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5TH FEB 2018
Welcome to the DrumBeat!

We are delighted to share with you our first issue. The DrumBeat will cover exciting stories and trends in biosciences, with a focus on Africa. Coming to you on a monthly basis, these updates will cover opinion pieces from African experts, as well as stories that are making waves across the continent. The e-newsletter will also keep you up to date on latest trends in the industry through our Regulator’s Corner, Upcoming Events, New Research in Africa and Publications sections. Together, we will explore the continent’s position on use of bioscience innovations and cutting-edge research in solving key food & nutrition, health and environmental challenges facing Africa.

The name ‘DrumBeat’ was inspired by Africa’s spirit of Ubuntu – the belief in a universal bond that connects all humanity. As the African proverb goes, “you do not beat a drum with one finger.” It is our hope that through your contribution and partnership, we will make the DrumBeat a success. We aim to inform and educate key stakeholders on the progress Africa is making in the field of biosciences, and where necessary, remind our leaders that we can no longer afford to be left behind.

When the drums beat, Africa gathers. Please join us in creating waves that will inform and inspire our beloved continent.


On the regulatory front, in January 2018, the European Union and USA granted approvals for genetically modified canola, rice and sorghum, for food and feed use. In late 2017, Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand and South Korea granted approvals for various genetically modified crops for food and feed use. This included canola, maize, potato and soybean.

In Africa, Rwanda is making strides towards legalizing GMOs by drafting a biosafety law for governing safe transfer, handling and use of GMOs. Namibia opened its first laboratory for testing GMOs in a move to ensure that only genetically modified products approved for use in the country are in the market.


A country that ignores its scientists and fails to invest in science and technology for the benefit of her people will always remain at the mercy of those that don’t wish it well. These are some of the words used by Arthur Makara, Executive Director of Science Foundation for Livelihood and Development, in an article responding to President Yoweri Museveni’s letter on the National Biosafety Bill. President Museveni declined to sign into law the National Biosafety Bill after its passage through parliament in 2017. In this detailed article, Arthur addresses pressing issues with regard to this bill.

Serological Evidence for the Circulation of Rift Valley Fever Virus in Domestic Small Ruminants in Southern Gabon

The findings of this study highlight the risk of Rift Valley Fever for domestic ruminants bred in southern Gabon and for the human rural population living in contact with these animals. The study emphasizes the need to develop adequate control measures to limit this threat.

Novel Sources of Witchweed (Striga) Resistance from Wild Sorghum Accessions

This study concludes that wild sorghum accessions are an important reservoir for resistance genes against Striga, a parasitic plant that attaches to the roots of many cereals crops causing severe stunting and loss of yield in sub-Saharan Africa. It identifies three wild sorghum accessions resistant to Striga hermonthica.

Combining ability and testcross performance of drought-tolerant maize inbred lines under stress and non-stress environments in Kenya

Drought and poor soil fertility are among the major abiotic stresses affecting maize productivity in sub-Saharan Africa. This study suggests the feasibility for simultaneous improvement in grain yield performance of genotypes under optimum, drought stress and low-nitorgen conditions.

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