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Uganda GMO banana research progresses despite legal uncertainty

March 3rd, 2019 / Alliance for Science, US

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afredraru reports:

The Ugandan researchers who have been working since 2005 to breed more nutritious bananas say their progress won’t be hindered by a strict liability clause in the nation’s latest biosafety bill.

The scientists are using genetic engineering to develop bananas rich in such nutrients as vitamin A, …

How farmers can control cassava diseases

February 27th, 2019 / AllAfrica.com

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru reports

Farmers across Africa are engaged in growing cassava which is considered as food security and industrial crop but the plant is vulnerable to a broad range of diseases as well as less known viral strains.

In East Africa the most common are Cassava Brown Streak Virus (CBSV), …

How farmers can reduce the losses on their farms this year

February 27th, 2019 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

Michael J. Ssali, B4FA Fellow, writes:

Crops harvested in fresh form usually get spoiled in a short time if no effort is made to preserve them. 

The same happens to animal food products such as fish, meat, and milk. When food is spoiled it develops an offensive smell, an unpleasant appearance and …

Virus lurking inside banana genome has been destroyed with CRISPR

February 1st, 2019 / New Scientist, UK

Genome editing has been used to destroy a virus that lurks inside many of the bananas grown in Africa. Other teams are trying to use it to make the Cavendish bananas sold in supermarkets worldwide resistant to a disease that threatens to make it impossible to grow this variety commercially …

Question of liability: Why researchers are worried about Uganda’s new biotech act

February 1st, 2019 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Uganda’s new Genetic Engineering Regulatory Act 2018 passed by Parliament on November 28th 2018, has sent a cold chill down the spines of scientists and researchers who dream of discovering and patenting new biotech crops.

Many critics see GERA as an effort by anti-GMO activists to block foreign multinationals from involvement …

Ssali combines journalism and farming

January 29th, 2019 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

A profile of B4FA Fellow, farmer and journalist Michael Ssali

Daily Monitor’s long serving journalist, Michael J Ssali, 70, who also writes a weekly column, “Farmers Say” in the newspaper’s Seeds of Gold magazine is actually a practicing farmer.

“My first articles in the Daily Monitor way back in 1992 were mainly …

How to achieve high crop yields

January 28th, 2019 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow, Michael Ssali writes:

The ideas in today’s sharing about how to achieve high crop yields are mainly drawn from the “Think Agronomy” newsletter published by the Kenyan-based Centre of Excellence for Crop Rotation. 

In a simple experiment last year it was possible to produce 11.84 tonnes of barley from one …

Insect farming can reduce hunger and generate money

January 22nd, 2019 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali writes:

Of the hundreds of articles that I have written in the Daily Monitor since 1992, there is hardly any that has attracted as much public reaction as the one I wrote about Mr Deo Kiwanuka of Gulama Village, Buwunga Sub-county, in Masaka District. 

He is a beekeeper …

Why South Africa and Sudan lead the continent in GMO crops

January 17th, 2019 / Alliance for Science, US

Why are South Africa and Sudan ahead of every other country on the continent when it comes to biotech? The answer is simple. The nations realized early on that they needed to embrace new technologies to develop faster maturing and better yielding disease-resistant and drought-tolerant crop varieties to counter a …

Young Ugandan biotech advocates push back against scare tactics

January 15th, 2019 / Genetic Literacy Project

Jonan Twinamatsiko, a recent graduate of biotechnology from Makerere University in Uganda, belongs to a group of young people facing rising unemployment. A Uganda youth survey published by Aga Khan University in 2016 shows 80 percent of Ugandans are under age 35, and 52 percent of that group is unemployed. Jonan had …