|SPORE Bulletin of the CTA No. 08 - January 1987 (CTA - Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation, 1987)|
A team of the Department of Molecular Biology of the Free University of Brussels recently made an important discovery in the field of sleeping sickness. The researchers revealed the existence of a sexual reproduction phase in the life-cycle of the trypanosomiasis parasite, transmitted by the tsetse fly.
This new result may pave the way towards the manufacturing of a vaccine which seemed, hitherto, impossible to produce.
For further information:
Mr. Andre Ducamp
Universite Libre de Brussels CP 1 22
Avenue Franklin Roosevelt 50 1050 Brussels
CIDAT: Collection and dissemination of knowledge
Belgium has accumulated considerable experience in tropical agriculture over the years. This is the fruit of work carried out in research centres in its former African colonies and in other parts of the world where Belgian experts have been involved in agricultural development. To take advantage of this rich experience the Belgian Ministry of Education decided to establish, in 1970, the Centre for Applied Information on Tropical Agricultural Development, shouldered jointly by the Albert I Royal Library and by the Royal Museum of Central Africa and supported by the Fund for Fundamental and Collective Research. The Centre also benefits from scientific and technical assistance from CNDST (National Centre for Scientific and Technical Documentation).
ClDAT's objectives are manifold. First and foremost, the centre focusses on the inventory and the preservation of scientific achievements of Belgian experts in the field of tropical agriculture so that less developed countries may benefit from this wide experience.
Within this perspective ClDAT develops techniques for the comparative study of agrobioclimatic characteristics to facilitate the transfer of technologies, cropping techniques and plant species while evaluating the risks involved. CIDAT also advises individuals and organizations who wish to adopt this development approach.
It attempts to promote the introduction of new varieties by acting as a link between national research centres, development agencies and gene banks. CIDAT publishes the results of the applied research undertaken. In Belgium, the centre serves as a focal point both for Belgian agronomists working abroad and for graduate students in agronomy preparing to work overseas.
In order to meet these objectives, CIDAT has been set up as four independent panels working on the following topics: agroclimatology, soil science and management, ecology and plant introduction as well as data processing.
Each panel is headed by an agronomist who has made his career overseas with an experience of at least ten consecutive years both in the field of research and applied agronomy. This type of organization facilitates individual contacts as inquiries emanate from related experience and relevant context.
The inquiries received at the centre are steadily increasing and more than twenty-five percent are from abroad. They come from private companies (20%), higher education (60 %) and governmental or international institutions (20 %)
The centre mainly received inquiries on the following subjects, in order of importance: crop production, agroclimatology (CIDAT has a data bank of 58,000 entries), documentation, economic analysis, soil science, physical geography, food supply, forestry technology, fish farming, animal husbandry, seed supply and plant ecology.
As far as the inquiry service is concerned, CIDAT collaborates closely with SERDAT, the Documentation Service for Tropical Agriculture that belongs to the Royal Albert I Library. There are regular joint activities and exchanges between the two centres, in particular for the purchase of publications to rationalize expenditure.
CIDAT publishes the results of the activities and research in a series of six editions:
- 'Thesauri', a series mainly concerned with information processing (three publications)
- 'Bulletin for research in comparative agrobioclimatology' (two publications)
- 'Studies on tropical wood' (two publications)
- 'Abstracts' (six publications) - 'World catalogue of climatic date' (nine publications)
- 'Miscellaneous' (two publications)
All these publications, as well as copies of miscellaneous reports and articles published in periodicals of other organizations, are available from: Patrimoine du Musee Royal de l'Afrique Centrale.
Musee Royal de l'Afrique Centrale
Chaussee de Louvain B - 1980 Tervuren
Camel family picture
'The camelid, an all-purpose animal, 11', the second volume of
'The camelid', represents a comprehensive bibliography. It is the result of work
carried out in publishing proceedings of the workshop on camelids organized by
the International Foundation for Science (IFS). This workshop was held in
Khartoum, Sudan, and the proceedings were published as volume 1.
Cockrill W.R., ed. (1985). 'The camelid an all-purpose animal, volume 11', Scand. Inst. of African Studies, Uppsala, Sweden, 228 pp.
Price: SKr 100
Both volumes are distributed by :
Scandinavian Institute of African Studies P.O. Box 1703 S-751 47 Uppsala Sweden
Rural development for poverty alleviation
Much human efforts and enormous sums of money have been wasted both by industrialized and developing countries on rural development projects that have proved to be inappropriate to local social, economic and environmental conditions. So as to evaluate the efficiency of these rural development projects, the Royal Tropical Institute of the Netherlands organized a seminar entitled 'Effectiveness of Development Cooperation in Rural Areas' from 30 September to 4 October 1986.
The proceedings of this seminar were published by the Royal Tropical Institute, in a book entitled 'Rural development for poverty alleviation'.
The book is available at Hfl 35,- from:
Koninklijk Instituut voor de Tropen Mauritskade 63 1092 AD
Amsterdam The Netherlands
Honeymoon for bees
The International Bee Research Association recently published, with financial support from the Tropical Development and Research Institute, London, a book entitled 'Pest Control Safe for Bees'.
The most common method of pest control on crop plants is the use
of insecticides and acaricides. If these chemicals are applied to the crops at
flowering time and pollinating bees and other insects are killed, crop yields
The book is compiled for crop growers, beekeepers and all those manufacturing, or applying pesticides.
It will be an important reference book for extension officers
who need to inform crop growers about the necessity of bees as pollinators and
about controlling pests without killing bees.
Adey M., Walker P., Walker P.T. (1986). 'Pest Control Safe for Bees: a manual and directory for the tropics and subtropics. International Bee Research Association (IBRA) UK, 224 pp.
Price: 14 UKL
The publication is available from:
International Bee Research Association
18 North Road
Cardiff CF1 3DY UK
Throughout most countries of Africa and Asia, sheep and goats are widely distributed. The meat demand in these countries is not supported by suitable methods and techniques for slaughtering and handling of meat.
This book outlines several procedures for slaughtering, for handling of meat and byproducts. Some chapters describe the construction, equipment and sanitation of slaughterhouses.
Clottey, St. John J.A. (1985).'Manual for slaughtering of small ruminants in developing countries', Animal Production and Health Paper, No49, FAO, 45 pp.
Better utilization of crop residues and by-products
Optimizing the utilization of crop residues and agro-industrial byproducts in developing countries is of paramount importance.
A recent ILCA publication contains 23 papers based on research on agricultural byproducts in Cameroon, Cyprus, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Mauritius, Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan, Tanzania, UK and Zimbabwe. The topics cover many aspects, foremost among which are: planning and application of on-farm research, chemical analysis of agricultural by-products and estimates of animal performance.
The volume also represents the activities and the objectives of the African Research Network for Agricultural Byproducts (ARNAB).
The information in this publication contributes in an important
manner to the study of the efficient use of agricultural by-products for feeding
ARNAB. (1986) 'Towards optimal feeding of agricultural by-products to livestock in Africa'. Proceedings of a workshop held at the University of Alexandria, Egypt, Ocsober 1985. African Research Network for Agricultural Byproducts (ARNAB), ILCA, Addis Ababa. 180 pp.
Appropriate technology catalogue
Tool, the coordination centre for Dutch AT groups, recently published a catalogue of 400 titles focussing mainly on agriculture, food production and rural development. This edition is a selection of the best literature available, selected from BOSTID (USA Board on Science and Technology for International Development), Intermediate Technology Publications (ITP), World Health Organization (WHO), Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), Volunteers in Technical Assistance (VITA) and other international publishers.
The catalogue can be obtained free of charge from:
TOOL Foundation seminars
Seminar on food crop pests and diseases of central africa
The Research Institute for Agriculture and Animal Husbandry
(IRAZ) of the Economic Community of the Great Lake Countries organized a seminar
which took place February 16-20, 1987 in Bujumbura, Burundi. It was attended by
researchers, pathologists and entomologists and by responsible authorities of
plant protection divisions from Rwanda, Zaire and Burundi. Among the
participants were members from the Inter-African Plant Sanitation Council,
international experts from FAO, IITA and CIAT as well as Belgian university
The main objective consisted of the elaboration of the state-of-the-art in the relevant fields, the orientation of research activities and the definition of control strategies for food crop protection. The seminar was financed by CTA.
The meeting emphasized both the importance of food crops in the countries considered, where the growth rate of production is not keeping up with population increase and the considerable losses due to pests and diseases. Food crop losses are generally estimated at one-third of production. Food crop yields could, on the other hand, be increased by 300 % if all steps towards maximum farming efficiency were to be undertaken. These should include not only crop protection but also soil fertilization and genetic improvement.
Research results have shown that variety combination and intercropping have a favourable effect on the health equilibrium of crops. It is therefore of paramount interest to continue research in this direction.
Other discussions centred around the problem of standardization of terminology and disease contamination ratings and considered the standardization of experiments so as to facilitate interpretation and comparisons if research results coming from different regions.
One of the control strategy components should focus on genetic improvement with particular emphasis on resistance to pests and diseases although such work may prove laborious. There are still diseases, e.g. potato bacteriosis, for which no resistant genes have been found.
The accent was placed on the need to take all possible steps to ensure that pest pressure is sufficiently high when carrying out field trials to select resistant varieties. Unless selections are made under these conditions, local varieties which may show good resistance levels, risk being eliminated if selection is based on yield criteria alone.
Research orientations must also consider the use of plant health products, often mainly applied to obtain rapid effects, and encourage biological control as an alternative. Several participants underlined this approach explaining its interest and pollution safe features as well as the constraints. Case studies presented included the biological control of the green mite and cassava coccid as well as the implementation of a programme at national level.
Two other possibilities were discussed: the use of mycorrhizae and rhizobacteria. The fungi, by reason of their omnipresence and difficult manipulation, have only seldom been explored. But the rhizobacteria deserve close attention especially in so far as nematodes and potato Pseudomonas are concerned.
The seminar studied two aspects relating to control efficiency: seed production and storage management. Production of healthy seeds in sufficient amounts can be increased by a more favourable selection of origins and sorting. As for seed storage more efficient drying techniques should be introduced and storage rules should be observed in a stricter manner. The advantages of dry dusting with certain plant materials and neutral substances such as laterite were pointed out.
The problem of the greater grain borer was a deep worry for all the participants as it becomes acute under conditions of intensive international trade and is technically difficult to control biologically.
Plant health legislation was the subject of various papers delivered by the representatives of the Inter-African Plant Sanitation Council and national administrations. IRAZ is working out a plan for a convention between the three countries which would be in harmony with international legislation. Among the proposals considered was the establishment of a network for the supervision of the most important harmful insects and of another network to study migration behaviour of Cicadulina.
Researchers were also reminded of the following: the importance of working in collaboration with extension services that are designed to ensure feed-back between producers and researchers; the advantage of working closely with agrometeorology services; the necessity of conducting experiments more efficiently; the interest of analyzing results in accordance with farm production systems.
The seminar advised IRAZ to ensure a better information infrastructure in the Economic Community of the Great Lakes by the distribution of activitiy reports and publications of research institutes. It was also suggested that research programmes should be organized more systematically, and that a regional plant sanitation bulletin and guidelines and an atlas describing pests and diseases should be published and that training courses should be organized.
The publication of the seminar proceedings which will be edited jointly by IRAZ and ISABU, is expected towards the end of 1987.
The proceedings of this seminar will be available from:
IRAZ BP. 81 Gitega Burundi ISABU B.P. 795 Bu jumbura Burundi CTA Postbus 380 6700 AJ Wageningen The Netherlands