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Dealing with major banana diseases

March 27th, 2015 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

Diseases are caused by small micro-organisms, which we cannot see with our naked eyes. Just as animals fall sick, plants fall sick and even die too. Diseases are usually rampant in plantations which full of weeds, are un-mulched, and unprunned, and are normally spread by planting infected suckers from …

What is climate change and how does it affect agriculture?

March 27th, 2015 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali reports that we are likely to see more extreme weather, with farmers facing more difficulties producing crops and finding pasture for livestock. Due to the rise in temperatures and prolonged droughts, rivers and other freshwater bodies may dry up causing fish stocks to drop. Pests and …

ActionAid: The charity spreading groundless fears over GM

March 24th, 2015 / The Independent, UK

Donors to one of Britain’s largest humanitarian aid charities have been unwittingly funding an aggressive anti-GM food campaign in Africa that misleadingly warns farmers that eating the crops could give them cancer. A senior official working for ActionAid in Uganda reports that the charity shows farmers pictures of rats with …

Heated debate in Uganda over super crops

March 18th, 2015 / Business Daily Live

Green cooking bananas, or matooke, is a national staple in Uganda but in recent years a deadly bacterial disease, known as “banana wilt”, has had a devastating effect, driving some farmers to abandon their beloved crop altogether. It has also sparked a Ugandan version of the global row over …

How air pollution affects agriculture

March 18th, 2015 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru reports on how crops can be injured when exposed to high concentrations of various air pollutants. Injury ranges from visible markings on crop leaves, to reduced growth and yield, to premature death. In case of animals, it may lead to infection as a result of …

Scientists set to create banana hybrids to raise yields

March 6th, 2015 / SciDev.net

A five-year project that aims to improve banana farming in Tanzania and Uganda by creating high-yielding and disease-resistant banana hybrids is to begin trials in June. The project, which received US$13.8 million funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in October last year, aims to develop banana varieties for …

B4FA Mentor highlights developing countries’ uptake of GM crops

February 25th, 2013

Peter Wamboga-Mugirya, a B4FA Mentor and leading Ugandan journalist, draws attention to the news that more than 50% of GM crops are now planted in developing countries, as revealed in the latest ISAAA report, ‘The global status of commercialised biotech/GM crops‘.
“I think this report also serves as an important source …

Banana breeding and Vitamin A-rich millet: how can plant genetics make a difference?

December 19th, 2012

Lominda Afedraru, a B4FA Media Fellow in Uganda, has recently published two intriguing articles on banana breeding to fight pests and diseases and on the prospect of Vitamin A-rich millet.
In her article on the challenges facing banana production in Uganda, she highlights the diseases that have plagued bananas.  Fortunately, researchers have accepted the …

2013 B4FA Media Fellowship: Applications now open!

December 11th, 2012

Deadline: 31 December 2012

Following the success of the 2012 Media Fellowship, a second round of Media Fellows will be selected to participate in four-day workshops where they will gain insight into the history of plant breeding, how plant genetics work and whether plant breeding could help their country’s farmers cope …

B4FA Media Fellow: Can plant breeding help feed Uganda?

November 26th, 2012

In two recent articles, Michael J. Ssali, a journalist at Uganda’s Daily Monitor and a B4FA Media Fellow, reported on advances in plant breeding currently taking place in Uganda to improve the country’s food supply and offered farmers insight into hybrid seeds. His articles arise from a recent B4FA genetics …