and Trademark …

Staple plantains at risk of same diseases as bananas

March 11th, 2016 / AllAfrica.com

Plantains, an important staple through much of the tropical world, are susceptible to the same diseases currently threatening the world’s most popular banana the Cavendish. “All 120 plantain varieties suffer from the same susceptibility to black sigatoka, nematodes and weevils, like the cavendish, so there’s no variation in response to …