ARV drugs in Ugandan pork a growing health concern

Mounting evidence that farmers in northern Uganda try to fatten up their pigs with antiretroviral drugs destined for humans with HIV has raised serious health concerns in the East African country. The practice could be putting many Ugandans at risk. Ugandans are the biggest pork-eaters in Africa, with each person on average consuming 3.5 kilograms […]

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Genetics help solve puzzle of how goats spread through Africa

Eleven thousand years ago in the Middle East, goats became one of the first herbivores that humans domesticated. Since then, the horned livestock has spread across the world. But how domestic goats (Capra hircus) found their way to all corners of the African continent—where they are now an important source of meat and milk—remains poorly […]

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Digging for gold in Africa’s garbage

Landfills—those smelly, polluted no-man’s lands of modern life—often contain useful raw materials. Recycling them for profit presents opportunities and challenges for Africa, Eman El-Sherbiny reports. Just a bus ride away from the shimmering Nile-side skyscrapers of central Cairo lies Hay el- Zabaleen. Known locally as Garbage City, it’s where the unwanted clothes, food and, all […]

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In Kenya, tomato farming is a male affair

Smallholder tomato farming in Kenya remains dominated by older men despite efforts by the government NGOs to encourage women and youth into agriculture and to foster equality in land ownership, scientists have found. In Kenya, seven out of ten tomato growers are male according to a study conducted by a group of Nairobi-based scientists and […]

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Getting watermelons to market in Benin

Watermelons are a popular fruit in Benin. But their profitability for market traders—95% of whom are women—is limited as a result of the country’s poor rural road network, a lack of storage facilities to stop melons from rotting, and the difficulty for traders to balance customer demand with supply. Sylvain Kpenavoun Chogou, an agronomist at […]

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Helping little girls grow tall, one dead weevil at a time

Weevils create a horrible sight. They cause mould to grow which produces poisonous substances that can make people sick.” When I was a little girl, I could abandon a whole meal at the sight of an insect on my plate. My mother would do her best to make sure that our meals were kept away […]

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Fighting the fungus

Many African countries are working to curb the threat posed to human and animal health by mycotoxins. But climate change could set back their progress, Sharon Kantengwa reports. About 80% of East Africa’s population depend on farming for their livelihood. For them, an ever-present scourge is mycotoxins—harmful substances produced by mould growing on cereal crops […]

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On Science and Homecoming: A diaspora African’s view

Neither guilt nor sentimentalism should drive an African diaspora scientist’s choice to return home, writes Sara Suliman, a postdoctoral researcher at Harvard University in the United States. Africa’s global diaspora harbours a disproportionate share of the continent’s top scholars and thought leaders. In 2014, the United States Census Bureau reported that Africa-born immigrants had the […]

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Yam genetics unveil cradle of agriculture in Africa

African yams were domesticated from a forest species and cultivated for the first time in an area around the Niger River. The findings, published in the journal Science in May, provide new evidence for a cradle of agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa. Nora Scarcelli from the French Research Institute for Development in Montpellier, France, and her […]

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On the lookout for oil-eating microbes

In Nigeria, once thriving ecosystems have been devastated by decades of oil exploitation including oil spills caused by sabotage or illegal refining. But Chioma Chikere, an environmental microbiologist at the University of Port Harcourt in Rivers State, is working on a solution. She speaks to Linda Nordling about her work using oil consuming microbes found […]

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