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1st October 2022
Welcome to issue 55 of the DrumBeat!

Dear reader,

As the world steadily recovers from over two years of socio-economic standstill caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the global society is still faced with serious challenges bearing far-reaching implications. Key among them include food insecurity and undernourishment, climate change, environmental degradation, and biodiversity loss. These are global challenges affecting people, ecosystems, and economies from all regions. Some more than others.

According to the World Food Programme (WFP), 597 million people across 89 countries do not have sufficient food. This is indeed a sad state of affairs that requires immediate attention. At the same time, the global population continues to grow, further increasing the demand for food. This situation calls for a paradigm shift in the way we produce, store, process, and distribute our food. It calls for sustainable food systems.

One key element to integrate in these systems is harnessing the power of science, technology and innovation in producing enough food from less resources. The farming tools used to feed 2.5 billion people in 1950 will hardly be sufficient to feed the projected 9.7 billion people in 2050. At OFAB Kenya, we believe that agricultural biotechnology will play an increasingly crucial role in the toolbox for sustainable agriculture and food production.

In this issue, we bring you exciting stories on the progress Africa is making in the agri-biotech front. The video of the month features key milestones the continent has made in animal biotechnology, including research, regulations and communication efforts. We ask our readers to spare a moment to participate in a quick survey on the same. The story of the month takes us to Ghana where Dr. Jerry Nboyne, a senior research scientist at the Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (SARI), recounts the journey towards approval for environmental release of pod borer-resistant (PBR) Bt cowpea in the country.

Enjoy your read!


Genome Editing: New Frontier in Developing Climate Smart Livestock for Africa

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Dr. Jerry Nboyine

Dr. Jerry Nboyine
Senior Research Scientist, Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (SARI), Ghana

Biotech Cowpea will be a Game-changer for Ghanaian Farmers and Economy

In June this year, Ghana's National Biosafety Authority (NBA) approved environmental release of pod borer resistant (PBR) Bt cowpea Event 709A, making it the first-ever genetically modified crop to be approved in the country. This development places Ghana as the second country - after Nigeria - to approve the release of a GM cowpea, and the eight African country to okay open cultivation of biotech crops. With this milestone, the country is now a step closer to commercializing the crop genetically improved to resist Maruca pod borer, an insect responsible for up to 80% loss in yield.

Read more
From Our Newsroom
Kenyan Government Technocrats and Regulators Laud Disease Resistant Cassava

Kenyan farmers express satisfaction with Bt cotton performance

Early adopters of Bt cotton in Kenya have expressed satisfaction with the performance of the biotech crop. Bt cotton has been improved with a self-protecting ability against the African bollworm that causes up to 100% yield loss. Since its adoption for commercial cultivation in 2020, Bt cotton continues to receive wide and fast acceptance among Kenyan farmers, especially in fringe and ASAL localities. Read more.

Animal Biotechnology in Africa. Trends in Research, Regulations and Communications
Communicating About Animal Biotech: Lessons from Two Decades of Crop Biotech Communication
AfriCenter at a Glance: Knowledge that Transforms
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