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close this bookCERES No. 135 (FAO Ceres, 1992, 50 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
close this folderCerescope
View the documentJames Bay: is this deluge necessary?
View the documentGunning for belter cassava
View the documentQuagga quarrel: an ersatz equine, or foal of a truly different stripe?
View the documentLeucaena seed extract could cut paper-making costs
View the documentA management plan for the Bohemian forest
View the documentIn brief
View the documentFAO in action
close this folderCentrepiece
View the documentThe ecology of the machine
View the documentAlive and pulling
View the documentTime to light some candles
View the documentMaximizing muscle power
close this folderFeaturing
View the documentFire in the mother lung: Indonesia's forests plan is imperfect, but at least it's a plan
View the documentTroubles of transmigration
View the documentTreating toxic ground
View the documentUnexpected harvest
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View the documentProtecting bees from pesticides
View the documentDollars and good sense: costing the environment

FAO in action


Food, Nutrition and Agriculture is the title of a new review to be published by FAO every four months. Devoted to food policy, nutrition and strategies to reduce malnutrition prevailing in rural and urban areas, the review replaces Food and Nutrition, suspended in 1988 as a result of the budget cuts. Titles in the first issue include an article by Dr Gerd Junne, professor at the University of Amsterdam, on the impact of biotechnology on nutrition in developing countries, and a study by Serge Treche, researcher at the ORSTOM Centre, and Joachim Massamba, head of the Biology Department of the Faculty of Science in Brazzaville, on the future of cassava as a staple food in the Congo. Articles in the review are published in the writer's native tongue - English, French or Spanish - with a summary translated in the other two languages on either side of the two central columns of each page. For further information, write to: Janice Lee Albert, FAO, ESN, Room C-208, Via delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy.


The Field Programme Development Division (DDF) of FAO is publishing a newsletter on technical development programs among developing countries. Detailed in its latest issue are various initiatives undertaken by FAO in Asia to promote technical cooperation among developing countries, including an inventory of the capacities and needs of several countries of the region in the food and agriculture sectors. Available in English only, the TCDC Newsletter can be obtained by writing to: M. Ramadhar, Chief, TCDC, DDF, Room D-732, FAO, Via delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy.


The FAO has recognized two American scientists, Dr Edward F. Knipling and Dr Raymond C. Bushland, for their development of the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT). The technique was used recently to rapidly eradicate (December 1990 - October 1991) the screw worm in Libya, thus preventing the larvae of the fly from spreading throughout the African continent. Special science awards were presented to the two scientists during a ceremony at FAO headquarters in Rome by the Organization's Director-General. The latest newsletter from SECNA, FAO's special centre for the eradication of the screw worm, underlines that there is no longer any danger of seeing this plague re-appear in North Africa. During the campaign, the charter company German Cargo flew 1.3 billion sterile pupae from Tuxtla (Mexico) to Tripoli (Libya). More than US$30 million from donors assured the success of the eradication program, led by the FAO. In addition to this amount, Libya contributed US$26 million in cash and kind.


To help its Member States develop agricultural credit, the FAO offers rural banks the FAO Microbanking System, a software program that can be used on microcomputer and which facilitates the administration, use and management of savings, loans and time deposits. About 100 rural financial institutions in the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Thailand have already been equipped with this system, which will also be offered to African countries. According to the banks, the MicroBanker system increases profits, reduces costs and increases income thanks to the more efficient recovery of loans. For the client, it represents a decisive improvement in services, and above all the possibility of obtaining direct over-the-counter information on the balance of accounts. In Sri Lanka the MicroBanker system has reduced waiting time at the counter to 10 or 15 minutes, compared to over an hour previously when making a withdrawal. For further information, write to: MicroBanker, AGSM, FAO, Via delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy. Fax: (396)57973152.


An FAO/UNDP project for integrated pest control over a period of four years and costing US$3.3 million was launched in early 1990 in Burma (Myanmar). Project MYA/88/008 is focused on biological control, with the objective of reducing losses caused by insects in selected food crops and cotton, while strengthening quality control of imported or locally-produced pesticides. Analyses carried out within the framework of the project also make it possible to identify pesticide residues in agricultural products intended for both local consumption and export. Control methods introduced by the project reduce losses to crops caused by pests. These methods give priority to techniques that have the least possible effect on the balance between the pests and their natural enemies. This does not exclude the rational and extremely cautious use of chemical pesticides. Experts indicate that they have tested the virulence of local strains of Metharizium anisopliae, an insect-killing fungus. Two isolates from this parasite have yielded promising results in laboratory tests and are shortly to be tested in the open field. The insect most harmful to potato crops is a type of beetle belonging to a small plant-eating group. Peasants generally control them by the often inappropriate use of insecticide sprays. However, a local parasite of this pest is very active, but only at the end of the season. This parasite has been raised with success in the laboratory and its effectiveness is being evaluated. The sequence and importance of insect pests of cabbage have also been studied. In nurseries, the use of protective nets reduces damage by 50 per cent. In the field a two-stage warning system has been developed: inspectors from the National Plant Protection Service are observing the evolution of damage in sample fields and warn farmers as soon as a critical threshold has been reached. The farmers then decide to spray their fields, either according to the importance of the attack that they can observe directly by inspecting the crops, or by relying exclusively on the warning announced by the inspectors.


Uganda has managed to increase its milk production sevenfold over the last five years thanks to an FAO/UNDP project costing US$8.2 million, of which US$3.2 million are contributions in kind from the Uganda government. Thanks to this project (UGU/84/023), which is to end at the end of 1992, Uganda has made a good start on the road to self-sufficiency in this sector: it has set up a network of 720 dairy farms and several hundred farmers have been provided with ad hoc training and the necessary equipment. In Uganda, about 30 per cent of the agricultural sector's contribution to GDP (55 per cent) is derived from livestock. Milk is an important source of protein. Prior to 1973, the dairy industry was well-developed and largely met the local demand for milk.


To help Kenya carry out an inventory of its forests and establish a management planning project, the FAO has launched a 30-month, US$ I .4 million project (KEN/86/052), jointly funded by UNDP and the New Zealand government. A computerized database has been created to produce management plans, which include in particular projections on the rational use of forest resources. State-owned forest resources total around 160 000 hectares, the majority of which are sited in the highlands at an altitude of over 2 000 metres. The principal plantation species are Cupressus lusitanica, Pinus patula, Eucalyptus saligna and Pinus radiata.