Agriculture

Making Kenyan maize safe from deadly aflatoxins

Scientists offer a natural, safe, and cost-effective solution to prevent future contamination of maize by the killer aflatoxin to secure the food and income of millions of small-scale farmers in Kenya and the rest of Africa. Kenya is again grappling with high levels of aflatoxin contamination that has rendered at least 2.3 million bags of maize unfit for human and livestock consumption and trade, to the dismay of the millions of small-scale farmers that depend on the crop for food and income. The contamination of the country’s main staple with aflatoxin, a highly poisonous cancer-causing...

Cassava - a new image

Cassava - ready for the market. Photo IITA Recognizing the potential of cassava as the ‘poverty and drought fighter’ crop in Africa, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and Farm Concern International have launched a 3 year program that will help 30,000 small holder farmers in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania increase cassava for food and industrial use by processing it at village level. The first of its kind in this region, the project dubbed “Cassava Village Processing Project” (CVPP) will unlock potential for increased incomes for small holder farmers beyond food usage by means...

Genes from green pepper rescue Africa's banana from deadly wilt disease

In a major breakthrough, scientists have successfully transferred genes from green pepper to bananas that enable the crop to resist the deadly Banana Xanthomonas Wilt (BXW), the most devastating disease of banana in the Great Lakes region of Africa. The researchers are now ready to start confined field trials in Uganda. The destructive bacterial disease affects all varieties including the East African Highland bananas and exotic dessert, roasting, and beer bananas causing annual losses of more than US$500 million across East and Central Africa. The crops are also under threat from another...

Biopesticide puts invasive locust under control

Calm has returned to Africa’s eastern bloc after swarms of invasive red locust were checked by scientists using fungal biopesticides known commercially as Green Muscle®. If left uncontrolled, a full blown invasion would have put a major setback on food security in that region, said Dr. Ignace Godonou, an entomologist, based at the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), who was part of the team that developed the biopesticide 14 years ago. Now globally used, Green Muscle ® has since proved effective in the control of locusts.

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