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What is the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF)?
AATF is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to increasing the productivity of resource-poor farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa. Its mission is to improve food security and reduce poverty by providing smallholders with greater access to improved farming technologies and know-how. In pursuit of this mission, AATF’s structure and operations draw on the best practices followed by both public- and private-sector institutions. AATF facilitates and promotes public/private partnerships whose purpose is to ensure that African farmers have access to agricultural technologies that improve their productivity. AATF is a registered charity under the laws of England and Wales and has been given a tax-exempt status in the USA. It is incorporated in Kenya and the UK and has been granted host country status by the Government of Kenya where it is headquartered. More ...
How does Striga damage the cereal crop?
Striga attaches itself to the roots of host plants and siphons the nutrients and water intended for plant growth. This stunts and discolours the plant, finally causing it to wither resulting in grain yield losses. Striga is most damaging to the crop before emerging from the soil. Early signs of Striga attacks are folded leaves and wilting even where there is sufficient soil moisture. Some crops act as trap crops or false hosts. They stimulate the Striga seeds to germinate. However, the Striga seedling cannot successfully attach to the trap crops in order to feed and hence it dies. Download pdf
Why do we need Maruca-resistant cowpea?
Farmers in west Africa have identified Maruca insects as major problems in cowpea production. The damage caused by Maruca to cowpea plants reduces the size and quality of the cowpea harvest. Conventional insecticides can be used to control this pest, but they are expensive, their availability to farmers is limited, and due to inadequate training in their use, often lead to unintended human safety impacts. The deployment of a transgenic cowpea product that is capable of protecting itself from attack by Maruca will make it easier and cheaper for farmers to produce cowpeas in areas where this pest is a problem. Download pdf
What are confined field trials and why are they needed?
Confined field trials (CFT) are field experiments carried out to evaluate the performance of genetically modified (GM) plants. They are an essential step for technology assessment and development. CFTs are carried out under stringent terms and conditions that confine the experimental material. They are similar to field experiments done for conventional breeding, but plant material and genes are confined to a limited area. Download pdf
What is WEMA?
The Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) project is a public-private partnership coordinated by the African Agricultural (AATF) to develop drought-tolerant and insect-protected maize varieties. The purpose of these improved varieties is to produce more reliable harvests under moderate drought conditions and protect maize from insects. These varieties will offer benefits to smallholder farmers – most of whom are women – so they can feed their families and increase their incomes. Download pdf
Why are the trials important?/What is the purpose?
The CFTs are done to test new plants under real field conditions and to assess the performance of the transgenic trait in a local environment and in local germplasm. Data from the trials will enable selection of the best lines that perform better under drought stress. This will help in eventual seed production for regulatory approval and for deployment to farmers. The CFTs are being conducted by the national agricultural institutes in Kenya, Uganda and South Africa. The institutes are working with the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), and Monsanto who are partners in the WEMA project. Download pdf