Tuesday, October 31, 2017
UK study suggests pet owners bully veterinarians. Nearly 90 percent of British veterinarians and team members say they’ve felt harassed by a client—often over cost of care. Here are the statistics and some tips on dealing with it.The statistic makes for sad reading, according to the British Veterinary Nursing Association (BVNA). A full 89 percent of small-animal and mixed-animal veterinarians surveyed by the British Veterinary Association (BVA) say they or their team have felt intimidated by a client's language or behavior. The survey also revealed that pet owners' intimidating language and behavior is often related to the cost of treatment. No surprise—98 percent of all veterinarians said they've felt pressure to waive fees or accept late payments. The survey results inspired the two UK associations together to jointly publish shared "Advice to deal with intimidating clients" online at bva.co.uk. Some of the tips include: In the heat of the moment ... • Try to remain calm, at all times. Be confident but never aggressive. • If you feel intimidated by a client, try to not be alone with them. If you are concerned about your safety, politely ask the client to leave. If you see other team members facing difficult clients, do not leave them alone; remain within sight so you can go get help or step in and support your colleague.
Pets and Vets: Feline breast cancer study hopes to find better treatments for animals and humans.Patients receive two vaccines, one before surgery and one after.Researchers at the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) and McMaster University’s Immunology Research Centre have joined together to treat breast cancer in cats using new vaccines designed to boost the immune system and kill tumor cells without harming healthy tissue, according to a University of Guelph release. The trial may lead to better treatment of breast cancer in animals and people. Breast cancer occurs naturally in cats and is similar in many ways to the disease in humans. Trials may answer important questions about the disease that studies involving artificially induced cancer in laboratory animals cannot. Cats participating in the study receive two vaccines, one prior to surgery and the other after. Each vaccine contains a virus modified to carry three genes associated with breast cancer. The first injection is a nonreplicating adenovirus intended to trigger an anti-tumor response, according to the release. The second is an intravenous infusion about a month after surgery. It delivers an oncolytic Maraba virus that replicates only in tumor cells, targeting and killing them. Pets and Vets: Feline breast cancer study hopes to find better treatments for animals and humans.
One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Dr. Karen Bradley shares her own experience with cancer, including how it's changed her life and how she practices medicine. Here, Dr. Karen Bradley tackles some of the toughest questions about managing breast cancer as a veterinary professional, including how to maintain a level of privacy about your health in a public-facing profession. She also explains how her own diagnosis encouraged one of her team members to get a mammogram—and helped her technician catch her own cancer earlier, giving her a better path for treatment.
Echbee Foods : How a working mum turned her problem to a business. #entrepreneur. Life they say is a teacher,others say its what you make of it and many more believe it full of opportunities. I personally believe all these sayings but the last best describes my story. I am in the working class ,popularly called the working mums club with my office on the island and home on the mainland i had to look for ways to simplify my life and also raise my kids properly. My days starts very early ,prepare my kids for school,make lunch,pack it and drop kids off then head-off to the island where my practice is domiciled. agriculture The running of the home was not easy, i had to think fast because i was stretched on all sides, take a look; My office duties/deadlines, meetings ,surgery,consulting e.t.c.,then mum duties,again lesson duties and my own personal development courses . Each day was stressful and cooking like everything had to be scheduled,i had to make time to shop in bulk and stock up my freezer,so i can cook at 2.00 am while i am doing other chores. This not only made my life easy,but also exposed me to the world of packs,sachets,paste and powders. #entrepreneur The race to beat traffic, pickup the kids and still keep the home-front,made me a super- bionic mum, who turned to paste,powders,and sachets to cook super-fast , simple meals for my family. When i stock up , i buy the beef /fish/chicken in large quantities and cook at my convenience. When i am off duty on any weekend,i just simply cook everything and pack them in several bags and store per weekends and i am good to go. Agriculture On a faithful day,while out shopping a man just jokingly asked for an invite to my party,seeing all the stuff i bought and i replied its for my family; stocking up for the month. He probed further and then i explained my situation and that this was my only way of sorting things out,then the aaha!!! moment was his response. He just smiled and said great job,trying to strike a balance between career and home-making but you know this will be a great opportunity to help other working women and i asked how so? then he suggested that i turned this problem to a business and alas a seed was sown by a total stranger. Fast-forward, some time later i had the urge to start a business in the food industry and alas the birth of ECHBEE FOODS.The company is into supply of farm fresh foods and packaging of other foodstuff that come in handy packs. The journey of the entrepreneur is on course see #entrepreneur. #workingwomen #home business. #businesswoman.
Monday, October 30, 2017
Human-induced deforestation is causing an increase in malaria cases.A new study of 67 less-developed, malaria-endemic nations finds a link between deforestation and increasing malaria rates across developing nations. Nearly 130 million hectares of forest -- an area almost equivalent in size to South Africa -- have been lost since 1990, according to a recent report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. A new study of 67 less-developed, malaria-endemic nations titled, "Anthropogenic forest loss and malaria prevalence: a comparative examination of the causes and disease consequences of deforestation in developing nations," published in AIMS Environmental Science, led by Lehigh University sociologist Dr. Kelly Austin, finds a link between deforestation and increasing malaria rates across developing nations. Malaria represents an infectious disease tied to environmental conditions, as mosquitoes represent the disease vector. Deforestation, Austin notes, is not a natural phenomenon, but rather results predominantly from human activities, or anthropogenically.
Chocolate production linked to increased deforestation in poor nations.Newly published research focuses on the link between cocoa exports and deforestation in developing nations. Every year, more than five million family farms in countries such as Côte d'Ivoire, Cameroon, Indonesia and Brazil produce about four and a half million tons of cocoa beans, according the World Cocoa Foundation. Ghana and the Ivory Coast supply more than 70 percent of the world's cocoa. Cocoa, much like coffee, is an export product consumed almost entirely in developed nations such as the United States. Yet the beans, which are used to make chocolate, are almost exclusively grown in less-developed nations such as West Africa, Asia, and Central and South America -- countries that on average have extremely small demand for the product they depend on for their livelihoods. There are a number of social, economic and environmental inequalities that arise in the production of this luxury crop. Evidence of human trafficking and child slave labor have been found in the supply chain, according to a 2010 investigation
A better way to wash pesticides off apples.Polishing an apple with your shirt might remove some dust and dirt, but getting rid of pesticide residues could take a little more work. Researchers now report in ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, that washing apples with a common household product -- baking soda -- could do the trick for residues on the surfaces of the fruit. The use of pesticides can help increase crop yield, but concerns over their potential effects on human health have been raised over the years. Washing could be one effective strategy to clean pesticides off produce, and it is standard practice in the food industry. But some of the plant-protecting compounds that get absorbed by fruits and vegetables might not be easily removed using current cleaning methods. Lili He and colleagues wanted to find out which washing method can most effectively reduce pesticides.
The advent of 'green' cattle.Implications of livestock farming on climate change should not be drawn from aggregate statistics, reveals a study based on a new method of carbon footprinting for pasture-based cattle production systems that can assess the impacts of individual animals. The new method, developed by a team from the University of Bristol and Rothamsted Research, records the environmental impact of each animal separately before calculating the overall burden of a farm. Existing methods of carbon footprinting are primarily designed to quantify total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of a particular farm, and are therefore unable to provide information on environmental performances of specific animals. The ability to identify "green" cattle within a herd -- cattle that produce lower emissions per kilogram of liveweight gain -- promises more sustainable farming, they report in the study
Disease identification app to boost food security in Africa.A team of researchers that has developed an app which will allow small-scale farmers in Africa to identify cassava diseases has won a US$100 000 (R1,4 million) grant to expand the tool for use on other root, tuber and banana crops. The international team comprises scientists from the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Nigeria, Pennsylvania State University in the US, the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture in Colombia, the International Potato Centre in Peru, and Bioversity International, headquartered in Italy. According to IITA’s James Legg, one of the leaders of the project, the team generated more than 200 000 images of diseased cassava crops in coastal Tanzania and farms in western Kenya, in order to develop an artificial intelligence algorithm that can automatically classify five cassava diseases. The app is being field-tested in Tanzania. The team is also developing a mobile spectrophotometer that diagnoses different viral diseases, even in healthy looking plants.
Do your homework before starting tomato production.Producing tomatoes is expensive and can make or break a farmer. If you plan to grow this crop, first do your homework and investigate its economic viability. Establishing a packing facility or refurbishing a shed to accommodate the necessary cleaning, grading and packing equipment can be very expensive. Other major costs include the poles and wire or twine needed to support the plants, as well as the price of seed, irrigation infrastructure, fertiliser and crop chemicals. In other words, you have to reach deep into your pocket before there is even a hint of profit.Then there’s the choice of tomato variety that best suits your purposes. There are two main kinds of tomatoes according to growth type: determinate and indeterminate. Indeterminate These varieties continue growing until restricted. Although they generally produce a higher yield, they are more expensive to cultivate than determinate varieties are. The stakes or poles must be higher and will need more string or wire. You need more labour to train up the plants and for pruning. The crop must be irrigated for longer. Harvesting also continues for a longer period, but this might suit some.
Commercial buffalo breeding: ‘It’s not just for the rich’.Over the years, buffalo breeding has evolved into a sound industry that has contributed to the conservation of the species.The Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer caffer), a subspecies found in Southern and East Africa, is the largest of the African buffalo species. The African forest buffalo (Syncerus caffer nanus), common in the forest areas of Central and West Africa, is the smallest. Syncerus caffer brachyceros occurs in West Africa and Syncerus caffer aequinoctialis is found on the Central African savannas.Breeding ‘disease-free’ buffalo from ‘disease-positive’ parent stock is a relatively recent breakthrough in Southern Africa. Dr John Condy, a veterinarian at the then Rhodesian veterinary department, deserves credit for this pioneering work. In 1985, he built up a herd of ‘disease-free’ buffalo by catching and rearing calves before they were old enough to become carriers of the foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) virus. This far-sighted approach laid the foundation of commercial buffalo breeding in South Africa,
AGRIBUSINESS: How to choose the right bedding for broilers. It’s crucial for a broiler producer to get floor management right. This will improve the birds’ physical environment, reduce disease and result in better quality broilers. #poultry Floor management is one of the pillars of successful broiler production, as important as biosecurity, climate control and general animal welfare. Yet this essential aspect is all too often overlooked.
Basic goat health management: all you need to know.For producers to benefit from the growing national and international demand for live goats and goat products, it is essential to have healthy flocks. The profitability of a goat enterprise depends largely on the animals’ health and productivity. It is crucial, therefore, that a goat farmer has the skills to identify an animal in poor health, diagnose the illness and treat it, or obtain assistance from other knowledgeable goat farmers, state animal health officials or private vets. The key is to act swiftly. Prevention is always better than cure, and it is therefore important that any goat introduced to an existing flock be disease-free and healthy. Begin by ensuring that goats always have access to clean drinking water, and enough and the correct quality of grazing, browsing and supplementary feed. Coupled with the requirements above, it is imperative to have a strict vaccination programme to control common diseases, as well as internal and external parasites. Isolate sick goats, so that whatever disease they are suffering from does not spread to healthy animals. Treat every sick goat and keep records of the treatments given. Animals that are often ill should be culled.
Tips for stress-free livestock transporting. Livestock transportation should result in as little stress to the animals as possible, whether they are being transported to the abattoir or other farms. Stress your livestock while transporting them and you are likely to end up with unnecessary weight loss, or even bruises or other injuries that could lead to disease, carcass rejections or even mortalities. Stress during transportation also has a negative impact on meat quality, which will affect your profits in the long term. According to Dr Dirk Verwoerd, a veterinarian at Karan Beef, animals inevitably lose some weight during transportation, as they do not eat or drink during the trip. The main goal, however, is to ensure that they do not lose weight due to dehydration. “It’s difficult to give a fixed answer for acceptable weight loss during transportation, as you have to take into account the type of animal as well as its age and condition at the start of the journey,” says Dirk. However, it is generally accepted that six- to eight-month-old beef weaners can lose up to 3% of their body weight during the first 100km and another 1% for each additional 100km. “The initial losses are mainly due to gastro-intestinal content and urine,” explains Dirk. Depending on the condition of the cattle at the start of a trip, and their age, a loss of 8% to 10% of body weight should raise a red flag. A figure such as this indicates that weight loss is caused by intra-cellular dehydration. Because they are ruminants, cattle usually have enough food in their stomachs to last two days without eating, says Dirk.
Water harvesting techniques for smallholder and large-scale farmers. To respond to the water scarcity and inadequate distribution, new techniques need to be explored and old techniques revisited. Small – scale water harvesting techniques provide a direct solution, especially in rural and drought prone areas hence the use of water harvesting techniques. In urban areas dam construction, long distance conveyance of water or desalinization may provide options for ensuring water availability. These solutions are generally too costly and complicated for rural water security. Rural population require low cost systems that can be constructed, operated and maintained with the highest level of community involvement and autonomy. Fog harvesting is another techniques. It is captured with the help of polypropylene mesh net or ridges to capture water loaded fog that forms in humid months in mountainous or coastal areas. The mesh normally collects small water droplets which trickle into collection troughs, gutters and drains into a series of tanks. Fog harvesting is cheap and the level of technology and maintenance is simple, furthermore the technique is easy to replicate. Contour Trenching. This involves digging trenches along contour lines. Water flowing down the hill is retained by the trench, and it infiltrates the soil below. A good example is in Amboseli dug by Westerveld Conservation Trust. When they dug the trenches they chose deep and closely spaced trenches 4 meters and a meter deep at 25 meter intervals down the slope high enough to capture rain of up to 150mm per day. In between two dug up trenches, crops can be grown and benefit when there’s less rain from the subsoil water reserve gathered after the rainy season.
Sunday, October 29, 2017
Yellow fever virus found in semen of Brazilian patient.Researchers in Brazil recently detected yellow fever virus RNA in urine and semen samples from a convalescent patient in Brazil. Yellow fever is normally detected in blood, but urine has been used to confirm yellow fever infection in humans, researchers from two universities and a research institute in São Paulo noted in their report. But yellow fever was not among the 27 viruses previously identified to persist in semen. The researchers said their findings “suggest that semen can be a useful clinical material for diagnosis of yellow fever and indicate the need for testing urine and semen samples from patients with advanced disease.” “Such testing could improve diagnostics, reduce false-negative results and strengthen the reliability of epidemiologic data during ongoing and future outbreaks,” they wrote in Emerging Infectious Diseases. A recent yellow fever outbreak in Brazil was fueled by cases among monkeys in the Amazon basin and other tropical forests in Brazil, rather than person-to-person transmission involving mosquitoes. Following a large vaccination campaign, Brazil declared an end to the outbreak in September.
Discovery shows how herpes simplex virus reactivates in neurons to trigger disease. When we get cold sores, the reason is likely related to stress. For the first time, researchers discovered a cellular mechanism that allows the herpes simplex virus to reactivate. They also found how brain cells are duped into allowing this to happen so that the virus can cause disease. When we get cold sores, the reason is likely related to stress. In particular, the neurons in which the herpes simplex virus (HSV) reside, are under stress. For the first time, researchers at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine discovered a cellular mechanism that allows the virus to reactivate. They also found how brain cells are duped into allowing bits of virus to escape the very repressive environment in neurons and cause disease. HSV is found in about 90 percent of the United States population and leads to cold sores, recurrent eye infections, genital lesions, and in rare cases encephalitis -- inflammation of the brain which has a 30 percent mortality rate (70 to 80 percent if left untreated). Its closely related virus, VZV, also causes chicken pox and shingles.
How scientists investigate sleeping viruses using the herpes simplex virus (HSV).Most virus infections are 'latent' (sleeping) within the nervous system. Princeton scientists are investigating how they go to sleep -- and how to prevent it. Four in five adults are infected with herpes simplex virus, say researchers, but most don't show symptoms like cold sores because the virus infection is 'latent' -- sleeping -- within the nervous system. While many virus researchers are interested in understanding what causes these sleeping viruses to wake up, or reactivate, scientists are now trying to understand what prevents the infection from going to sleep in the first place.
Climate change may accelerate infectious disease outbreaks, say researchers. Aside from inflicting devastating natural disasters on often vulnerable communities, climate change can also spur outbreaks of infectious diseases like Zika , malaria and dengue fever, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. "Climate change presents complex and wide-reaching threats to human health," said Cecilia Sorensen, MD, lead author of the study and the Living Closer Foundation Fellow in Climate and Health Policy at CU Anschutz. "It can amplify and unmask ecological and socio-political weaknesses and increase the risk of adverse health outcomes in socially vulnerable regions.
Olam launches Cherie Egglicious. Olam Sanyo Foods, one of Nigeria’s leading noodle-makers, has launched Cherie Egglicious – the first noodles in the country to contain real egg. During the grand launch, Ali Nuhu, Cherie brand ambassador and Kannywood star , sampled a bowl of Cherie Egglicious noodles and then urged fans to try too. “Cherie Egglicious noodles is delicious…
On-farm Demonstration: Improved Weed Control Help Nigerian Farmers Record 27tons/hectare. The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) Cassava Weed Management Project (CWMP) have helped On-farm demonstrations in Ogun produce average yields of 27 tons per hectare. The statement revealed that the demonstrations were conducted in 2016 in the three senatorial districts of Ogun states using an integrated weed control package developed by the IITA-CWMP. Presenting the results during the Joint Quarterly Review Meeting of the project in Abeokuta,a scientist at the Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta (FUNAAB) Dr Patience Olorunmaiye, said “the yield from the demonstration plots were impressive and a proof of concept that if farmers adopted improved weed management practices, they would be better off” The highest yield from the demonstration farms was 32 tons/ha with 96 percent of the demonstration farms recording more than 20 tons/ha.
FG Seeks Inclusion in Brazil More Food Program. The Federal government through the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh has sought the inclusion of Nigeria into Brazil More Food Programme, as a means to improving the nations agriculture. The Minister stated this when he received a 14 man delegation from Brazil led by its Minister of External Affairs, Aloysio Nunes Ferreira in Abuja on Thursday.According to Ogbeh “We know you started the More Food Program as a policy of cooperation between the South South nations of the world and we are very excited by it. He said “we have been in Brazil twice and with your visit like to strengthen our demand and request that Nigeria be included on the lists of beneficiaries of the program.We have made our submissions and are waiting for the response from Brazil”. Ogbeh noted that “Nigeria has many deficiencies and do not have enough machines,tractors and machineries for value addition and so we really ask Brazil to give us that kind of support on reasonable terms which we shall repay over a period” “What we want to assure Brazil is that if we do take part in that programme,we would repay on schedule and that the support is something that Nigeria will value very highly”.
Young Farmers Launch National Youth Manifesto on Agriculture.Young farmers on the platform of Fresh and Young Brains Development Initiative yesterday launched the National Youth Manifesto on Agriculture for Nigeria. CEO and Founder of the Initiative,Barr. Nkiruka Nnaemego said the Youth Manifesto developed in 2013 would be a national Blueprint to guide government and her partners on the felt needs and aspirations of Nigerian youth in agriculture. The CEO stated this in her remarks at the 2nd African Youth Agric Festival on Agribusiness and United for Food Campaign hosted under the Initiative Youth Farm Project (Y-FARM),with the theme: Youth at the Centre of Business Revolution in Africa and Naija Jamz for Food respectively. Barr. Nnaemego said “The Manifesto was developed in 2013 by our organisation with support from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, OXFAM Nigeria, Voices for Food Security, Trust Africa as well as Youth and Farmers Organisations.
Fruit-eating increases biodiversity.By dispersing the seeds of plants, fruit-eating animals contribute to the possibility of increased plant speciation and thus biodiversity, investigators have discovered. These are the findings of a new study led by Renske E. Onstein and W. Daniel Kissling, researchers at the University of Amsterdam's Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED). The results were published in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution. Tropical rain forests are the supermarkets for fleshy fruits: more than 70% of woody, tropical plant species have fleshy fruits and rely on fruit-eating animals such as chimpanzees, elephants or hornbills for their seed dispersal. By dispersing the seeds of plants over large distances, these animals contribute to the possibility of plant speciation. The international team of researchers from the Netherlands, UK, France, Sweden and Denmark investigated over 2000 palm species with fleshy fruits (such as the date palm) to understand how the ecology of species, their distribution, and the interaction with potential fruit-eating animals may have affected their past speciation.
Tropical forest reserves slow down global warming. National parks and nature reserves in South America, Africa and Asia, created to protect wildlife, heritage sites and the territory of indigenous people, are reducing carbon emissions from tropical deforestation by a third, and so are slowing the rate of global warming, a new study shows. An audit of the role protected areas of tropical forest play in preventing global warming shows they are preventing the release of three times as much carbon into the atmosphere as the UK emits each year. Protected areas account for 20 per cent of the world's tropical forest and play a crucial role in providing habitats for species including tigers, Asiatic lions, jaguars and forest elephants. They are also designated to conserve world heritage sites such as the historic Incan ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru, and to preserve territory for indigenous peoples in South America.
Drug can dramatically reduce weight of people with obesity.A drug that targets the appetite control system in the brain could bring about significant weight loss in people with clinical obesity, according to new research. On average, people lost 5kg (11lbs) over a 12 week period after receiving weekly doses of semaglutide, a compound currently being developed as a treatment for Diabetes. Most of the weight loss came from a reduction in body fat, researchers at the University of Leeds found after reviewing its effectiveness. The drug reduced food cravings, with people choosing to eat smaller meals and decreasing their preferences for foods with a higher fat content. The study also added to the scientific understanding of how drug therapy can be used to tackle obesity. For the first time, scientists saw the benefit of very specific targeting of receptors or sensors that could affect multiple components of the brain's appetite control system.
Climate change may slowly starve bamboo lemurs.Researchers provide evidence to suggest that as Earth's climate changes, bamboo lemurs will gradually be forced to eat culm for longer periods. Ultimately, they suggest that, based on an analysis of anatomical, behavioral, paleontological, and climate data, the lemurs could slowly starve. Madagascar's Cat-sized greater bamboo lemurs are considered one of the most endangered primate species on Earth. They almost exclusively eat a single species of bamboo, including the woody trunk, known as culm. But they prefer the more nutritious and tender bamboo shoots and use their specialized teeth to gnaw on culm only when necessary, during the dry season.
Skin found to play a role in controlling blood pressure. Skin plays a surprising role in helping regulate blood pressure and heart rate, according to scientists. While this discovery was made in mice, the researchers believe it is likely to be true also in humans. Skin plays a surprising role in helping regulate blood pressure and heart rate, according to scientists at the University of Cambridge and the Karolinska Institute, Sweden.In a study published in the open access journal eLife, the researchers show that skin -- our largest organ, typically covering two square metres in humans -- helps regulate blood pressure and heart rate in response to changes in the amount of oxygen available in the environment. High blood pressure is associated with cardiovascular disease, such as heart attack and stroke. For the vast majority of cases of high blood pressure, there is no known cause. The condition is often associated with reduced flow of blood through small blood vessels in the skin and other parts of the body, a symptom which can get progressively worse if the hypertension is not treated.
Both chimpanzees and humans spontaneously imitate each other's actions.Decades of research has shown that apes, in spite of their proverbial aping abilities, are rather poor imitators, especially when compared to human children. Current theories hold that apes are worse imitators because they lack this social and communicative side of imitation. A new study has instead targeted the interactive side of imitation directly, and finds that the divide between humans and chimpanzees is less clear cut.
Bat feces: A reliable source of climate change.Isotopes found in bat guano over the last 1,200 years provide scientists with information on how the climate was and is changing. People have long known that bat guano -- the polite term for what the flying mammals leave on the floors of caves where they live worldwide -- is a valuable source of fuel and fertilizer, but now newly published research from University of South Florida geoscientists show that the refuse is also a reliable record of climate change. In a new paper published in the research journal Scientific Reports, USF geochemistry Professor Bogdan Onac and PhD student Daniel Cleary report that isotopes found in bat guano over the last 1,200 years can provide scientists with information on how the climate was and is changing. The scientists examined bat guano from a cave in northwestern Romania to produce new insight into how the climate in east-central Europe has changed since the Medieval Warm Period, about 850 AD.
Scientific evaluation of rhino diets improves zoo.Study highlights success of changing diet for reproduction in endangered species.A recent study highlights the ongoing effort of accredited zoos to address challenges and improve the sustainability of endangered species populations in their care. The study evaluated fertility issues in captive-born southern white rhinos and determined that diets including soy and alfalfa were likely contributors to breeding challenges.The study, co-authored by scientists from San Diego Zoo Global and Mars Hill University, evaluated fertility issues in captive-born southern white rhinos and determined that diets including soy and alfalfa were likely contributors to breeding challenges. "The captive southern white rhinoceros (SWR) population is not currently self-sustaining, due to the reproductive failure of captive-born females," said Christopher Tubbs Ph.D, San Diego Zoo Global and lead author of the paper. "Our research into this phenomenon points to chemicals produced by plants present in captive diets, such as soy and alfalfa, as likely causes." Soy and alfalfa are commonly included in feeds for many herbivorous animals under human care, however these diets have high levels of phytoestrogens that disrupt normal hormone functions in some species. The study reviews historical data on the reproductive success of southern white rhinos in zoos in North America. These studies discovered that female rhinos born in captive environments showed lower reproductive levels.
USAID, Nestle train farmers, agro workers.The United States Agency for International Development and three other organisations will henceforth train farmers, workers and small agricultural businesses in Kaduna State by leveraging the expertise of volunteers. The three other organisations that are working with USAID in the project are Nestlé Nigeria Plc, Volunteers for Economic Growth Alliance, and VEGA Member Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture. A correspondent learnt that they would be working under a new partnership programme titled, ‘Feed the Future Nigeria and Nestlé Maize Quality Improvement Partnership’. According to them, the training is necessary being that post-harvest losses and contaminants are some of the challenges of staple crops such as maize and soybean, making it difficult for smallholder farmers to earn a decent income. “Crop contaminants like mycotoxins threaten the health and lives of humans and animals, leading to cancer, fatal kidney and liver failure. In children, aflatoxin – which is a type of mycotoxin – causes growth retardation and other serious health problems,” a joint statement from the groups said. “Farmers will learn how to reduce crop contaminants, to help sustainably increase the safety and quality of maize and soybeans, which will lead to improve the health, nutrition and livelihoods in their communities,” it added.
Friendly Gut Bacteria Can Help Fight Infant Deaths.Infant deaths from sepsis (bacterial infection of the blood) can be reduced almost by half with doses of healthy gut bacteria, according to the results of a randomised trial conducted in India's Odisha state. Results of the study, published this month in Nature, show that when a 'synbiotic' combination of a probiotic strain of the gut bacterium Lactobacillus plantarum and a carbohydrate that promotes healthy bacteria was given to neo-natal infants for a week, the incidence of sepsis can be reduced. More importantly, the week-long treatment is affordable, at US$1 per baby. Sepsis is responsible for a million infant deaths per year, most of them in the developing world, but options to prevent it are limited. The study involved monitoring 4,556 infants - some placed randomly in a group that received the synbiotic and another group on a placebo - for over two months. Sepsis or death occurred in nine per cent of the placebo group and in just 5.4 per cent of the synbiotic group, showing a reduction of 40 per cent.
New Test Promises Quick Anaemia Detection in the Field. A new way to detect anaemia by measuring haemoglobin levels using small amounts of whole blood is believed to be a vast improvement over existing tests, which rely on haemolysis (rupturing) of blood samples in lab facilities. "The most exciting aspect to this analyser is that it uses whole blood (blood components intact) and doesn't require additional steps and reagents to prepare a sample," says Nathan Sniadecki, professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Washington, Seattle, and an author of the report on the novel approach published this month (October) in AIP Advances. Anaemia, a condition caused by low concentration of haemoglobin in red blood cells, results primarily from a lack of iron in the diet but can co-occur with other conditions, such as malaria or genetic disorders. The World Health Organisation (WHO) considers it as a global health problem affecting over a quarter of the global population, a vast number of which are women and children in resource-poor countries.
Measles - Nigeria Has Highest Unvaccinated Children Worldwide - WHO Report.Though there has been a substantial decline in global measles death, Nigeria still tops the chart of number of children not vaccinated against measles. A new report published by the World Health Organisation indicates that 20.8 million children worldwide are still missing their first measles vaccine dose and more than half of these unvaccinated children live in six countries. In a joint press statement sponsored by CDC/GAVI/UNICEF and WHO on the report, they noted that in spite of the substantial decline of global measles death, a lot still needs to be done. Nigeria tops the list of countries with unvaccinated children from measles with 3.3 million children, followed by India - 2.9 million,Pakistan - 2.0 million, Indonesia - 1.2 million, Ethiopia - 0.9 million and Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC, with 0.7 million. Since measles is a highly contagious viral disease, large outbreaks continue to occur in these countries including Nigeria resulting in some deaths.
BOA Develops Strategies to Boost Agricultural Sector.As part of measures to boost the nation 's economy, the Bank of Agriculture (BoA) has said that strategies for adequate financing of the Agricultural sector that would generate employment and empower clients in Agri- business. Also, the Bank emphasised that the strategies would reduce poverty and earn foreign exchange for the nation. The Managing Director of the Bank, Alhaji Kabir Adamu, while delivering an address at the opening of financial bid for the selection of consultants for the BoA capacity building and institutional strengthening project of African Development Bank (AfDB), said that the bank would ensure that efforts to grow the country's agriculture sector to meet the standard set by government is not compromised.
Nigeria Reforming Grain Storage Methods.Farmers in the country have been introduced to sophisticated non-chemical crop storage bags to preserve grains.The incidence of cases of food poisoning due to chemical storage of grains in Nigeria would now become a thing of the past as farmers in the country have been introduced to sophisticated nonchemical crops storage bags to preserve grains. The technology known as Purdue Improved Crop Storage, PICS, bags has put an end to occurrence of wrong application of chemicals in storage of grains, resulting in food poising like "killer beans" and other chemical related preserving method, which have caused a lot of death and harms to many people in the country
Farm security: crucial tips to improve safety.In South Africa, being a farmer is more than twice as dangerous as being a police officer, and a farmer or farmworker is almost four times more likely to be murdered than the average South African. Henk Boshoff, who lives on a farm near Standerton, Mpumalanga, and his partner Mark Wilson, who works from the Strand in the Western Cape, are partners in a security company, Community Assets Tactical Security (CATS). They advise farmers on how to approach farm and community security, and put them in contact with those who can implement security infrastructure at the best prices.The area in which Henk lives was known for high crime rates, but after the community organised itself, this rate dropped drastically. “Farmers and farming communities are soft targets. They must become hard targets. To achieve this, the entire community must be involved,” he stresses.
Understanding the role of the boar in breeding.Novice pig farmers should start with highly marketable and popular breeds such as the Landrace or Large White. Good quality boars can rapidly improve the standard of piglets if you do not have the best females. If boars have any problems in terms of their health, fertility, living conditions or genetic traits, you can end up with genetically weak offspring, sows that fail to conceive, or other problems. These, in turn, can reduce your profitability. When buying a young boar, ask for a specimen that has grown at an above-average rate, has converted food into muscle rather than fat at a good feed-to-growth ratio, and has no physical or other imperfections, such as extreme aggression. There are other breeds such as the Duroc – red pigs some breeders use to add more desirable ‘meat traits’ and growth rates to their operation – but this form of breeding is best left to experienced farmers. A good boar should reach about 90kg at around 140 days old. Not more than about 3kg of good pig feed should be used for each kilogram of weight gained from when the pig weighs 30kg until it reaches 90kg: this indicates a good feed-to-weight gain ratio. Remember, too, that proper deworming, hygienic living conditions, including well-ventilated housing, vaccination, and access to clean, cool water are all important factors affecting good growth rates.
The many rewards of game farming in the Karoo. Game animals have brought a new dimension to farm life in the arid Karoo. While doomsayers view the falling prices of game, notably that of colour variants, as proof that the long-predicted bubble has burst, game ranchers who cashed in on the boom believe the industry has so many facets that further growth is guaranteed. However, in the midst of this debate, there are farmers who are unsure about price movements in the future. Some have already invested heavily in high-value game. Others are still considering the idea of switching from livestock, or bringing game farming into their production plans. In extensive livestock regions, the main motivation for this would be to make a livestock enterprise more sustainable under unpredictable, low-rainfall conditions. But, while financial considerations are crucial when making such decisions, there is more to game farming than money, as any visit to a game ranch will show.
Economic & ecological benefits of hunting in Namibia.In Namibia, hunting is a vital part of conservation and contributes to the economic sustainability of mixed farming operations, private game farms, and more importantly, communal conservancies. Why is hunting a good conservation strategy for Namibia? Hunting in Namibia is well regulated, conservation- and sustainability-based, and enshrined in the Constitution. We adhere to the laws, but also to ethical hunting principles, as we diligently follow the rules of fair chase and truly believe in them.The Ministry of Environment and Tourism in Namibia [MET] supports hunting. Why were the communal conservancies established? Local inhabitants were driven from their land into barren ‘reserves’ by the South African government, which applied apartheid principles to make way for South African farmers. In the northern Kunene region, Namibians and their livestock were forced to compete with wildlife for land. The first community conservation efforts in Namibia began here. The idea was to place wildlife in the hands of the very people, the local communities, accused of poaching by the government. How do they work? In communal conservancies, rural residents on communal land have the same rights to wildlife as private farmers, enabling them to diversify their income streams by operating tourism and trophy hunting businesses.
How snakes can help farmers.Most people know about the destructive effect of insects on crops, but rodents can be equally destructive. This is the area snakes help; Insects are often blamed for attacking seedlings, when the real culprit could be a rat or a mouse. Not only do rodents damage seedlings, they also spoil stored grain with feces and urine. We treat insects with insecticides, we bang sticks and use scarecrows and other means to scare off birds, but when it comes to rodents, what can we do? In many cases we simply ignore them, or we resort to poison to kill them. Unfortunately we can’t control what animals may eat the poisoned rodents. see A better way to control rodents, and one that’s often overlooked, is to encourage natural predators to do the job. Rodents rate high on the feed list of many snakes. If the world’s snakes were eliminated, the rodent population would increase dramatically which would affect crop production. Apart from the threat to food security posed by rodent population growth, increased disease outbreaks would put a heavy burden on the health services of many countries, especially developing ones. Pest management This alone should be enough for the farmer to realize that, far from being a menace, snakes are the farmer’s friend and can be used as part of an integrated pest management system.We should be encouraging mole snakes (Pseudaspis cana) and house snakes (Lamprophis) into crop lands. In coffee plantations in India, snakes (including venomous ones, such as cobras, kraits and Russell vipers) are used to control rodents.
Saturday, October 28, 2017
How to make your fruit trees produce 10 times more. 1.Go with Dwarfs. If you don’t want to wait several years to get fruit from your garden, consider planting dwarf varieties of your favorite trees. Dwarfs don’t grow as tall or as wide as a full-size tree so they begin to bear fruit within the first 2-3 years. These smaller trees also don’t require as much space, making them perfect for gardeners who want to grow their own fruit but don’t have a lot of land. 2.Prune as Needed. Fruit-trees ideally need to be trained in their first few years of growth into the shape you want them to maintain throughout their productive lives. Pruning should be done at the end of winter, before the tree comes out of dormancy. 3.Root-Suckers and Water-Sprouts. it is important to recognize that not all growth is good-growth. The production of flowers and fruit require a huge investment of nutrients and energy from your plants so you want to be certain that these resources aren’t being wasted where they aren’t needed. Root-suckers and water sprouts are two such wastes. New shoots that grow from the rootstock of a grafted fruit tree are known as root-suckers. These growths often look like a new plant that has taken root at the base of the existing parent. On the other hand, Water-sprouts are vertical shoots that grow straight-up from the established limbs of trees. While these growths aren’t nearly as undesirable as root-suckers, they can still be a waste of nutrients if they aren’t properly controlled. 4.Encourage Pollination Among your native plants, make sure something is blooming each season. Beneficial animals like bees, hummingbirds, butterflies, and bats are a few of the top-pollinators. For this reason, it is important to keep your garden hospitable for wildlife. Avoid overuse of pesticides which can kill beneficial-insects. 5.Know Your Soil. Plants are a lot like people in that different varieties and species have different tastes. It is important to know what balance of nutrients and trace minerals is best for each plant. Soil-pH can also play a big part in maximizing fruit yields. If you aren’t sure what kind of soil you have, it’s always better to test samples from around your trees and shrubs. Once you know what’s missing, you can amend the soil to boost future fruit-production. 6.Harvest Everything. This is perhaps the easiest advice to follow when it comes to growing successful fruit trees. Still, it bears mentioning. Unharvested fruit left-on the branch at the end of the season actually signals to the tree or bush that it made too much that-year. During the next growing season, the plant will actually produce less as a result. So make sure to pick-all of the fruit that your garden grows and let your plants know that you just can’t get enough!
Step by step guide of growing potatoes in a trash bag.Potatoes are a nutritious and delicious starchy tuber, and they're a source of potassium, fiber, protein, vitamins C and B6, and iron. There are lots of ways you can eat potatoes, but they always taste best when they're fresh, especially when you grow them yourself. Growing potatoes in a trash bag is practically a foolproof way to grow potatoes and it only takes a few easy steps to do it. Step 1. One week before planting, place your seed potatoes in a warm spot. When sprouts that are about one-quarter-inch to one-half-inch form, they’re about ready to plant. Cut large seed potatoes into chunks that are approximately two inches wide. Each piece should have at least two sprouts. After cutting the seed potatoes, allow them to sit at room temperature for three days. Step 2. Using a pair of scissors, cut a few drainage holes in the bottom of a 30-gallon plastic trash bag. Roll the sides of the bag down and fill it with about one-third potting soil. Now, place the trash bag in an area of your garden that gets full sun. Step 3. To plant your seed potatoes, first, dust them with agricultural sulfur to protect them against fungal disease. Plant them by burying them with the eyes pointed up about two inches deep in the soil. Water thoroughly. Step 4. When your potato plants are six to eight inches tall, add more soil and straw to the bag. There should be just enough soil so that the top few leaves are poking through it. As they continue to grow, keep unrolling the trash bag and adding more soil accordingly. They should stay well watered, but not soggy. Now the fun part: harvest time. One clue that your potatoes are about ready for harvesting is that the leaves will yellow and the foliage will die back. At this point, you should stop watering and simply leave them alone for a few weeks so that the skins toughen up. To harvest, slit open the side of the bag and release the potatoes. You can start few other batches at regular interval to enjoy continuous harvest.
Farm of the Future Uses No Soil and 95% Less Water.As urban populations continue to rise, innovators are looking beyond traditional farming as a way to feed everyone while having less impact on our land and water resources. Vertical farming is one solution that's been implemented around the world. Vertical farms produce crops in stacked layers, often in controlled environments. AeroFarms grows a variety of leafy salad greens using a process called "aeroponics," which relies on air and mist. AeroFarms' crops are grown entirely indoors using a reusable cloth medium made from recycled plastics. In the absence of sun exposure, the company uses LED lights that expose plants to only certain types of spectrum.
The egg contains all the nutrient to produce a chick,hence its a power packed meal that promotes growth and development. Eggs are nutrient packed and plays immense roles in various systems in the body.The protein requirement is 0.8g/kg on the average: with the requirement for man is 56g,and woman 46g. The FAO has cautioned that the dietary intake is below the required levels in developing countries hence more protein especially animal protein should be included in diet. One medium egg contains 70-85 calories of which 6.5g is protein. Eggs are nutrient rich and if incorporated in diet on a regular basis will make up for the deficit in protein in the developing countries; hence the truth an egg a day keeps the doctor away. EGG-VALUES; 1) its an health boost,with high level of nutrients it contains it contributes to the general well being of the individual, 2)vitamin source; vitamin B2 which is important for break down of food to energy. vitamin B12 essential for red blood cell production. vitamin A responsible for great vision; eye sight integrity.
Reverse zoonosis: Can you make your pet sick? Swine and bird flu are two of the most recent and startling examples of animals passing diseases to humans. Other unpleasant pet-to-human medical problems include ringworm, roundworm, and hookworm, as well as beaver fever, toxoplasmosis, and rabies. Although these animal-to-human transmissions are relatively well described, pathogenic traffic in the opposite direction is much less well understood. Reverse zoonosis is not just an interesting concept; it is an important global issue. Animals bred for food are transported far and wide, interacting with wild species that they would never naturally have encountered. With a rapid growth in animal production and an increase in the movement of both animals and people, a human pathogen within an animal could potentially move thousands of miles in just 24 hours. For instance, during the H1N1 influenza pandemic of 2009, the virus was able to travel the breadth of the planet and from pigs to humans in a matter of months.
Eczema and family history linked to severe hospitalization for children with asthma. Asthma and allergies are related, and many people who suffer from asthma have allergies that trigger their asthma. Research being presented at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology's (ACAAI) Annual Scientific Meeting examines the relationship between medical history and allergic reactions in children, and how long they stayed in the hospital after an asthma attack. Children in the study had been tested for allergies to dust, grass, mold, ragweed, dog, cat, cockroach and other common allergens. "There was no significant association between the number of things a child might be allergic to and the level of treatment received for their asthma in the hospital," says Mona Liu, MD, lead author of the study. "However, we found a family history of asthma and the patient's own history of eczema were significantly associated with a more severe hospital experience." The more severe hospital experience included admission to the intensive care unit, longer length of stay, increased oxygen and more hours of continuous use of albuterol, an asthma rescue medication.
Dogs may protect against childhood eczema and asthma. Two studies being presented at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) Annual Scientific Meeting show there may be even more reason to love your dog. The first study shows babies born in a home with a dog during pregnancy receive protection from allergic eczema, though the protective effect goes down by age 10. A second study shows dogs may provide a protective effect against asthma, even in children allergic to dogs. "Although eczema is commonly found in infants, many people don't know there is a progression from eczema to food allergies to nasal allergies and asthma," says allergist Gagandeep Cheema, MD, ACAAI member and lead author. "We wanted to know if there was a protective effect in having a dog that slowed down that progress." The study examined mother-child pairs exposed to a dog. "Exposure" was defined as keeping one or more dogs indoors for at least one hour daily. "We found a mother's exposure to dogs before the birth of a child is significantly associated with lower risk of eczema by age 2 years, but this protective effect goes down at age 10," Dogs may protect against childhood eczema and asthma.
Protein can be switched on to conduct electricity like a metal.When pushing the boundaries of discovery, sometimes even the most experienced of scientists can get a surprise jolt from a completely unpredictable result. About four years ago, Stuart Lindsay's research team got a lab result that even he couldn't quite believe. As with most scientific surprises, it goes against all conventional wisdom: the first evidence of a protein that could conduct electricity like a metal. Lindsay's research team has learned a thing or two about how single molecules behave when tethered between a pair of electrodes, which is the foundation for how his DNA readers work.The technology, called recognition tunneling, threads single molecules down a nanopore like a thread through the eye of a needle.
Charge your phone by SHOUTING at it. Gadget converts sound waves from speech into five volts of energy for your mobile phone.Researchers in London have created a new technology that uses sound, such as chants at a football ground or chatter in a coffee shop, to charge up mobile phones. Their prototype device, which is about the size of a mobile phone, uses zinc oxide to convert vibrations caused by sound into electricity
The Mango Irrigation Challenge in West Ethiopia. Mango is one of the main fruit crops produced in Ethiopia, both for domestic consumption and exportation. The fruit has significant importance amongst Ethiopian farmers as well as for the whole country. It has potential to act as an economic safety net by generating employment and enabling processing and marketing opportunities. According to FAO stat. 2014, over 15,000 hectares of mango are harvested in Ethiopia every year, with an average yield of 6,000 kg/ha. The crop requires tropical or subtropical conditions with high humidity. Mango is considered to be a "sensitive" crop, meaning it has a low tolerance to salinity of irrigation water. In west Ethiopia, a large scale farm owner of an existing rain-fed mango plantation of 1,700 hectares, was faced with a problem. Although the farm is located in a rainy area receiving about 1,200mm of rain per year, 9 months of the year the crops would receive water, while during the remaining 3 dry months, precipitation is close to zero.
How high-tech is integrated into the Israeli dairy industry. Milk production in Israel is carried out under a quota system that exists in only two other nations—Canada and Norway. “In case of an increase or expected increase in the demand for milk products, the Dairy Board lifts the quota… The Dairy Board advises the farmers, considering the expected high demand for holidays and summer months, allowing the farmers to plan and get organized accordingly,” says Dr. Ephraim Maltz, a senior researcher emeritus at the Volcani Center, the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture’s research arm . Demand is particularly high for Shavuot (marked May 30-June 1 this year), when eating dairy is a holiday tradition. With the government’s support, Israeli farmers have learned to breed cows by better utilizing the natural environment, despite the nation’s arid climate and chronic water shortages. The farmers’ methods include feeding cows with recycled natural foods, using recycled water to grow fodder and reusing manure in agriculture. Several delegations from other countries have visited Israel to learn from these techniques. To obtain the necessary metrics, a majority of Israel’s dairy cows are “equipped with electronic individual identification, and almost all the milking parlors are equipped with electronic milk meters,” Maltz says. Most Israeli dairy farms use electronic methods to detect a cow’s estrous cycle—the reproductive cycle of mammals such as cows—“by using individual cow activity as an indication for insemination time,” he says. Special sensors measure cows’ daily body weight and milk composition for protein, fat, lactose and more. Many farmers also measure daily rumination and eating times.
Intelligent Technology Smart Farming: Papaya, Passion fruit, Pineapple, Lemon juice extraction.The process of making orange juice, Papaya juice, Passion fruit, Pineapple juice.
How Israeli Agricultural Technology is Transforming India. Israeli agricultural technology is transforming the way millions of farmers across India cultivate and harvest. Almost 25 years after the establishment of diplomatic relations, agricultural cooperation has undoubtedly emerged as the cornerstone of India-Israel ties. In 2008, Israel launched the India-Israel Agriculture Project (IIAP) aimed at setting up specialised agriculture centres across India. Today, 15 such Centres of Excellence (CoE) are operational in India, being jointly run by MASHAV, Israel’s agency for international development and India’s Ministry of Agriculture. Additionally, 12 more centres are expected to be launched in coming years, taking their number to 27. In one such centre, located in the northern Indian state of Rajasthan, experts have come up with 24 new varieties of oranges created by combining the traits of selected Israeli and Indian varieties, promising high yield and longer shelf life.
New drug-testing tech could drastically cut animal testing.Israeli human-on-a-chip platform has the unique ability to predict risk of toxicity in pharma and cosmetic product candidates without animal testing. After spending an average of $2.5 billion to develop a single new drug, sometimes pharma companies have to pull it from the market due to a bad outcome that was not detected in clinical studies.That’s what happened in 2000, when a promising Type 2 diabetes drug called troglitazone led to idiosyncratic (unexplained) liver damage in one of every 60,000 users. The troglitazone mystery wasn’t solved until March 2016, when a novel “liver-on-a-chip” platform developed by Hebrew University of Jerusalem Prof. Yaakov Nahmias revealed what no animal or human tests could: even low concentrations of this drug caused liver stress before any damage could be seen. “It was the first time an organ-on-chip device could predict information to help pharmaceutical companies define risk for idiosyncratic toxicity,”
The benefits of eating the purple potato.Israeli scientists synthesize healthier potatoes and tomatoes in brilliant colors. The technology can also produce unusually hued ornamental flowers.Are you ready for violet-colored potatoes? How about orange tobacco? Researchers at Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science have figured out how produce betalain pigments in plants and flowers that don’t normally have them. If you’re thinking, “Who needs violet tomatoes?” you should know that red-violet and yellow betalain pigments contain healthful antioxidant properties. They’re also the basis for natural food dyes for products such as strawberry yogurt. Antioxidant activity is 60 percent higher in betalain-producing tomatoes than in average ones, said Prof. Asaph Aharoni of Weizmann’s Plant and Environmental Sciences Department, who teamed up with Dr. Guy Polturak for the pigment research. “Our findings may in the future be used to fortify a wide variety of crops with betalains in order to increase their nutritional value,” he said. Betalain pigments also protect plants against gray mold, which annually causes crop losses worth billions of dollars. The Weizmann study showed that resistance to gray mold rose by 90% in plants engineered to make betalains.
Friday, October 27, 2017
Fruit fly ‘Iron Dome’ for the farmers of India. Biofeed’s revolutionary no-spray, environmentally friendly solution against the Oriental fruit fly is a hit with Indian mango growers. There is a revolutionary no-spray, environmentally friendly solution against the Oriental fruit fly (Bactrocera dorsalis) made by Biofeed, a 10-employee ag-tech company. Biofeed’s lures, hung on trees, contain an organic customized mix of food, feeding stimulants and control or therapeutic agents delivered by a patented gravity-controlled fluid release platform.Attracted by the odor, the fly takes a sip and soon dies – without any chemicals reaching the fruit, air or soil.
What if work could be more like Facebook? Israeli startup Hoop aims to banish the work-life balance by bringing a social network to workplace communications. Rachel Mendelovich thinks work should be more like Facebook. Her new company, Hoop, aims to bring the kind of shared interest groups that make social-media sites so irresistible to the business world, in order to improve corporate culture and improve employee recruitment and retention.
A cotton that can kill germs and viruses on contact.Jerusalem-based Argaman Technologies’ bio-inhibitive cotton is being made into facial masks, hotel linens, uniforms, active wear and much more. The constantly intensifying battle against viruses and antibiotic-resistant “superbugs” isn’t only about finding stronger drugs against infection. The focus is moving to preventing infections in the first place. Textile engineer Jeff Gabbay, founder and CEO of Argaman and inventor of CottonX, led ISRAEL21c on an exclusive tour of the factory, where enhanced copper-oxide particles are ultrasonically and permanently blasted into cotton fibers using an environmentally friendly technique. Ninety-nine percent of bacteria and viruses are killed within seconds of coming into contact with copper oxide, and bacteria cannot become resistant to copper oxide as they do to antibiotics, Gabbay explains. Hospital-acquired infections cost US hospitals about $25 billion annually. A trial by the US Centers for Disease Control has recently been completed, checking the effectiveness CottonX sheets, pillowcases, and pajamas to reduce hospital-acquired infections.
Fresh lemon grass fields in Israel become mecca for cancer patients.A drink with as little as one gram of lemon grass contains enough citral to prompt cancer cells to commit suicide according to new Israeli research. At first, Benny Zabidov, an Israeli agriculturalist who grows greenhouses full of lush spices on a pastoral farm in Kfar Yedidya in the Sharon region, couldn’t understand why so many cancer patients from around the country were showing up on his doorstep asking for fresh lemon grass. It turned out that their doctors had sent them. It all began when researchers at Ben Gurion University of the Negev discovered last year that the lemon aroma in herbs like lemon grass kills cancer cells in vitro, while leaving healthy cells unharmed.
The super potato strain that can grow in hot,dry climates .After nearly 30 years of research, Professor David Levy has developed a strain of potato that can be grown in hot, dry climates, and irrigated by saline water sources. Professor David Levy’s windowsill is lined with potatoes of numerous shapes and sizes. It’s an appropriate decoration for a man who has spent his lifetime breeding the staple food. Now Levy, an Israeli scientist from the Hebrew University Institute for Plant Sciences, at the Faculty of Agriculture, Food and the Environment, has developed not only a new strain of potatoes suitable for growth in hot, dry climates, but also new strains that can be grown using irrigation from saline water sources. His development will have a huge impact on potato production in hot, desert regions like the Middle East, where temperatures are scorching, and water resources scarce. Levy believes that farmers in these desert regions will now be able to grow their own potatoes, and market them to Europe and the US, helping their economies thrive.
12 top ways Israel feeds the world.From drip irrigation to natural pesticides, Israeli innovations are helping to fill hungry bellies everywhere, but particularly in the developing world. Food security is a major concern for our rapidly growing planet. As resources dwindle and the population rises, smart solutions for better agriculture and safer food storage are essential.No other single country – certainly not one as young and as tiny as Israel – has contributed more breakthroughs in this area than Israel. Since the 1950s, Israelis have not only been finding miraculous ways to green their own desert but have shared their discoveries far and wide through channels including MASHAV, Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. ISRAEL21c has highlighted dozens of food-related advances pioneered by Israelis. Here are 12 major ways Israel helps feed the world. 1) Grain cocoons; Israeli-designed GrainPro Cocoons provide a surprisingly simple and cheap way for African and Asian farmers to keep their grain market-fresh. The huge bags, invented by international food technology consultant Prof. Shlomo Navarro, keep both water and air out. They’re used all over the developed world, including Africa and the Far East, and even in countries that have no diplomatic ties to Israel, such as Pakistan. As much as 50 percent of every grain harvest and 100% of every pulse harvest is lost to pests and mold, Navarro told ISRAEL21c. Subsistence farmers in developing countries tend to store their crops in primitive baskets or bags, which are not effective in keeping hungry bugs and micro-contaminants out. The Cocoon solves that problem, even in extreme heat and humidity. 2) Biological pest control On Kibbutz Sde Eliyahu, a company called Bio-Bee breeds beneficial insects and mites for biological pest control and bumblebees for natural pollination in greenhouses and open fields. Subsidiary Bio-Fly sells sterile Mediterranean fruit flies to control this major pest in fruit trees. R&D manager Dr. Shimon Steinberg told ISRAEL21c the company’s top seller worldwide is two-millimeter-long, pear-shaped orange spider that is a highly efficient enemy of the spider mite, a devastating agricultural pest. “Sixty percent of California strawberries since 1990 are treated with this predatory mite from the Holy Land,” he reported. In Israel, Bio-Bee products have enabled sweet-pepper farmers to reduce the use of chemical pesticides by 75 percent. Bio-Bee exports eight different species of biological control agents, plus pollinating bumblebees, to 32 nations from Japan to Chile. Bio-Fly collaborates with Jordanian and West Bank Palestinian Authority agricultural experts.
Innovation for climate-smart agric key to ending hunger. Rising temperatures and unpredictable rainy seasons could destroy crop yield gains made in the recent past, and the threats of extreme weather such as flooding, drought and pests becoming more real. These will make production more difficult and spike food prices, hurting the prospects of reaching Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2 on ending hunger. Already, many countries in Africa have seen a decline in food security, with other key factors contributing to this deterioration being urban growth, greater household expenditures on food and decrease in international food aid programmes. The recent drought across Eastern and Southern Africa has slowed down programmes for adaptation and resilience-building, forcing a shift towards alleviating hunger and malnutrition-related crises.
Farm experts take stock to tackle food security in Nigeria. Farm experts drawn from the diverse field of the country’s agricultural value chain rose from a two-day meeting, at the Reiz continental hotel Abuja, on Tuesday, hearing how a German development initiative, the Green Innovations Centres for the Agriculture and Food Sector in Nigeria, has trained over 27,000 farmers and is setting sail to create partnership with rice, cassava, maize and potatoes processors and input dealers to secure the country’s food future. The coordinator for the Green Innovations Centre in Nigeria, Annemarie Matthess, who organized the meeting, said while “the purpose of this meeting is to have a stock taking of what has been achieved in the last 27 months and create partnership with rice, cassava, maize and potatoes processors and input dealers,” the centre’s strategic goal is to train over 200,000 smallholders and processing companies, boost employment growth with at least 1000 new jobs, and increase in income by an average of 20 per cent for 170,000 smallholder farms. The Green Innovations Center, GIZ, is an initiative commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), and has the additional mandate of taking innovation centers to Institutions across Nigeria, said Ms. Matthess who doubles in her role as the head of programme of the Sustainable Smallholders Agricultural business programme in the country.
Nigeria’s 774 local governments under the auspices of the All Local Governments Association of Nigeria, ALGON, is hosting an international seminar on developing agricultural assets of their respective areas. Tagged “International Seminar on Comprehensive Local Agriculture Plan, C-LAP” the event is co-hosted by a number of local companies and international institutions and agro-allied companies. The event will engage stakeholders into building Comprehensive Local Agriculture Plan, C-LAP as a blueprint for agricultural revolution in Nigeria using the top to up approach. The document will aid local governments to explore the hidden potentials of their areas and how to leverage on those resources for economic development. The seminar will therefore bring together stakeholders in the agricultural value chain from all over the world and the country to brainstorm on how to help local governments benefit from their agricultural advantages. Also, the promoters of the new scheme envision the establishment of demonstration farms of between five and 20 hectares each in each of the 774 local governments of the country. For sustainability and improvements on the value chain, the 774 farms will be linked to national retain chain, wholesale markets and mega food parks.
Investors turn to Israeli agritech as demand for food swells.Israel tech aimed at farmers has drawn 7% of global investment in on-farm technologies, raising $80m in the first half of the year, report says. Israeli agriculture technologies for farmers have attracted some seven percent of global investment in the first half of 2017, a new report shows. Israeli agritech firms, whose technologies are used by farmers to improve the yield of crops and better monitor produce — called on-farm technologies — raised $80 million in the first half of the year, according to data released by Start-Up Nation Central, a nonprofit organization that connects companies and organizations to Israeli technology firms. The amount raised by the whole agritech sector — which includes on-farm technologies and other products such as supply chain monitoring — totaled $131 million in the first nine months of the year, 35 percent higher than the amount raised in the full year of 2016, when the sector raised $97 million. In 2016, Israel placed among the top five countries in terms of number of investment rounds in agritech, and the amount raised in the sector per capita was double that raised by US firms, the report said.
SafeTraces and trace-ability technology. SafeTraces manufactures biological tracers, or invisible, edible, odorless, and tasteless barcodes that food producers and processors can apply directly to food. The technology, which was developed at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, a US Department of Energy-sponsored research facility, was originally used as a biostimulant to enhance our response capability following an intentional or accidental release of a biological agent. Food processors and other parties handling food in the supply chain can spray SafeTraces’ seaweed-based DNA tag on individual food items so that their provenance and qualities can be traced and verified throughout the supply chain. The markers can be read with specific barcode readers, providing a traceability tool, but also a food safety tool as they will be able to detect some pathogens too. So far the technology is being used by a handful of food and farming customers across varying industries from apples to chocolate. The invisible tagging system makes the tags themselves virtually tamper-proof and the tags can serve as verification for various qualities like geographical provenance, organic status, sustainable sourcing, or varietal.
From Bitcoin to Agriculture: How Can Farmers Benefit from Blockchain? We have all seen the use of (and hype about) blockchain in the context of bitcoin, the digital currency that first brought blockchain to mainstream media and investors. While bitcoin remains in the news, the applications and potential of blockchain are spreading well beyond cryptocurrency. Before we take a look at how the agriculture industry is using blockchain, let’s do a quick blockchain 101. What is Blockchain? One way to think of blockchain is as a technology that allows users to transfer value, or assets, between each other without the need for a trusted intermediary. The exchange is recorded in a ledger that is shared by all users of that blockchain. Users rely on this shared, or “distributed,” ledger to provide a transparent view into the details of the assets, including who owns the asset, as well as descriptive information such as quality or location. The running history of the transaction is called the blockchain, and each transaction is called a block. Today, when you hear about blockchain, what most really mean is ‘blockchains.’ There exist multiple different forms of this distributed ledger technology, each suited to distinct use cases. One popular blockchain technology is Ethereum, which its founders launched around the idea that blockchains can do more than simply record information. This concept, called ‘smart contracts,’ is central to Ethereum and allows users to codify significant parts of a workflow process, agreement, or task. So, when a transaction occurs, the software automatically executes an action, or set of actions, according to the specifications in the smart contract. One example is smart locks; locks that automatically open after receiving the correct fee.
Thursday, October 26, 2017
Feed the Future Malawi Mobile Money Project. Malawi's economy is built on the backbone of the smallholder farmer. Many farmers, however face obstacles in growing their businesses. They lack access to bank accounts, and cash is risky. Feed the Future Malawi Mobile Project uses digital financial services to improve the Malawi agriculture value chain and farmers' economic resilience. USAID can help missions and partners identify specific challenges in value chains and corresponding DFS solutions to increase digital financial inclusion for smallholder farmers. Digital financial services help USAID projects run more efficiently and allow farmers to connect to the financial ecosystem, giving them tools to support their economic livelihoods long after the projects have ended.
FEED THE FUTURE : the pumpkin business. Fatuma is the managing director of Byeffe Foods Company Limited, a food processing company in Uganda, using pumpkin as their raw material. Byeffe’s products include nutritious pumpkin mixed with soy, millet, and rice flour for porridge. Children love the porridge, and it’s giving them a vital nutrition boost. This is especially important for vulnerable households that have children who suffer from malnutrition. It puts a smile on my face to see that my products are enabling more young children in communities in Uganda to grow up healthy and strong. In addition to making affordable, nutritious food for the children in my country, Byeffe is helping young people to tap into the potential of agriculture for employment and growth. We are creating on- and off-farm jobs for thousands of youth just like me. We are also teaching young Ugandans in these communities entrepreneurial skills that can enable and empower them to start their own businesses. In agriculture, there are so many opportunities that young people can tap into, and I want to help them realize that our time is now, and the place is in the agriculture sector. It’s been two years since she started the company, and in that time, has provided more accessible and nutritious food options to communities across Uganda, created a variety of agricultural jobs that generate income for families, and empowered more people like me, especially young women, to create their own path in the agriculture industry.This is all thanks to a very vital crop -- pumpkin. As the business grew, she needed access to a larger supply of fresh pumpkins so Feed the Future helped mobilize more than 1,200 young farmers. These farmers are not only earning more by selling their harvest to Byffe Foods, but also extending the reach and offer of the company's nutrient-rich products to more consumers. FEED THE FUTURE : the pumpkin business.
In the heart of Kiriani in Mathioya constituency, Murang’a County, there is a small farm that has become the talk of the village. The farm measuring 100m by 50m belongs to Simon Ngure, and hosts aerial yams, which are also known as aerial potato. The plant is a semi-wild food that grows on vines climbing onto poles and trees. The bulb is eaten on peeling off the hard back after cooking. The plant’s heart-shaped leaves with slender twinning vines spread tenaciously on posts Ngure has erected. Some yams hang loosely on the vines, which Ngure, 49, stretches his hands and harvests. “The leaves and vines of the crop are currently dry, which means it’s harvest time.” Ngure says he went for them to carve a niche for himself. He is introducing farmers to the aerial yams, which according to him have turned his life for the better and helped him put his children through school. “I switched from coffee to the yams after seeing their potential some three years ago. A friend in Nyeri introduced them to me.” It was the start of his flourishing aerial yam business, which is gaining popularity among farmers. He planted the single yam and in six months harvested 15 yams. However, he did not sell the tubers and instead stored them for planting. “I replanted and expanded the farm and six months later made some good harvests. However, because the yam was not common in the market, I lacked a ready market making me explore other avenues.” To plant the crop, he places the seeds in a dark room to break dormancy. This allows the yam to sprout and ensures that the crop germinates after planting.“Unless it sprouts before you plant, the seeds may rot in the ground and fail to germinate.” Once he has the seeds, he tills the land, makes one-feet deep holes a meter apart, adds animal manure and mixes well with the soil. He then erects poles at the base of the plant to provide support for the vines and then plants. Since he went for the crop three years ago, his fortunes have changed. He hopes to expand his business through value addition as the yams can be milled and the flour used to cook ugali and porridge among other foods. The facts about the aerial yam :the aerial yam is also known as aerial potato, potato yam, aerial yam or air yam and is believed to be native to tropical Africa, Asia and Australia. According to experts, the tubers of edible varieties often have a bitter taste, which can be removed by boiling. They can then be prepared in the same way as other yams, potatoes, and sweet potatoes
Wednesday, October 25, 2017
An indigenous company based in Kebbi State has produced organic neem fertilizer for optimum crop production. They are produced from the neem tree. The product was showcased at the just concluded National Agricultural show in Nasarawa State. The company also produces neem seed cake for animal feed, neem seeds, neem oil and biopesticides for prevention and control of insect pests. Managing Director of the company, Alhaji Musa Karaye, confirmed that the fertiliser boosts crop yield and that the nutrients stayed in the soil for a longer period. A breakdown of the soil analysis of the organic fertilizer confirmed that it contains nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, manganese and copper, including organic carbon and organic matter. In addition, he said the company has been registered under the Growth Enhancement Scheme (GES) programme of the Federal Government and supplies interested farmers with the new products.
UNICEF partners Imo RUWASA on hand washing . Wife of Imo State Governor, Mrs. Nkechi Okorocha, has appealed to people of the state, particularly women and children, to imbibe the habit of washing their hands, so as to prevent infections. Mrs. Okorocha, made the plea in a remark to commemorate the Global Hand Washing Day in Owerri, organized by the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, in collaboration with Imo State Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency, RUWASA. “I commend UNICEF for partnering with RUWASA in ensuring the success of this yearly exercise. I appeal to the citizenry, particularly women and children, to form the habit of constantly washing their hands, to prevent infections,” Mrs. Okorocha pleaded. UNICEF
Climate change: Nigeria uses bottle brick technology. Nigeria, millions of plastic bottles are discarded blocking waterways.The term using what we have to get what we need applies to the innovative use of plastic bottles. Reduce,reuse and recycle is a method of stemming effects of climate change and the use of these waste bottles to provide affordable housing is a novel idea.
Recycled greenhouse project using plastic bottles. The concept was born out of Oluwalana’s own experience with poor waste management in his home country of Nigeria. There, due to a lack of effective management practices, bottles are commonly discarded in streets, blocking drainages and leading to floods and erosion. As part of his studies in the Sustainable and Resilient Communities track of the Master of Environmental Management Program at Western State Colorado University, Oluwalana recently completed a 10-foot by 12-foot greenhouse built from clear, plastic bottles that allow light through while at the same time trapping heat. The intention of the project was to serve as a teaching tool in more ways than one — both showing the potential for re-using a commonly discarded item, as well as a demonstration for anyone interested in building a similar structure. Among the many advantages of re-utilizing plastic bottles to build structures, Oluwalana viewed the project for its ability to improve economic and social conditions — especially in a cold climate. Oluwalana is working for Western currently, splitting time between custodial services and the position of sustainability coordinator — helping the university reduce the amount of waste generated on campus that’s directed to the landfill.
How cooking boost nutrients in tomatoes and spinach. Water-soluble vitamins like vitamin C and the B vitamins, which include folate, leach out of vegetables if you boil them, but some will be retained in the stock, so “use it if you’re making soup,” said Helen Rasmussen, a senior research dietitian at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University. Vitamin levels are reduced the longer you expose them to heat; “they’re just not stable,” she said. Levels of other nutrients, however, may increase. One study found that while cooking decreased the amount of vitamin C in tomatoes, the cooking process increased levels of antioxidants that could be absorbed by the body, including levels of lycopene, the carotenoid plant pigment that helps protect the body from free radical damage. “You might be able to get more lycopene out because the heat starts to break down the cell matrix and that actually allows some of the tied-up carotenoids to be released from the cell walls,” Dr. Rasmussen said. Raw spinach provides a lot of fiber, but cooked spinach may provide more beta carotene: One study found that three times as much beta carotene — an antioxidant that’s a form of vitamin A — was absorbed from cooked spinach compared with raw spinach.