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close this bookGATE - 1/97 - Eco-label: Organic Cotton (GTZ GATE, 1997, 52 p.)
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Letters to the editor

Neem as an insecticide
in: gate 4/1996

I hope that your article on the neem not only succeeded in reaching the many farmers in our partner countries and technical cooperation experts, but also incited them to continue breaking away from chemicals.

But I did miss one point in your article: it gave far too little attention to the importance and potential of fish.

Neem is significant for fishing for the following reason: many thousands of artisinal fishermen along coastal and in inland waters smoke or dry their fish to preserve it before putting it up for sale. But this type of preservation is often useless, because flies and beetles attack the fish which then in no time contains more maggot protein than fish protein. Consequently, ample doses of DDT or other insecticides are sprayed over the layers when packing the fish.

Hardly any thought is wasted on the disastrous impacts this has on the final consumer. An expert from the German fishing port of Cuxhaven told me that if this "product" is regularly eaten, the consumer would die from a decayed liver or kidney failure within 15 years and no-one would be able to identify the actual cause of death.

We have been testing neem as a fish-smoking additive in our projects for several years and the results have been very successful. Neem trees continue to be planted in many fishing villages. Educational campaigns to date have also had a positive impact.

When an article on neem activities was published in the 3/93 issue of the agricultural journal "entwicklung und llicher raum" efforts were still in their infancy. But we have now made large steps forward and aim to further develop and disseminate these techniques wherever possible.

Dr. Werner Schmidt GTZ, Eschborn Division 424 (Forestry, livestock, nature protection and fisheries)

Next issues

- gate 2/97

Timber is only one of many products from our forests. Other treasures from tropical forests could prove to be economically far more significant in the long term: fruits, medicinal plants and animal organisms for the pharmaceuticals industry, basic materials for cosmetics and energy or replacement materials for the petro-chemical industry. Gate 2/97 will give an insight into the use of nontimber forest products. Read about how to practice sustainable forest management, and experiences made to date.

- gate 3/97

The 3/97 issue will review 15 years of gate-magazine and will take a look at technology transfer and the status and potentials of appropriate technology on the threshold to the next millennium.