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Genetic markers identify the sex of yams and accelerate breeding

October 19th, 2018 / CGIAR: Roots, Tubers and Bananas

Researchers have identified the genetic markers that distinguish the sex of yam plants, saving time and resources for future breeding efforts.
White Guinea yam (Dioscorea rotundata) is native to West Africa, where it has been a food security crop for centuries. As Africa is rapidly urbanizing, yams are now being grown …

Inter- and transdisciplinary research on yam systems for improved food security in West Africa

June 20th, 2018 / Open Access Government

Professor Emmanuel Frossard from ETH Zurich and his collaborators from Switzerland and West Africa experiment in the YAMSYS project, a novel approach for improved soil and crop management in yam systems.
Whereas food insecurity has decreased in West Africa, it remains a major problem. Many projects aiming at improving agricultural productivity …

CONNECTED – a new network to tackle vector-borne crop disease in Africa

February 7th, 2018 / Cabot Institute, UK

This major new network brings together UK scientists with colleagues from across Africa to co-produce innovative new solutions to vector-borne crop diseases. And it turns out, there are a lot of them.
Almost every major crop in Africa is affected by disease.
Yams, cassava, soy bean, cocoa, maize, coffee, bananas and many …

Can Nigeria’s yams power a nation?

December 5th, 2017 / BBC, UK

Can Africa’s biggest economy swap its addiction to oil for the starchy tubers that millions line their bellies with each day?
“It’s our biggest hope,” says Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Audu Ogbeh.
The global slump in oil prices has hit the West African nation hard, where oil exports make …

Make silage from sweet potato vines

November 30th, 2016 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow, Michael Ssali writes: Uganda is the most important producer of sweet potatoes in Africa and only second to China globally. However the value of sweet potato vines as feed for animals is little understood by farmers.
Sweet potato is the third major food crop after cassava and bananas. While …

Reduce the use of herbicides in yam production, caution scientists

July 29th, 2016 /

B4FA Fellow, Noah Nash reports from Ghana: A Yam breeder with the Savannah Agricultural Research Institute (SARI, Dr. Emmanuel Chambas has urged yam growers in the northern region to minimise the use of chemical in the production of yam set for the export market. See …

Scientist discovers drought tolerance-enhancing fungi in yam

April 6th, 2016 / This Day, Nigeria

A soil scientist, Nkiruka Odoh, has discovered the use of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus (AMF), a natural-occurring soil organism to enhance drought tolerance of yams in the face of climate change. Read …

Climate change could make growing these crops in African regions impossible

March 8th, 2016 / Climate Change News

Global warming threatens some of sub-Saharan Africa’s most important crops, growers have been warned. Key cultivating regions could become unviable in the coming decades under projected climate change scenarios, according to research published in Nature on Monday. Bananas, beans and maize are most at risk of the nine staples that …

Aflatoxins poisoning health and trade in sub-Saharan Africa

November 23rd, 2015 /

Aflatoxin contamination is a growing threat to trade, food and health security in sub-Saharan Africa, where smallholder farmers are challenged by food production and now climate change. Aflatoxins are toxic and cancer causing poisons produced by certain green mould fungus that naturally occurs in the soil. The poisons have …

The sweet potato naturally genetically engineered by bacteria.

May 4th, 2015 / ars technica

One of the most frequently mentioned issues with GMO foods is a vague concern about bringing genes from distantly related organisms into plants. But an international team of biologists has now found that this has occurred naturally in a major crop plant: the sweet potato. The strains of this crop …