De teelt van BT katoen wordt NIET gestopt in Burkina Faso

Last week information was spread that Burkina Faso farmers have decided this year to stop planting Bt cotton. But, reacting to this news, Burkina Faso cotton companies indicate they were very surprised with this information

BURKINA FASO ABANDONS Bt COTTON: «We are surprised by the information» Monday, 14 May 2012.
Following the news, on Radio France Internationale (RFI), announcing that this year, Burkina Faso will stop growing BT cotton generally called GMO cotton, we had an interview with Dr. Dehou Dakuo, Director, Cotton production and development of SOFITEX, who expressed his surprise at the news. To him, it is not true as Burkina Faso is rather cultivating more than 200,000 hectares of the BT cotton seed. He however acknowledged that this year, for purity reasons, lesser seeds were distributed.

« Le Pays »: Burkina Faso woke up today to hear news on RFI announcing the cessation of the cultivation of the BT cotton this year. What is it in reality?

Dr Déhou Dakuo: we were also surprised by that information especially because at the moment we are holding our pre-seedling forums with our producers. The setting for the genetically modified cotton (GMC) as well as biological cotton seeds is 80% ready meaning most of the cotton producer groups have been supplied with BT cotton seeds. SOFITEX specifically (Editor’s note: there are two other cotton companies: SOCOMA and Faso Coton) expects to grow 200 to 300 thousand hectares of BT cotton during the 2012/2013 season. Just last week, Faso Coton went to the Kourouma delinting factory in Kenedougou to withdraw their stock of GMC seeds. I think it is the turn of SOCOMA to do the same this week. We are therefore very surprised to hear that Burkina Faso wants to stop growing BT cotton.

How can you explain the release of such information? Could it be a wrong source of information or a manipulation?

I cannot explain it. One thing is sure: it was false information. I spoke to many people in and outside the cotton industry in order to understand what really happened but no one was able to explain it. Unless there are other intentions behind the release of that piece of information by RFI, this year, a general evaluation of the cotton industry was conducted and the Association Interprofessionnelle du Coton du Burkina (AICB) held a press conference on the state of cotton growing in Burkina Faso. Documents are available and were disseminated. Things were transparent at that level.

De rest van het interview kun je hier lezen.

Hier vind je een artikel dat ook dieper ingaat op de kwestie (Frans).

Genetic improvement of grass pea (Lathyrus sativus) in Ethiopia: an unfulfilled promise


Grass pea (Lathyrus sativus L.) is an important crop in Ethiopia. Its vital importance in the Ethiopian agriculture emanates from its resistance to drought, salinity, waterlogging and low soil fertility. However, low levels of the amino acids methionine and tryptophan and the presence of the neurotoxin β-N-oxalyl-L-α,β-diaminopropanoic acid (ODAP) in the seeds are the major limitations of the crop. Genetic improvement of grass pea in Ethiopia has been started in the 1960s at Holetta Agricultural Research Center. The major objectives of the grass pea research were to develop and promote high-yielding cultivars with low ODAP content coupled with improved management production packages. However, the 50 years of on-station and on-farm research was not successful in producing outstanding varieties with the desired traits. Compared to other grain legumes, the poor success of varietal development endeavours within the context of grass pea improvement philosophy is typically related to the failure of the conventional breeding approach to fix a zero or low ODAP content because this trait is highly influenced by climatic and edaphic environment.

The Way Forward

Modern approaches such as genetic transformation of grass pea with plant-derived genes may prove to be valuable tools for boosting seed protein quality, and this needs to be explored. A reproducible regeneration protocol has been developed for grass pea. However, a reliable and efficient genetic transformation system needs to be developed. Moreover, the focus now should not be on lowering the ODAP content; rather, it should be on boosting seed contents of sulphur-containing essential amino acids like methionine and cysteine in grass pea genotypes.

Het volledige artikel vind je hier.

African ministers across the continent sign agreement to use biotechnology to improve food security

As the latest indication of increasing global support for science-based agricultural solutions, a landmark declaration by governments from 24 African countries officially endorsed the use of biotechnology to help Africa address food security and poverty.

This year, policymakers and scientists from several African countries, including Ghana and Kenya, have made strides in agricultural biotechnology through local research and hunger-fighting initiatives. However, the significant endorsement made through a joint statement signed by all delegates at the 2nd Annual Dialogue of Ministers of Agriculture, Science and Technology was one of the strongest demonstrations to date of broad support across Africa.

The annual forum is convened “to share ideas and agree on collective actions towards enhancing agricultural productivity in Africa.” Participants at the 2nd Annual Dialogue included representatives of the Governments of Algeria, Angola, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Ethiopia, among other African countries.

The ministers in attendance, each representing their country’s Agriculture, Science and Technology ministries, signed the joint communiqué at the end of the meeting stating they will “take advantage of modern technologies such as biotechnology” and develop policies to ensure the “sustainable contribution of funds for agricultural research and innovation.”

Meer lees je hier.

Vitamin A enhanced cassavas save Nigeria

Vitamin A enhanced cassava could help Nigeria reduce economic losses in GDP, that are currently estimated to be at $1.5 billion, says Director General of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Dr. Nteranya Sanginga.

“But more than economic savings, it will also improve the nutrition of women and children who are the most vulnerable,” said Sanginga at the public presentation of pro-vitamin A varieties by the Nigerian government in Umudike last weekend.

Dit proces was 10 jaar geleden reeds mogelijk in Azië, waar vit A deficiëntie ook een groot probleem is. De introductie van een vit A verrijkte rijstsoort, Golden Rice, werd echter tegengewerkt door belangengroepen als Greenpeace. Golden Rice zal nu toch uiteindelijk in 2013 gelanceerd worden in de Filipijnen. De economische en menselijk kost die deze vertragingsmanoeuvres met zich meebrachten zullen pas in de komende jaren duidelijk worden.

Volledige artikel lees je hier.

Ghana’s Biosafety Law finally receives Presidential Assent

The Biosafety Act which has spent four years in Parliament has finally received Presidential Assent, thus becoming a complete law.

The Law, from the Biosafety Act, 831, 2011 will enable Ghana to allow the application of biotechnology in food crop production involving Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) to enter food production.
It will also ensure an adequate level of production in the field of safe development transfer, handling and use of GMOs that are pharmaceuticals for human use, and which are the subject of any other enactment.

Online artikel hier.

“Africa’s Agricultural Revolution Will Be Driven by Research and Technology”

The famine in the Horn of Africa reinforced the image of a continent struggling to feed itself. Behind these images of seeming despair, Africa’s agricultural revolution is starting to take shape.

Unlike the Asian Green Revolution that focused on increasing productivity, Africa’s agricultural revolution is focusing on using new technologies to solve local problems. Its humanistic touch is particularly evident in the attention it is paying to improving local crops.

Much of the assessment of Africa’s agricultural future has tended to focus on financial allocations. While funding is necessary, it is not the most important indicator of the future success of agricultural efforts. For this, we have to turn to trends in agricultural research activities.

As pointed out in The New Harvest: Agricultural Innovation in Africa, the ability of the continent to feed itself will depend largely on the extent to which it is able to harness the world’s scientific and technological knowledge and put it to local uses.

Volledig online artikel hier. Het volledige boek is momenteel te downloaden.

Kenya testing drought tolerant maize

Derde veldproef met genetisch gemanipuleerd maïs in Kenia. De maïs is droogteresistent en blijkt volgens eerste testen een meeropbrengst te genereren van 25-34% onder mild-droge conditie.

De maïs zal vanaf 2016 verkocht worden en om de prijs laag te houden op een royalty-vrije basis! Meer van dat!

Online artikel hier.

Factors influencing agbiotech adoption and development in sub-Saharan Africa

Despite the technical knowledge available for improving food security in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), only three African countries (South Africa, Egypt and Burkina Faso) have commercialized biotech crops to date1. An important step toward improving agbiotech development and genetically modified (GM) crop adoption is to understand the factors that affect the transition of new agbiotech products from the product development stage, through commercialization to the hands of farmers and ultimate consumption by the population. As part of a broader

study on a social audit preparation for the Water Efficient Maize for Africa Project, we conducted 91 interviews with agbiotech stakeholders from a diverse range of groups within five SSA countries (Supplementary Methods). Analysis of the recordings of these interviews revealed four recurring factors that appear to influence agbiotech development in SSA: communication, culture and religion, capacity building and commercialization (Fig. 1). We expand in more detail on these factors below.

pdf hier.

Nigeria releases vitamin A cassava to improve public health for millions

Niet enkel rijst wordt veredeld om hogere concentraties vit A te bevatten. In december werden 3 nieuwe maniok-variëten voorgesteld die veredeld werden om een hogere vit A concentratie te hebben, bijgevolg hebben deze natuurlijk ook een geel kleurtje…

Online artikel hier.