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Welcome to issue 24 of the DrumBeat!

Happy new year 2020! With this Issue, we mark the second year anniversary of bringing you news and stories on bioscience research and developments around Africa. Your continued support has encouraged us to reach wider in underscoring the role bioscience innovations play in providing solutions to various societal challenges.

Our Video of the Month feature residents of Tanga Corner, a village in Western Kenya where cassava is the staple food and primary driver of household economic growth. Unfortunately, cassava farmers and processors in Tanga Corner are currently grappling with Cassava Brown Streak Disease (CBSD), a disease that now threatens their only source of livelihood. The residents now hope for access to CBSD-resistant cassava varieties being developed by the Virus Resistant Cassava for Africa (VIRCA Plus) project.

Our Story of the Month is an open letter to Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta by the Society for Biotech Farmers of Kenya (SOBIFAK), thanking the Head of State and his Cabinet for approving commercial farming of Bt cotton in the country. The monumental decision made in State House on 19th December 2019 will allow Kenyan farmers to access Bt cotton varieties that are resistant to the destructive African Bollworm.

Finally, we have introduced a new section outlining various training courses offered by ISAAA AfriCenter. These courses are available to individuals, organizations and special groups upon request. We wish our readers a prosperous year.

Happy reading!


Tanga Corner - A Village Powered by Cassava

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Story of the month

Daniel Magondu
Chairperson, SOBIFAK

Bt Cotton, Farmers 'White Gold': Open Letter to Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta

The Society for Biotech Farmers of Kenya (SOBIFAK), a farmers' association that advocates for incorporation of new biotechnology tools into Kenya, writes to the country's President Uhuru Kenyatta thanking him and his Cabinet for their monumental decision to approve commercial farming of Bt cotton in the country. The farmers are upbeat that Bt cotton commercialization signals an end to their misery with conventional cotton varieties that have shown susceptibility to the highly destructive African bollworm.

Country Crop Modified trait Date of approval
Nigeria Cowpea Insect resistant December 12th, 2019
Kenya Cotton Insect Resistant December 19th, 2019 (Cabinet Approval)
Philippines Rice GR2E Nutrient enhanced- Vitamin A December 18th, 2019
International Congress on Cell Science and Molecular Biology
Africa Agri Tech
Biocontrol Africa

In the next Issue, we will provide details of the first course on offer. For more details on what we do, visit our website at