|SPORE Bulletin of the CTA No. 52 (CTA Spore, 1994, 16 p.)|
Solar drying adds value to surplus fruit and vegetables
In Burkina Faso production from market gardening has triple in less than ten years, mainly because water resources are being better used. This has meant that at harvest time local markets are now frequently over-supplied. As a result prices plummet and unsold produce, perhaps as much as 20% of production, is wasted.
ABAC-GERES, an NGO promoting north-south cooperation, has introduced a domestic solar dryer which is of simple construction and easy to use. The largest model can dry a fresh weight of 15 kg a day. The dryers have been widely accepted and village level production of dried mangoes is currently being studied.
Solar drying programme
01 BP 4071, Ouagadougou 01
Forage plants conserved
Fodder plants and multipurpose trees that could hold the key to livestock production in Africa are being collected by the International Livestock Centre for Africa (ILCA), which is anxious to conserve as many species as possible, otherwise some of them might he lost for ever.
Land degradation and urbanization across Africa are putting a lot of fodder plants and tree species under threat. ILCA is therefore losing no time in building up a collection of species at their headquarters in Addis Ababa. Currently ILCA has 12,000 different strains belonging to 1000 species in its genebank. The material being collected shows great genetic variability in important traits such as drought tolerance and resistance to pests and diseases.
ILCA is keen that farmers should have a choice of species. The recent spread of the leucaena psyllid demonstrates the danger of relying on just one species. ILCA has now built up the world's most comprehensive collection of sesbania germplasm, madly accessions of which are now being evaluated across Africa. Seed of all these species is being multiplied for subsequent distribution.
Dr Jean Hanson, Head of Forage Genetic Resources, recognizes that conservation through use is extremely important. As a result, material is not only being put into the genebank but is also being distributed across Africa to researchers and to farmers who want to improve both soil fertility and their live-lihoods live-stock increased livestock production.
PO Box 5689
Sudan increases wheat production
Wheat production in Sudan increased significantly in 1991/92, due to a combination of factors: favorable weather; input availability, and the Governments interest and investment in research and transfer of technology. Despine an 18% decrease in the total area planted to wheat, overall production was up by 50% to reach an all-time record of 0.865 million tones. This has made Sudan self-sufficient in bread wheat for the first time. Average yields increased by 87%, 107% and 46% in Gezira, Rahad and the Norther State, respectively.
In on-farm demonstrations in major production areas, farmers who had adopted improved production packages achieved 9-100% increases in yield. The adoption studies in Gezira high-lighted the importance of extension, seeding date, preparation and leveling of seedbeds, the use of seed drills and seeding methods, irrigation and water management, and a shorter period between seeding and first irrigation.
In backup research, in multi-location testing, 106 lines were selected for further evaluation for heat-tolerance and 70 lines for tolerance of moisture stress. In crop physiology studies, it was found that with holding water at the tillering stage reduced yield by 14%. Studies on population dynamics of aphids (green bug) and their predators Chrysopids and Cydonia were carried out. The economic threshold for chemical control of aphids on wheat was determined at 35% level of infestation. In weed control, the critical stage for effective weeding was found to be between four and six weeks from planting.
International Centre for Agricultural Research in the Dry
ICARDA Annual Report 1992
PO Box 5466
The Asian Vegetable Research and Development Center (AVRDC) has developed a simple hydroponic system for growing vegetables, using old clothes and plastic cups as a basis.
Old plastic cups are perforated and filled with an absorbent medium such as rice hulls, or even cut-up old clothes. The seeds are sown into this material and the cups placed into a nutrient solution which can be contained in old crates lined with plastic sheeting. The bottom of the cup is covered to a depth of about two centimeters. Plant roots extend down into the solution and take up nutriments. Other roots develop above the nutrient level and absorb oxygen.
The nutrient solution in made up to a recipe developed by AVRDC. Trials have shown that the materials and solution can grow several crops before they have to be discarded include oninos, potatoes and a wide range of leaf vegetables. This technique would be useful for people living in towns.
PO Box 205, Taipei 10099
Food from the wild
Agricultural research has until now concentrated on the major food crops and on domestic livestock, vet food gathered and hunted from the wild continues to have an important place in the diet of many farming families. The Bukusu of Kenya, for example, consume at least 100) different species of fruit and vegetables and the Tswana of Botswana and South Africa Use 126 species of plants and 100 kinds of meat as a source of food. A bibliography on the subject, Hidden harvest, is shortly to be published. This contains over 1,000 references and is available from:
Sustainable Agriculture Programme,
IIED, 3 Endsleigh Street,
London WC1H 0DD
Climbing beans reach new heights
Improved varieties of climbing beans are being developed jointly by scientists at the Insitut des Sciences Agronomiques do Rwanda and their counterparts at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), both at its headquarters in Colombia and at their regional office in Africa.
Climbing beans can produce up to 1.4t/ha in one season; which is double that of bush varieties; and they are often more disease tolerant Many farmers grow two crops in one season. In fertile soil beans can climb to more than 3 metres. The most popular climbing bean variety introduced by CIAT from Mexico is the Umubano, which grows well in low phosphorus soils and is resistant to anthracnose; both leaves and red beans are tasty.
In Latin America where the beans originated, farmers use maize
plants to support the beans. Where maize was not available, researchers were
concerned that wood should not be cut to provide staking material and were
looking for suitable alternatives. Rwandan farmers, however, have helped to
design or identify 15 natural staking, materials and crops for supporting
climbing beans: these include banana, bamboo and sesbania, as weel as branches
pruned from eucalyptus and acacia. If farmers are unable to find stakes of the
required height, the vines can be wound back down towards the ground. A new
staking method currently being evaluated consist of a trellis made of braided
banana-leaf ropes hung
CIAT, AA 6731, Cali, COLOMBIA
Zoui, zogbla, hangali, gonon and axayoe are some of the names "axayoe are some of the names given to gari, the granulated flour obtained from cassava which can be found in every market in tropical Africa.
Because of its concern about public health and standards of nutrition, DANA (Direction de lAlimentation et de la Nutrition Appliquée - Department of Food and Applied Nutrition) in Benin has now authorized the addition of nutrients to gari. Gari is nearly 85% glucosides but it can now be eriched with iron, iodine or vitamin A in order to counter the anaemia, goitre and eye diseases which are endemic in areas where there is over-consumption of cassava.
A study carried out by DANA indicates that, while gari has few nutrients other than starch, it does have the high fibre an essential ingredient for a healthy diet. Indeed there is a correlation between the high consumption of food rich in non-digestible fibre and the low incidence of cancer in Africa. It also seems to be effective in controlling ulcers.
As a result researchers, particularly nutritionist and gastro-enterologists, are showing great interest in gari as a food source which has valuable health benefits and whose deficiencies can very easily be corrected by the addition of minerals and vitamins.
Direction de lAlimentation et de lat Nutrition Appliquée
Worlds major cereals share common ancestry
Work in Britain and Japan has shown that the order of the genes of the chromosomes of wheat and rice, which diverged some 60 million years ago, is essentially the same. Preparing gene maps is a very costly exercise with no certain outcome, but this particular finding is of immense importance.
Less than half of the small genome of rice consist of repeated DNA sequences; but 90% of the huge wheat genome which is many times the size of the human genome, has been found to consist of repeats. Six of wheats seven chromosomes in rice. The remaining four chromosomes in rice can all be rived from wheat chromosomes.
The ancestral cereal genome of some 60 million years ago can now be reconstructed, and it has been shown that the genes of all the major cereals including rice, wheat, sorghum, maize, rye, oats and barley, can be placed on a single map. This suggests that genes for disease resistance, photoperiodism, drought tolerance and storage proteins, for instance, can be transferred among and between all the major cereals. There is a possibility that generic disease resistance breeding. It seems certain that possibilities that are now being opened up for transferring genes and knowledge between species will eventually give rise to more stable yields in all the major cereal crops of the world.
"New Scientist" no. 1918 (26 March 1994)
IPC Specialist Group
Kings Reach Tower, Stamford Street
London SE1 9LS, UK
Cocoinfo International is the twice-yearly publication of the
Asian and Pacific Coconut Community (APCC). APCC is concerned with the promotion
of the coconut industry and considers lack of information to be the main
constraint to the industry's development. APCC felt that there was a need for a
non-technical journal which is more suited to the average reader, but which
could still provide the industry with a medium to promote its goods and
Cocoinfo International, Asian and Pacific Coconut Community 3rd Floor Wisma Bakri
Jl. H R Rasuna Said Kuningan Jakarta 12920, INDONESIA
Ag Lit Alert is a new publication produced by the South Pacific
Commission which is intended to provide agriculturalists with information on new
publications that have been written about agriculture and forestry in the
Ag Lit Alert Agricultural Library
South Pacific Commission
Private Mail Bag, Suva, FIJI
Pepperpot is a newsletter from the CTA Regional Branch Office at
the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) which aims
to provide a varied coverage of agricultural information, but with a wholly
University Campus, St Augustine
Oilseed Press is a publication which promotes small-scale
oilseed processing in Africa and is published three times a year by the Regional
OILS Project of AT International.
Oilseed Press Editor
1828 L Street N W
Washington D C 20036, USA
Journal of Information Networking
The computer is a window on a world of resources. Computers are no longer the tools of computer scientists only; increasingly they are seen as an enabling technology with the potential to integrate and transform information provision, communication and learning.
The Journal hopes to foster discussion on a wide range of topics including the needs and behavior of the network user; the role of networks in teaching, learning, research and scholarly communication; the implication of networks for library and information services, and policies for funding and charging for network and information services, to mention just a few.
Journal of Information Networking
Taylor Graham Publishing 500 Chesham House
150 Regent Street
London W1R 5FA,
Picture, print and promote
Rinderpest is a deadly disease which wiped out 80-90% of all cattle and wild ruminants across Africa a hundred years ago, and has been a recurrent problem ever since.
The Pan African Rinderpest Campaign (PARC) was set up in 1986 with the aim of eradicating rinderpest from Africa through vaccination campaigns and other control measures. However, because so many national livestock services are impoverished, their impact in the field is often ineffective, thus allowing the disease to survive and spread even after vaccination campaigns.
To combat this disease, and to promote and disseminate information on its control, PARC have produced an invaluable and excellently illustrated guide for use by field staff and rural people. The guide gives step by step details on how to produce discussion tool kits to promote the campaign.
They include flipcharts, posters, leaflets, booklets, banners, stickers, flags, etc. using cheap and easily available local materials. For instance, the flipcharts shown are made of cloth and use a series of dramatic drawings. These depict the "wise cattle owner" who buys rinderpest vaccinated cattle and prospers as well as the "unwise cattle owner" who buys unvaccinated cattle which bring disaster to his herd.
The booklet Picture, print and promote, which is printed by FAO, is being distributed to PARC national coordinators, national communication officers and media producers by the Organization of African Unity: Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources (OAU/IBAR) from Nairobi.
Development Support Communication Branch
Information Division FAO
Viale delle Terme di Caracalla
Irrigated plots: reversing degradation
In the majority of irrigated areas in sub-Saharan Africa, poor management of the irrigation inefficient drainage, and paddy rice grown on soil which is too sandy have led to a rapid rise in groundwater levels, increasing aluminium toxicity and salinization of the land.
Two recent articles on the subject (ORSTOM Actualités No. 40 Cahiers Agricultures 1993 (2)) outline some possible solutions: rehabilitation of salinated paddies by using short season salt-tolerant varieties; stopping the rise of water levels by digging deeper drainage channels, an adjusting the mineral content of the soil.
B Keita and M K N'Diaye
34032 Montpellier Cedex
Lost urine means lower yields
The trend to zero-grazing and intensive livestock production has important implications for the cycling of nutrients: it is leading to crop land being denied valuable urine.
Under many traditional systems in sub-Saharan Africa, livestock graze crop residues on arable land during the dry season and thus return nutrients directly to the soil. However, animals that are zero-grazed have their feed brought to them, with the manure being returned to the land later. This increases labour but more importantly the system disrupts the flow of nutrients.
Studies over the last three years by the International Livestock Centre for Africa (ILCA) are showing that when the manure is returned to the land it is missing one important component urine. With stall-fed animals urine is not held by the accumulating manure. Its absence is having a dramatic effect on crop yields.
When millet grown in a field trial received manure alone, yields were 2.9 tonnes of dry matter per hectare. Crops grown on land which had been grazed by cattle yielded 7 3 tonnes of dry matter per hectare. Similar results were obtained from land on which sheep were grazed. When crops recevied urine, yields increased by 73%. The urine effect is still evident if the animals are confined to the land for only one year in three.
PO Box 5689
Dry fishponds become oases of productivity
The 1992 drought in Malawi devastated many farmers' household food supplies. However, several farmers with fishponds managed to overcome the disaster because the residual moisture in the ponds enabled them to grow food crops.
Fishponds are a relatively new innovation for farmers in Malawi. The International Centre for Living Aquatic Resources Management (lCLARM), working with Malawi's fisheries department and university has been developing aquaculture that can be integrated with existing farming systems. The programme was badly interrupted during the 1992 drought.
Farmers with fishponds were able to harvest the fish before the ponds dried out. The fish boosted the small family food supply and the farmers were then able to plant vegetables in the pond. This gave them an extra crop when other farmers were unable to grow anything. The farmers who had no fish ponds saw what was happening, and were encouraged to consider fish farming for themselves.
ICLARM has also been introducing fish ponds in Ghana. The effect has been to make farmers realize that excessive rainfall need not be a destructive force.
Instead of causing severe soil erosion, it can be properly channeled and used to produce fish, vegetables, livestock and trees.
MCPO Box 2631
Agricultural trial leaflets
Agricultural trials depend on the cooperation of everyone involved: project leaders and research workers, the station manager and foreman and the field technician. Most field trials are set out as Randomized Block Designs (RDB), because they are simple. If everyone involved understands how RBDs work they are likely to succeed. The leaflet How to lay out, maintain and record a Randomized Block Trial sets the principles out in simple language that everyone can follow.
Similarly the leaflet Basic handling and preparation of data for analysis shows the importance of collecting data carefully and entering it into a computer for conversion into a form on which a basic statistical analysis can be performed.
These practical leaflets are the first two in a series being produced by the Pacific Regional Agricultural Programme.
Pacific Regional Agricultural Programme,
GPO Box 12621, Suva,
Fair deal chocolate
Maya Gold chocolate, named after the Belize Indian farmers who harvest it, is being sold at some retail outlets in the UK. It is a product which carries the Fairtrade Mark, signifying approval by Oxfam, Christian Aid, Cafod and the World Development Movement.
Farmers in San Jose in Belize were forced to abandon their trees when the price of cocoa plunged by more than 50% to 22p a pound. However, a deal with a chocolate manufacturer in the UK, who has been approved by the Fairtrade Foundation, has enabled the farmers to be paid 48p a pound and given a three-year guarantee to buy all the cocoa they can produce. The aim of the Fairtrade Foundation is to help low-paid workers and producers in the Third World by encouraging and stimulating industries and consumers in developed countries to support 'fairly traded' products. This helps to ensure that producers receive a reasonable price and guaranteed contracts. Workers' rights health and safety are also safeguarded: protected for example, by prohibiting the use of hazardous pesticides. The Fairtrade Mark is only granted to manufacturers who meet the stringent criteria laid down by the Fairtrade Foundation.
The Fairtrade foundation
105 Euston Street
London NW1 2ED, UK
Courses and conferences
AGRICULTURAL PROTECT ANALYSIS AND MANAGEMENT
7 November-9 December 1994
This course aims to develop expertise which will enable
participants to design and prepare project proposals. It reflects currently
accepted approaches to project design and formulation highlighting the areas
where good planning can help alleviate many of the problems often experienced
during project implementation as consequences of poor appraisal.
Director, Mananga Management Centre
PO Box 20, Mhlume, SWAZILAND
BIOLOGICAL CONTROL OF CASSAVA GREEN MITE 10-21 October,
The course focuses on strengthening the specific knowledge and skill of the participants on acarology in general and the biological control of cassava green mite in both theoretical and practical aspects.
PLANT BIOTECHNOLOGY FOR TECHNICIANS 17-28 October, 1994
The course aims to train technicians in plant tissue culture techniques and plant biotechnology, with particular reference to their application to plant micropropagation, crop breeding and Improvement.
POST-HARVEST TECHNOLOGY FOR RESEARCHERS 31 October-25 November,
The course covers the general principles of post-harvest technology including chemistry, biochemistry, and microbiology of food deterioration, biology and control of storage pests, drying methods, and storage and processing of selected food crops.
Information on above three courses from:
The Coordinator, Group Training, IITA
PMB 5320, Oyo Road, Ibadan, NIGERIA
INTERNATIONAL COURSE ON COMPUTER APPLICATIONS IN
13 March-7 April, 1995
The course will concentrate on the use of computer programmes for the management of irrigation systems and comprises three types of components: introductory issues; programme packages; and spreadsheet applications. The first part of the course will be held at the Institute of Irrigation Studies, UK, and the second at the International Institute for Land Reclamation and Improvement in Wageningen, the Netherlands.
The Short Course Administrator
Institute of Irrigation Studies
The University, Southampton SO9 5NH
INTERNATIONAL COURSE ON INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT
19 March-1 July, 1995
This course aims at increasing the knowledge, understanding and skills of those engaged in applied research, training and extension on plant protection matters.
International Agricultural Centre
PO Box 88
6700 AB Wageningen
MANAGING RURAL DEVELOPMENT:
INFORMATION SYSTEMS MONITORING AND EVALUATION
The course is designed to brief civil servants in project planning and management; parastatal agency staff; private sector executives, consultants; and non-governmental organization managers working in rural development, agriculture, forestry, fisheries, livestock and related areas where management information systems are in need of upgrading.
Short Courses Office
Dept. of Agriculture Economics
Wye College, Ashford
Kent TN25 5AH, UK