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Saturday, July 29, 2017

FIIRO signs pact with German companies on cassava.

FIIRO signs pact with German companies on cassava.The Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi (FIIRO), has signed a pact with two German companies – GIZ and BOSCH – to boost cassava production and processing. The Head of Corporate Communications of FIIRO, Mr Chris Olumuyiwa, said on Friday in Lagos in a statement. GIZ is a green innovation centre for agriculture and the food sector, while BOSCH is a specialist in the fabrication of machinery, power tools and household equipment. Olumuyiwa said the partnership would enable FIIRO to upscale development of innovative cassava processing technologies. more

Green tea ingredient may ameliorate memory impairment, brain insulin resistance, and obesity.

Green tea ingredient may ameliorate memory impairment, brain insulin resistance, and obesity. A new study involving mice, suggests that EGCG (epigallocatechin-3-gallate), the most abundant catechin and biologically active component in green tea, could alleviate high-fat and high-fructose (HFFD)-induced insulin resistance and cognitive impairment.more

New tool to distinguish between viral, bacterial infections.

New tool to distinguish between viral, bacterial infections. Antibiotics are lifesaving drugs, but overuse is leading to one of the world's most pressing health threats: antibiotic resistance. Researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center are developing a tool to help physicians prescribe antibiotics to patients who really need them, and avoid giving them to individuals who don't.more

Cassava in the Livestock Feed Industry.

Cassava in the Livestock Feed Industry. Cassava called Manihot esculenta, is extensively cultivated as an annual crop in tropical and subtropical regions for its edible starchy tuberous root, a major source of carbohydrates. Cassava is the third-largest source of food carbohydrates in the tropics, after rice and maize. Cassava is a major staple food in the developing world, providing a basic diet for over half a billion people. Cassava is one of the most drought-tolerant crops, capable of growing on marginal soils and Nigeria is the world's largest producer of cassava, while Thailand is the largest exporter of dried cassava. Cassava can be processed into various products such as garri,tapioca, cake,bread and flakes for human consumption,but the peels can be processed and fed to animals. Cassava is used in most tropical areas for feeding pigs, cattle, sheep and poultry. The dried peel of cassava roots are fed to sheep and goats, and raw or boiled roots are mixed into a mash with protein concentrates such as maize, sorghum, groundnut, or oil palm kernel meal and mineral salts for livestock feeding. Research has shown that cassava provides good quality carbohydrate, which may be substituted for maize or barley and that cassava rations are especially suitable for swine, dairy cattle, and poultry. Cassava cannot be used as the main feedstuff because of its deficiency in protein and vitamins, but must be supplemented with other feeds that are rich in the required elements. The composition of a compounded ration varies depending on the specie of the animal such as cattle, pigs, or poultry and the kind of production which includes dairy, meat, or eggs. Oil cakes are the main ingredients in the feed for cattle, while feed grains are the most important for pigs and poultry. more

Climate change, agriculture, and food security.

Climate change, agriculture, and food security. Recently 60 delegates from 22 Asian countries took part in a workshop organized by the United Nations in Manila to map out national adaptation plans or NAPs, which are the main vehicles of countries for climate change adaptation including accessing climate finance. This is quite significant in the wake of US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal of America from the Paris Agreement, which binds countries to fight climate change and adapt to its effects, with enhanced support to assist developing countries to do so. Sunlight, temperature and rainfall are the main drivers of crop production;hence, agriculture is directly affected by climate change. But it should also be noted that agriculture also affects climate change as it is responsible for about one-third of greenhouse gas emissions, a major cause of global warming. About 25 percent of carbon dioxide emissions are produced by human practices, mainly deforestation, use of fossil-fuel-based fertilizers, and burning of plant materials. Likewise, most of the methane in the atmosphere comes from livestock, forest fires, irrigated rice cultivation, and waste products.more

Dog dies hours after owner gives her a treat.

Dog dies hours after owner gives her a treat. A local woman gives her dog a chew then hours later her beloved dog is dead. The Food and Drug Administration has issued warnings about raw hide treats made from China but the product Laura Beveridge purchased is a no hide chew and made right here in the U.S. Beveridge says her nightmare began with a special treat for her special girl, Dumplin. "She was a chewer. She enjoyed chewing." "I read this label and the "safe" and "easily digestible" and I thought this is the right product." The chew she gave her Dumplin was made by Earth Animal. The No-Hide Chicken Chews" states it's "the safe rawhide alternative." Beveridge watched Dumplin chew while she was on a conference call. Minutes later, she was rushing her dog to the vet. "She threw up white foam all over and the airways noises changed. When they finally let me see her she was on a ventilator. I'm a respiratory therapist and when you see the ventilator, you know." Twelve hours after giving her the chew, Dumplin was gone. "I'm lost. The mornings are hard. You get up the routine is all about her." more

Friday, July 28, 2017

Unethical Breeding Is Creating Serious Health Problems for German Shepherds.

Unethical Breeding Is Creating Serious Health Problems for German Shepherds. German Shepherds are among the most popular breeds in the world, but their numbers have started to decline. New research suggests the decreasing demand for German Shepherds may have something to do with the breed’s propensity for health problems—likely the result of selective breeding for cosmetic traits. A relatively recent shift in the way German Shepherds are bred has been linked to the breed’s current predisposition to an array of health conditions, according to new research published this week in Canine Genetics and Epidemiology. Compared to other breeds, German Shepherds are now disproportionately prone to musculoskeletal disorders, osteoarthritis, diarrhea, obesity, and behavioral problems. These findings should raise the alarm among breeders, but experts are skeptical that anything will be done to rectify the problem.more

Seeds, not Diamonds, will Make Africa Great.

Seeds, not Diamonds, will Make Africa Great. These words by Dr. Kanayo F. Nwanze the 2016 winner of the Africa Food Prize and the immediate Former President of the International Fund for agricultural Development (IFAD). He is also a Board Member of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) on role of agriculture in development of various African economy. He shares with us his take on agriculture in Africa and how Africa can be great with proper implementation of policy,strategies and most of all innovations in agriculture to boost growth and development. His words; As I settle back in my homeland Nigeria since retiring as the President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in March this year, I am reminded of a local saying that when you go to the stream to fetch water, your bucket will only be filled with the water that is yours. No one can take the water that is meant for you. Life will give you what you deserve, nothing more, and nothing less. But first you must walk to the stream, bend down, and dip your bucket. This parable inspired the title of my recently released book, A Bucket of Water, that distils lessons and experiences from my 40-year professional career dedicated to agriculture in general, and African agriculture in particular. I have witnessed many inspiring changes in Africa over the years. Technologies that enable farmers produce more yield per unit acreage have been developed. Access to markets and financial resources have also improved as has the policy landscape. Additionally, Africa is experiencing unprecedented economic growth with five of the world’s 10 fastest growing economies being African.more

US defends chlorine-washed chicken amid backlash

US defends chlorine-washed chicken amid backlash: Trade negotiations between the US and UK regarding poultry imports should be based on “sound science”, as opposed to politics and fearmongering.

New meat snacking solution launched by Hormel Foods

New meat snacking solution launched by Hormel Foods: US-based Hormel Foods has revealed a range of new meat snacking options, catering to the demand for convenience eating.

Algae may help reduce emissions on pig farms

Algae may help reduce emissions on pig farms: Adding algae to wastewater may reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help pig farmers become more environmentally friendly, the Australian Pork Cooperative Research Centre (Pork CRC) claims.

European pig sector to share intel on gas stunning

European pig sector to share intel on gas stunning: Trade bodies backing the EU pig sector will start sharing information on gas stunning amid pressure from welfare activists who have long campaigned against the practice.

New sausage casing offers alternative cooking methods

New sausage casing offers alternative cooking methods: A global sausage casings firm has introduced a new product to the market, designed to increase manufacturers’ profitability and provide a different method for preparing sausages.

Eating walnuts may boost good gut bacteria, suggests study

Eating walnuts may boost good gut bacteria, suggests study: Walnut consumption may increase the amount of beneficial bacteria in the gut, according to a recent animal study published in The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry.

Monday, July 24, 2017

How 2 women turned recycled tyre business to international brands.

How 2 women turned recycled tyre business to international brands. Laura ZABO – makes up-cycled belts and vegan accessories from reused bicycle tyres.“The ZABO story began in Tanzania, Africa where fell in love with the handmade and brightly painted sandals made from reused tyres. more The idea for footwear label soleRebels popped into the brain of Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu in 2004. Looking around her native Addis Ababa, she caught sight of the ubiquitous simple sandals made from recycled tyres and decided to turn them into an international brand. Twelve months later, soleRebels was launched in a local workshop with just five staff. SoleRebels has earned the soubriquet, the Nike of Ethiopia.more

Recycle tyre business and poverty eradication.

Recycle tyre business and poverty eradication. The effect of climatic changes are felt all over the world in varying degrees,with iceberg melting to extreme flooding,drought in other areas and severe hot weather in different regions. The call to save our environment by changing our lifestyle,work style and agricultural practices has been on for a while birthing different initiatives but all with a common goal to save the environment. Old tyres are usually collected and burnt in heaps thus polluting the atmosphere and also causing respiratory problems in man.The burning which releases toxic gases to the atmosphere which contributes to the warming effect of the climate. Tyres can be recycled to prevent damage to our health and environment. Tyres can be used to eradicate poverty by using it in agriculture as 1)fish tank .2)snail housing. 3) garden 4) farm see tyres have also found uses in furniture,building and fashion industry. The reduce,reuse and recycle initiative is one of such drives to save our environment by changing our lifestyle. The initiative has turned various waste to wealth such as the recycling of tyres to wealth and eradicate poverty by creating jobs and valuable products. Tyres can be recycled to make schools that are durable and cost effective depending on the design. Millions of children all over the world are in dire need of shoes,this need can be met by turning tyres into shoes,creating jobs for members of the community as well as poverty eradication. Tyres can also be recycles to basins, buckets and feeders for animals. Salim, Mahamud Mazur Rahman is recycling scrape tyres which he slices before he puts into shape. This way he feeds his family of six. The recycled tyre products, though rugged in looks, serve well for rough use and is more durable than the classy company plastic tyres. These recycle tyre buckets are basically used for fetching water from well, basins for feeding domestic animals.source Timberland,the popular shoe factory have an initiative ,which is the drive.recycle.wear where they turn used ,worn tyres to beautiful shoes. The company discovered that their footwear is a great opportunity to incorporate more recycled materials and reduce their environmental footprint. In 2008, they introduced an innovative recycled outsole made with crumb rubber from discarded truck and car tires. more

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Cowdung stops snakes from feeding on fish.

Cowdung stops snakes from feeding on fish. Placing cow dung in a pond repulses snake predators as snakes are common in fish ponds along rivers and other forest-surrounding areas. Insects, fish and other reptiles like frogs are the main source of food for snakes. Snakes love fish, but hate cow-dung smell. A fish pond is more susceptible to snakes because the population is high within this water restricted area. This makes the snakes reside inside the pond or nearby areas. But a sack of about 10kg places in one corner of the fishpond could repulse these predators, according to a farmer;Jared Mogaka . Mogaka, who runs integrated farms in Nakuru, said the use of chemicals in taming predators presents a risk to consumers and the environment. While the dung is fresh, it releases a strong decomposing smell that persists even after it has been placed in the water because it is moist. Cowdung and chicken droppings are commonly immersed in one corner of fish ponds as manure to support the growth of planktons. source

Human urine is best fertilizer for fish pond.

Human urine is best fertilizer for fish pond. A new research shows that ponds fed with human urine generate food for fish faster by four days, while saving farmers at least 24kg of commercial fertilizer required after every two weeks. The research, which was published in the Ecological Engineering journal, said that the readiness to release the rich nitrogen and other ions in the human urine quickened the propagation process of the plankton. The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) states that at least 24kg of commercial nitrogenous fertilizer must be applied per acre every two weeks to facilitate growth of zooplanktons,which are colonies of green microscopic organisms that are major sources of food for fish. A new research by the University of Kalyani, India, says half a liter of human urine is required for every 4,500 litres of water to trigger multiplication of zooplankton in four days. The research compared half a kilo of human urine with cowdung, vermicompost, chicken drippings and cow urine. In the various setups, Moina micrura plankton grew four days earlier in the human urine than the others. also

Farmer uses fish waste to grow vegetables.

Farmer uses fish waste to grow vegetables. Dickson Mosota opted out of buying nitrogenous fertilizers for his vegetable garden,he eliminated these costs by tapping fish pond water for irrigation as well as for the supply of nutrients. Fish waste are rich in urea, which is a compound of nitrogen and other elements. Nitrogen is one of the basic mineral elements responsible for the vegetative growth in crops. It is a macro nutrient in photosynthesis, the process of making food in green plants. Dickson Mosota realized that when he used the water from his integrated fish pond, the vegetables on top of the chicken and rabbit hatch did well. Chickens and rabbits drop their faecal matter into the water to support the growth of algae for the fish. When the fish excrete, the accumulating waste has other minerals elements that accelerate the growth hormones in the crops. Nitrogen is the main component in urea. The farmer drains the 4m by 8m pond monthly besides the regular circulation. more

Drying vegetables increases shelf life to over eight months.

Drying vegetables increases shelf life to over eight months. Dried vegetables can last for more than eight months without expiring/spoiling.The inclusion of a solar drier into production has increased the shelf-life of vegetables from two days to more than eight months, allowing Kisii County farmer, Jared Otundo, sell his vegetables for longer and faraway. Otundo says drying the black night shade and spider flower vegetables has helped him reduce rotting losses to zero.Unlike fresh vegetables that require disposal within two days, he can hold on until when the market fetches more. During rainy seasons, the oversupply of the vegetables lead to low prices. This is his time of accumulating and drying the two varieties and stocking. The solar equipment has a special chamber for blowing away moisture. The vegetables lose the moisture, but the colour remains the same. After packaging and sealing in labeled polythene bags, the cargo is less bulky for transporting. source

New approach to evaluating agricultural development programs.

New approach to evaluating agricultural development programs. A new research has shown that involving locals in figuring out how to improve their farming and fishing methods provides more lasting and widespread benefits than just introducing new technologies or methods. As the old saying goes, teaching someone to fish is far more helpful than just giving them a fish. Now, research from WorldFish and MIT takes that adage a step further: Better yet, the study found, is working with the fishermen to help develop better fishing methods. The findings are described in the journal Agricultural Systems, shows that over the last few decades has shown that bringing about improvements in agricultural systems is a highly complex challenge, with many interrelationships and feedbacks determining how well new methods and devices take hold or provide a real improvement. Yet government agencies as well as research and nonprofit organizations still mostly evaluate the success of their programs using simple metrics that overlook much of this complexity. more

Saturday, July 22, 2017

High levels of antibiotic-resistance in Indian poultry farming raises concerns.

High levels of antibiotic-resistance in Indian poultry farming raises concerns.A new study from India raises questions about the dangers to human health of farming chicken with growth-promoting antibiotics -- including some of the same drugs used in raising millions of chickens in the United States and worldwide. The study, led by researchers from the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy (CDDEP) and published in Environmental Health Perspectives, found high levels of antibiotic-resistant pathogens in chickens raised for both meat and eggs on farms in India's Punjab state. The study has serious implications, not only for India but globally, as Overuse of antibiotics in animal farms endangers all of us. We must remove antibiotics from the human food chain, except to treat sick animals, or face the increasingly real prospect of a post-antibiotic world.more

Aquaponics at Home: A Modern Farmer Review of Turnkey Aquaponics Systems for All Levels.

Aquaponics at Home: A Modern Farmer Review of Turnkey Aquaponics Systems for All Levels. Aquaponics—an environmentally-friendly mash-up of aquaculture and hydroponics—is just beginning to take off at a commercial level. But for homesteaders and hobbyists, it’s more feasible than ever to raise catfish and tomatoes together, whether in your garden, greenhouse, or a sunny window. Poopy fish water provides irrigation and nutrients to the produce, which in turn filter the water for the fish. more

The Amazing New Way to Grow Tomatoes: In Tomato Waste.

The Amazing New Way to Grow Tomatoes: In Tomato Waste. Closed-loop systems, in which waste is used as a nutrient (usually) could well be one of the futures of farming: The goals of minimizing waste and optimizing energy use are rubrics that are becoming increasingly essential. But here's one we haven't heard of before, at least not in quite this way: turning tomato waste into a medium for growing tomatoes. A new study out of New Zealand and published in the journal HartScience, comes up with a way to reuse green waste in a hydroponic system—and even better, that waste can come from the crop itself. There are two main concepts to understand here before you can grasp exactly why this is such an interesting idea. The first is biochar, which is basically charcoal created from “green waste,” which is exactly what you think it is. Charcoal is created through heat in an environment without oxygen; often that’s done by burying. The biochar in this study comes from the waste of tomato plants (stems, roots, leaves). The other concept is the substrate. In a hydroponic system, when a plant is planted in what’s basically a moving stream of water in which nutrients are dissolved, the substrate is a porous bit of…something…that holds the plants in place. Most commonly the substrate is spun rock (a.k.a. rock wool), which is basically cotton candy made of rock. Sawdust is also a pretty popular substrate. more

How to make biochar and increase soil fertility.

How to make biochar and increase soil fertility. For hundreds of years, rain forest farmers have figured out that you can enrich soil with biochar: charcoal, basically. Wet vegetation is burned, producing little bits of charcoal, which are ground into the soil. Eventually, this creates an incredibly rich,fertile soil. In only the past few years, researchers at universities around the world have realized that the Amazonian technique is replicated in various forms around the world, including West Africa. This new study, led by researchers at the University of Sussex, analyzed 177 sites in Liberia and Ghana and proved that biochar additions, practiced for centuries in these areas, have increased the carbon levels in the soil by two to three times. By living in villages in these countries, researchers described the techniques: ash and bones, along with kitchen waste, are recycled back into the soil. The press release for the study says the practice could help mitigate climate change. What they mean by that is that the biochar method transfers carbon to the soil, reducing the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere. The infamous slash-and-burn method, in which material like trees and plants are simply burned in open fires, transfers a very small percentage of carbon to the soil, releasing much of it into the atmosphere in the form of carbon dioxide. But slash-and-char, in which wet vegetation under a layer of straw is burned into charcoal, is much more efficient, transferring almost half of its carbon content into the soil.more

How to process mango to prevent post-harvest losses.

In central Kenya, the Kambiti East Mango Self Help Group is using clean energy drying technology to reduce post-harvest waste and access new markets for a stronger community economy. Samuel is one of fifteen mango farmers in Kambiti East Mango Self Help Group, located in Murang'a County in central Kenya. Formed in late 2013, this group came together with the help of a local community-based organization (CBO) after struggling to find a market for their fruits. The project centered on decreasing the amount of post-harvest losses by sun drying their mango into mango leather. Samuel Munguti examines a handful of dried mangoes in Kambiti, Kenya. In 2015, Kambiti joined YieldWise – an initiative of the Rockefeller Foundation and implemented by TechnoServe in Kenya – with the aim of training more than 20,000 farmers on post-harvest loss prevention techniques, increasing market demand for mango by linking farmers to new buyers and finance, and piloting technologies to improve the storage and shelf life of mango. Through YieldWise, Kambiti's farmers participated in hands-on agronomy trainings to improve the quality of their mangoes. They trained us on how to take care of our mango trees, how to prune, how to harvest and they taught us how to use these fly traps. TechnoServe also connected Kambiti with Village Industrial Power (VIP), a social enterprise startup commercializing innovative clean-energy solutions for rural industries and communities throughout sub-Saharan Africa. As part of a pilot project, VIP provided Kambiti with a mobile power plant, valued at roughly $17,000, which uses agricultural waste as fuel, creating thermal, electrical and mechanical energy to transform crops into higher value products. Super-heated steam produced by this power plant dries these mangoes at record pace, significantly decreasing the amount of loss during the drying process. In fact, 30 kgs of mangoes can be dried within nine hours, whereas sun drying the same weight previously took 48 hours. more


HOW TO GROW A HEALTHY MANGO. As farmers from South Asia to East Africa to Latin America can attest, there is a lot of know-how and hard work behind those sweet and juicy fruits. Packed with vitamins, antioxidants and fiber, the mango is known for its health benefits. But before it ever reaches your shopping cart, what does it take to grow, store and transport a healthy mango? Farmers like Annaziatta Masiku, who depend on mangoes for income, often struggle to grow healthy, high-quality fruit in the face of pests, disease and severe weather conditions. Even after harvesting, they can lose a significant share to spoilage due to improper storage or a lack of reliable buyers. Anna didn't start mango farming until early 2006, when she planted 50 mango trees. As a new mango farmer, Anna lacked knowledge on mango best practices to keep her trees healthy and producing high yields. While Anna was aware of the importance of pruning, she often used a machete to trim her mango trees’ branches. In addition, she lacked key information on fertilizers and pesticides that would reduce post-harvest losses. "After pruning, I didn't know how to dispose of the waste so I would leave it on the ground which resulted in a buildup of weevils which would destroy the fruit," she said. In May of 2016, Anna joined YieldWise, a program funded by the Rockefeller Foundation and implemented by TechnoServe in Kenya, with the aim of training more than 20,000 farmers on post-harvest loss prevention techniques, increasing market demand for mango by linking farmers to new buyers and finance and piloting technologies to improve the storage and shelf life of mango. more


THE BUSINESS SIDE OF CASHEW.The MozaCajú project teaches cashew farmers in northern Mozambique improved commercialization techniques to boost profits from their harvest. Cashew farmers in Mozambique like Alda Filomena André work hard all year to secure a good harvest from their cashew trees. She and her husband have a farm of several hundred trees in the northern province of Cabo Delgado, where a significant portion of the cashew production in the country occurs. In Mozambique, January and February is the time for farmers like Alda to plant new cashew seedlings. In March they are pruning and cleaning their trees. In June and July, they treat the trees for protection from pests and disease. In September they clean them again in preparation for the harvest. Finally, by late October the harvest season starts, lasting through December. After the harvest comes perhaps the most important stage – commercialization. Commercialization is the process of making a harvest available on the market, from the initial collection, storage and aggregation all the way through the final sale of the product. For cashew farmers like Alda, it is the time when they can finally reap the benefits from cultivating cashew. They may work hard all the way up to harvesting the cashew from the trees, but if they do not succeed at commercialization then they will not earn a good profit. Traditionally, cashew farmers in northern Mozambique harvest and sell their cashew nuts all at once. Most commonly, a buyer – some local trader perhaps working alone or on behalf of a factory or warehouse – will come to a cashew producing community with a large scale and will buy as much raw cashew nut as the farmers are willing and able to sell at that time, without much negotiation. Since 2014, MozaCajú, a three-year project funded by USDA and implemented by TechnoServe that connects Mozambican smallholder cashew farmers to markets and factories, has been training cashew farmers in the three northern provinces of Cabo Delgado, Nampula and Zambézia on commercialization techniques in order to fill the gap in knowledge and information that has prevented them from maximizing their profits. These trainings are organized into sessions on My Cashew Business (O Meu Negocio de Caju), which covers all aspects of commercialization. The training is given first to promoters, farmers who are known and trusted in their communities and are selected according to specific criteria. These promoters then disseminate the knowledge and information to other cashew farmers in their community, who are formed into groups of 20 to 30 farmers each. A drawing from the MozaCajú Field Manual encourages farmers to sell their cashew in groups in order to negotiate prices. more


ACCELERATING IMPACT FOR ENTREPRENEURS. A newly released report by Emory University and TechnoServe shows that carefully designed accelerator programs can facilitate revenue growth. In recent years, entrepreneurship has become a key focus area for development. Although entrepreneurship and economic development were once considered and promoted separately, they are now seen as two sides of the same coin. Governments, nongovernmental organizations and private investors around the world are channeling their efforts into stimulating emerging-market entrepreneurship. more

Friday, July 21, 2017

Keeping food supply safer using computer software.

Keeping food supply safer using computer software.Food safety research usually involves analyzing live populations of foodborne pathogens like Salmonella, Listeria and E. coli, but University of Georgia food scientist Henk den Bakker fights pathogens by developing computer software. Graphs are used to find genomic differences between strains of foodborne bacteria. By studying graphs of complete populations of a pathogen, we can look for genetic variation in genomes that help us to fingerprint bacterial strains. This makes it easier to find bacteria with a similar genomic fingerprint, for instance, bacteria involved in a disease outbreak. more

Economic importance of fungi in commercial agriculture.

Economic importance of fungi in commercial agriculture.Fungi are one of the most significant organisms in the environment. They are hidden from the naked eyes but their effects and impact are very evident and plenty. Learn more about fungi and the economic importance of fungi in commercial agriculture. The economic importance of fungi refers to both the advantages and disadvantages of fungi. Fungi are one of the most important microorganisms in our environment. The play a number of important roles in medicine and in commercial agriculture. The uses of fungi are numerous. They are used in production industries like bakeries and breweries, in food processing, in medicines, etc. . Some fungi found in the soil are beneficial in commercial agriculture because their activities help to maintain soil fertility. Saprophytic fungi in acidic soils with low bacterial activities cause decay and help decompose dead plants and their waste. They take up the complex organic compounds by secreting enzymes. These enzymes convert the complex organic compounds into simpler ones like ammonia, hydrogen sulphide, carbon dioxide, water, etc. Some of these simpler compounds are absorbed back into the soil to form humus. The rest into the air where they are used again by plants for synthesis. Most saprophytic fungi involved in decay maintain a constant cycle of carbon dioxide which is the very important for plant photosynthesis. Some fungi attach to the roots of some plants and help them in taking up nutrients from the soil. This is known as mycorrhizal association. These plants can only grow to satisfaction when mycelium of the fungal partner is present in the soil. Mycorrhiza present in the soil helps in the development of good soil structure. They join small soil particles together to form bigger ones. more

Cows offers clue that leads to an HIV vaccine.

Cows offers clue that leads to an HIV vaccine. "Cows have shown an 'insane' and 'mind-blowing' ability to tackle HIV which will help develop a vaccine, say US researchers," BBC News reports. The report is based on new research in cows that were immunized against HIV before having their immune response to HIV assessed. There's currently no vaccine for HIV because the virus mutates so easily. Scientists aim to develop a vaccine that is not only potent (produces a strong immune system response), but also causes the immune system to make "broadly neutralizing antibodies" (able to protect against many different strains of virus). The four cows in this study were immunized against HIV with a specially developed vaccine to test both strength and "breadth". Some cows developed a weak response with reasonable breadth (20% – or it helped protect against 1 in 5 strains tested in the lab) at 42 days. One cow in particular showed an impressive immune response to most of the lab strains of HIV ("96% breadth") 381 days after being vaccinated. This research, done in a small number of cows, may help scientists work out if immune proteins made in cows could potentially be used to protect humans against a range of HIV strains. more

Transforming Nigeria's Agricultural Value Chain.

Transforming Nigeria's Agricultural Value Chain. Agriculture was the mainstay of Nigeria’s economy before the discovery of crude oil. From 1960 to 1969, the sector accounted for an average of 57.0% of GDP and generated 64.5% of export earnings. From 1970 to late 2000s, the sector’s contribution to GDP and export earnings steadily declined, because Nigeria focus shifted to petroleum exploration. Over the past five years, the sector has contributed an average of 23.5% to GDP and generated 5.1% of export earnings. The recent fall in crude oil prices has triggered conversations around the role of Agriculture in economic diversification.Our new report, Transforming Nigeria’s Agricultural Value Chain, argues that Nigeria’s agriculture sector requires massive investments to increase production and to create value addition across the most profitable segments of the value chain. In order to examine Nigeria’s agricultural value chain, the report focuses on Cocoa and Dairy as case studies. It also suggests strategies for upgrading the production, processing, trade and marketing segments of the agricultural value chain. Download

Risk and spread of plant viruses.

Risk and spread of plant viruses. Plant viruses can cause many diseases in our crops. The effects of viruses can range from discolorations and deformities – which make products less valuable or worthless – to loss of the plant. But virus infection can also be symptom-free; in that case the host plant appears to be healthy. However, undetected infections can have serious consequences for the export of agricultural products, especially if the virus concerned has a quarantine status in other countries. Standard plant protection agents do not work against plant viruses; once plants are infected by a virus they can no longer be cured. Farmers and growers therefore do everything they can to keep their crops virus-free. They begin the crop with certified virus-free material (seeds, cuttings or other planting material). In addition, they take measures to minimise virus transmission to their crop and within their crop. To do this effectively, it is important to understand how viruses spread and move from one plant to another.see

30,000 farmers to be trained on agriculture technology.

30,000 farmers to be trained on agriculture technology.More than 30,000 farmers, including some from Sudan, Ethiopia and Uganda, are expected to attend the 17th annual farmers' field day in Nyeri from next week. The two-day event will kick off on Friday and Saturday next week at Wambugu Farm Agricultural Training Centre. Nyeri Agriculture executive Robert Thuo said more than 130 exhibitors, mostly selling farm inputs, will showcase their work.more

How to keep your newly hatched chicks healthy.

How to keep your newly hatched chicks healthy. This one factor has a huge impact on health of chicks,temperature affects growth of birds in so many ways. The newly hatched chick cannot control its body temperature very well. Air temperature, humidity, and airspeed interact and will all have an effect on the body temperature and the comfort of the young chick. It is easy to see if chicks are uncomfortable from their behavior – chicks that are too hot are noisy and pant in order to lose heat. Chicks that are cold will huddle together to keep warm and their legs will feel cold. In a recent trial, the Aviagen Hatchery Specialist team showed that chicks that were panting had a high vent temperature averaging 106°F, while comfortable chicks had a vent temperature that averaged 104°F. When the two groups were held in the hatchery for12 hours, the over-heated chicks lost nearly twice as much weight. Samples taken at the hatchery showed that chicks that had been overheated had slight gut damage, so they could not absorb nutrients as well. Grown in a broiler trial, these chicks were 60g lighter at 35 days than chicks that had been held in comfortable conditions. more

How To Stop The Red Poultry Mite Infestation.

How To Stop The Red Poultry Mite Infestation. The red poultry mite,though tiny causes huge losses on the farm . The conditions in poultry houses are ideal for mites and they rapidly multiply thus increasing in population. The bites are painful, irritating and can cause lethargy. There is decreased egg production and in extreme cases, death, as a result of anaemia. The red poultry mite transmits a number of poultry diseases such as Salmonella and Newcastle virus. The adult mites are very resistant to desiccation and starvation,thus can survive without food for several months. The red poultry mites are a nocturnal species, spending the day resting in cracks and crevices where they are safe from the birds. and at night, they attack the birds and feed for up to 2 hours. Slacked lime applied to thee poultry house kills the mites. The particle size of the lime dust is small such that it gets under the exoskeleton plates of the mites, they lose moisture and die. The slacked lime does not affect the birds,and the slaked lime can also be used to get rid of leg mite. Another approach is the use of Q-Perch; The Q-Perch is a mechanic solution that controls Poultry Red Mite* (PRM) based on their natural lifecycle. It withholds PRM from eating and thereby prevents them from reproducing. The revolutionary Q-Perch© is a perch containing two isolators, that kill PRM on their journey towards the chicken. There is a small electrical current running through the isolators with which the chickens cannot come into contact, but is lethal for PRM. The Q-Perch offers a continuous line of defence preventing the negative effects of PRM to occur. more

Ghana poultry farm’s integration model trains community.

Ghana poultry farm’s integration model trains community.Working with indigenous guinea fowl and layers, model farm in Ghana hopes to establish integrated model with local producers. A model poultry farm in the north of Ghana is hoping to meet local demand for poultry meat and eggs, and to share rearing knowledge with local farmers. What little commercial broiler production exists in the country tends to be concentrated in the south. Northern Ghana has never been a poultry-producing region, despite strong demand for meat and eggs. Access is further hampered by the country relying on imports for much of its broiler meat, making it expensive. But demand for poultry meat does not have to be solely satisfied by broiler meat, and this new model farm is working with guinea fowl - rather than broilers - and layers. Tibzaa Farm, located near the regional capital of Tamale was established in 2011 by Sintaro Mahama, a former International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent logistics manager, who wants it to function has a model farm to advance agricultural progress in the region. The farm has adopted the slogan of “Endless opportunities” and, as Mahama explains: “This means that we are facilitating the local communities.” The farm has breeding flocks of about 2,000 indigenous guinea fowl and approximately 5,000 Lohman Classic Brown layers, which are already producing eggs for sale. The farm is the process of registering local farmers to work with it and rear guinea fowl or laying hens. Basic training is being carried out on-farm, but there are plans to increase the farm’s training opportunities. more

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Bayer ; Training smallholder farmers in sustainable farming practices.

Training smallholder farmers in sustainable farming practices. How can we help cocoa farmers in Africa or vegetable farmers in Guatemala to grow safe and healthy food and bring their produce to market? With its Food Chain Partnership initiative, Bayer takes several approaches to support farmers worldwide in running sustainable, profitable farms. Ten thousand smallholder farmers – that’s an incredible number. And this is the number of growers we have trained in a single collaboration with the San Juan Agroexport farming business, one of the largest exporters of fresh vegetables from Guatemala. As a result of our training, the farmers learned more about safe use of crop protection products and sustainability management – very important factors. What’s more, another outcome of this project was increased yields, improved post-harvest performance, and the fact that San Juan Agroexport is now better able to meet export requirements. more

Lawyer exchanges court dress for agric overalls.

Lawyer exchanges court dress for agric overalls. The Essex Agricultural Society is a registered charity that promotes agriculture and rural related industries through a year long diary of educational and social events. It has been serving the farming community in Essex for over 150 years.more

New PTSD study identifies potential path to treatment.

New PTSD study identifies potential path to treatment.A study of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)—conducted by the VA National Center for PTSD (NCPTSD), National PTSD Brain Bank, and Yale University—has identified a new potential mechanism contributing to the biology of the disorder that may be targeted by future treatments. Among combat veterans, PTSD is a common and disabling condition that is associated with high suicide risk, and in some cases it is difficult to treat effectively. Patients—civilians with significant trauma history and veterans with combat-related or civilian trauma history—are commonly treated with a combination of psychological therapy and medications aimed at alleviating diverse symptoms, such as hyper-arousal and depression More

Artificial sweeteners linked to risk of weight gain, heart disease and other health issues.

Artificial sweeteners linked to risk of weight gain, heart disease and other health issues.Artificial sweeteners may be associated with long-term weight gain and increased risk of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease, according to a new study published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal). Consumption of artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, sucralose and stevia, is widespread and increasing. Emerging data indicate that artificial, or nonnutritive, sweeteners may have negative effects on metabolism, gut bacteria and appetite, more

Engineered bone marrow could make transplants safer.

Engineered bone marrow could make transplants safer.Engineers at the University of California San Diego have developed biomimetic bone tissues that could one day provide new bone marrow for patients needing transplants. Bone marrow transplants are used to treat patients with bone marrow disease. Before a transplant, a patient is first given doses of radiation, sometimes in combination with drugs, to kill off any existing stem cells in the patient's bone marrow. This pre-treatment is meant to improve success of the transplant by clearing up space in the marrow, allowing donor cells to survive and grow without competition from the patient's own cells. But this treatment often comes with harmful side effects, such as nausea, fatigue, loss of fertility and others.more

Chinese bike-sharing startup aims at US with new model.

Chinese bike-sharing startup aims at US with new model.Rapidly growing bike-sharing startup Mobike already has 100 million users in China. And it's now looking to the US and Europe in the hope its unique "dockless" system can disrupt the industry. Mobike this week brought a handful of the brightly-colored two-wheelers to showcase at the Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen, Colorado. While many major US cities already have bike-sharing programs, Mobike co-founder and chief executive Davis Wang said he wants municipalities to take a look at his company's new concept. "If you look at (traditional) station bikes, it's like a desktop PC," he said. "We are more a smartphone. You just use it." more

Networking is key for cells during bone formation.

Networking is key for cells during bone formation.A new study into the way bone cells organize during bone formation could open the door to a better understanding of diseases such as osteoporosis. The research, led by the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces in Potsdam, Germany, used an interdisciplinary approach combining biology, medicine and physics to analyse the osteocyte lacuno-canalicular network (OLCN) in different bone types from mice and sheep. Reporting their results today in the New Journal of Physics, the team show there is a universal mechanism behind the way individual cells organised themselves into a large, interconnected network during bone formation and mineralization. more

Vitamin K2 may be beneficial for athletic training: Study

Vitamin K2 may be beneficial for athletic training: Study: Supplements of vitamin K2 may boost the output of the heart by 12% in aerobically trained males and female athletes, says a new study.

For video gamers, cognitive supplements have an edge over energy drinks

For video gamers, cognitive supplements have an edge over energy drinks: Energy and sports drink companies have heavily invested in marketing towards the video gaming community, a space which the cognitive supplement space may benefit from, according to category experts.

Cause or consequence? Investigating the link between gut bacteria and heart health

Cause or consequence? Investigating the link between gut bacteria and heart health: People with heart failure have been found to have less gut bacteria diversity and lack certain important species groups. So are changes in our microbiome causing heart disease, or visa-versa?

Secret meat site busted by Spanish police

Secret meat site busted by Spanish police: Two people have been arrested after Spanish police swooped on a disgusting covert warehouse storing meat kept in close proximity to mice and dead birds, according to Spanish law enforcement agency the Guardia Civil.

Horsemeat trading ring dismantled by police

Horsemeat trading ring dismantled by police: An investigation by the Spanish Guardia Civil, in co-ordination with Europol, has led to the dismantling of a horsemeat trading ring.

US BSE fears played down by industry

US BSE fears played down by industry: The US beef industry has moved quickly to allay fears over an incident of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in Alabama.

Data tool helps farmers earn more cash by mapping profits.

Data tool helps farmers earn more cash by mapping profits. Growers using a precision farming software package from UK crop production specialist Hutchinsons can now compare the profitability of different fields, and even map differences within an individual field. The new Yield Performance mapping feature of the Omnia Precision Agronomy software enables growers and agronomists to analyse multiple layers of field data – including yield maps – to identify areas that are performing less well than others, thereby inform management decisions. “Generating yield maps is no more than an exercise in data collection,” says Omnia services leader Matt Ward. “It’s how this data is interpreted in conjunction with all the other factors that can affect yield that’s valuable.” more

5 steps to start in precision farming.

5 steps to start in precision farming. Many farmers across the world are starting out on their precision farming journey and are looking to make better use of inputs and increase profitability. However, there are some basics to consider before setting out, which can remove a lot of the pain later on. This could be the hassle of setting up A-B lines for a guidance system every time a tractor goes into a field or the problem of duplication of field records, because imported data did not match field records. 1) Importance of measuring Consider why you are collecting data. Basically, if you don’t measure it, you can’t manage it. It’s a term farmers have heard many times, but how much attention has been paid to it and more importantly action taken, based on the results? Getting the tape measure out is as important now as it was seven years ago when I started advising farmers on the fundamentals of precision farming. Taking a few measurements in the field and on farm would make a huge difference to the success of any precision farming investment. Many times I have heard farmers saying: “My tramlines aren’t 24m wide, I must invest in a steering system to help become more accurate.” In theory, this was an understandable observation, but the fundamental measurement hadn’t been taken; the width of the drill. On 75% of occasions, the drill wasn’t as wide as the farmer thought it was. For example, a 4m drill came out to be closer to 3.8m rather than 4m. On that basis, the tramlines were never going to reach 24m, so the farmer may have been 100% accurate without realizing it. Getting the fundamental measurements for all equipment will form the basis for improving accuracy on the farm. 2) Precision agronomy I’m really excited about the potential for precision agronomy using the vast array of sensors and tools available. However, as with the rest of the precision farming process is keeping it as simple as possible. The deciding factor on resolution is the application equipment, which is going to be used to apply the agronomic knowledge. If, for example, the fertiliser spreader has a spread width of 36m, why look at creating variable rate maps with a resolution of 12m? In many instances less will be more. continue

New PED wave hits 56 places in Manitoba .

New PED wave hits 56 places in Manitoba. Where Canada has escaped from too many outbreaks of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea virus (PEDv) since 2013, the country has now reported 56 outbreaks in this year alone since 2 May. All positive confirmations were found in Manitoba – the vast majority being in the province’s south east, surrounding the city of Steinbach, a city about 60 km from Winnipeg. A recent outbreak, however, was confirmed in south central part of the province. In a very recent update, Manitoba Pork reported that July has so far resulted in 11 new outbreak reports, against only 10 before this year since the first outbreak was recorded in the state in 2014. The outbreaks were found on 21 sow operations, 13 nursery farms and 22 finisher farms. The majority of the most recent outbreaks were on finisher farms.more

Pigs can help improve IVF efficiency.

Pigs can help improve IVF efficiency.In a trial involving female pigs, researchers from the University of Missouri, USA, have discovered that IVF efficiency can be improved for humans. The researchers published the article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. R. Michael Roberts and Randall Prather, both professors of Animal Science at the University of Missouri, usually work with pigs to research stem cells and the mechanisms these cells use to proliferate, communicate and grow in the body. During an attempt to improve how they grow these cells, researchers in their labs discovered a method that uses a special liquid medium and improves the success of IVF in pigs.more

Pigs feel neuropathic pain due to tail mutilation.

Pigs feel neuropathic pain due to tail mutilation. Tail mutiliation causes neuropathic pain-like sensations in piglets – that has become clear from recent UK and Danish research. In their published paper in Nature, researchers from Newcastle University, the Scottish Rural College (SRUC) and Aarhus University concluded: “Tail amputation in pigs appears to evoke acute and sustained changes in peripheral mechanical sensitivity, which resemble features of neuropathic pain reported in humans and other species and provides new information on implications for the welfare of animals subjected to this type of injury.” more

Knowing more about animal bites and rabies may save your life .

Knowing more about animal bites and rabies may save your life. Cases of rabies have come up in the past week with children in villages near Serian, Sarawak being hospitalised after animal bites. Two children have died so far. Rabies is caused by a virus (genus Lyssavirus), and is derived from the Latin word for “to rage”. The disease has been recognised for over 4,000 years, though it was only in 1885 that the first vaccine for it was created by French biologist Louis Pasteur. That vaccine is the predecessor of the highly effective vaccines we have today.The virus is transmitted through the infected saliva of a host animal, usually through a bite or scratch from an infected animal.more According to the World Health Organization (WHO), dogs are the main source of infection, contributing up to 99% of all rabies transmissions to humans. Many animals can be host to the rabies virus, although it’s most common in dogs, cats, bats, foxes, jackals and mongooses. source

First child to undergo double hand transplant surgery achieves dream .

First child to undergo double hand transplant surgery achieves dream .Zion Harvey was also able to write and also feed and dress himself independently 18 months after the procedure which took nearly 11 hours. The American youngster, who was aged eight when the procedure took place, is able to complete the tasks following months of occupational therapy and psychological support, according to a medical report published in The Lancet Child and Adolescent Health journal. Dr Sandra Amaral, of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, said: “Our study shows that hand transplant surgery is possible when carefully managed and supported by a team of surgeons, transplant specialists, occupational therapists, rehabilitation teams, social workers and psychologists. “Eighteen months after the surgery, the child is more independent and able to complete day-to-day activities. more

Baby dies of viral meningitis after deadly kiss.

Baby dies of viral meningitis after deadly kiss.Mariana Sifrit, the infant girl who contracted viral meningitis caused by HSV-1 when she was less than a week old, died Tuesday morning, her mother posted on Facebook. HSV-1 is the same herpes virus that causes cold sores, and only rarely does it lead to viral meningitis, which causes the tissue covering the brain and spinal cord to become enflamed, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is believed that baby Mariana contracted the deadly virus from a kiss. Mariana's parents, Nicole and Shane Sifrit, both tested negative for the virus, they told CNN affiliate WHO. more

Monday, July 17, 2017

How a woman grows 500 plants in her apartment.

How a woman grows 500 plants in her apartment. The model-turned-sustainable-clothing-activist-turned-sustainable-food-movement-activist has had an eventful career. Oakes currently heads up marketing for Foodstand, whose aim is to “to connect a community of good eaters,” and also runs a website about detoxing from sugar. But leading up to these jobs, she earned an environmental science degree, worked as a model, wrote a book (with another due out this year), and launched a service to connect designers with sustainable fabrics. For 11 years, Oakes has lived in a 1,200-square-foot converted industrial space in Williamsburg, which is filled with 500 plants, including a living wall, an irrigated vertical garden constructed out of mason jars, and, in a closet garden, edible plants ranging from the familiar (herbs, greens) to the exotic (a pineapple plant, curry leaves—the latter of which she raves about). more

Heritage Bank, Biase Plantations seal N232m pact on oil palm production.

Heritage Bank, Biase Plantations seal N232m pact on oil palm production. HERITAGE Bank Plc has signed N232million Pilot phase of Out-growers agreement with Biase Plantations Limited (BPL) and its joint venture partner, PZ Wilmar Limited source

How to use old tyres in leisure parks. #agrotourism.

How to use old tyres in leisure parks. #agrotourism. Agrotourism is a fast growing trend in developing countries,but can be further harnessed to grow the economy. Agrotourism is peculiar to every country with each country showcasing various breeds and strains The uniqueness of the project can be amplified by using indigenous settings,crafts and ornaments to dictate the theme of your park. The money making potential of agrotourism ,read The theme of your leisure park could be made very unique and cheap with old tyres. Old tyres can be used as seats,flower beds, rides ,swimming pools slides and hanging castles alongside other things. The use of old tyres provides a ready source of materials and income for both the park owners and collectors /distributors of old tyres,so instead of burning tyres and polluting the environment turn them to cash and beautify your environment. The potential of turning tyres to cash is massive and can be a goldmine if the uses of tyres are exhausted. A value chain can be formed from using old tyres as they can be used in various fields 1) shoe industry,can be used to make cheap but durable shoes. 2) agriculture 3) agrotourism 4)education. Job opportunities abound in the chain,just imagine if old tyres can be set up as demonstration farms in schools,or the tyres are used to beautify our environment e.t.c. This is how to use old tyres in leisure parks. #agrotourism.

How to start a vegetable farm using tyres.

How to start a vegetable farm using tyres. Agriculture is the next big thing as all creatures need food,and with the estimated 9 billion people to be fed by 2050 all hands must be on deck to produce more food. The need to produce more food has opened up new frontiers of farming as many people are using unconventional means to plant,many have turned to urban agriculture for profit and sustainability. The use of bottles,plastics,sacs barrels have been explored to plant vegetables but a very unconventional method still untapped is the use of tyres to start a vegetable farm. The use of old tyres to start a vegetable farm though very unconventional its very convenient and ecofriendly. Old tyres can be recycled and used in agricultural projects such as raising snails, making mattress for cows to increase milk yield, starting a fish farm ,planting vegetables, roses e.t.c. The use of tyres for agricultural projects is a good alternative to the current method of disposing tyres which is burning which pollutes the atmosphere with severe health implications for man. The project you want to embark on will determine the size of tyres to use and how to arrange them or stack them up to produce the result you desire. The tyres could even be layered so that you have more than a row of vegetables or sectioned so you have 2 or 3 sections in the tyres to produce more with less space. How to start a vegetable farm using tyres. 1) Get old tyres,clean,wash and disinfect and set out to dry. The tyres can be painted to add a color code to your farm and also make it attractive. 2) Prepare the site for the tyres,this must be clean,free of weeds and in an easy accessible place. The tyre is now further prepared by using a black plastic(polythene) to cover the base and to prevent any weeds then place a wire mesh on top to keep steady and create a partition between the surface and tyre base. 3) Get the soil which must be treated to ensure no pests are inside. 4) Get your compost and mix with soil to prepare for planting. #tyres. The tyres can also be prepared like this

Friday, July 14, 2017

Five house plants that remove chemicals.

Five house plants that remove chemicals. Formaldehyde is a chemical that is present in many living rooms, offices and other indoor areas. Sounds like science talk, but it's really just a chemical that can't be seen but can cause health problems. Plants purify the air and some others remove toxins from the environment.Research from, NASA, shows that certain plants also filter the air of other toxins. Chemicals, such as formaldehyde, that are often used in building materials, lime and textiles. These 5 plants can remove formaldehyde: 1) Nephrolepis exalta 'Bostoniensis'. 2) Chrysanthemum morifolium (garden chrysanthemum). 3)Gerbera jamesonii. 4)Phoenix Roebelenii (Dwarf Dadelpalm). 5)Dracaena deremensis 'Janet Craig'. source

Kenya: AAA Roses expands Bellissima rose production with 10 ha.

Kenya: AAA Roses expands Bellissima rose production with 10 ha. AAA Roses is expanding its one-year-old high altitude farm with 10 ha. By the end of this year, this Kenyan farm hopes to cultivate their Bellissima branded roses on 30 ha. The farm, named Chui farm, started the rose production in February 2016 and is focused on long stem and large headed new varieties that they mainly ship to the Netherlands. Due to the good reception of their brand and new varieties, they decided, already within 12 months of its first production, to expand the greenhouse. With this expansion, the total production area of AAA across all farms will increase to a total of 70ha. Owner Ariff and Farah Samji saw a good market for Kenyan roses with large stems and big head sizes in Europe and therefore decided to establish a 20 ha high altitude farm in 2015. This farm, named Chui Farm, is located on the Timau mountain on an altitude of 2,500 meters above sea level. Over the last months, Kenyan growers were hit by the drought and are therefore not able to expand the farm. Fortunately, Chui Farm is able to expand because they built a huge dam and have managed to collect good rainfall and so far have managed to irrigate from the 100% of the rain harvested water. The farm also has boreholes which are good yielding, and therefore we are even covered in case the drought persists.more

Kenya plans to revive pyrethrum cultivation.

Kenya plans to revive pyrethrum cultivation. Pyrethrum farming was once a major source of income generating billions of shillings in foreign revenue in the 1980s before the sub-sector sunk on its knees. Today, most of the 200,000 farmers who religiously smiled all the way to the bank every month have uprooted the crop due to non-payment of their arrears. According to the latest statistics from the Ministry of Agriculture, the number of farmers growing the crop has nose-dived to between 15,000 and 20,000 in 18 counties. During its hey days it was regarded as the 'black gold' and was the third largest foreign exchange earner with the government pocketing in excess of Sh18 billion annually during a good harvest.Today the cash crop is struggling to stay afloat even as demand for the Kenya pyrethrum still remains high in the international markets. more

South Africa: Global demand spurs sustainable fynbos harvesting.

South Africa: Global demand spurs sustainable fynbos harvesting.Silver brunia, a plant with perfectly shaped silver-green baubles that is endemic to the Cape Floral Kingdom, has been dubbed "white gold" because of escalating demand in the East. It is helping to focus attention on the more than 9,000 indigenous plant species in the Cape. Broadly known as fynbos, many species have been exported for decades but some of them, such as the king protea, protea compacta and silver brunia, are trending in Europe, Asia, Russia and other global markets. They have unusual aesthetic appeal and last longer than other flowers. more

Omega-3 and arthritis: Study finds link between fish consumption and joint disorder

Omega-3 and arthritis: Study finds link between fish consumption and joint disorder: Regular consumption of omega-3 rich fish could reduce symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis symptoms, new data suggests.

Waste chocolate helps Nestlé reach sustainability goal

Waste chocolate helps Nestlé reach sustainability goal: Nestlé UK & Ireland has reached its target of zero waste to landfill at its Fawdon factory after using excess Toffee Crisp and Rolo ingredients to help power the site.

Biogas from food waste can be low-carbon truck fuel

Biogas from food waste can be low-carbon truck fuel: Biogas generated from food and drink process waste offers a low-carbon commercial transport fuel for the future, a study for a leading British bioenergy company has shown.

US customs seizes two tons of marijuana disguised as lettuce.

US customs seizes two tons of marijuana disguised as lettuce. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers assigned to work at the Colombia-Solidarity International Bridge seized nearly two tons of alleged marijuana in one enforcement action valued over $740,000. “This is truly an example of our CBP officers’ hard work, experience and dedication to the CBP mission,” said Port Director Gregory Alvarez, Laredo Port of Entry. “I congratulate the officers in advancing the CBP mission and protecting the public from illegal narcotics.” .A canine, non-intrusive and physical inspection of the trailer resulted in the discovery of 5,754 packages containing a total of 3,707 pounds of alleged marijuana. more

Identifying food safety hazards in greenhouse systems.

Identifying food safety hazards in greenhouse systems. According to the United States Department of Agriculture 2012 Census of Agriculture, sales from greenhouse-grown food crops equaled around $800 million in the U.S. Crops grown included tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, peppers, and berries, with hydroponic production operations making up about 64% of the total production (cwt) (USDA Census of Agriculture, 2012). Demand for greenhouse-grown produce continues to increase, providing growers with unique opportunities to tap into this expanding market. Although greenhouse systems provide a more protected environment than field-grown systems, it is important to understand the unique food safety risks and possible sources of contamination when growing produce in these systems. Identifying food safety hazards are necessary to implementing practices that reduce the risk of contamination during the pre-plant, production, harvest, and post-harvest handling stages. more

Moms who breastfeed may have reduced risk of multiple sclerosis.

Moms who breastfeed may have reduced risk of multiple sclerosis. Mothers who breastfeed for a total of at least 15 months over one or more pregnancies may be less likely to develop multiple sclerosis (MS) compared with those who don’t breastfeed at all or do so for up to four months, according to a study. Mothers who breastfeed for a total of at least 15 months over one or more pregnancies may be less likely to develop multiple sclerosis (MS) compared with those who don't breastfeed at all or do so for up to four months, according to a study published in online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. more

Eating more vegetable protein may protect against early menopause.

Eating more vegetable protein may protect against early menopause.Long-term, high intake of vegetable protein from such foods as whole grains, soy and tofu, may protect women from early menopause and could prolong reproductive function. Results of a new study from epidemiologists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health suggest that long-term, high intake of vegetable protein from such foods as whole grains, soy and tofu, may protect women from early menopause and could prolong reproductive function. Consuming enriched pasta, dark bread and cold cereal were especially associated with lower risk, while they observed no similar relation to eating animal sources of protein. A better understanding of how dietary vegetable protein intake is associated with ovarian aging may identify ways for women to modify their risk of early onset menopause and associated health conditions.The study appears in the current early edition of the American Journal of Epidemiology. Early menopause, the cessation of ovarian function before age 45, affects about 10 percent of women and is associated with higher risk of cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and early cognitive decline, more

Diet rich in tomatoes cuts skin cancer in half in mice.

Diet rich in tomatoes cuts skin cancer in half in mice.This discovery builds on previous evidence of cancer-prevention benefits. A new study at the Ohio State University. has shown that daily tomato consumption appeared to cut the development of skin cancer tumors by half in a mouse. The new study of how nutritional interventions can alter the risk for skin cancers appeared online in the journal Scientific Reports. It found that male mice fed a diet of 10 percent tomato powder daily for 35 weeks, then exposed to ultraviolet light, experienced, on average, a 50 percent decrease in skin cancer tumors compared to mice that ate no dehydrated tomato. The theory behind the relationship between tomatoes and cancer is that dietary carotenoids, the pigmenting compounds that give tomatoes their color, may protect skin against UV light damage.more

'Solarsack' cleans water with heat from sunlight, cheaply and effectively.

'Solarsack' cleans water with heat from sunlight, cheaply and effectively. Two Danish students have developed have developed “SolarSack” for inexpensive and environmentally friendly water purification. The concept was tested in villages, refugee camps and slums in East Africa where it will be marketed. The product, known as SolarSack, is a special bag that is filled with four liters of water and placed in the sun for four hours. Using UVA and UVB rays, as well as heat from the sun, the water is cleaned of pathogenic bacteria. The user can then drink the water and reuse the bag for water purification. The method was approved by the World Health Organization which estimates that between 99.9 and 99.999 percent of the pathogenic bacteria in the water die. The students tested SolarSack in Kenya and Uganda with local users and organizations, and adapted it to their needs. And it's cheap. more

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Malaria parasites able to sense their hosts' calorie intake

Malaria parasites able to sense their hosts' calorie intake.Scientists have found that the odds of dying with a malaria infection are lower when the host eats lower amounts of food. A new study has shown that the infectious agent responsible for malaria, the Plasmodium parasite, is able to to sense and actively adapt to the host's nutritional status.Using mouse models of malaria infection, scientists from Instituto de Medicina Molecular in Lisbon (iMM Lisboa), found that mice who ate 30% fewer calories had a significantly lower parasite load. Plasmodium parasites reproduce inside red blood cells every 48 hours. The study in Nature reveals for the first time that the parasite's rate of replication depends on the calories ingested by the host. This may ultimately dictate the outcome of a malaria infection: survival or death.more

Pesticides Linked to Depression In Farmers.

Pesticides Linked to Depression In Farmers. A landmark study indicates that seven pesticides, some widely used, may be causing clinical depression in farmers. Will the government step in and start regulating these chemical tools? Earlier this fall, researchers from the National Institute of Health finished up a landmark 20-year study, a study that hasn’t received the amount of coverage it deserves. About 84,000 farmers and spouses of farmers were interviewed since the mid-1990s to investigate the connection between pesticides and depression, a connection that had been suggested through anecdotal evidence for far longer. We called up Dr. Freya Kamel, the lead researcher on the study, to find out what the team learned and what it all means. Spoiler: nothing good. more

Gamifying diabetes with mySugr for easy management.

Gamifying diabetes with mySugr for easy management. Austrian diabetes management start-up, mySugr has been specializing in app-based, all-around care for people with diabetes since 2012. Pioneer in gamification and creator of the diabetes monster, mySugr has already over a million registered users, is available in 52 countries and in 13 different languages. It was recently acquired by global pharmaceutical company, Roche. One third of the team has diabetes and that makes mySugr credible to the community. The mantra has always been “user first”. That will not change at all. However, with the backing from Roche they will be able to focus even more on the user's needs and not have to spend so much energy on our next funding round. Roche is now the exclusive shareholder of mySugr. It’s only been a couple of weeks since the announcement but they have been working on this for a long time. They will remain a separate legal entity and keep our platform open to other companies. The user data will be strictly contained within our legal entity. The users are excited and a 4.7-star rating in the app stores prove that. Some people who tattooed the mySugr logo on their arm,and the company have so much heart-warming user feedback about how mySugr has helped them managing their diabetes better or reducing their A1C. Healthcare professionals and big pharma companies were skeptical first but along the way we’ve convinced them.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017


AGRIBUSINESS PROVIDES A PATH TO YOUTH EMPLOYMENT IN AFRICA.Young entrepreneurs like Audrey Allotey are starting and growing food businesses that provide key products and create jobs in their communities. The agricultural sector in many parts of Africa provides large potential to create economic opportunity for youth. However, youth are increasingly moving away from agriculture and rural areas to find employment in urban areas. Rural youth often do not consider agribusinesses as a viable option for employment. Yet increasing employment on farms and in value chains is a necessary component to creating a sustainable and inclusive food system. The African Youth Agripreneurship Program (AYAP), funded in partnership with Barclays Africa, is working to encourage youth employment in the agribusiness.The program provides support to start-up businesses, as well a serving as a business accelerator to established businesses, which have been in operation for more than three years and have high growth potential for expansion and creating youth employment. Frustrated with the time-consuming nature of cooking her meals due to a lack of ready made ingredients, Audrey Allotey, a single and very busy woman entrepreneur realized that Ghanaian culture was shifting to faster-paced lifestyle, where the time for cooking at home meals has become limited. With that in mind, the then 29-year-old launched Audylot Company Limited, which provides ready-to-use spices and flavoring products to eager Ghanaian consumers.Audrey found support from AYAP and TechnoServe’s Enhancing Growth in New Enterprises (ENGINE) program, which provided her with technical and financial support to grow the business. Today the company has seen production capacity increase by 50 percent. She has also been able to hire five permanent staff members, all women and mothers, and has up to 10 casual workers when production is high. source

Korean pepper (Beauty Pepper) claims to reduce high blood sugar levels.

Korean pepper claims to reduce high blood sugar levels. We all love peppers,because they spice up life, increase your tasting experience and some say that they are healthy and make you loose weight. In Korea you can now also buy a special pepper that contains high AGI Beta-Carotene contents, which claims to decrease blood sugar levels. The so-called 'Beauty Pepper' from Korean seed breeder Asia Seed rapidly wins terrain in local supermarkets and might come to a pharmacy near you soon. The Beauty Pepper is a non-pungency variety, which means it does not taste hot, sharp or spicy. Yet, the variety is tasty and crunchy. According to Asia Seed, the crunchy and juicy texture of the pepper makes it a favorite among consumers who emphasize a responsible and healthy lifestyle. "It contains high contents of Vitamin C, A, B, Zinc and. These nutrition factors are essential for modern people", the company said in a news release. The high natural AGI (alpha glucosidase inhibitor) contents in the pepper make it a natural solution to drop blood sugar levels source

Cashew:: exploring the cashew value chain and empowering women.

Innovations in the cashew value chain provide women the opportunity to become leaders in their families and communities. The cashew nut is delicious, nutritious, and it’s helping many African communities to build sustainable economies especially women. The cashew apple, which is actually the swollen stalk of the true fruit, while the nut is edible with a juicy red or yellow pulp underneath its fleshy exterior and a strong, sweet taste. Despite the potential of the cashew apple as food, this cashew product is traditionally discarded upon harvesting and is considered waste. In fact, there is a great deal of unseen work and “waste” that goes into preparing a trade-ready cashew nut. The nut is first separated from the apple on the farm. Then the cashews must be dried, transported to a processing center, steamed, shelled, peeled, graded and packaged. The Women Entrepreneurs in Cashew Apple Processing Project in Nigeria, an initiative funded by the Citi Foundation, seeks to increase and diversify women’s income through the use of the cashew apple. TechnoServe staff in Nigeria exploring the cashew value chain and empowering women, identified the interest of women and youth – who are largely excluded from participating in the traditional cashew harvest – in learning how to turn the cashew apple into products for local sale. Through training sessions and marketing support, TechnoServe helped 60 women from the Kwara and Kogi States to begin selling cashew plum (a dried fruit snack), cashew honey and cashew cake (locally known as kuli kuli). One of the initiative’s key results is additional income for the participants, an important additional benefit has been the feeling of empowerment gained by women within their families and communities. The project works to sustain this impact by training women to reinvest their earnings from cashew products into off-season businesses. Jemila Musa used the capital from her cashew honey and snacks in 2015 to buy a sewing machine, and established the only tailoring business in town. more

TechnoServe Innovation: the sunlight water center empowers women .

TechnoServe Innovation:The sunlight water center empowers women An innovative retail model is allowing women business leaders like Charity Dangana to sell safe and affordable water in their communities. Like many women in Nigeria, Charity Dangana is responsible for providing water for her household’s needs. During the dry season, the local wells in her village, Kubacha, dry up. For years Charity had to rely on a polluted and out-of-the-way stream to collect water for herself, her husband and their 4-year-old son. So when Charity heard about a business opportunity that could provide clean water for the community, she jumped into action. Not only would the new Sunlight Water Center (SWC) model help her secure safe and affordable water, but the opportunity would also provide Charity with a more reliable income. The sunlight water center, fulfill a perpetual and critical need of providing clean, low-cost water and steady revenue for the entrepreneurs who run them. This project was developed by Unilever and TechnoServe, the model delivers a sustainable business solution to perennial water challenges in rural and peri-urban areas. Even though boreholes have been installed in some of these places, they lack the model and incentive to ensure consistent maintenance, and many have fallen out of service. The SWC approach engages women entrepreneurs like Charity to own and run retail centers that produce, store and sell clean water alongside other everyday products, such as food and toiletries. The centers also provide services like mobile phone charging and mobile banking, and Charity is even educating community members about good hygiene. “The center provides for the daily needs of the community,” says Charity. “It provides access to clean water and other essential products that are required by families.” This retail model helps to cross-subsidize water that is sold at affordable rates and creates a profitable business venture. As a result, the women owner-operators and their community equity partners have a real incentive to maintain the boreholes long into the future. Each Sunlight Water Center benefits more than 500 individuals through access to sustainable clean water. In addition to promoting better health through safer water, this creates a positive economic ripple effect. By spending less time and money to collect water, women in the village can pursue other economic opportunities. more