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Friday, June 30, 2017

The shared economy is the future of stuff.

The shared economy is the future of stuff, the future of Stuff Is having more and owning Less. If you’re one of the many people who’s embraced the sharing economy, you’ve probably stayed in someone else’s apartment or ridden in someone else’s car. Maybe you’ve also done away with your clutter of DVDs, books, or CDs, since you can watch movies on Netflix, read books on Kindle, and hear music on Pandora. The concept of having more while owning less sounds paradoxical, but that’s exactly the scenario we’re finding ourselves in. Technology is enabling us to move away from ownership and towards an economy based on sharing and subscriptions. Platforms like Airbnb and Lyft or Uber connect renters and riders to landlords and drivers, and digitization means all kinds of media can be stored, streamed, or downloaded in seconds. This concept has also found its way into agriculture,where sharing or leasing is the rule of the game. A platform where investors can lease a plot/ piece of land ,signify interest in an area of agribusiness,pays(subscribes) farming is carried out on behalf of investor and payout is done at the end of contract. see In a new video from Big Think, author and WIRED founding executive editor Kevin Kelly explores the limits of what he calls the subscription economy and asks, “Is this the end of owning stuff?”

5 steps to set achievable financial goals.

Most people think they should be earning more but have never asked themselves: Why am I not earning this amount of money already? What is holding me back? What could I be doing right now to get to where I want to be? I am always fascinated by stories of successful men and women, and how they made their fortunes, lost them, and then made them over again. They all work with the prosperity consciousness theory. The theory of prosperity consciousness states: You must become a financial success in your thinking long before you can become rich in your reality. The most important single step you can take to increase your wealth, personal finances, and financial independence is deciding to change your thinking and develop an unshakable belief that you can and will achieve all your financial goals. Only after you start believing yourself to be capable of achieving financial independence can you set proper financial goals. Follow these 5 steps to set achievable financial goals:

Building social capital with social media.

Social capital is a means of bridging the gulf between people,places and events. Social media is a means of building social capital by providing a platform for effective networking, learning,e-commerce and partnerships. This platform can achieve much more by creation of community hubs,which will be micro environment influencing a set,then subset of a population thus creating a ripple effect of change in the communities,countries and world as a whole. Mark Zuckerberg says he wants Facebook users to start playing a similar role to pastors in churches, as he believes people can find a sense of purpose and support from Facebook.He recently announced a new mission for the social network, which is set to focus on growing groups and communities to “bring the world closer together”. He believes the site can be used to unite what he sees as a “divided” society, and make users feel like they are “part of something bigger”. more

Pets build social capital.

Pets build social capital. A recent research shows that having an animal companion can increase higher social capital. A cross-national study involving Perth, Australia, and three US cities has lent weight to the observation that pets help build social capital. A study to look at the relationship between pets and social capital, pet owners and non-owners were randomly surveyed in four cities (Perth, San Diego, Portland and Nashville – four cities reasonably comparable in size, urban density and climate). In all four cities, we found owning a pet was significantly associated with higher social capital compared with not owning a pet. How do pets help build social bonds? It is often assumed that the social benefits of pets are confined to social interactions that occur when people are out walking their dogs. Lots of dog owner anecdotes support this. In this large sample study, however, levels of social capital were higher among pet owners across the board. more

Cat's curiosity led to new type of plastic.

A cats curiosity has led to the discovery of a new type of plastic. Milk has a lot of uses such as 1)use in tea or on cereal.2) Whip it into a milkshake.3) Ferment it into yoghurt or cheese.4) bake with it. Milk can also be turned into plastic, this is possible because of casein the main protein found in milk. The Bavarian chemist Adolf Spitteler was experimenting with using formaldehyde to turn milk into a solid material, which could be cut or carved into all sorts of shapes. One night the cat knocked over a bottle of formaldehyde in the lab this dripped into the hapless animal’s dish of milk. In the morning, Spitteler discovered that the formaldehyde had curdled the milk into a solid, horn-like material, which set him off on a train of research and development. more

Cocoa and chocolate good for cognitive ability.

Cocoa and chocolate good for cognitive ability. This is another reason to be guilt-free when you get a treat of dark chocolate.Cocoa can be seen as a dietary supplement to protect human cognition and can counteract different types of cognitive decline according to new research. A recent review published in Frontiers in Nutrition, Italian researchers examined the available literature for the effects of acute and chronic administration of cocoa flavanols on different cognitive domains. This means what happens to your brain up to a few hours after you eat cocoa flavanols, and what happens when such a level of cocoa flavanol enriched diet for a prolonged period of time. The result showed, among others, enhancements in working memory performance and improved visual information processing in participants after having had cocoa flavanols. In women, eating cocoa after a night of total sleep deprivation actually counteracted the cognitive impairment which is less accuracy in performing tasks that such a night brings,this is a Plus for people that suffer from chronic sleep deprivation or work shifts. The effects of relatively long-term ingestion of cocoa flavanols (ranging from 5 days up to 3 months) has generally been investigated in elderly individuals. It turns out that for them cognitive performance was improved by a daily intake of cocoa flavanols. Factors such as attention, processing speed, working memory, and verbal fluency were greatly affected. These effects were, however, most pronounced in older adults with a starting memory decline or other mild cognitive impairments. The result suggests the potential of cocoa flavanols to protect cognition in vulnerable populations over time by improving cognitive performance. The cocoa flavanols have beneficial effects for cardiovascular health and can increase cerebral blood volume in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus, which is particularly affected by aging and therefore the potential source of age-related memory decline in humans.

Scientists have produced new drugs to beat superbugs.

Scientists have produced new drugs to beat superbugs. Scientists have produced new, effective and simplified forms of teixobactin , a new generation antibiotic which defeats multi-drug resistant infections such as MRSA as part of a pioneering research effort to tackle antimicrobial resistance. The team successfully produced a number of synthetic derivatives of the highly potent teixobactin named the'game-changer' in the fight against antimicrobial resistance.This new study which directly targets MRSA bacteria, overcomes a further barrier in the race to combat drug resistant bacteria. MRSA is a type of bacteria that is resistant to many widely-used antibiotics, which means it is harder to treat than other infections. This 'superbug' mainly affects people who are staying in hospital and while they can usually be treated with certain antibiotics, concerns are growing around the world about the rate at which bacteria are developing resistance to existing drugs. It has been predicted that by 2050 an additional 10 million people will succumb to drug resistant infections each year. The development of new antibiotics which can be used as a last resort when other drugs are ineffective is therefore a crucial area of study for healthcare researchers around the world.more

Scientists work to develop heat-resistant 'cow of the future'.

Scientists work to develop heat-resistant 'cow of the future'. University of Florida scientists are working to breed the "cow of the future" by studying the more heat-tolerant Brangus cow ,which is a cross between an Angus and a Brahman. More than half the cattle in the world live in hot and humid environments, including about 40 percent of beef cows in the United States. By using genomic tools, researchers aim to produce an animal with superior ability to adapt to hot living conditions and produce top-quality beef. The scientists are tracking down DNA segments from the two breeds and then figure out which regions of the cow's DNA are important to regulate body temperature. The aim is to assist the cattle industry so as to increase tolerance of cattle to heat stress. The researchers believe this will increase efficiency of production, reproduction and meat quality thus increasing profit. The research also speaks to the challenge of climate change as the new breed of cattle will promote climate-smart production in an emerging hotter world.

A new leaf: Scientists turn carbon dioxide back into fuel.

A new leaf: Scientists turn carbon dioxide back into fuel. Researchers have found a way to convert carbon dioxide into a usable energy source. Carbon dioxide is produced by the burning of fossil fuels in power plants and car engines and it continues to accumulate in the atmosphere, warming the planet. The trees and other plants do slowly capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, converting it to sugars that store energy. Scientists and policymakers around the world try to combat the increasing rate of climate change, they have focused on the chief source which is carbon dioxide.In a new study from the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Illinois at Chicago, researchers have found a similar way to convert carbon dioxide into a usable energy source using sunlight. more

Plants use hydrogen peroxide as sun screen.

Hydrogen peroxide protects plants against sun damage. A new research shows that plants use hydrogen peroxide to control how their cells react to varying levels of light. The hydrogen peroxide is a by-product of photosynthesis in parts of plant cells called chloroplasts. The study by the University of Exeter and the University of Essex is the first to discover where and how the process happens. Its very important for plants to be able to detect how much light there is, so they can use it for photosynthesis. The plants also have to adjust to protect themselves, as high levels of light can damage leaves same as how humans get sunburn on our skin. more

Crawling out of Darkness.

Crawling out of Darkness, this is an unusual post but a timely one for women,young girls and adolescents . Women all over the world are facing similar issues,many battling with stuff drawing them into darkness that tends to eat at their core and redefining who they are. The issue of workplace harassment,rape,child marriages, abusive relationships and general gender insensitivity in economic affairs is restricting women,the girl-child and teens limiting their expressions and contributions to the society at large. Women are strong,making their mark in various fields and helping other women out giving support. Everybody has a story, every woman has a struggle but the good thing is that we dont allow it to define us,rather we push pass the experience making it a platform to reach out to the more people going through similar events. A month ago, i was robbed on way back from the office escaping with a dent in my car and without my wedding rings but thankful to be alive. Ive been replaying the events over and over and asking why! why!!why!!! setting myself up for the dark alley,but today i crawled out of that pit when i read the story of Terry Gobanga,who was ganged raped on her wedding day and went through hell,but crawled out of darkness and giving hope to others. #womenhelpingwomen #girlpower #women When Terry Gobanga - then Terry Apudo - didn't show up to her wedding, nobody could have guessed that she had been abducted, raped and left for dead by the roadside. It was the first of two tragedies to hit the young Nairobi pastor in quick succession. But she is a survivor. It was going to be a very big wedding. I was a pastor, so all our church members were coming, as well as all our relatives. My fiance, Harry, and I were very excited - we were getting married in All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi and I had rented a beautiful dress. But the night before the wedding I realized that I had some of Harry's clothes, including his cravat. He couldn't show up without a tie, so a friend who had stayed the night offered to take it to him first thing in the morning. We got up at dawn and I walked her to the bus station. As I was making my way back home, I walked past a guy sitting on the bonnet of a car - suddenly he grabbed me from behind and dumped me in the back seat. There were two more men inside, and they drove off. It all happened in a fraction of a second. A piece of cloth was stuffed in my mouth. I was kicking and hitting out and trying to scream. When I managed to push the gag out, I screamed: "It's my wedding day!" more

Thursday, June 29, 2017

How Six Families Joined Hands to Grow Their Own Organic Food in Noida.

How Six Families Joined Hands to Grow Their Own Organic Food in Noida. A healthy diet begins with lots of fruits and vegetables, but some of the shiny, ‘perfect looking’ veggies available in the market may not good for your health after all. A study by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India under the Union agriculture ministry threw up some unpalatable facts – vegetables and fruits on sale in the market may contain startling amounts of harmful chemicals. This is a result of the fact that, over the years, conventional farmers have been increasingly spraying synthetic pesticides on crops to kill insects and waxing the harvested produce to increase their shelf life. It’s time to take a closer look at what’s on our plates and where it comes from and what we are feeding our families. This is exactly what six families in Noida are doing, worried that the food their children were eating was laden with pesticides, chemicals and fertilizers, they decided to take up organic farming to source farm fresh vegetables for themselves.more

Female farmers in Kenya are collapsing gender and economic barriers.

Activities of 63-year-old Easther Tuiya and other members of the Elenarai Cooperative Women Society have turned the tide for Kenyan women farmers, in terms of economic opportunities and income generation in agriculture. This means good news for women empowerment, gender equality, and an overall balance of Kenya’s economic climate. The practice of conservation agriculture has become more prominent amongst female farmers in the country, and the Muchore Mutethia have made their way around middlemen to secure their income by being sole producers of food crop for a renowned brewery. All of these feats see Kenyan women farmers come a long way from agricultural restrictions that left them selling charcoal and firewood for a living, and arriving at a place where they make immense contributions to the country’s economy and environment. The frequent droughts and growing food insecurity in Kenya moved women farmers to discover other options to what was once a common trade for them. This was especially since the climatic conditions further prevent the business from thriving, and the journey to gather wood has become a risky venture for the women. To solve their problems, Easther Tuiya and her group of former charcoal and firewood traders started out with the vision to repair their landscape through the planting of trees and harvesting rain water. more

Federal Government to partner groups assisting start-up entrepreneurs.

FG to partner groups assisting start-up entrepreneurs. The Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo expressed the readiness of the Federal Government to work with groups assisting Nigerian start-up entrepreneurs. Osinbajo said this in Abuja when he visited the “Civic Innovation Lab”, a non-profit organization with offices and facilities set up to support Nigerians in implementing business ideas that they have innovated. The visit of the Acting President came on a day the Federal Executive Council approved a new “National Science, Technology and Innovation Roadmap”, designed to kick-start the engine of innovation and start-up in Nigeria. The acting president maintained that the Buhari administration was a government elected to serve and would do so by giving “support wherever possible to groups or organizations that are assisting fellow citizens to realize their dreams of owning their own businesses“. more

Nigeria: Customs, rice farmers sign MoU to curb smuggling.

In a bid to stop smuggling of rice and importation of substandard rice to Nigeria, rice farmers and customs sign an MoU. The Nigeria Customs Service and the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to stop rice smuggling through land border into the country. Alhaji Aminu Goronyo, President Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) who confirmed the development said even though the importation of rice through the land borders was banned since April 2016 with an extension to the restriction of rice into the Nigerian market from the Export Processing Zones (EPZ), smugglers still engaged in the unwholesome act. He warned Nigerians against the consumption of foreign rice, saying that most of the imported rice was stale and only meant for animal and fish feeds. He said result of test by NAFDAC through some samples of some of the rice seizures had ascertained that smuggled rice through the land borders was unfit for human consumption. more

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Nigeria to launch yams export to Europe, US and China.

Nigeria to launch yams export to Europe, US, China, accounts for 61% of global production. Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, has confirmed that the Federal Government will on Thursday (today) launch the exportation of yams to Europe, United States of America and China. The minister said according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation, Nigeria accounts for 61% of the total output of yams in the world the rest is shared between some countries in the West Africa and the West Indies. He assured that yam exportation will not increase hunger in the land, rather yam exportation is an economic opportunity The minister stated that not all the yams produced here are consumed as most of it is lost to wastage's because of poor technologies in preservation,thus there are plans to install to solar coolers in yam markets and yam producing areas to keep the temperature at 14 degrees Celsius, not frozen but to keep it at that temperature so that it can be good all year round and can last up to two to three years in the containers. more

Action video games boost reading skills of children with dyslexia .

Action video games boost reading skills of children with dyslexia . A study appearing in the Cell Press journal Biology shows that time spent playing action video games can actually make dyslexic children read better. In fact, 12 hours of video game play did more for reading skills than is normally achieved with a year of spontaneous reading development or demanding traditional reading treatments. The action video games enhance many aspects of visual attention, mainly improving the extraction of information from the environment.The findings come as further support for the notion that visual attention deficits are at the root of dyslexia, a condition that makes reading extremely difficult for one out of every ten children. more

How smartphones reduces brain power.

How smartphones reduces brain power. The rave of the moment now is a smartphone and as the name implies its smart indeed,taking over so many functions at home and on the farms. The smartphone has become a platform for many smart solutions,linking sensors, robots and other agritech components together,the smartness of these phones seem to be robbing the owners of their smartness(cognitive) abilities according to a new research. A new study from the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin shows that your cognitive capacity is significantly reduced when your smartphone is within reach . Researchers conducted experiments with nearly 800 smartphone users in an attempt to measure, for the first time, how well people can complete tasks when they have their smartphones nearby even when they're not using them. In one experiment, the researchers asked study participants to sit at a computer and take a series of tests that required full concentration in order to score well. The tests were geared to measure participants' available cognitive capacity -- that is, the brain's ability to hold and process data at any given time. Before beginning, participants were randomly instructed to place their smartphones either on the desk face down, in their pocket or personal bag, or in another room. All participants were instructed to turn their phones to silent. The researchers found that participants with their phones in another room significantly outperformed those with their phones on the desk, and they also slightly outperformed those participants who had kept their phones in a pocket or bag. The findings suggest that the mere presence of one's smartphone reduces available cognitive capacity and impairs cognitive functioning, even though people feel they're giving their full attention and focus to the task at hand. source

How to tackle iron and zinc deficiencies with a better variety of bread.

How to tackle iron and zinc deficiencies with a better variety of bread. Farmers and nutritionists have been working hand-in-hand to tackle iron and zinc deficiencies with bio fortification of crops to provide essential nutrients. The World Health Organization reports that anemia affects more than 30 percent of the world's population, and many cases are due to iron deficiency and many of the same people are also affected by zinc deficiencies. These conditions can lead to impaired growth, neurological problems and even early death. These deficiencies are common in developing countries and really devastating in children, the strategy involves fertilizing crops with the micronutrients,but the challenge was no one has figured out whether these added nutrients end up in food products made with the fortified crops or not. A new research reported in ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry has shown that that this type of biofortification can boost micronutrients in bread, but other factors are also important. The researchers found that fertilizing an old variety of wheat crop increased its flour's concentration of zinc by more than 78 percent. Iron levels remained about the same regardless of whether varieties were biofortified; however, the old variety in the study had higher concentrations of the micronutrient than the modern variety. The analysis also showed that milling grains, regardless of whether they came from biofortified crops, into whole wheat flour versus white flour resulted in higher levels of iron, zinc and other health-promoting compounds, including antioxidants. Additionally, the process of bread-making slightly changed iron and zinc concentrations, but greatly boosted their bioavailability by 77 and 70 percent, respectively. The researchers say their findings demonstrate that biofortification, milling technique and baking should all factor into strategies for enhancing bread with iron and zinc for fighting deficiencies.

Artificial intelligence and detection of lameness in dairy cattle.

Artificial intelligence and detection of lameness in dairy cattle will change dairy farming. An early detection method for cow lameness (hoof disease), a major disease of dairy cattle, has now been developed from images of cow gait with an accuracy of 99 percent or higher by applying human gait analysis. This technique allows early detection of lameness from cow gait, which was previously difficult. It is hoped that a revolution in dairy farming can be achieved through detailed observation by AI-powered image analysis. Dairy farmers are busy with routines such as cleaning cowsheds, milking, and feeding, so it's very difficult to determine the condition of cows. If this continues, they will remain too busy to ensure the quantity and quality of milk and dairy products. A group of researchers led by Professor YAGI Yasushi at the Institute of Scientific and Industrial Research, Osaka University, together with Professor NAKADA Ken at Rakuno Gakuen University, developed a technique for monitoring health of dairy cattle with high frequency and accuracy in the farmers' stead by using a camera and AI with the aim of realizing a smart cowhouse. Methods for finding lameness by detecting back arch had been studied, but that method was effective in detecting moderate to severe lameness. The researchers established a method for the early detection of lameness from cow gait images with an accuracy of 99% or higher by using their own human gait analysis technique. Specifically, this group waterproofed and dustproofed Microsoft Kinect, a camera-based sensor capable of measuring distance to an object, and set it in a cowshed at Rakuno Gakuen University. Based on the large number of cow gait images taken by this sensor, this group characterized cow gaits, detecting cows with lameness through machine learning. more

Invest in new technology, not bigger farms, to make profits in agribusiness.

Invest in new technology, not bigger farms, to make profits in agribusiness. The drive to get big in agribusiness is leaking money from most ventures,experts have opined that this drive to get big or get out of agribusiness is the wrong approach. Agribusiness has massive profit potential but the gains of the business is in investing in technology,to be profitable today producers still need to get bigger, but real gains come with investing seriously in agricultural technology, and not simply expansion or farm enlargement. Farmers need strategies to use technology especially precision agriculture ,use of drones,sensors and most importantly use genetic or bio-engineering techniques. The goal to feed the ever increasing population has to be with smart agricultural practices,using technology to boost production, preservation and proper distribution to ensure farm produce is not lost or wasted. The use of technology to foster farms will not be limited to production but to the entire chain if profit and food security is to be achieved. Agriculture with technology(agritech) is the way forward for agribusiness,farmers need to push the bar with innovative technologies which can be done individually or as a group or better still there can be a call for investors in form of partnerships. more

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Don't refrigerate tomatoes for better aroma.

Don't refrigerate tomatoes for better aroma.Aroma, which is produced by a complex mixture of volatile compounds, plays an important role in consumers' perceptions of fresh fruits and vegetables. According to the researchers not only do pre and post-production practices such as time of harvest, use of plant growth regulators and storage temperature/atmosphere affect tomato aroma, common kitchen practices such as refrigeration and blanching are also detrimental.more

Vacuum cooling: Ensuring product quality and optimizing storage life.

Vacuum cooling: Ensuring product quality and optimizing storage life. Many vegetables, flowers, herbs and fruit quickly age after harvest. At harvest temperature, respiration and transpiration could be up to 25 times higher than with at optimum storage temperature. Vacuum cooling is a perfect method for this, ensuring optimal product quality, and optimizing storage or vase life. Vacuum cooling is a pre-cooling technique with an average cooling time of only 15-30 minutes. Vacuum cooling reduces: 1)The degree of respiration (and thus the risk of botrytis [in flowers] and black rot [in vegetables]). 2)Transpiration, and thus loss of fluids (maximizing your yield) 3)The production of ethylene and the sensitivity to this. 4)The development of microbes (and thus the percentage of production loss). more

How bubbles can help us treat cancer.

How bubbles can help us treat cancer.Injecting bubbles in the bloodstream is usually the cause of a medical emergency, but that's precisely what Eleanor Stride intends to do to help us fight cancer. The biomedical engineer from the University of Oxford has developed a method of delivering cancer drugs by encapsulating them inside microbubbles. This allows for a precise delivery of the drug to a target tumor, improving the efficacy of the treatment.more

Vaccine refrigerator runs on evaporation cycles.

Vaccine refrigerator runs on evaporation cycles. Coolar’s solar-powered refrigerators could improve the way vaccines are stored in developing countries.Julia Römer's refrigerators produce cold from heat. Many medicines - from asthma sprays to insulin to vaccines - must be cooled until moments before they're used. But in large parts of the world, electricity is not readily available In a conventional refrigerator, low temperatures are caused by the evaporation of a coolant. In Römer's solar-powered version, the evaporating liquid is water. Her system uses silica gel to attract water after evaporation and create a cycle: a solar panel generates heat that causes the gel to dry, then the water evaporates and is returned to circulation. The solar chiller needs almost no maintenance and is easy to dispose of since it doesn't contain any polluting substances.more

E-cigarettes poison 100 pets.

E-cigarettes poison 100 pets. Gudrun Ravetz, president of the British Veterinary Association said: "E-cigarettes may be harmful if they are ingested by your pet, as e-cigarettes and refills can easily contain sufficient quantities of nicotine to kill a small animal" A large increase of incidents involving e-cigarettes and vitamin D supplements were recorded in recent years.Some 113 pets were poisoned by e-cigarettes while 148 cases involved vitamin D tablets, figures from the Veterinary Poisons Information Service (VPIS) show - however they remain a small percentage of the overall total.more

Natural Pesticide with Chili Peppers.

How to use chilli pepper as natural pesticides. Chili peppers are very strong and insects have a very powerful sense of smell and taste. The chili works to basically fry their senses and causes them pain. They learn from their mistakes and do not bother your produce.

How to use chilli pepper as pesticides.

How to use chilli pepper as pesticides. Chili peppers are very strong and insects (as well as other animals) have a very powerful sense of smell and taste. The chili works to basically fry their senses and causes them pain. They learn from their mistakes and do not bother your produce. Use 20 chili peppers and dry them out. Grind the chili in to a fine dust. Fill a pot with 2 liters of water and add the chili dust. Boil this mixture for roughly 20 minutes. Remove the pot from the stove and add another 2 liters of water then allow it to fully cool. Strain the water through a cheese cloth then add potash soap to it (soft). This allows the spray to stick to the vegetation without hurting it. Fill a spray bottle with this liquid and apply to your plants once a week and twice if there is rain. A chili pepper can be an insecticide as well as a deterrent for other animals to ravage your crops. Many of us have to worry about groundhogs, rabbits and skunks. You can create a barrier that these animals will not willingly cross. As soon as they get a scent or a taste they will be disgusted and made ill. It will not kill them but will make them feel incredibly unpleasant. Get dried chili peppers and grind them to dust. Sprinkle the dust around the vegetation.more

How the bumblebee coincidentally saved the greenhouse industry.

How the bumblebee coincidentally saved the greenhouse industry.Bumblebees, beneficial insects and mites are probably the most loyal residents of a grower's greenhouse. The Belgian veterinarian who made this discovery was Roland De Jonghe. He had always been fascinated by the world of bumblebees and was breeding them in his living room, backyard and garage as a hobby. One day, De Jonghe saw a bumblebee accidentally pollinating a tomato crop in one of his friend's hobby greenhouses in the early eighties. The veterinarian immediately realized that if he succeeded in bringing more bumblebees into a greenhouse, growers could make a giant leap forward and replace manual pollination. De Jonghe became the first to breed and produce bumblebees year-round, and soon after his company Biobest was born. Thirty years later, the Belgian company operates more than fourteen international subsidiaries and has distributors in over sixty countries. On a weekly basis, about 700,000 bumblebees leave their production facilities in Westerlo, on their way to help a desperate greenhouse grower pollinate his crops somewhere on the other side of the world. more

AGRIBUSINESS :Biopesticides and the benefits in agribusiness.

AGRIBUSINESS :Biopesticides and the benefits in agribusiness. Biopesticides and the benefits in agribusiness. Greenhouse growers are using biopesticides in conjunction with commercially purchased natural enemies as a part of their integrated pest management (IPM) programs. Biopesticides are pesticides derived from natural materials, including animals, plants, fungi and microbes. The Biopesticides and Pollution Prevention Division of the Environmental Protection Agency, which registers biopesticides in the U.S., classifies biopesticides into three categories: biochemical, microbials and plant-incorporated protectants. AGRIBUSINESS :Biopesticides and the benefits in agribusiness. Biopesticides offer numerous advantages to growers, including lower risk to employees, minimal (or no) re-entry and pre-harvest intervals, and compatibility with biocontrol programs thus promoting agribusiness. AGRIBUSINESS :Biopesticides and the benefits in agribusiness. Biochemicals are derived from naturally occurring substances such as plant extracts. This includes insect repellants, insect attractants and repellants, pheromones, and non-pest management class—plant growth regulators. Examples 1 )Azadirachtin (broad-spectrum insecticide). 2) Capsaicin (compound from chili peppers) (broad-spectrum insecticide, nematicide and fungicide). 3) Clove, rosemary and peppermint oil (broad-spectrum fungicide). Microbials are products containing micro-organisms or their fermentation by-products. Examples 1)The bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis for use against caterpillars. 2)The fungus Beauveria bassiana for use against whiteflies, aphids and thrips. Plant-incorporated protectants are pesticidal substances produced by plants as a result of genetic manipulation. There are no plant-incorporated protectant compounds registered for use in greenhouses. source.

Friday, June 23, 2017


Elephantiasis also called lymphatic filariasis causes extreme swelling in the arms and legs. The disease is caused by the filarial worm, which impairs the lymphatic system and can lead to the abnormal enlargement of body parts, causing pain, severe disability and social stigma. The infection occurs when filarial parasites are transmitted to humans when mosquitoes bites causing hidden damage to the lymphatic system. The painful and profoundly disfiguring visible manifestations of the disease, lymphoedema, elephantiasis and scrotal swelling occur later in life and can lead to permanent disability. These patients are not only physically disabled, but suffer mental, social and financial losses contributing to stigma and poverty. Elephantiasis is caused by several different types of parasitic worms, including Wuchereria bancrofti, Brugia malayi, and B. timori, with Wuchereria bancrofti responsible for 90% of cases and transmitted by the female culex or aedes mosquito. The B. malayi and B.timori responsible for about 10% of cases are usually transmitted by female anopheles or mansonia mosquito. When an infected female mosquito bites a person, she may inject the worm larvae into the bloodstream. The worm larvae reproduce and spread throughout the bloodstream, where they can live for many years. The parasites accumulate in the blood vessels and restrict circulation and cause fluid to build up in surrounding tissues. The common symptoms are 1) fever 2)swelling of arm,legs. 3)swollen testicles(hydrocele) more

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Hydroponics a more superior option to organic farming.

Hydroponics a more superior option to organic farming. With the majority of the world population growing concerned with what they consume and what are the actual constituents of the food that makes it to their plates, the debate of food safety and crop growing practices has never been more intense. Individuals are inclined to eat more healthy produce, even when they are dining out, giving rise to a host of restaurants that promise 'organically grown' food ingredients in their cuisine. Indeed, organic farming methods have gained immense popularity over the past few years and are often compared to Hydroponics to ascertain which is a more viable and healthy form of agriculture. There is a growing body of evidence that seems to indicate that closed-loop water recirculation systems like hydroponics and aquaponics (the coupling of fish production with vegetable production) may in fact offer an advantage over soil-based organic growing since the water chemistry of both these systems can be manipulated to boost natural plant bioactives for health benefits. Thus plants grown through Hydroponics have better nutritional value. It has been proven that vitamin content is 50% more in hydroponically grown plants as compared to conventional ones. Hydroponics uses 90% less water than traditional agriculture hence conserving the world's most important resource from depletion. It also manages to prevent soil from degradation, preserving valuable top soil for plants that cannot be hydroponically grown. Given all the added benefits of Hydroponics, the bottom line when it comes to the organic farming and Hydroponics debate is the fact Hydroponics manages to better the former in numerous ways making it a considerably more attractive agricultural method of growing plants. more

Samuel Eto'o and tomatoes.

Samuel Eto'o and tomatoes . Yüksel Tohum has named its latest heirloom specialty tomato after Samuel Eto'o, the world famous Cameroonian footballer. According to Yuksel, the tomato variety has a lot of vigor and it is very long-lasting, just like the 36 year old top scorer of Antalyaspor. While being very active on international markets too, Yüksel Seeds still has a leading position on the domestic market in Antalya. For them this was reason to pay tribute to their local football team and give one of their recent tomato strains the name of the soccer player who's career got a new boost after being hired by Antalyaspor. source

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

USDA introduces cost-effective broiler production for farmers.

USDA introduces cost-effective broiler production for farmers. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has introduced the "Ghana Poultry Project" aimed at increasing the competitiveness of domestic production and processing of poultry meat and eggs in the country. The project has the objective of producing broilers at an average live weight of 2.50kg per bird within 6 weeks, as opposed to the usual 8 weeks. Another objective of the programme is to investigate key factors at the production stage and to showcase more efficient methods of production to increase profitability and to attract more investment into the poultry sector. As part of the programme, USDA together with the Veterinary Services Department (VSD) of Ghana, conducted a cost-effective broiler production demonstrations in Accra at AMAS Farms in Oyarifa to showcase how the project will work. more

Gestational diabetes: A diabetes predictor in fathers.

Gestational diabetes: A diabetes predictor in fathers.Gestational diabetes, a type of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy, affects between three and 20 percent of pregnant women. Those who develop gestational diabetes are seven times as likely to eventually develop type 2 diabetes in the years following pregnancy. Now, in a large study analyzing 20 years of data from Quebec, a team of scientists has demonstrated that gestational diabetes signals future diabetes risk not only in mothers, but also in fathers. The study was published in Diabetes Care,showed that the incident of diabetes was 33% greater in men whose partner has gestational diabetes compared with men whose partners did not have gestational diabetes.more

Energy saving filters for wastewater treatment created.

Energy saving filters for wastewater treatment created. Scientists have invented a new type of nanofilter that could reduce the energy needed to treat wastewater by up to five times. This breakthrough technology took about two years to develop and is now being commercialized across Asia. Scientists at Nanyang Technological University (NTU Singapore) have invented a new type of nanofilter that could reduce the energy needed to treat wastewater by up to five times. more

Technology which makes electricity from urine also kills pathogens.

Technology which makes electricity from urine also kills pathogens.A scientific breakthrough has taken an emerging biotechnology a step closer to being used to treat wastewater in the Developing World. Researchers at the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) (Ieropoulos & Greenman) have discovered that technology they have developed which has already been proven to generate electricity through the process of cleaning organic waste, such as urine, also kills bacteria harmful to humans. Experts have shown that a special process they have developed in which wastewater flows through a series of cells filled with electroactive microbes can be used to attack and destroy a pathogen -- the potentially deadly Salmonella. source

Corn better used as food than biofuel.

Corn better used as food than biofuel. A new study finds that using corn for biofuel comes with greater environmental costs and fewer benefits than using corn for food. Corn is grown not only for food, it is also an important renewable energy source. Renewable biofuels can come with hidden economic and environmental issues, and the question of whether corn is better utilized as food or as a biofuel has persisted since ethanol came into use. Researchers at the University of Illinois have quantified and compared these issues in terms of economics of the entire production system to determine if the benefits of biofuel corn outweigh the costs. more

Using fat to help wounds heal without scars.

Using fat to help wounds heal without scars.Doctors have found a way to manipulate wounds to heal as regenerated skin rather than scar tissue. The method involves transforming the most common type of cells found in wounds into fat cells -- something that was previously thought to be impossible in humans. Fat cells called adipocytes are normally found in the skin, but they're lost when wounds heal as scars. The most common cells found in healing wounds are myofibroblasts, which were thought to only form a scar. Scar tissue also does not have any hair follicles associated with it, which is another factor that gives it an abnormal appearance from the rest of the skin. Researchers used these characteristics as the basis for their work -- changing the already present myofibroblasts into fat cells that do not cause scarring. The study showed hair and fat develop separately but not independently,that fat will not form without the new hairs, but once it does, the new cells are indistinguishable from the pre-existing fat cells, giving the healed wound a natural look instead of leaving a scar. more

How six cups of ground coffee can improve nose, throat surgery.

How six cups of ground coffee can improve nose, throat surgery.Engineers have designed a 'granular jamming cap' filled with coffee grounds that can improve the accuracy of the sophisticated 'GPS' system that surgeons use for nose and throat surgery. In essence, that is what a team of Vanderbilt University engineers are proposing in an effort to improve the reliability of the sophisticated "GPS" system that surgeons use for these delicate operations. They have designed a "granular jamming cap" filled with coffee grounds that does a better job of tracking patient head movements than current methods.more

Extra-virgin olive oil preserves memory, protects brain against Alzheimer's.

Extra-virgin olive oil preserves memory, protects brain against Alzheimer's. The Mediterranean diet is associated with a variety of health benefits, including a lower incidence of dementia. Now, researchers have identified a specific ingredient that protects against cognitive decline: extra-virgin olive oil. In a new study, the researchers show that consumption of extra-virgin olive oil protects memory and learning ability and reduces the formation of amyloid-beta plaques and neurofibrillary tangles in the brain -- classic markers of Alzheimer's disease. continue

Fake China, India drugs put Kenyans at risk.

Fake China, India drugs put Kenyans at risk. A UN study has ranked Mombasa as a major hub for trafficking of fake pharmaceutical and veterinary drugs, putting millions of lives in danger. The study by the World Customs Organisation (WCO) and the International Institute for Research Against Counterfeit Medicines (IRACM) cites the Kenyan port city as being among the biggest trafficking points in Africa for counterfeit veterinary products and human medicines like antimalarial drugs, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatories, antibiotics and analgesics as well as gastro-intestinals. “Some 113 million illicit and potentially dangerous medicines were seized in Africa, with a total estimated value of €52 million (Sh6 billion). The biggest interceptions were in Nigeria, Benin, Kenya and Togo – in that order,” says WCO secretary-general Kunio Mikuriya in the report released late last month. “All these potentially dangerous medicines to animal and human health have been withdrawn from the market instead of being sold to the African populations.” more

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Avian flu vaccination to begin in China.

Avian flu vaccination to begin in China. China takes avian flu control to next level as threat to poultry, humans intensifies. Asian countries are bearing the brunt of the current global battle against highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). New outbreaks in poultry are reported in South Korea, Taiwan and China, and the Beijing government is to start a vaccination program to try to control the further spread of the virus. In Europe, French farmers hit by recent epidemics are receiving compensation payments, while there are new cases in Belgium. Among African countries, Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria have confirmed new outbreaks in poultry. In the last week, China’s ministry of agriculture has reported to the OIE that poultry at four more locations have tested positive for the H7N9 HPAI virus variant, bringing the total number of outbreaks since March this year to nine. Latest to be affected were two farms in Inner Mongolia, one in Guangxi, and a slaughterhouse in Longyan city (Fujian province). Almost 462,000 birds were destroyed as a result of the findings. As of June 10, the total number of confirmed human cases of influenza A(H7N9) reported globally increased to 1,533, according to the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) in Hong Kong. Of these, 727 cases have been recorded in Mainland China since October 2016. The most recent patients – with disease onset between April 25 and June 6 – numbered 12 and were located in Beijing and six provinces. Concern over the threat to the health of humans and poultry posed by the H7N9 HPAI virus lies behind the latest announcement from China’s ministry of agriculture to begin vaccination of poultry against the virus, according to Reuters.source

Solar and wind hybrid drier prevents food waste.

Solar and wind hybrid drier prevents food waste. The Kenya Marine and Fisheries Institute (KEMFRI) has come up with a drier machine using wind and solar power to remove excess moisture from farm products to reduce post harvest losses. The United Nation’s agency Food and Agricultural Organisation says more than 40 per cent of the global farm produce goes to waste. The waste starts from the farm up to the table of the consumer. The hybrid drier is powered by the energy harnessed from the fan-like turbine erected on a wind obstruction free area. It can also be powered by solar, which is harnessed directly from panels or indirectly heated piped water. more

Early stress confers lifelong vulnerability causing alterations in a specific brain region.

Early stress confers lifelong vulnerability causing alterations in a specific brain region. Early life stress encodes lifelong susceptibility to stress through long-lasting transcriptional programming in a brain reward region implicated in mood and depression, according to a study conducted at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and published in the journal Science. The Mount Sinai study focuses on epigenetics, the study of changes in the action of genes caused not by changes in DNA code we inherit from our parents, but instead by molecules that regulate when, where, and to what degree our genetic material is activated. Such regulation derives, in part, from the function of transcription factors -- specialized proteins that bind to specific DNA sequences in our genes and either encourage or shut down the expression of a given gene. Previous studies in humans and animals have suggested that early life stress increases the risk for depression and other psychiatric syndromes, but the neurobiology linking the two has remained elusive until now. source

Meditation and yoga can 'reverse' DNA reactions which cause stress.

Meditation and yoga can 'reverse' DNA reactions which cause stress. Mind-body interventions (MBIs) such as meditation, yoga and Tai Chi don't simply relax us; they can 'reverse' the molecular reactions in our DNA which cause ill-health and depression, according to a study by the universities of Coventry and Radboud. The research, published in the journal Frontiers in Immunology, reviews over a decade of studies analysing how the behaviour of our genes is affected by different MBIs including mindfulness and yoga. source

Prolonged exposure to work-related stress thought to be related to certain cancers.

Prolonged exposure to work-related stress thought to be related to certain cancers. A study on the link between cancer and work-related stress perceived by men throughout their working lifetime. In men,prolonged exposure to work-related stress has been linked to an increased likelihood of lung, colon, rectal, and stomach cancer and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. This is the first study to assess the link between cancer and work-related stress perceived by men throughout their working life. The findings are among the results obtained by researchers at INRS and Université de Montréal who conducted the first study to assess the link between cancer and work-related stress perceived by men throughout their working life. The research results were recently published in Preventive Medicine. source

Sunday, June 18, 2017

How to use light to suppress mosquito bites and prevent malaria.

How to use light to suppress mosquito bites and prevent malaria. Scientists at the University of Notre Dame have found that exposure to just 10 minutes of light at night suppresses biting and manipulates flight behavior in the Anopheles gambiae mosquito, the major vector for transmission of malaria in Africa. The study published in journal parasites and vectors shows that periodic pulses of light suppresses the bites and changes flight behavior of mosquitoes. Insecticide-treated bed nets and walls have helped prevent bites and reduce malaria, but researchers say mosquitoes are adapting to preventive conditions, leaving adults and children vulnerable in the early evening and early morning hours -- when they are not under the nets or in the house. more

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Social media and weight loss programmes.

Social media has created a platform for various health related issues and programmes but the most trending is weight loss programmes. Countless people,irrespective of age,tribe,sex and location are reaching out on various platforms searching out how to lose weight. Weight loss programmes on social media are multifaceted,there are platforms for nutrition tips,workouts,supplement and various videos and recipes to keep you fit and healthy. There are other forums where you not only lose weight,but you have opportunities to make money by promoting the brand you used and building a network of weight-watchers who keep one another on track. There is another twist to the story,the type of diet you are looking at will also determine your group . If losing weight with ketogenic lifestyle is your pick,you follow thread and pick your meals e.t.c, if herbal is your style,you look for thread and follow the routine. Social media is a new way to get information especially about weightloss as most people plan meals around products especially if ratings of products are high and is backed with powerful testimonials from hype influencers. Oprah Winfrey,known for sharing her weight loss journey with her audience made $12 million from just one tweet, focusing solely on eating bread. The media mogul is a shareholder in Weight Watchers and she posted a short video message about being able to lose 26 pounds, while still eating bread recently. This followed an emotional message on Twitter from the star, as she left fans in tears with her weight loss story recently. read

Mining data for health with social media.

Mining data for health with social media. Data is the new gold and mining data on various social media platforms has provided another method of diagnosis and treatment in man,animals and plants. A simple post on social media describing signs observed by a parent,farmer or breeders on respective subjects can help doctors draw out the perfect line of treatment and combination of drugs to use as well as protocols to prevent recurrence. A mother posting on Facebook about the way her son behaves while playing video games could provide a vital clue for the correct treatment for his epilepsy. This is but one type of social media chatter that is informing data scientists at Penn Medicine's Health Language Processing Lab (HLP). Scientists at Penn Medicine's Health Language Processing Lab (HLP) are using social media content combined with other sources of health information in a unique way has helped researchers understanding how people use language to communicate health needs. Penn Medicine are harnessing data contained in electronic health records (EHRs) and social media to help improve outcomes. The Center for Digital Health focuses its efforts on how social media intersects with health care, working to determine how posts might help providers detect health problems before urgent care is needed, or even how Twitter might play a role in fighting HIV. Data mining with data analysis and analytics on various social media platforms is now a new health hack providing fast diagnostic tools , research models and fast effective treatment protocols for you,your pets,livestock and crops. A post,pic,even comments on blogs and social media are not strictly for your audience,but rather these enter a large data pool helping doctors,scientists and farmers to build a better world.

The work-life -balance to prevent work-family conflict.

The work-life-balance. Every individual must strive to have a balance in their work-life as many health challenges have been linked to repeatedly thinking about work-family conflict. The first step will be doing what you love with perfect time management skills and building your relationships round it, thus creating a win-win situation. Planning ahead and having a backup plan and having a network to support can make you better able to reduce work-family conflict. The role of the organization is also important as policies that foster growth, job satisfaction, job flexibility and job security will provide a platform for employees to build a better work-life-balance. Health related issues such as depression,anxiety,mood swings, and binge eating has been linked to an in balance in work-life experiences,where employees are in constant repetitive thoughts about work ,home,remuneration. The work-life -balance to prevent work-family conflict, according to a new study shows that thinking over and over again about conflicts between your job and personal life is likely to damage both your mental and physical health. The study published in the journal Stress & Health recently shows that thinking repeatedly and attentively about the parts of your job and your personal life that clash with each other such as a late-afternoon meeting that prevents you from attending your child's career day affects mental and physical health. Repetitive thought is related to two other types of cognition that also can have adverse effects on health,these are rumination and worry. Rumination is persistent, redundant thinking that usually looks backward and is associated with depression while worry is also persistent, redundant thinking but tends to look forward and is typically more associated with anxious apprehension. One method that can help is mindfulness, intentionally paying attention to the present-moment experience, such as physical sensations, perceptions, thoughts and imagery, in a nonjudgmental way. Creating a better atmosphere at home and at work,and a review of the WHY of your job and How To will be another method to stay focused.

Male farmers at highest risk of contracting 'monkey malaria' in Malaysia.

Male farmers at highest risk of contracting 'monkey malaria' in Malaysia. A new study published in The Lancet Planetary Health,shows that adult male farmers in Malaysia are more than twice as likely to contract Plasmodium knowlesi malaria, an infection usually found only in monkeys than other people in their communities. The research team found that farmers in the country's Sabah region who work on plantations, clearing vegetation and taking part in forestry work were most at risk. Plasmodium knowlesi is a zoonotic malaria parasite which is common in forest-dwelling macaque monkeys and transmitted between hosts by mosquitoes. It has a rapid growth rate in the blood that can lead to high levels of parasites in a short time and can cause severe and fatal disease. Recent deforestation in the Sabah region has brought humans into closer contact with the forest. P. knowlesi is now the most common form of human malaria in many areas of Malaysia, and has also been reported across South East Asia. The findings suggest that humans working on the fringes of the forest are at risk of contracting P. knowlesi, as well as in the forest itself when they carry out activities such as hunting. more

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Drinking coffee cuts risk of hepatocellular carcinoma.(HCC)

Drinking coffee cuts risk of hepatocellular carcinoma.(HCC) .A new study has shown that drinking cups of coffee a day reduces risk of liver cancer. A large meta-analysis of more than 2 million adults found that drinking one cup of coffee a day was associated with a 20 percent reduced risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), a type of liver cancer. Drinking two cups of caffeinated coffee per day was linked to a 35 percent reduced HCC risk; in fact, the more coffee people drink, the lower their HCC risk Neurological diseases, Alzheimer’s, type 2 diabetes, cirrhosis of the liver and endometrial, cutaneous melanoma skin cancer and liver cancer are some of the diseases that are suppressed by coffee consumption. continue

New veterinary diagnostic networks to aid poultry, livestock production in Sub-Sahara.

New veterinary diagnostic networks to aid poultry, livestock production in Sub-Sahara. With the help of a US$14.4 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation over the next 3 years, Zoetis announced plans to develop veterinary and outreach services to aid the growth of poultry and livestock production in Ethiopia, Nigeria and Uganda. The animal health company said the grant would enable the development of veterinary laboratory networks, increase the availability of local veterinary medicines and services, implement sustainable diagnostics programs and strengthen local veterinary expertise. “Access to medicines and technology will help farmers raise healthier animals and secure more sustainable revenue, which is critical to the economic development of the region and well-being of its population,” said Juan Ramón Alaix, chief executive officer for Zoetis. As one of the most rapidly developing regions in the world, Sub-Saharan Africa is also home to some of the largest food-animal populations in the world – and the highest density of impoverished farmers.1 According to Zoetis, food animals are essential assets to rural communities and maintaining their health is critical to achieving food security in areas of exceptionally high animal and human disease incidence. This program, funded by the foundation, will be called the African Livestock Productivity and Health Advancement (ALPHA) initiative. Zoetis said it would collaborate with governmental authorities, local veterinary associations, national and international NGOs, farmer associations and the private sector to “maximize its ability to positively impact the region.” Over the course of 3 years, the company said it would “use the progress made and key learnings to work toward a longer-term sustainable business model and animal health infrastructure” for food-animal production in the region. source

Sanderson Farms vet drawing new battle lines against ILT.

Sanderson Farms vet drawing new battle lines against ILT. Sanderson Farms growers have been asked to stop driving their farm trucks off the farm to help prevent outbreaks of infectious laryngotracheitis (ILT), according to Phil Stayer, DVM, head veterinarian of the company. He described the most recent ILT outbreak in North Carolina as a “community” disease. “If your neighbor gets it, you can get it,” He noted that there’s so much ILT virus in the environment it’s now found on farm lanes. If growers drive on local roads, their vehicles are exposed. That’s why Sanderson Farms has asked growers to restrict use of their farm trucks. Growers have also been asked to keep their private vehicles off the farms, he said. Stayer’s investigation into the causes of the outbreak showed that farmers were parking their trucks in front of the broiler house air inlets. Virus on the truck then got inside the chicken house via air. ILT usually gets tracked into the poultry house on a person’s feet, Stayer said, but not in this case. The veterinarian noted that feed trucks delivering to farms are another potential source of viral contamination. However, they’re disinfected as they come onto farms and they don’t remain for long. Farmers, on the other hand, tend to park their trucks by the broiler house for long periods of time, which they’ve now been asked not to do. As an extra precautionary measure, Sanderson Farms is also limiting the number of people who can go into broiler houses until the outbreak ends, Stayer noted. source

IAEA and FAO go mobile to tackle food fraud

IAEA and FAO go mobile to tackle food fraud: The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) are to look at mobile tools to combat food fraud and contamination.

Mars recalls chocolate over salmonella fears

Mars recalls chocolate over salmonella fears: Mars Chocolate UK and Mars Ireland are recalling some Galaxy, Maltesers Teasers and Minstrels chocolate products, after routine testing revealed the presence of salmonella.

Farmers using ash and sand to tame army worms spread.

Farmers using ash and sand to tame army worms spread. A section of farmers in Nakuru have resorted to traditional methods of dealing with army worms, a deadly pest that has invaded large swathes of land, causing devastation to farmers. John Sialo, who owns a five-acre land in Rongai, uses ash and sand to control breeding and finally kill the worms.According to Mr Sialo, the method has helped control invasion in his farm and in his children's farms. The mixture, which was used by farmers to control crop diseases in the older days, is mixed in a ratio of one to two, with the sand being the most. With the help of his family members, the father of nine makes enough mixture to cater for maize plantation in his piece of land.The mixture is then applied to the maize funnel at knee height. According to a research by International Center of Insect Physiology and Ecology, ash is alkaline and therefore useful as a fungicide and a pesticide. Insects that come into contact with wood ash are burned and killed. The research stated sand contains moisture and high micro-organism concentrations that help to reduce the larvae of the pests before they mature. more

Cash for weight loss.

Cash for weight loss.A new study has shown that selling rewards programs to participants entering a weight loss program is a low cost strategy to increase both the magnitude and duration of weight loss. The study, published in the journal Social Science and Medicine, has shown that selling rewards programmes to participants entering a weight loss programme is a low cost strategy to increase both the magnitude and duration of weight loss. A team from the Duke-NUS Medical School (Duke-NUS) and Singapore General Hospital (SGH) led the research, which has implications for insurance companies and employers looking for low cost strategies to improve population health. Worldwide, overweight and obesity are increasingly prevalent conditions, which have led to the rise of non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer. They have also increased absenteeism among employees and raised private and public healthcare costs. However, they are largely preventable by making healthier food choices and engaging in regular physical activity. Yet, because people often succumb to temptation, they often fail to make healthier choices. source

The health benefits of rice bran.

The health benefits of rice bran. Rice bran, the outer covering of the rice grain, has high nutritional value and is a rich source of proteins, fats, minerals and micronutrients such as B vitamins, according to a study. Researchers suggest that rice bran, which is removed from whole grain rice during processing and used as animal feed, could have benefits for human health and nutrition. According to USDA a single serving of rice bran is 28 grams and delivers more than half of a person's daily requirements of important vitamins such as thiamine, niacin and vitamin B6. Rice bran as a food ingredient could deliver more than 400 individual compounds when consumed. Traditionally, rice bran is thought to be a cheap fiber source and only considered useful as a source of lipids, for example as cooking oil. It has not been used much in human health and nutrition because it is considered an animal feed but its high nutritional value warrants greater public health attention. A literature search conducted by the authors showed that some of the compounds they identified in rice bran had been shown in previous studies to have anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and anti-hypertensive properties, among others. Rice bran also has a protein content of 12-15% that deserves attention as it could help tackle nutrition shortages that are a major global health concern. source

Minitablets help medicate picky cats

Minitablets help medicate picky cats. Cats are often considered the most difficult ones to medicate,but very small minitablets with flavors or flavor coatings can help cat owners commit to the treatment and make cats more compliant to it, while making it easier to regulate dosage and administer medication flexibly. Both cats and dogs are popular pets, but there are many differences between the two. In terms of oral medication, the most important difference has to do with the preferred foods, eating habits and taste preferences of the two animals. While dogs are omnivores, cats are almost exclusively carnivorous. Another factor making the treatment of cats more difficult is the fact that few registered drugs have been tailored and made palatable specifically for cats. This means that veterinarians often have to resort to canine drugs to treat cats, and adjusting the dosage to suit the much smaller animal may be challenging for the pet owner. In addition, if cats find the taste, smell, shape or mouthfeel of the drug unpleasant or repulsive, they will refuse the medication, making the administration of the drug more difficult and possibly leading to the complete failure of the treatment altogether. more

Working with women farmers to make Cambodian communities “Plantwise”.

Working with women farmers to make Cambodian communities “Plantwise”.Greater involvement of women in plant clinics has improved the climate resilience of the farmers in Rohal Suong village, Cambodia. Women farmers play a critical role in agricultural production and food security, as well as household welfare in most Southeast Asian countries. According to a Census of Agriculture in Cambodia in 2013, of the 82% of Cambodians engaged in the agriculture sector, at least half of them were women. Female youth and women, however, have limited access to education, agricultural extension services and social events, as they often have low education backgrounds, and are frequently busy with household activities and other unpaid work. They are historically underrepresented in agriculture decision-making and community leadership as well. Agricultural development projects are now seeking to increase women’s involvement. The CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), aims to improve gender equality and women farmers’ decision-making in agriculture through the establishment of Climate-Smart Villages (CSVs). Rohal Suong Village in Battambang, Cambodia is one of the six CSVs in Southeast Asia. more

Monday, June 12, 2017

How to set up an aerial vegetable farm with plastic bottles.

How to set up an aerial vegetable farm with plastic bottles. Plastic bottles have found various uses in agriculture from drinker to feeder to brooder and fish tank,these innovations have turned waste to wealth and also ensuring a clean environment. An agripreneur has used waste plastic bottles to set up an aerial vegetable farm. Anthony Mutugi has grown 294 spinaches and kales on a 4m by 5m by 3m space. The 294 crops may require about 0.02 acres on a flat ground. The Kiambu’s Juja area farmer has suspended six crops in the one-and-half-litre bottles with a wire string in a shed net wooden structure that creates greenhouse effects for quick growth. Each of the bottles is lying horizontally with its bellies ‘scoped’ slightly to accommodate about three quarters of a kilo soil and the kale or spinach.Each of the crops is one and half feet away from the other and the space of one row to the other is about one and half feet. The crops depend on irrigation. The excess water can drain via the uncapped opening of the bottle. Wedding is done by hand in this aerial farm. Soil nutrients are not leeched since the bottle is non-porous. It is a perfect example for urban farmers, who do not have permanent residences. They can move with their crops any time by unhooking the strings and dissembling the wooden farm. source

Farmers fortifying maize with soy beans to beat malnutrition.

Farmers fortifying maize with soy beans to beat malnutrition. While most families strive daily to eat mineral-deficient ugali, which mainly supplies energy, Joseph Nyangweso is ‘adding value’ to the meal by lacing the flour with protein-rich soy beans. Soy beans are grown mostly for industrial applications of extracting edible oil by companies like Bidco or fortification of baking and cooking flour. But the farmer, who has been growing the soy beans for small-scale selling, realized the seeds lost viability after six months if not replanted or sold. The protein content in soy beans ranges from 36 per cent to 56 per cent of grain dry weight. One cup of boiled soy beans that is about 172g gives 29g of proteins, according to the Soybeans 101: Nutritional factsheet. Just like other proteins, some people have allergic reaction after consumption. Nyangweso carried out some research on the recommended mix ration. He found out that at least one kilogramme in very four kilos of the maize flour is sufficient. That translates to about 25 per cent of soy beans flour, which should be in the mix. Maize is a stable food for more than three quarters of the population. Apart from energy, maize is a poor source of nutrients like proteins, fats and other minerals such as potassium, iron, calcium, among others. For poor families that cannot afford a balanced diet, fortification has been introduced to cater for those who can buy the flour.source

CIAT releases new varieties of steamed beans.

CIAT releases new varieties of steamed beans. Consumers and bean traders will soon be spending about 100 minutes less in cooking the delicacy with the 12 newly released varieties from the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture, CIAT. The precooked beans are subjected to steam before packaging for sale. The beans are ready for consumption in about 15 minutes. After harvesting, the beans are subjected to boiling water that is releasing steam. The boiling water does not get into contact with the beans otherwise they will cook. The steam precooks the beans before packaging for the market. The traditional beans take about two hours to cook. This duration becomes prohibitive for low class families who cannot afford the fuel to sustain the continued cooking. CIAT says within the 15 minutes, consumers will require fuel of about Sh47 for one kilo of the beans.Various companies across Africa have been engaged to produce the seeds for the farmers. CIAT says about 10,000 farmers are already growing the varieties across the continent. After harvesting, the farmers are expected to deliver the beans to factories for processing and packaging. Snack beans are also been developed alongside the precooked varieties. The beans only require salting and they are ready for consumption. The programme of supporting the farmers is being rolled out in sub-Saharan Africa countries.source

Supplementary fish feeds offer farmers more financial return than commercial feeds.

Supplementary fish feeds offer farmers more financial return than commercial feeds. A new study and fish expert has shown that Supplementary fish feeds offer farmers more financial return than commercial feeds. Farmers rearing fish with homemade feeds may make more profits by than their commercial feeds counterparts despite the higher crude protein content in the latter. Kenya Prisons officer Jared Mokaya, who manages the Nakuru correctional facility farm, said commercial feeds offer a vigorous and heavier yield, but the at the end, the net financial gain is lower than supplements production. His sentiments have been supported by a research that shows that there is an average of 0.23 benefit cost from three Nile tilapia set-ups where the growth and economic performances were tested. In the study, reversed sex Nile tilapias were raised in four rice-fish ecosystems for 120 days. The traditional feed had 21 per cent crude proteins (CP), while the formulated one had 26 per cent CP. Commercial had 30 per cent CP while nothing was added to the last set up, which acted as the control. “The highest benefit-cost ratio of 2.15 was in the control, followed by formulated feed (1.90). But in the case of numerical net return, it was the opposite. The commercial feeds had the lowest profit margin ratio of 1.67m,” the research published on the Journal of Applied Aquaculture reads. The report adds that the cost of commercial feeds is more than that of supplementary feed.For farmers to make more profits, the research says that fish grown in rice fields will give more profits if farmers use homemade feeds. Food and Agricultural Organisation, FAO, recommends that farmers rear fish in flooded fields with rice. The waste from fish are nitrogen for the rice. The rice consumes the ammonia in the body waste while the fish also release carbon dioxide for photosynthesis in the crop. source

Benefits of raising fish in rice fields.

Benefits of raising fish in rice fields. A Chinese study has confirmed the findings of Kenya's Yala Swamp rice farmers, with evidence that cultivating rice and fish together stops disease, ups yields, and cuts the need for both fertilizers and pesticides. The Yala Swamp farmers, near Lake Victoria, have for decades grown fish and rice in the same flooded paddy fields, and have discovered they never require fertilizers to grow their rice, which is also rarely attacked by common rice diseases such as rice sheath blast responsible for some 40 per cent of rice losses in the country. A six-year long study conducted in China found that when fish were introduced into flooded paddy fields, farmers were able to grow the same amount of grain as in conventional rice monocultures, but with more than two-thirds less pesticide and a quarter less fertiliser. Farmers could therefore make large savings on fertilisers and pesticides, which typically represent 60–70 per cent of the total cost of rice production. Scientists now say the rice-fish technique is good for both the fish and the rice. Safely hidden from birds, the fish thrive in the dense rice plants, while they in turn provide a source of fertilizer with their droppings, eat insect pests and help to circulate oxygen around the rice field. Farmers also claim that keeping fish in rice fields can increase rice yields by up to 10% – plus they have the additional supplies of fish. source

Soil steaming cuts tomato losses.

Soil steaming cuts tomato losses. After a two-season sustained decline in the greenhouse tomato produce, Nathan Mala is recovering in yields after steaming the soil to kill pathogens like bacteria wilt. The Kiambu County farmer steamed the soil to kill the bacterial wilt before packing it into 400 polythene bags for his 8m by 30m greenhouse in Nyambari. The soil was also mixed with farm yard manure, but he used folia and other granular fertilizers to boost the nutrients content. The farmer spent more than Sh10,000 in 2015 in controlling soil borne diseases such as fusarium wilt, bacterial wilt and other pathogens, which cause death of the tomatoes before flowering. He repeatedly filled a 200kg capacity drum with soil and 20 litres of water before heating it in an open fire. Every day, the farmer filled 20 polythene bags with the treated soil until he reached 400. In preventing recontamination of the soil he covered the floor with a polythene liner. Although he did not have an instrument of confirming if the heat had killed the pathogens, the drying or limited steam from the soil was a sign of certainty. The door path into the greenhouse had a disinfectant, jik, for cleaning the feet before entry. For effective control of the pathogens he germinated the seedlings in a soilless culture, which is a rich nutrient medium. The seedlings are clean and the roots are least disturbed during transplanting, which enables fast establishment and a vibrant growth vigour. more

Common Food Additive Promotes Colon Cancer in Mice.

Common Food Additive Promotes Colon Cancer in Mice. Colon cancer is on the rise in younger people according to New York Times , with a sharp increase in people in their 20s and 30s. What's causing the spike? One finding suggests a super common food additive found in thousands of foods could be a 'new' colon cancer trigger. A popular food additive used in everything from dill pickles to ice cream is now linked to colon cancer.Emulsifiers are added to most processed foods to improve food texture and extend shelf life. But it also throws off healthy levels of intestinal bacteria, triggering chronic, low-level inflammation that promotes colorectal cancer, according to a new study. For this study, researchers focused on two of the most commonly used emulsifiers called polysorbate 80 and carboxymethylcellulose. They fed mice doses comparable to the cumulative amounts people would eat daily in processed foods. Consuming emulsifiers drastically changed the species composition of the gut microbiota in a manner that made it more pro-inflammatory, creating a niche favoring cancer induction and development, researchers pointed out. Alterations in bacterial species resulted in bacteria expressing more flagellin and lipopolysaccharide, which activate pro-inflammatory gene expression by the immune system. more

Weight-related deaths can affect non-obese too.

Weight-related deaths can affect non-obese too. A new global study suggests you dont you don't have to be diagnosed as obese to be at risk of dying from illnesses related to excess weight. The study found more than 2 billion children and adults suffered from health problems linked to being overweight,as the 4 million deaths attributed to being overweight in 2015, nearly 40% were not considered clinically obese. The common diseases are include type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers ,although an increasing percentage had a body mass index (BMI) of less than 30, the threshold for obesity. The paper, published in the the New England Journal of Medicine, said the findings highlighted "a growing and disturbing global public health crisis". "People who shrug off weight gain do so at their own risk - risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and other life-threatening conditions," said Dr Christopher Murray, author of the study and director of the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. more

Friday, June 9, 2017

University students turns to agribusiness.

University students turns to agribusiness. This is the story of 4 agri-preneurs, all who are under 30, who give insights into their ventures and how they strike a balance between the lecture halls and running their fast-growing side hustles. Dickson Otieno Okello, 29 and Dickson Otieno Ouma, 27,started the business started in 2015 has grown tremendously and is valued at more than Sh1 million. The two students started Agri-Fresh Supplies, a fruit juice company, and Prima Gallus, a poultry extension services outfit. Agri-Fresh Supplies deals in fresh mango, avocado, passion fruit, pineapple and orange juices alongside banana and apples. The shop located at the university processes juice under the brand name Smoothies, which sells like hot cake. They buy yoghurt from the university and use it blend our juice, a unique mixture that has become popular with students, teaching and non-teaching staff, noting they also makes plain juices. A bottle of a 250ml of juice sells at Sh40 and in a good day, they make up to Sh12,000 from the shop that opens six days a week. There are occasions when sales drop to Sh6,000 per day especially during the dry season when getting milk is a challenge. Ouma and Okello who still are the co-founders of Prima Gallus which specialises in chicken farming, feed their chicken at Egerton University, Njoro. Prima Gallus, the poultry extension services business, was started in 2016 and focuses on the entire value chain. They train farmers on various aspects of poultry farming and offer extension services. The business that employs four people is incubated at Egerton University’s Centre of Excellence for Livestock Innovation and Business (CoELIB). According to him, farmers want to get into poultry farming because it is less intensive and there is quick cash flow.“It is this gap we are now exploiting by making use of the skills we learnt at the university,” explained Ouma, adding in a good month, they make Sh50,000 and get clients from up to Rwanda, Malawi, Zambia and Tanzania. Besides extension services, they host clinics for farmers where they charge groups between Sh15,000 – Sh20,000 and train them on how to brand their products, whom to approach to get the correct market prices and funding and how to present and preserve their products to shield them from loses and poultry management aspects. more

How a farmer makes millions from Moringa farming.

How a farmer makes millions from Moringa farming. When sukuma wiki (collard green), maize and tomatoes failed to do well in her farm in Taita Taveta County, Beatrice Nguru turned to moringa, a crop she knew little about. She started growing moringa after being trained in 2006 by the Danish International Development Authority and learning about moringa was an eye-opener for her. Nguru is reaping the benefits of moringa, a crop that she describes as a wonder because it has offered her more than she expected.She started with 80 moringa seedlings in her backyard, and after seeing them do well, she planted more trees on her 10 acres in Ronge, Taita-Taveta. Moringa takes six to eight months to mature. It is fast-growing, drought-resistant and the tree remains evergreen with exceptionally nutritious leaves, pods and roots.Every part is valuable from the root of the plant to the leaf. Spacing the trees during planting depends on the objective of cultivating the crop, to produce and harvest moringa seeds and leaves, space the trees 2m by 2m. The production for leafy powder, the space should be 0.5m by 1m, for production of leafy vegetables, space the trees a foot apart to make it possible to harvest the young edible shoots every two to three weeks. Moringa tree takes six to eight months to mature and has a lifespan of 30 to 40 years.During the rainy season, she harvests on weekly basis while in dry spell, she harvests after two weeks. Moringa leaves provide alternative vegetables for human consumption,as they taste like spinach and their young, tender and green pods are eaten as beans. Its flowers can further be used as a natural pesticide. Moringa tree is also capable of producing high quality fodder during the dry season. The leaves are readily eaten by cows, goats, sheep, pigs and rabbits. She mixes fodder that she offers her two Friesian cows with moringa leaves to increase milk production and make it creamy without affecting its taste, smell and colour. She also feeds her 105 kienyeji chickens moringa seeds enabling some to lay double-yolked eggs. She also processes moringa leaves into powder and packs in plastic tins of various sizes. She harvests the leaves, wash and dry on a mesh in a well-ventilated room for three days. She grinds the dried leaves using a machine into fine powder before packing into 50, 100 and 500g tins. The 50g goes for Sh150, 100g for Sh300 and 500g for Sh720, making between Sh50,000 and Sh60,000 from the products per month. source

How to process Moringa leaves into powder.

How to process Moringa leaves into powder. Moringa leaves can be consumed fresh, cooked or dried. Moringa powder is nutritious, is easy to make, easy to store and easy to use. Moringa Leaf Powder is considered a multivitamin shot! Strip all the leaflets from the moringa leaf petiole. This can be done directly from the branches if the moringa leaves have not been stripped off the main branch before transportation. At this stage, diseased and damaged leaves are discarded. Washing the Moringa leaves Wash leaflets in troughs using clean potable water to remove dirt. Wash leaves again in 1% saline solution for 3-5 minutes to remove microbes. Finally wash again in clean water. Leaves are now ready for drying. Drain each trough after each wash: fresh leaves must always be washed with fresh water. more

How to Grow the Moringa Tree.

How to Grow the Moringa Tree. The Moringa tree is native to northern India, but today it is common throughout the tropical and sub-tropical regions of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Moringa trees grow easily from seeds or cuttings. They grow quickly even in poor soil and bloom 8 months after planting. To grow from a cutting: After the trees have stopped producing fruits each year, branches need to be cut off so that fresh growth may take place. These branches are excellent for growing new trees. Make a cutting at least 1" (2.5cm) in diameter and at least six feet (1.8m) long. Dig a hole 3 ft. (1m) x 3 ft. (1m) and 3 ft. (1m) deep. Place cutting in this hole and fill with a mixture of soil, sand and composted manure. Pack firmly around base of the cutting. Form a slight dome or cone shape, sloping down away from the cutting. It is desirable that water not touch the stem of the new tree. Water generously, but do not drown the cutting in water. continue

What Is Vitamin P and How Can It Help Prevent Cancer?

What Is Vitamin P and How Can It Help Prevent Cancer? “Vitamin P” is not a vitamin at all. It was the term given to a group of super-healing plant substances from the 1930s to the 1950s. Today these substances are better known as flavonoids (or sometimes bioflavonoids) and they can be found in thousands of plant species. Researchers continue to discover both sources for them and how they can be used to support healing − including for various forms of cancer. Flavonoids are super-concentrated packets of nutrition for the human body and are essential for the functioning of virtually every cell and organ. Some common flavonoids you may have heard about include myricetin, apigenin, hesperidin, quercetin, rutin, luteolin, and catechin. Each type of flavonoid plays a different role in your body. In general, however, flavonoids are crucial for two specific reasons. First of all, they all are essential to the absorption of Vitamin C − the key nutrient responsible for tissue growth and repair. They are also essential for the maintenance of bones and teeth and for the production of the protein collagen used to create blood vessels and muscular tissues. Without the help of flavonoids, none of this would happen! Second of all, flavonoids are powerful antioxidants. Besides Vitamin C absorption, which also helps the immune system, preventing and reversing oxidative stress is the key element in how flavonoids help prevent and heal cancer. more

Benefits of drinking moringa everyday.

Moringa plant is beginning to gain more popularity as a new “superfood” for its highly nutritious profile and powerful anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and tissue-protective properties among many other health benefits. Eastern countries use moringa to treat and prevent diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, anemia, arthritis, liver disease, and respiratory, skin, and digestive disorders. Moringa has become popular as a natural leaf powder supplement, although the pods, roots, bark, flowers, seeds, and fruits are also edible. Moringa a super-food additive is fast gaining recognition all over the world because of its outstanding properties that translate to our benefits. Moringa affects many of the systems of the body from respiratory ,reproductive,musculoskeletal,digestive and the skin to ensure perfect working conditions and healthy life for the individual. Moringa is a source of protein,vitamin A, C,potassium,calcium and iron. more 1. It's nutrient-packed. Moringa is a rich source of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. It contains significant amounts of vitamin A, C, and E; calcium; potassium; and protein. 2. It fights free radicals. Antioxidants fight free radicals, molecules that cause oxidative stress, cell damage, and inflammation. Moringa contains antioxidants called flavonoids, polyphenols, and ascorbic acid in the leaves, flowers, and seeds. continue

How this Ghanaian turned the moringa plant into a business.

How this Ghanaian turned the moringa plant into a business. Moringa a super-food additive is fast gaining recognition all over the world because of its outstanding properties that translate to our benefits. Moringa affects many of the systems of the body from respiratory ,reproductive,musculoskeletal,digestive and the skin to ensure perfect working conditions and healthy life for the individual. Moringa is a source of protein,vitamin A, C,potassium,calcium and iron. Moringa contains essential amino acids and micro nutrients essential for growth and development. Moringa has seven times the amount of vitamin C in oranges,making it an option in cases of cold and nasal congestion. A cup of tea laced with moringa or better still mug of warm water with a dab of moringa will give fast relief. This high vitamin C content also makes it a soothing tonic in cases of stress,making it a natural energy booster. How this Ghanaian turned the moringa plant into a business.When Ben Ajofu was diagnosed with hypertension at the age of 35, doctors told him he would be on medication for the rest of his life. Ajofu proved them wrong; within three to six months of taking moringa, he realised his blood pressure had lowered. “I didn’t really want to take medication at 35 for the rest of my life,” says Ajofu. The improvement in Ajofu’s health led to him becoming one of the most enthusiastic advocates of the moringa plant in Ghana. He is the founder of Moringa King, a producer of juice and powder containing parts of the plant. The moringa leaf is thought to have numerous health benefits. The plant contains high amounts of magnesium, potassium, zinc and vitamin E, which are important nutrients to combat hypertension, a condition of unusually high blood pressure.more