|CERES No. 140 (FAO Ceres, 1993, 50 p.)|
PEST ALERT FOR AFRICAN FORESTERS
The important multipurpose tree Leucaeena leucocephala, better known as the ipil-ipil, is under attack by a fast-spreading pest that was little known only nine years ago. Since 1984, the Leucaena psyllid Heterosylla cubana has travelled, apparently carried on air currents, from Central and South America and the Caribbean to Hawaii, the Pacific Islands, Australia. Southeast Asia' the Indian subcontinent, Mauritius and Reunion in the West Indian Ocean and, in late 1992, to Kenya' Madagascar and Tanzania. FAO has warned African foresters that the pest a member of a group of insects known as jumping plant lice. now poses an immediate threat to all of Africa and asked them to report any infestations to forestry officials. The FAO Forestry Department advises that chemical insecticides should only be used as a short-term emergency measure. The search for long-term solutions centres on strains of giant Leucaena resistant to the pest. and on species of predaceous beetles and parasitic wasps that attack the lice.
FATTENING CATTLE ON CROP RESIDUES
Small farmers in China have achieved marked success in fattening beef cattle using a simple and well-known technology based on crop residues treated with urea-ammonia. The experiment is under way in 12 villages of Henan and Hebei provinces in a series of FAO and UN Development Programme projects (CPR/6768, CPR/8858 and CPRE/88/057) totalling US$696 000. The farmers fed young local Chinese Yellow beef cattle with treated straw and a supplement of cottonseed cake. Not only did they succeed in fattening 180-kilogram animals to 450 kg in just over 12 months, but they were able to keep cereals for human use or to feed other animals, and reduced the pollution caused by traditional straw burning. FAO experts report the same feeding technique could be used for dairy cattle, sheep, goats, breeding animals and other livestock.
CULTIVATING ONIONS IN CE D'IVOIRE
With help from FAO's Plant Production and Protection Division, Cd'Ivoire is working to become self-sufficient in onions and reduce its trade deficit. The biggest problem was seeds. In order to grow the estimated 35 000 tons of onions consumed annually, farmers would need 11 750 kilograms of seeds, but production was only 1 500 kg. Popularizing onion-growing and developing a storage system were also considerations. Under the FAO project (IVC/88/008/B/01/12), three district leaders and 20 recruits were trained in seed production and shed-huilding. The national coordinator of the project made study trips to Guinea, Niger, the Netherlands, France and FAO headquarters in Rome. Now the information is going to the farmers, and as of December 1995, Cd'Ivoire hopes to have 300 farmers ready to produce onion seeds along with seeds for the local legume Gombo, sweet peppers and the Ndrowa eggplant.
A GOLD MINE CALLED AGRIS
Need to know the latest on agriculture in general'? Or perhaps in the fields of geography and history, education, extension and information, administration and legislation, economics, development and rural sociology, plant and animal science, production and protection, post-harvest technology, fisheries and aquaculture, machinery and engineering, natural resources, processing of products, nutrition, pollution or methodology? Simple. Call on AGRIS, the International Information System for Agricultural Sciences and Technology. Produced by FAO and Silver-Platter International, AGRIS is a cooperative system in which participating countries provide references to all literature published within their boundaries-theses and reports as well as journal articles and books-and draw on information provided by other countries. A total of 135 national and 24 regional and international centrcs submit 11 000 items a month. Since it became operational in 1975, AGRIS has accumulated a computerized database of more than 1 920 000 bibliographic references with titles in English and the original language and descriptions in English, French and Spanish. For more information contact: A.I. Lebowitz AGRIS Coordinating Centre FAO Viale delle Terme di Caracalla 00100 Rome Italy. Tel.: (396) 5797-4993. Far: (396) 5797-3152.