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Durrie Bouscaren is a reporter at St. Louis Public Radio 90.7|KWMU, specializing in healthcare and medical research throughout the St. Louis metro area. Bouscaren recently visited Uganda as part of a fellowship with the International Women’s Media Foundation, funded by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation (HGBF). During her travels she reported on agriculture, particularly the Danforth Center’s Virus Resistant Cassava for Africa (VIRCA) project. Below you will find interesting reports detailing Bouscaren’s visits to East and Central Africa, where farmers are experiencing declining cassava harvests caused by cassava brown streak virus, a plant disease that can render a crop inedible. St. Louis researchers hope genetically modified crops can prevent hunger in East Africa • SEP 22, 2016, “It can have a very devastating effect on the farmers, who have put in so much and invested in it,” said Catherine Taracha, who directs crop biotechnology for the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization. “They’ll not have enough food and they’ll not have any income.” Read More.
A peek at daily life in northern Uganda’s refugee camps • SEP 28, 2016, Though some manage to carve out space to plant gardens that supplement their diet, a major concern among refugees is the lack of available land to farm. In each settlement, vendors set up a marketplace to sell their wares: fresh vegetables, dried fish, even a solar-powered cell phone charging station. Some entrepreneurs are refugees. Read More.
In Uganda, cassava is a staple in times of insecurity • SEP 30, 2016, A project led by the Danforth Plant Science Center in Creve Coeur to develop genetically modified cassava is undergoing field trials in East Africa. “During the time of displacement, we had a food shortage, and this was the savior,” cassava vendor Stephen Acaye told a translator at the market. Read More.
Will St. Louis-grown GMOs help East African farmers avoid food shortages? It’s complicated. OCT 12, 2016, Christine Anyeko, who works as a laborer in Amuru District, said she worries about brown streak virus hitting her cassava every day.“This is my only source of livelihood, what will I do? How will I feed my children?” she said through an interpreter. Read More. To find additional stories about health and the environment follow Durrie on Twitter, @durrieB. Her work has aired on All Things Considered, Morning Edition, and Harvest Public Media, a regional reporting collaborative.
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| Plant scienceNigel TaylorIICIFood securityCassavaAfrica