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May 7th, 2013
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B4FA – The Week in Review

7 May 2013

This week Nature has published a special issue on GM crops which includes a number of interesting commentaries, including one commentary focusing on Africa and Asia (note: some articles are only accessible to subscribers).  Science journalist and commentator Keith Kloor has published a review of the special issue on Discover Magazine’s blog.

Scientists in the US are comparing modern and ancient varieties of wheat to better adapt wheat for different climates around the world, according to a paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA).

Media Fellow Samuel Hinneh (Ghana) investigates European attitudes towards genetic modification this week during a visit to Brussels, Belgium, while Francis Ameyiborinvestigates the smuggling of fertiliser in Ghana and reportson the global uptake of biotech crops.

New video!
Does your grandmother inspire you?  Dr. Anna Muyiwa’s cocoa-farming grandmother inspired her to pursue a career in cocoa research!  Watch the story.

In Nigeria, Hassana Salisu Abubakar of Freedom Radio comments on Nigeria’s emphasis on oil rather than agriculture in “The starvation of transformation”.  On a related note, Eyo Charles reports that a new action plan for Nigeria’s Niger Delta will emphasise new technologies for agriculture and will attempt to encourage young people to farm.  Charles also reports that the federal government will invest in agriculture in Cross River State.

In Tanzania Media Fellow Daniel Sembarya reports on investments in cassava by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the UK’s DfiD.  Over US $9 million will be invested over the course of four years.

Isaac Khisa in Uganda highlights field trials of nematode-resistant bananas taking place at NARO’s Kawanda research site as well as Monsanto’s recent decision to halt research on biotech cotton for Uganda due to the Ugandan Parliament’s delays in reviewing the proposed biosafety bill. William Odinga Balikuddembe reflects on the Parliament’s pending decision on the bill as Chairman of the Uganda Science Journalists Association.

Broadcast journalist Sarah Natoolo shares two sound stories with you this week, one of which focuses on banana researchers and another that focuses on the challenges of rain-fed agriculture.  In his weekly “Farmer’s Diary”, Michael J. Ssali comments on the B4FA programme and evaluates why receiving the right information is so important for farmers.

Please read on for even more interesting articles from this week!  As always, we welcome your feedback at [email protected] or [email protected]b4fa.org.
Biosciences and Plant Genetics

Special Issue – GM crops: Promise and reality
Nature

Biotechnology: Africa and Asia need a rational debate on GM crops
Nature

Transgenics: A new breed
Nature

Nature’s Must-Read Special Issue on GMOs
Discover Magazine

Team comparing genetics of ancient and modern wheat ; Published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA)
AgProfessional

Ghana

A Persistent Challenge For Biotechnology; Fear Of The Unknown
Spy Ghana, by B4FA Media Fellow Samuel Hinneh

Government to review fertilizer subsidy if smuggling of the commodity persist
Ghana News Agency

Biotech Crops, the fastest adopted technology-2012 ISAAA Global Report
Ghana News Agency

Developing Sustainability In Ghana’s Agricultural Sector- Agdevco’s Intervention
GNA feature by James Amoh Junior

CSIR To Establish Horticultural Research Institute
GNA

Nigeria

The Starvation of Transformation
Freedom Radio, by B4FA Media Fellow Hassana Salisu Abubakar

Tanzania

Expert cries foul over advent of fake seeds

The Guardian / IPP Media

Why Tanzania must accelerate agricultural biotechnology research
Daily News

Uganda

Trials start on root pest-resistant GM banana
The East African, by B4FA Media Fellow Isaac Khisa

Uganda will definitely grow GM, why waste time?
Sunrise, by William Odinga Balikuddembe

Farmer’s Diary: Importance of the right information
Daily Monitor, by B4FA Media Fellow Michael J. Ssali

Audio: Banana researchers discuss ways to better control pests and diseases
UBC Radio, by B4FA Media Fellow Sarah Natoolo

Audio: Challenges of rain-fed agriculture
UBC Radio, by B4FA Media Fellow Sarah Natoolo

Uganda law sees halt to Monsanto BT Cotton Funds
The East African, by B4FA Media Fellow Isaac Khisa and Halima Abdallah