Peter Werehire

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Kenyan researchers step up trials for genetically altered crops in bid to fight hunger

Left: A man holds a harvest of a GM maize variety at the Kari research station in Kiboko, Makueni County. National field trials for genetically modified maize (BT maize) have reignited interest in the bid by government and private companies to use science to produce more food. NATION MEDIA GROUP PHOTO

National field trials for genetically modified maize (BT maize) have reignited interest in the bid by government and private companies to use science to produce more food cheaply.

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Researchers urged to ensure improved seeds they produce reach farmers

By Daniel Semberya

Africa is a drought-prone continent, making farming risky for millions of smallholder farmers who rely on rainfall to water their crops. Maize is the most widely grown staple crop in Africa – more than 300 million Africans depend on it as their main food source – and it is severely affected by frequent drought. Drought leads to crop failure, hunger, and poverty.

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Scientists allowed to release GMO seeds for field trials

The National Biosafety Authority (NBA) has allowed researchers to release Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) crop for field trials, marking a new turn is the raging debate over adoption of biotechnology plants.

NBA board met on Thursday last week and made the decision following the application by a group of scientists seeking the permission for the release of the crop for field trials.

English

Kenya Has Capacity to Grow GMOs, Parliamentarians Say

Ten Kenyan parliamentarians drawn from various house committees have assured scientists of their support in biotech research. They said this after touring various agri-biotechnology research facilities during a biotechnology travelling workshop in Nairobi organized by ISAAA AfriCenter, the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) together with Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) and the National Commission for Science Technology and Innovation (NACOSTI) with partners.

English

EDITORIAL: Discuss GMO robustly

By BUSINESS DAILY

A request by scientists to the biosafety regulator for the release of genetically modified maize seeds is bound to reignite debate on just how tightly the country should embrace biotechnology.

The Kenya Agriculture and Livestock Research Organisation and the African Agriculture Technology Foundation have been researching on the production of insect-protected maize since 2007, followed by field trials in 2012.

English

New GMO maize ready for Kenya

Scientists are lobbying for approval to commercialise a genetically modified maize variety.

“Globally, Bt maize has been proven to effectively control stem borer and improve maize grain yield and quality due to reduced pest damage,” Eliud Kireger said yesterday.

Kireger, the director general of the Kenya Agricultural Livestock and Research Organisation, spoke at Kalro headquarters.

The National Biosafety Authority published a notification last week seeking views from members of the public on approval of Bt maize.

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Efforts Underway to Develop Maize Varieties Tolerant to Drought, Pests

As effects of climate change continue to hit farmers growing cereal crops, especially maize, scientists in a number of African countries are trying to develop drought-resistant varieties to overcome this challenge. Increasing incidences of drought in Africa are affecting maize production, a major staple crop, which resulted in frequent crop failures. However, the challenge in plant breeding is developing maize that is tolerant to drought.

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WEMA releases new drought-tolerant maize varieties in South Africa

The Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) project marked another milestone this year with the release of two conventional drought-tolerant maize hybrids in South Africa in September 2014. The approval for commercialisation was granted to the Agricultural Research Council of South Africa following their application for Variety Listing submitted in late 2013. Farmers began testing the two hybrids in demonstration plots during 2013/2014 season with positive results and feedback.

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New WEMA products available for licencing

The WEMA partnership has released nine new maize inbred lines for licensing. These are WMA1202, WMA2001, WMA2002, WMA4413, WMB4002, WMB8804, WMA8827, WMA8828, and WMA9902 (see details at http://wema.aatf-africa.org/stewardship/products-commercialisation-and-licensing-program)

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WEMA wraps up phase 1 and ushers in phase II

The Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) project marked the end of the first phase of the Project (2008-2013) and ushered in the second phase (2013-2017) during its fifth annual review and planning meeting in February 2013 in Nairobi, Kenya.

English

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