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close this bookSPORE Bulletin of the CTA No. 55 (CTA Spore, 1995, 16 p.)
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Bi-monthly bulletin of the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation


SPORE, bi-monthly bulletin of scientific and technical information concerning rural and agricultural development, is published in English and French for nationals of ACP countries.

Technical Centre for Agricultural and
Rural Cooperation (ClA)
ACP-EEC Lomonvention
Postbus 380
6700 AJ Wageningen, The Netherlands
Tel: (31) 8380-60400
Telex: (044) 30169 - fax (31)


· CTA (Technical Division) address as above
· Media Projects Fressingfield, Eye, Suffolk IP21 5SA UK - fax 44 (37986) 755
· Agence Penscoop Multima Parc Scientifique Agropolis 34397 Montpellier Cedex 5 - France Fax

Layout: Agence Periscoop Multima
Printer: Les Impressions JC - Pans
ISSN 1011-0054

Curds, and why

How can milk be conserved in regions where temperatures are often high and where producers are widely dispersed? One answer can be to process the milk into cheese. Cheese not only keeps better than fresh milk but it also provides an alternative income for producers as well as adding an interesting food to the everyday diet. Even though the number of milk products in Africa remains very limited, small dairies which add value to the milk produced are now being set up.

Many people in Africa, particularly those living near towns and in areas where livestock farming is practised, drink milk, be it from cows, sheep, goats or camels. However the potential of this nutritious food is not always exploited fully. At the beginning of the rainy season, itinerant herders dispose of the surplus milk that they cannot sell because their new pastures are often remote from areas of habitation and roads are barely passable. As a result a useful source of food is lost to consumers and revenue is lost to producers.

Among pastoralist societies in Africa there has long been a tradition of fermenting milk and, more rarely, of making cheese. But modernization of the processes has been slow, they remain small-scale, artisanal and are most often carried out at family level. Many recipes are handed down from generation to generation and since they are not widely known they have not been studied with a view to improving the quality of the product.

A choice of cheeses

The cheeses that are made in Africa are mostly of the soft cheese variety and are very simple to make. "Fermentation is the most commonly used form of processing and fermented milk is often preferred to fresh milk since it keeps better, is easier to digest and it is also supposed to have a therapeutic value," explain those responsible for dairy activities at the Groupe de recherche et d'anges technologiques (GRET). These cheeses are not left to mature but are simply allowed to drain once the milk has curdled. As a result, they will not keep very long and have to be consumed fast.

In the more arid regions of the Sahel, the Touareg and the Moors make a very hard cheese which can be kept for several months. Takammart, tikomart and tchoukou are cheeses made with cow's milk, goat's milk or a combination of the two. A piece of dried goat's stomach provides the rennet to curdle the milk, which is contained in a large wooden bowl. The curdled milk is drawn out with a big ladle and put on a mat to drain. The cheeses are shaped by hand before being placed on stems of wild fennel for flavouring. They are so dehydrated that they cannot be chewed. A pestle and mortar are used to break off a piece for eating which is then soaked in tea or mixed into millet porridge.

In Sudan, Benin and Niger, pastoralists make a highly appreciated white cheese from cow's milk called Wara, Woagachi or Waranski. The milk is heated in large pots and the juice of Calotropis procera or from pawpaw leaves which contain a milk curdling factor is added. After the curdled milk has been heated for ten or twenty minutes, it is allowed to drain and is then kneaded. The cheeses are then ready to eat. But if they are to be sold at a market some distance away, they are usually cooked in salty water. The cheeses are soft to begin with but gradually become harder as they are left to dry out on the house roof for several days. The Beninois colour their cheeses with a heated solution of leaves and stalks of red sorghum whereas in Sudan, Wara is sold as a white cheese. 1993 production in Benin was estimated to be 2,000 to 2,500 tonnes. The cheese is usually washed and boiled before being eaten and small pieces are fried in oil or incorporated into sauces or in different dishes.

In the Central African Republic, the Peuls make a cheddar type of cheese. As soon as the animals have been milked, the milk is filtered through a cloth, then heated for half an hour before being put with rennet into a large gourd to curdle. The fresh cheese has salt added before it is shaped and put on a large stone overnight. After a period of drying the cheese can easily be stored for several weeks.

Carry on cheese-making

Even though there are a number of different types of cheeses made in various parts of Africa, Memina Sanogo of GRET, who has written a book about the subject, confirms that cheese making is under-developed in Africa. There are a number of reasons for this. With the exception of pastoralist communities, Africans consume very little milk or milk products and there are few commercial outlets. High temperatures mean that it is difficult to conserve or make cheeses and cold chains are rare.

However, in many countries, efforts are being made to encourage those who would otherwise discard milk, to turn it into cheese. FAO has introduced a portable cheese making kit which has been distributed to tchoukou producers in Niger. The kit is sufficient for producing about ten cheeses a day and all the equipment necessary is contained in a jute sack (strainer, churn, pipettes, etc). According to J.C. Lambert of FAO, who is responsible for distribution, these kits improve the hygiene quality of the cheeses since they avoid the need for direct handling and provide protection from dust, flies and other physical impurities. They also improve the commercial quality of the cheeses which can be produced to a uniform weight and a consistent, more pleasing shape that also makes handling and transport easier. More than 400 producers have formed an association in order to take advantage of the new technology. Now, instead of standing by the side of the Tahoua-Agadez road to sell a cheese which has taken 1.5 litres of milk to make and for which they get only 100F CFA, Niger producers can avoid the uncertainty and risk of roadside selling, and sell direct from home, a cheese which takes only one litre of milk to make and yet fetches a higher price, often more than 125F CFA.

This technology has also been shown to have positive economic and social advantages since the output of cheese is higher and yet the work involved is easier. Not only do tchoukou and other cheese varieties keep longer than milk, they help to smooth out seasonal irregularities in milk production by absorbing the surplus. Cheese producers, like those making tchoukou, can both increase and regulate their income since, on average, a litre of milk made into cheese doubles its value. Furthermore there is a strong and growing market for cheese and yogurt among urban populations and in recent years people have started to raise livestock semi-intensively on the outskirts of towns in order to supply milk for this market.

The Mauritanian experience

It is not easy to produce cheese and, as Memina Sanogo explains, in developed countries milk production and processing have become very sophisticated. However neither the technology nor the end-products transfer well to developing countries. The constraints of cost, lack of commercial opportunities and lack of expertise in production management all argue in favour of a more modest intervention at an artisanal level using simple technology.

Setting up cheese production units helps to stimulate the development of the dairy industry generally and improves local milk production because it gives farmers a guaranteed outlet for their milk. And yet because the basic cheese making equipment is unavailable in many countries, there is very little cheese made even in modest dairies constructed from local materials. However, in Mauritania there have been some attempts to develop the processing of, mainly, camel milk. At a seminar on Camels and Dromedaries as milk producing animals held in Nouakchott in October '94 and organized by UCEC (see box), the President of the Mauritania Dairy, Nancy Abeiderrahmane, related the Dairy's experiences which illustrates well the hopes and the difficulties experienced by those who attempt to develop the dairy industry in Africa.

The Mauritania dairy began operating in April 1989 with a capacity of 600 litres per hour. By 1994 the unit employed 26 people and treated 3,100 litres of camel and cow's milk per day. The original idea was simple. In the hinterland there was a large reservoir of unused milk and yet in the capital city there was a huge market of consumers who had no access to either fresh or processed milk. Camel's milk was chosen for the pragmatic reason that it was the only fresh milk available in and around Nouakchott. Initially, and before an independent supply of milk could be set up, the dairy opted to buy milk from semi-traditional producers close by. There was no attempt to introduce any modifications to the way these producers operated. This respected the biodiversity of the local animals and, as Nancy Abeiderrahmane explained, it was considered better to encourage improvements rather than to impose them.

The dairy organized milk collection using its own vehicles and milk churns. In order to avoid the unhealthy conditions in town the livestock farmers moved away, sometimes as far as 100km. The dairy staff sometimes had to wait until midnight and beyond, especially in the rainy season, for the milk to arrive because of poor organization by the producers themselves who operated at the whim of their animals. Collecting milk during the rainy season is always problematic because of the daily search for the herders who move on with their animals while some give up altogether preferring to travel much further away. Camels do not produce very much milk in such arid environments because there is little natural forage and there is no local source of forage other than the byproducts of rice. Everything else is imported and a camel has to be fed 10 kg of food per day to produce a marketable quantity of 3 to 4 litres of milk. The dairy provides its staff with protective clothing which is laundered daily and requires that everyone wears a turban that acts as a mask to cover all of the head except the eyes.

The dairy has to find a way of disposing of surplus milk because, in order to secure the loyalty of the producers, it has to buy their full output throughout the year. The only camel's milk product that has been developed by the dairy is fermented milk, which is commonly drunk in the area, but it has proved difficult to sell. It can only be produced at times when there is surplus milk and this coincides with low demand for milk products. Furthermore, the production costs of fermented milk are higher than those for fresh milk although traditionally it is sold more cheaply. Now that an enzyme has been discovered which can be used to turn camel's milk into cheese, the Mauritania dairy plans to set up cheese production. Unfortunately the Mauritanians are not used to eating cheese and it seems likely that it will have to be exported.

Among the many other countries in Africa where there are dairies (Burundi, Central African Republic, Kenya, Mali, Southern Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zaire, Zambia and Zimbabwe) there are many differences in processing technology due to environmental factors. Most of the processing units encounter the same problems not least of which is ensuring a regular supply of milk. To begin with the units can use powdered milk to supplement local fresh milk in order to guarantee supply. Powdered milk makes a good cheese and also creates an interest among livestock farmers who want to sell some of their milk. By helping such farmers improve the feeding and hygiene of their animals, it should gradually be possible to obtain a constant supply of locally produced fresh milk.

For further reading:

Milk and dairy products: production and processing costs, FAO animal production and health paper 62
The technology of traditional milk products in developing countries, FAO animal production and health paper 85, 1990, MO, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, Rome, ITALY
Traditional cheesemaking manual by Charles O'Connor ILRI, PO Box 5689, Addis Ababa, ETHIOPIA.


Demand for milk products in Africa is rising faster than supply. In fact production of milk and milk products is almost stagnant and increased demand has been met by steadily rising imports. Yet milk is produced in abundance in sub-Saharan Africa at certain times of the year and failure to make optimum use of this production is a very great loss in nutritional and economic terms, both to rural families and nationally. The objective of the Dairy Technology Unit of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) based at Debra Zeit, Ethiopia is, says DTU Head Dr Charles O'Connor, to improve the nutritional and economic status of the African smallholder, his family and the community at large.

"The valuable nutrients in milk must be preserved in a form that makes them available at periods of low milk availability," says Dr O'Connor, and he explains that the main activity of the DTU is to research appropriate products and processes. "We look at the process by which smallholders produce existing products and we try to improve the quality of the product and the efficiency of production," he says. The philosophy is to help farmers initially to improve on their current practice, not to introduce new concepts or technology. "We try to show farmers how, by making really quite small changes or modifications to his or her tractional way of doing things, they can achieve meaningful improvements in the quality, quantity and consistency of their products," he adds. "Later, when these improvements have been implemented and the market expands we can then introduce new products."

ILRl's Dairy Technology Unit concentrates on processes for making butter, ghee (clarified butter), yoghurt and soft and hard cheeses. Locally, farmers have used spices in an attempt to extend the shelf-life of butter and Dr O'Connor believes upto 20 spices may be used for this purpose. Most are known at present only by their local names but ginger is one of those commonly used. Unfortunately, it has yet to be proved that the addition of spices materially extends storage life, but it certainly adds variety. The safest way of storing butter is to convert it to ghee.

Cheeses, particularly hard cheeses, have a longer shelf life and the DTU has many years of experience of processing milk into a variety of cheeses using processes appropriate to small-scale producers in East Africa.


Ayib is a soft curd cheese made in many parts of Ethiopia. It can be prepared either from skimmed milk (after removal of fat) or from the buttermilk produced by churning sour whole milk. In Kenya and Tanzania many smallholders produce a soft 'Pasta filata' type cheese called Scamorza. It is similar to Italian Mozarella. Scamorza is made from whole milk or milk from which some of the fat has been removed. Thus both cheeses can be made from milk which is also used as a source of fat to make butter.

The processes for making these two cheeses differ. Whereas Ayib is made by heating the buttermilk or skimmed milk to about 50'C until a distinct curd mass forms, milk for Scamorza is heated to only 36 C and a yoghurt-type culture must then be added. Heating should be gradual in both processes. With Ayib, heating up to 65 C will result in a cheese with a longer shelf-life, but too high temperatures during cheesemaking can result in cheeses having a 'cooked' flavour.

While a thermometer is a useful aid to consistent cheesemaking, many experienced smallholders hay" learned to judge temperatures remarkably accurately. They have also learned that personal cleanliness and clean milk and utensils are essential to avoid bacterial contamination which introduces 'off' flavours and reduces the shelf-life of cheeses.

The methods for making Ayib and Scamorza, as well as of her cheese types, are described in the Traditional cheesemaking manual by Charles O'Connor and published by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. There is also advice on converting some soft cheeses into harder cheeses; while this reduces the yield of cheese, it can considerably extend shelf-life.

To convey this technology to smallholders the DTU conducts demonstrations and training courses but Dr O'Connor is sensitive to existing farmer knowledge. "Smallholders are usually clever people and know their business very well," he says. "So we do not dictate what products or processes they should use. The farmers and trainees from the national agricultural research systems who attend our training take back our ideas for modified processes and in their own time they apply those improvements or new technologies that they find most appropriate."

There is no question that dairy processing has enormous potential for forming the basis of small agro-industries in rural and peri-urban areas in Africa. With encouragement African dairy producers and processors could contribute substantially to local economies and reduce the current level of imports and the outflow of foreign exchange.


The taxation system does not always provide sufficient incentive for local production. In Mauritania, for example, the dairy which makes cheese from camel's milk complains that the packaging that Europe insists is used for wrapping local cheeses which has to be imported, is taxed at 32% whereas imported milk products are taxed at only 10%.

In the Central African Republic, a local cheesemaking dairy has been set up among the herders of Foulbnd M'bororo. 3,000 litres of milk are collected every day at 14 collection points and the herders themselves deliver a further 1,000 litres. A full milk cheese, an enriched milk cheese and a cheese of the Camembert type are produced. Despite a strong demand for dairy products, these cheeses are not easy to sell: their quality is not always perfect and they cannot compete with the standardized imported product which sells without difficulty. In order to remedy the situation, the government has imposed a regulation that requires traders to buy local and imported products at the same rate.

Biogas ignites interest in southern Mali

For six years La Compagnie Malienne de Dloppement des Textiles (the textile development company of Mali) popularized the use of biogas in southern Mali. The installations were designed along the lines of a Chinese model and more than 60 are still functioning today. The success of the community level biogas enterprises depends on local organizing ability but further research is needed before domestic systems are introduced.

In southern Mali, as in many other places in Africa, traders plunder wood from the villages to satisfy the demand from town. Many organizations are therefore working at community level to find alternative sources of fuel in order to reduce the destruction of rural tree cover. The Training Unit of the Department of Rural Development of the CMDT (Le Service Formation du Drtement du Dloppement rural de la CMDT) has, since the beginning of the '80s, been trying to establish biogas production. An ideal opportunity presented itself when a new Technical Workshop was built at Sirak (Atelier Technologique, SirakATS) a few kilometres from Koutiala. A Chinese engineer who had experience of biogas installations in the hotter regions of China was called in to provide technical assistance. He set up a system which consisted of a concrete reservoir, or digester, of 6 cubic metres capacity for holding cattle dung and water.

It was decided that the biogas digester should initially be promoted at community level, for example as a means of lighting the maternity clinic, the school room and, possibly, the mosque. The introduction of domestic biogas installations was to wait for phase two of the project. From 1984 the CMDT began its experimental phase with 64 installations in the Koutiala region.

The ATS required the villages concerned to meet certain criteria so as to guarantee the effective management of the biogas plant. They had to propose two literate people who could be taught about biogas; they had to supply labour and materials for construction, and they had to guarantee to appoint a biogas supervisor who could be trained to supervise the construction of other installations. The CMDT, which gives credit for some of the construction materials, required that the villagers organize themselves into a community association (Association Villageoise) and thereby benefit from having a more structured management. Those responsible within the villages for the biogas are able to call on the assistance of the ATS during the first years of operation, particularly over problems that may arise over the management of biogas production.

A warm welcome in the villages

The people of the region were not familiar with this type of technology and so to gather their reactions the Training Unit of the CMDT set up a project with the support of the Association of Netherlands Development Assistance (SNV) to evaluate its impact. The project looked at a number of new technologies including biogas as well as improved beehives, millet mills and threshing machines and improved ploughs.

For biogas, as for the other new technologies, word of mouth proved to be an excellent means of spreading the word. People were curious to know how cow-dung could be used to produce energy. When the inhabitants of a village which already enjoyed the advantages of a biogas digester talked about their experiences at the market, their neighbours hurried to see for themselves. The blacksmith at Nankorola asked CMDT to install a digester because he had seen one at his community association. Information spread rapidly and effectively as a result of visits between villages.

Lighting is always given as the principal benefit of biogas. People know that they can also heat water and prepare meals with biogas but they rarely use if for those purposes and are even less likely to do so for running a fridge, a pump or a motor which require much more gas and also equipment which they cannot afford.

Community spirit

If a biogas installation is to function well it is important that the community association also works well. The need for light at the maternity clinic, or school room, must be recognized by the whole village. Where there is no sense of community cohesion within a village or there are other social or personality problems it is very difficult to encourage people to keep the biogas digester running. At N'Tosso, for example, the maternity clinic is closed and the biogas installation is not working. The villagers do not feel sufficiently motivated to feed the apparatus with manure. At Kian they have the same problem because the biogas specialist has not been paid.

Despite these difficulties it is clear that biogas is well adapted to the rural conditions in the region and people recognize that they can save on paraffin fuel for their lamps. However destabilised prices following devaluation of the CFA franc mean that it is impossible to estimate the direct profitability or savings of a biogas installation and more research is considered necessary before introducing biogas technology for domestic use. Although biogas energy helps to protect the environment, the implications of this are not yet fully understood by the rural people.

Pests and diseases: not just a national concern!

Just as nature abhors a vacuum so pests and diseases, if left unchecked, will spread actively and passively throughout any suitable ecosystems available to them, regardless of national boundaries. The well-being of large human populations is then put at risk. The containment of noxious organisms is therefore an international imperative, but this must be achieved with minimum hindrance to trade and to agricultural diversification and development.

Plague-type pests such as the desert locust (Schistocerca gregaria) can occur in swarms of up to 40,000 million individuals together weighing 80,000 tons and devouring their own weight of green vegetation daily. They regularly invade 11 million square miles of land in some 66 countries occupied by 20% of the world's population and, for them, international strategic control is the only answer. The end of the last 25 year plague in 1963 was hastened, if not occasioned, by such control based on sound up-to-date field intelligence on the breeding, concentration and movement of the pest, and accurate predictions of its spread derived from meteorological information. Likewise with the African arymworm (Spodoptera exempta), accurate forecasting of concentrations and their early control has prevented the spread of epidemics from their country of origin to susceptible neighbouring territories. Effective intelligence, early warning and information exchange systems are similarly the foundations of successful containment of contagious livestock diseases such as rinderpest, which in the past has killed-off most domestic ruminants and pigs in Africa from Eritrea to the Cape of Good Hope.

It is the lack of such shared intelligence and early-warning systems (i.e. the lack of notification of pest and disease incidence and international information exchange systems) that has contributed to many of the exotic-pest calamities of the past. And it is the continuing inward-looking and parochial approach of many individual countries, based on national rather than international perspectives, that is the weak link in the global movement for the safe transfer and exchange of plant and animal material.

Had Tanzania, Ghana, Togo and other importing countries been advised in advance of the threat of the larger grain borer (LOB) (Prostephanus truncatus) in maize shipments from the Americas the introduction of this pest which at one time was estimated to have cost Tanzania some $87 million per annum, could have been prevented. Would the cassava mealy bug (Phenococcus manihoti) have spread so widely throughout Africa if its introduction had been promptly reported by the country concerned? And would its successful control by Apoanagyrus lopezi been achieved without pest-intelligence and collaboration of international dimensions? The American screw worm (Cochliomyia hominivorax) would have spread and devastated domestic stock throughout Africa, had not its arrival in Libya been promptly notified and an internationally-supported eradication campaign instantly initiated.

Effective quarantine, in the form of prohibition of movement of noxious organisms within and between countries, is vital in the world-wide aspiration of facilitating the safe movement of plant and animal material The few examples given above illustrate both failures and successes of quarantine containment and exclusion exercises. The lesson emerging from them is the need for a truly international approach based on prompt sharing of pest and disease intelligence, concerted international action, and harmonization of legislation together with its enforcement, through the adoption of inspection and treatment techniques and certification procedures and standards.

With the onus for phytosanitary standards shifting world-wide from the importing to the exporting countries, the need for harmonization and transparency is urgent. The mechanism to achieve this exists in the form of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) under FAO to which all countries must, for their own benefit, be signatories and adherents (See box). Its aim is to make quarantine effective without being an impediment to trade and development - an aspiration which surely is shared and welcomed by all.

The world is shrinking, and the diversification of trade and the expansion of trading links has brought an international dimension to the meaning of "neighbouring countries". To continue to "love thy neighbour" when that neighbour, through neglect, is the cause of economically crippling pest and disease situations in one's homeland, demands exceptional compassion - a compassion easily clouded by calls for compensation!

The International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC)

The IPPC, which was first approved by the sixth FAO Conference in 1951, came into force in 1952 and has been revised periodically to keep abreast with world needs. Its aim is to secure common and effective action to prevent the spread of plant pests across borders and to permit measures for their control. It provides for the establishment of national plant protection services and the issuance of phytosanitary certificates. IPPC also sets requirements for imports and international cooperation and provides a system for settlement of disputes. Under the IPPC governments agree to cooperate in establishing Regional Plant Protection Organizations (RRPOs), to function as coordinating bodies for the conformation of legislation and its enforcement, inspection and treatment techniques and standards and certification. RPPOs exist in Asia; Africa; North, Central and South America; the Caribbean; Europe and the South Pacific. Some 100 countries are signatories to the IPPC leaving some 60 or more yet to sign the Convention.

The IPPC has been given additional technical responsibility for developing recommendations, guidelines and standards for the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), the members of which recognize that unjustified quarantine restrictions could be used as non-tariff barriers to trade. IPPC's response has been to seek agreement of the principles of quarantine and pest risk analysis, together with other aspects listed above. 'Transparency' ensuring that import restrictions are clearly 'visible' to trading partners and that the mechanism for determining restrictions is Pest Risk Analysis · is a major concern. Countries which ratify the Convention and accept its guidelines, recommendations and standards are not challengeable under the rules of GATT.

Action, not words!

There have been too many false-starts and failures in Africa and, as a result, many of our people suffer from a poor self image. This is no basis for development. But there is another Africa, not yet known to the mass-media and the world at large, which recognizes that Africa can survive if Africans draw on their own traditions, energy and creativity to become self-sufficient.

Looking at Africa today, the continent's major problems are lack of food, poor transport and unemployment. In major cities like Lagos, Abidjan, Nairobi and Harare, food prices are going up largely because of the cost of transporting food from rural areas. At the same time there are more mouths to feed, more hands without work and more people without income. The Songhai Environmental Rehabilitation Centre has been developed as model farm and training ground to help young Africans to meet these challenges. Our main objectives are to develop low input and therefore low cost, food production systems at the places where the food is most needed - in the cities and in those rural areas where food production is failing. Simultaneously this will provide employment for the many who need a source of food, if not income as well.

The Songhai Project is both a centre of what we might call "barefoot" research and is a centre of production. The farms and gardens have to be self-supporting economically in order to survive and we believe that it is essential that we train young people within this atmosphere of economic viability for their own future benefit. Our production system integrates crop, livestock and fish production: waste water from the fish ponds irrigates our cassava, corn, vegetables and fruit, while small fish provide protein supplements for our animals; animal manure, crop wastes and water plants generate biogas that serves as the project's primary energy source; and the fish, fruit vegetables and other crops, together with our poultry, rabbits, sheep and goats, help feed the staff and the trainees. We have also responded to the needs of those without any land who wish to produce some of their food by incorporating techniques of growing plants in containers such as old tyres and boxes filled with soil and even on hollow blocks set in walls. In many towns and cities too there is vacant waste land, which urban authorities could make available to local residents, even on a temporary basis, to grow food.

To-date, about one hundred young people from several countries have graduated from a rigorous two-year training programme in which they have learned about complementary farming techniques, making their own tools and managing their farm business financially. Many more people have attended shorter training courses and most have returned to their homes in town and countryside to put their learning into practice and, hopefully, to pass on their learning and enthusiasm to others. They form a network of Songhai graduates with whom we keep in touch, give advice and respond to their feedback.

The overall aim of our work is to lower the cost of production, enhance sustainability and discover or develop new and more appropriate low-cost inputs. Some of the activities include composting, biosolar drying, pharmacopoaeia, earthworm production, local chicken production and insect larvae for fish production. Technologies that we have developed at Songhai, such as organic bacteria, have begun to be tested at nearby farms.

Our overall productivity, which now incorporates three separate centres, has increased by 10% in the past three years. In addition to this, Benin's Agriculture Departments have created 15 centres modelled after Songhai, and nascent projects have been launched in Nigeria, Ghana and Togo.

Part of our success at Songhai has been achieved because we have been willing to learn from our mistakes; we are not afraid of admitting our mistakes and pulling back. Songhai is not so much a "how to do it" institution as a "how to be" organization. We don't write a lot of books or articles, because so many of the masses we hope to reach are illiterate and anyway they often live out of reach of publications. Instead, we try to ensure that the things we do speak for themselves: everyone can "read", whether they see a demonstration at Songhai's three main sites or on a neighbours land, they see concrete results and they can say "Yes, this is possible. Let's do it!"

The benefit of the Songhai Centre's philosophy and practice is that it goes beyond even providing food self-sufficiency and employment: it encourages community action. This kind of production can be a lot of fun; people learn from it, they can collaborate and work with their neighbours to share ideas, exchange seeds, plants and produce and safeguard each others garden plants. Finally, it helps to feed people and make money because even if production is not sold, the money saved on not buying food is money earned.

Our philosophy at Songhai is to create solidarity and self-respect in our communities, as well as self-sufficiency. We can share so many things in life but something that cannot be shared is poverty.

Communication: challenge and change

The ability to acquire and use sophisticated audiovisual technology does not necessarily mean that we are communicating effectively. This ability tends to blind users to the continuing need for basic skills in communication. As some wit once wrote "I know that you believe that you understand what you think I said, BUT I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant!" This could almost have been an appropriate epitaph on the gravestone of so many failed development projects.

It was to discuss how to improve communication skills in general, and the use of audio visual media in particular, that an international conference of communication specialists was covered in Paris from 2427 October last year. The seminar was organized by CTA in collaboration with the Groupe de recherche et d'anges technologiques (GRET). The meeting brought together audio-visual producers and users, film makers, photographers, model makers and a cross-section of those involved in rural development, particularly in rural extension and information dissemination. The seminar, entitled Audiovisual communication in the rural development practices of ACP countries - past lessons, future directions, had lessons for more than just rural development. All ACP countries depend on the agricultural sector and it is now recognized that sustainable national development cannot occur without effective rural development.

In the past, most rural communication has been a 'top-down', teacher to pupil approach. If communicators are to get through the resistance to change evidenced by many rural people, the rural people must be treated as equal partners, not inferiors, in the communication process. Rural people have traditional knowledge which may need updating, but does not deserve to be ignored; they understand their own situation and they have their own priorities. They also have their pride and their dignity. Communicators would do well to adopt a more participative approach when dealing with rural people, starting with what Marc Levy of GRET called 'the basic skills of inter-personal communication'. And they should master these skills before they turn to the new and exciting tools that technology has provided.

Many delegates at the seminar were able to demonstrate to their fellow delegates how they were already putting this into practice. Mr Stanley Gacheru, the Head of Kenya's Agricultural Information Centre, explained how videos are used to show extension staff first the wrong and then the right way to organize and speak at farmers' meetings and how to hold demonstrations of new techniques. Afi Yakubu, of Ghana, spoke of her technique of blending the old with the new by involving people of northern Ghana in the planning and production of her films, and using their proverbs and songs as vehicles for their traditional knowledge. Using the medium of their own language to speak to young people in the Caribbean, video producer Christiana Abraham of Dominica demonstrated how pressing social problems could be tackled through the use of drama in 3-4 minute 'mini-soap' TV programmes.

Despite the amply demonstrated skills evidenced by the participants, as always the talk was of constraints to progress through lack of funding for appropriate inputs and understanding of requirements. The main problems are the cost of the equipment, its maintenance and the training needed to use equipment both correctly and creatively. But these requirements must be seen in the context of another important consideration: audio-visual products are of little value unless they are integral components of a comprehensive programme and strategy. No matter how good a "product" a video, for instance, may be it will only be utilized effectively if their is a context for its use and its distribution; otherwise the product will simply sit on the shelf.

No doubt funding and skills training can and will be made available, but even so these cannot provide successful communication without changes at government level and among extension staff themselves. As Jacques Sultan of FAO commented, "Tools are only as good as the skills of the people who use them". His remark was echoed in part by M. Philippe de Soussay of the French Ministry of Research who observed: "It is not the technology of audio-visual media that is important but the use to which that technology is put. If governments and decision-makers do not take these lessons to heart then the knowledge that is essential for rural and national development will continue to be largely wasted."

Agricultural and rural development

CTA collaborates with German development agencies in the dissemination of rural and agricultural information. A new journal has been added to the field of agricultural and rural development. This journal, which is published twice a year, is the result of partnership between CTA and three German development agencies: DLG, DSE and GTZ.

Agricultural and rural development is a technical journal of high quality, reporting on research findings and practical approaches for an integrated rural development system. The articles are of interest to development workers in ACP countries. but will also interest researchers, students and teachers as well as decision-makers both in ACP and EU countries. The journal also provides an opportunity to make good use of the experience and knowledge gained from Germany's bilateral development cooperation.

New titles in the Tropical Agriculturalist series

The Tropical Agriculturalist is a series of practical field guides published by CTA in association with Macmillan, Maisonneuve et Larose and ACCT. The books are intended to serve as guides by producers, farmers, farm managers and agricultural extension officers and as references for students, teachers and lecturers. Four new titles in the series have recently been published.

Sorghum examines the characteristics and cultivation of this important crop in a variety of different agricultural conditions and zones. Aspects covered include the crop's morphology, cultivation, the control of pests and diseases, optimum growing conditions, harvesting and economics. A considerable amount of tabulated data has been included and the text is well-illustrated throughout.

Warm-water crustaceans are increasingly important economically in many parts of the world. They are a valuable food commodity and many by-products can be gained through processing them. The guide covers the main species that can be farmed and includes aspects of production from pond preparation and management to harvesting and marketing. A number of recipes are also included in the comprehensive and easy-to-read text.

Animal breeding looks closely at the various techniques that can be used in breeding animals, such as selection, and cross-breeding. Examples of the various techniques are given and their advantages and disadvantages in tropical and sub-tropical environments are assessed with regard to improving the core traits of animals. The book also deals with basic genetics and examines factors such as the effect of climate on animals and the importance of preserving the genepool in native tropical beds.

Animal health Volume 2 is a valuable guide for anyone involved with maintaining and establishing the health of animals in tropical and subtropical countries. All the important diseases are covered, including infectious and contagious diseases, helminth infections, diseases transmitted by arthropods, and diseases and arthropods associated with environmental and husbandry factors. Each disease, its symptoms, causes and limiting factors, is presented in a clear style and provides worthwhile information for all those interested in obtaining a basic knowledge about specific animal diseases.

Sorghum by J Chantereau and R Nico 1994 98pp ISBN 0 333 54452 8
Warm-water crustaceans by J Arrignon, J Huner, P Laurent, J Griessinger, D Lacroix, P Gondouin and M Autrand 1994 160pp
ISBN 0 333 57462 1
Animal breeding by Gerald Weiner 1994 208pp ISBN 0 333 57298 X
Animal health (Volume 2 Specific diseases) by Archie Hunter 1994 214pp ISBN 0 333 57360 9 Available from CTA

Farmers planning processes

What does a farmer in the Mono region of Benin and a dairy farmer from the Netherlands have in common? On the face of it, very little except that the survival of the Beninois farmer and his family, and the survival of the Dutch dairy farmer's business, both depend on making the right decisions about whether or not to adopt or invest in a new method of cultivation or some technical innovation.

Two documentary films, the first called Who knows the land, which is about a Beninois farmer, and the second, A day in the country, about a dairy farmer from the Netherlands, open the debate about agricultural innovation in different and evolving knowledge systems. The two films have been combined in a multimedia pack aimed at ail, who are interested in rural development, particularly those from the South.

The material, which is outstandingly well conceived and presented, includes a work book which will help extentionists to lead discussion about the issues. A second instalment encourages more detailed consideration of innovative agricultural ideas.

The package is available in English and French. Governmental and non-governmental organizations and educationalists in developing countries may be entitled to receive a pack free of charge.

Improving animal traction technology

This book derives from the first ATNESA workshop held in Lusaka, Zambia. It contains some 85 edited papers prepared by 105 authors from 20 countries. The text is supported by more than 400 ill. ustrations, including 175 photographs.

Within the theme of Improving animal traction technology the papers focus on several important topics, including profitability; animal management; tillage and weeding; implement supply; gender issues; technology transfer; transport; and diversifying operations.

This book provides a wealth of ideas and experiences concerning animal traction in many countries and will be valuable to all people interested in this important field of agricultural development, especially those involved in training, extension, research, development, planning and infrastructural support.

Improving animal traction technology
proceedings of the first workshop of the Animal Traction Network for Eastern and Southern Africa (ATNESA) held 18-23 January, 1992, Lusaka, Zambia organized with financial support from CTA. The proceedings are edited by Paul Starkey, Emmanuel Mwenya and John Stares 1994 490pp ISBN 92 9081 127 7 published by IT Publications, 103-105 Southampton flow, London WC1B 4HH, UK and available from CTA.

Africa seen from the sky

Remote sensing has applications that could be useful for development and yet this latest technology seems to be beyond the reach of developing countries. A documentary film Africa seen from the sky looks at the opportunities and the constraints, and considers how developing countries can gain access to the latest technology for observing the Earth.

Produced by Masicence with support from CTA, the film complements the book Remote sensing of the Sahelian environment which was published in 1990 by CTA and CCH. Africa seen from the sky - scientific documentary by Olivier Retour and Henri de Latour, 26 minutes duration, Mascience international - avenue Pres Agneaux 83, 1160 Brussels, BELGIUM


Potatoes promote sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes, because they are labour intensive and difficult to process after harvesting, have declined in popularity. However, intercropping them with ordinary (Irish) potatoes helps to reduce labour costs.

Since the International Potato Centre (CIP) took over the responsibility for developing sweet potatoes within the CGIAR, there has been a concerted effort to encourage more farmers to grow the crop again. New varieties have been developed that yield more, have higher dry matter and store better.

The Southeast Asian Programme for Potato Research and Development (SAPPRAD) is involving farmers more closely in the selection of new varieties by getting new material onto farms within a year or two, instead of waiting five or six years before the varieties are proven. This closer involvement of farmers is also helping SAPPRAD to get new growing methods adopted.

One system involves intercropping potatoes with sweet potatoes. The potato crop is planted and ridged up; 30 days later sweet potatoes are planted in the furrows. The potatoes are harvested after about 70 days. This operation also ridges up the sweet potatoes. The sweet potato foliage is advantageous to the potatoes because it shades the soil, keeping it about 2°C cooler. The sweet potatoes also benefit from residual fertilizer.

SAPPRAD estimate the cost of growing sweet potatoes in this way is about one US cent per kilogram


African research centre to help beekeepers

Until now, African beekeeping has received very little help from researchers in Africa. That will change, as the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) in Kenya adds apiculture to its research agenda.

Dr Hans Herren, who was head of the Biological Control Programme of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture in Benin, has recently taken over as Director of ICIPE. He sees the Centre concentrating on pests that attack humans, like mosquitoes and sandflies, those that attack livestock like tsetse and ticks, and those that attack crops like locusts and grasshoppers. Research on the crop pests that are already covered by research institutes in the CGIAR system may be discontinued.

Dr Herren wants to help develop small-scale activities that will create more income for the smallholder: these will include beekeeping and sericulture. Research will begin on the best type of bees for honey production in Africa and on the diseases that infect them. Studies will be made of the most suitable trees and crops for honey production and on the post-harvest treatment of honey.

The Centre is also to look at sericulture as another income generating activity for farming families. However, indigenous silk moths are disappearing through habitat destruction and ways of reversing this trend have to be looked into. Dr Herren also wants to integrate sericulture (as well as beekeeping) into agroforestry farming systems.

Dr H Herrer
PO Box 30772

Useful publications

The Uganda journal of agricultural sciences was established by the National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO) to serve as an avenue to report research findings of scientists working in the various fields of agriculture. It publishes original research work in the fields of crop science and production; animal health; soil science; forestry; fisheries; agricultural economics and extension agricultural engineering, food science and technology; and environmental protection. The journal also publishes as 'short communications and research reports' original results that do not warrant publication as full papers. the journal is published twice a year.

Uganda journal of agricultural sciences, national Agricultural Research Organization, PO Box 295, Entebbe, UGANDA

Natural resource perspectives is a new series of individually authored papers drawing on the Overseas DeveIopment Institute's work on policy and organizational issues in natural resources management. Approximately five papers will be produced per year, on an occasional basis. The new series aims to illuminate areas of debate in natural resources management and make evidence an] arguments accessible in summary form to those concerned with the design and implementation of policy who would not normally have time to review long documents.

John Farrington, Editor, Natural resources perspectives, ODI, Regent's College, Inner Circle, Regent's Park, London NW1 4NS

Nitrogen fixation for cereals

Rhizobial bacteria living in nodules on the roots of leguminous plants such as peas and beans fix nitrogen from the air and make some of it available to the host plant. Plant breeders have long wanted to be able to transfer this trait to cereals, such as wheat and rice, but until recently, this remained only a remote possibility. However, the possibility may soon become a reality as researchers have brought together rhizobia and cereals that are compatible.

In 1991 British, Australian, Chinese and Mexican scientists formed the International Rice Nodulation Group which was funded by the Rockefeller Foundation and the UK's Overseas Development Administration (ODA). The task was to make rice behave like the legumes and 'fix' its own nitrogen. The group began by looking at all the strains of rhizobia world-wide.

The strain that caught their attention was the rhizobium associated with the tropical legumes of the genus Sesbania. These plants have nitrogen fixing nodules on their stems, as well as on their roots. The rhizobia enter Sesbania plants by what is termed 'crack entry'. When lateral roots emerge, the rhizobia gain access through the crack in the root skin and, because they are invasive and tolerant of oxygen, they can penetrate further into the root and become established. The root then thickens and turns into a nodule.

Research by Professor Ted Cocking at Nottingham University has shown that these rhizobia use 'crack entry' to invade the roots of rice, wheat, maize and oilseed rape and, once in, they form a symbiotic association. Tests in the laboratory have shown that the rhizobia will fix as much nitrogen in rice and wheat roots as they do in Sesbania.

The next test will be to see how this symbiotic association works under field conditions. The first field trials will be with wheat in Egypt at the beginning of 1995, followed by trials with rice in India and maize in Mexico.

The bonus is that there is no genetic engineering or new technology involved. All that will be required is for cereal seed to put with, or inoculated with, the appropriate rhizobia. Inoculation of legume seed with the right rhizobia is well known, so transferring it to cereals will not be difficult. It seems likely that the technology will be easily transferable to resource poor farmers.

Professor Ted Cocking Department of Life Science Nottingham University Nottingham NG7 2RD- UK

Soya protein enriched gari

Most rural areas in developing countries these days are subjected to increasing population densities. The extra food requirement strains still further the already depleted fertility of the soil. As incomes fall demand for cheap staples rises. More and more farmers are cultivating cassava in increasing quantities because it can grow even under harsh agronomic conditions. However, on its own cassava flour provides little or no protein; it needs to be enriched by the addition of some protein source.

In Cameroon, trials conducted at the Rural Training Centre, Mfonta, have succeeded in creating a recipe integrating soyabean-flour into gari and make-banana, whilst still maintaining the original taste.

To prepare the improved gari 10kg of grated cassava is mixed with 1 to 1.2ka of fine soyabean flour. First the soyaflour is mixed with 2,5 litres of water and a teaspoon of palm-oil, brought slowly to the boil and simmered for about 10 minutes (care should be taken to avoid burning). The thick mixture should then be covered and cooled to hand heat, after which the grated cassava can be added. Six tablespoons of palm oil can also be added to give it a good colour. This mixture should then be allowed to ferment for between 12-24 hours, after which it can be cooked according to choice. The enriched Mfonta-Gari contains 8-10% protein.

Hans Schar
Presby. Rural Training Centre Mfonta
PO Box 72
Bamenda - N W Province

New mite threatens beekeeping

A tiny mite, called Tropilaelaps, is threatening bee colonies on the island of Irian Jaya and in Papua New Guinea. The only way to rid the island of the pest is to eradicate all bee colonies. This drastic action is being recommended by entomologists from Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).

Tropilaelaps clareae was first identified in 1961. It has spread from the island of Java where it infested the European honey bee (Apis mellifera) to Irian Jaya in the early 1980's. Now it is gradually spreading eastwards into Papua New Guinea in feral colonies of the European bee altrough, as yet, it has not reached the primary beekeeping areas. For the moment the Asian bee (Apis cerana) remains free of infestation.

The CSIRO entomologists have been studying the pest for the last four years and have found it to be very destructive to the European honey bee. In Irian Jaya and Papua New Guinea it does not appear to have an alternative host. This means that all the feral colonies of the European honey bee will be killed by the mite in time. Entomologists argue that the most effective strategy to rid the islands of the pest is to destroy all the European honey bee colonies and then after a period of two years new, clean colonies can be introduced to restock.

Division of Entomology

Connecting libraries through e-mail

E-mail is a means by which information can be exchanged between computers. Using a personal computer, a modem and a telephone, data is sent in a form that is ready to use with the receiving computer for as little as one-tenth the cost of fax or telex. E-mail can be used to link libraries which are part of the same electronic mail network. In Nairobi, for instance, the Kengele Network connects users on the African Regional Office for Standardization (ARSO) and the Environmental Liaison Centre International (ELCI) 'store and forward' nodes.

Libraries can use e-mail to send inter-library search requests to a list of participating libraries who are 'on line'. This is done by creating a cc: list and referencing it in a message. Copies of the request are automatically generated to listed users. Since they are all local users, no additional charges are incurred in addition to the normal monthly subscription which is currently US$10.

If a node offers a 'mail in/mail out' service, libraries without e-mail facilities can also participate by sending a letter to the node or using the 'drop in centre' at the node office to prepare a request message. Responses received electronically will be printed out and sent by ordinary mail. The service is operated on a cost recovery basis at US$1.00 for each batch of sent/received messages. Currently this service is being offered by the ARSO node.

Because electronic mail can be used to send and receive messages and data to or from distant colleagues in a computer ready form, it is an ideal way of exchanging information and undertaking collaborative research world-wide.

Dwyer Rigby Associates
PO Box 72461

Potential for palmwood

Coconut palms are widely distributed in the tropics. At the beginning of the 19th century large plantations for the production of copra were established in the Pacific rim, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, parts of Africa and the Caribbean. On a world-wide scale these plantations account for approximately 10 million hectares. However, the palmwood itself is little used.

Currently, as coconut plantations are renewed the old cleared palm trees are often left to rot where they lie, providing teeming breeding grounds for insects, especially the rhinoceros beetle, a virulent enemy of the coconut palm. To curb this destruction the trunks must be removed from the field to be buried or burned, which is a costly, labour intensive process which is rarely, if ever, carried out effectively.

Palmwood has a decorative structure and the wood's properties allow the manufacture of a variety of products. Furniture made from palmwood can be extremely attractive, particularly when combined with lighter shades of wood or other materials such as rattan, leather, glass or stone.

Protrade, the trade division of the German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ) has a section that deals with furniture and wood products. They have instigated a campaign to promote and support the utilization of coconut-palmwood. Protrade publishes a quarterly newsletter Palmwood News, which promotes palmwood products through articles in technical and trade journals and the exhibition of products in fairs throughout Europe. It also establishes contacts between producers overseas and consumers/importers within Europe. At the Cologne Furniture Exhibition in January 1994 six companies from four countries (Indonesia, the Philippines, Tanzania and Fiji) displayed their products and were surprised by the interest and enthusiasm their products created among the visitors.

Peter Bolster
PO Box 5180
D-65726 Eschbom

A map of coconut and palm oil production

World consumption of oils and fats was 84 million tonnes in the early 1990s and estimated to rise to 118 million tonnes between 2003 and 2007. Productivity per hectare of perennial oil crops is higher than that of annual oil crops, and already coconut and oil palm provide more than 20% of world requirements for oils and fats.

The Bureau for the development and research on tropical perennial oil crops (BuroTrop), an organization created at the initiative of the European Commission to strengthen and enhance the coordination of research and development activities in coconut and oil palm has produced a poster map showing the distribution, production and consumption of coconut and palm oil worldwide. The map is in large format, the scale being 1: 40,000,000 with symbols clearly defining areas of production and tonnages produced.

17 rue de la Tour
75116 Paris

Pest outbreaks in Pacific Islands

"No man is an island, entire unto itself," wrote John Donne, a seventeenth century poet meaning that people could not hold themselves isolated from events happening around them. It was perhaps possible in his day for islands to exist as places of isolation. But in these days of modern, fast communication that is no longer possible and islanders find themselves invaded by visitors that are not always welcome.

Two localities in the South Pacific are reporting such invasions. Nanumaga Island in Tuvalu has reported a pest causing damage to breadfruit, banana, coconut and ornamental plants in June of this year. Damage to affected plants was extensive and spread quickly from village to village. A CSIRO entomologist resident in Kiribati, Dr Sandhu, has identified the pest as a type of scale insect, Aspidiotus destructor. He thinks that over a period of time, perhaps more than a hundred years, the pest has made its way from the Philippines. He recommends the use of biological control using Crytognathus nodicefs and Chilocorus nigrita which are coccirellid beetles which feed only on the scale insect.

Washington Island in the Republic of Kiribati is also suffering a pest invasion. Coconut is the dominant vegetation covering nearly 80% of the land area, with copra the main cash crop. Earlier in the year a consignment of copra from Washington Island was found to have white grubs and brownish beetles in conspicuous tunnels in the inside nut shell, while the outside had circular holes. Dr Sandhu has tentatively identified the beetle as the lesser grain borer (Rhyzopertha dominica). There has been no record of this pest on Washington Island or Kiribati before.

Both these examples highlight the importance of ensuring that quarantine regulations are carried out effectively. IRETA offers a free service (sponsored by CTA) which provides agriculturists working in ACP countries with photocopies of literature on the subject of quarantine in the region.

USP Alafua Campus
Private Bag

The coconut palm: botany and breeding

The coconut palm is essentially a crop of the small farmer and is mainly grown in developing countries, where coconut products are important sources of export earnings and contribute significantly to national economies. Research work on such a valuable oil crop which is ranked equally as a food crop, has been rather slow due to certain peculiarities of the crop which limit its potential for improvement. The long generation time of the palm, the height to which it grows, its heterogeneous nature, the difficulties in its clonal propagation, the long period of experimentation necessary to obtain results, and the large area required for field trials are some of the factors responsible for the slow progress in coconut breeding work.

Governments of the coconut growing countries have begun to evince a keen interest in improvement of the coconut palm by breeding and selection. The results of research work done on the botanical and breeding aspects of the palm are not available in a single publication for those interested in coconut breeding work. This book reviews the work that has been carried out on coconut breeding and is the most up-to-date publication available on the topic.

The Coconut palm: botany and breeding by K Satyabalan 1993 214pp The Asian and Pacific Coconut Community, PO Box 1342 Jakana 10013, INDONESIA

New degree courses

The Natural Resources Institute (NRI) has conducted annual training courses entitled Storage of durable agricultural products in the tropics. These courses have trained 371 students from 61 countries who, on completion, were awarded the NRI certificate.

In June 1994 the course was validated by the University of Greenwich as a postgraduate Diploma in Grain Storage Management in its own right and as a pre-qualifier for an NRI supervised programme leading to an MSc in Grain Storage Management.

David Walker Course Director NRI, Central Avenue. Chatham Maritime, Kent ME4 4TB, UK

The University of East Anglia's School of Development Studies (DEV) has joined together with two other institutes - Biological Sciences (BIO) and the John Innes Centre of Plant Science Research (JIC) to bring together expertise to offer a MSc in Plant Breeding for Agricultural Development. The programme comprises biology and biotechnology courses run by BIO; farming systems and experimentation courses run by DEV, and a specialist plant breeding module run by the JIC.

Dr Stephen Morse, School of Development Studies, University of East Anglia Norwich NR4 7TJ UK

Courses and conferences

MICRO-HYDRO POWER 3 - 23 September, 1995 Cebu City, Cebu, PHILIPPINES A course for rural development planners, engineers and technicians. Topics include socio-economic issues, survey techniques, feasibility studies, scheme design, financing, subsidy policy, credit, local manufacture of components, operation and maintenance of schemes between 0.3kW and 300kW.

Adam Harvey Coordinator Micro-Hydro International Course, Intermediate Technology Myson House, Railway Terrace, Rugby CV21 3HT, UK

ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT IN DEVELOPMENT 14 August - 15 September A course for experienced project managers whose work requires integration of environmental issues. The Director, Mananga, PO Box 20, Mhlume, SWAZILAND

RURAL AND LAND ECOLOGY SURVEY FORESTRY FOR RURAL DEVELOPMENT 2 postgraduate diploma courses running from 2nd week of August 1995 for 11 months.

ENVIRONMENTAL SYSTEMS ANALYSIS AND MONITORING RURAL AND LAND ECOLOGY SURVEY 2 MSc degree courses running from 2nd week of August 1995 for 20 months for the first course, 18 months for the second.

SOCIO-ECONOMIC INFORMATION FOR NATURAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT FOREST SURVEY SOIL SURVEY AND APPLICATIONS OF SOIL INFORMATION 3 postgraduate diploma and MSc degree courses running from the second week of August 1995 for 11 months (diploma course) or 18 months (degree course).

All the above courses are offered by the International Institute for Aerospace Survey and Earth Sciences, THE NETHERLANDS.

ITC Student Registration Office, Attn. Ms A Scheggetman, PO Box 6 7500 AA Enschede, THE NETHERLANDS

24 August - 13 September, 1995
3 week course October, 1995

Both courses are offered by the University of Hohenheim and minimum qualifications are university degree or equivalent in agriculture. es The Course Coordinator, Centre for Agricuiture in the Tropics and Subtropics, University of Hohenheim, 70593 Stuttgart, GERMANY

AGRICULTURAL AND FOOD MARKETING (with special focus on Export and Marketing to Europe and N. America) 22 August - 24 September, 1995 A programme oriented to private and public sector managers interested in domestic and export market development.

10 July -15 September, 1995 and 9 October -15 December, 1995 2 ten week courses of practical 'hands on' training for development professionals in computing and information technology.

Details of both courses from:
Mary Arnold, Short Course Officer, Dept. of Agric. Economics, Wye College, Ashford, Kent TN25 5AH, UK

3 - 7 July, 1995 - a week of one-day seminars focusing on key policy issues, which can be attended from one seminar only to the whole series, followed by.

10 - 28 July, 1995 - three weeks of coursework, of more specialist interest.
The Course Coordinator, Oxford Forestry Institute, Department of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 3RB, UK

17 August -15 September, 1995
A practical programme enabling development professionals to improve their managerial capabilities. The course focuses on the role of information in management decision-making.
Short Course Coordinator; AERRD, University of Reading, 3Earley Gate, Whiteknights Road, Reading RG6 2AL, UK

A seminar to be held from 3 - 14 July, 1995 at Writtle College, Chelmsford, UK.
The seminar is designed to present the latest information on horticultural crop production and marketing trends in Europe.
International Seminars Department, The British Council, 10 Spring Gardens, London SW1A 2BN, UK

An international conference to be held from 17 - 20 September, 1995 at Wye College, University of London.
Emphasis is given to temperate and tropical systems and both natural ecosystems and agriculture.
Georg Cadish and Ken Giller, Dept. of Biological Sciences, Wye College, Ashford, Kent TN25 5AH, UK

To be held from 23 - 26 August, 1995 at Cardiff, Wales, UK.
The workshop will set the agenda for the future development of Bio-NET INTERNATIONAL, an organization concerned with improving taxonomic services in developing countries in support of sustainable farming practices and the conservation of biodiversity.
Bio-NET lNTERNATlONAL, Technical Secretariat, Bakeham Lane, Egham, Surrey TW20 9TY, UK


The poverty of nations

Despite three decades of external assistance, Africa is no better off now than it was at independence. Socially, economically and politically many nations have made little or no progress.

Concentrating on the Sudan, James Morton examines what has gone wrong and why aid has so often been ineffective and even counter-productive. He argues that it is incorrect to pin the blame simply on incompetent decision-making by donors or recipients, on environmental and climatic conditions, or on civil strife. Instead, it should be recognized that the success or failure of any aid programme is essentially related to aspects of political economy, and that attention to factors like sovereignty and accountability is as crucial as rigorous scientific and technical evaluation. Moreover, considerable periods of time and study in an area are a prerequisite for any achievement. Morton's argument implies that unless these factors are taken into account, even the most democratic grassroots approach to development will fail.

Morton's solutions are radical and spring from an intimate knowledge of the problems of giving aid to rural communities. He considers such measures as the ending of all except emergency aid to allow unimpeded economic development and in some cases the direct transfer of funds to recipients. Above all, aid and development are regarded as an enabling process: to help rural communities to do what they often understand better than the international aid community. His analysis is based on his long experience as a development economist in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

The poverty of nations: the aid dilemma at the heart of Africa by
James Morton 1994
265pp price UKL 35.00
ISBN 135043 617 7
British Academic Press,
45 Bloomsbury Square
London WC1A 2/1Y, UK

The camel in today's world

The dromedary, or one-humped camel is a greatly undervalued animal. It is associated with primitivism and is often considered vicious and unpredictable. The most common comment on the camel is that it is a horse designed by a committee!'. This statement detracts from the perfect design and function of the animal which enables it to withstand the climatic and nutritional problems inherent in hot arid zones. In these conditions most breeds of cattle have difficulty in surviving, and when they do produce milk, the quantity is negligible. The camel, however, has the ability to produce large quantities of milk even in times of drought.

This handbook, The camel in today's world, is as a guide for camel farming and deals with camel herding in general. It addresses the practical advantages of the camel and its management as a source of food in arid lands, and the characteristics of the animal in health and disease.

The camel in today's world: a handbook on camel management by Professor Reuven Yagil 1994 73pp German-lsrael Fund for Research & International Development, POB 7011, Hakirya, Tel Aviv 61070 ISRAEL

The groundnut crop

The groundnut (peanut) is a crop of global economic significance, not only in the widespread geographical areas of its production but also in the even wider areas of its processing and consumption. Each chapter of this book has been written by acknowledged experts in each of the major aspects of the crop. Contents include outlines of the economic status of the groundnut and the origin and history of its cultivation. The crop's taxonomic status and agronomic aspects are covered, including pests and diseases, and thorough detail is given to the utilization, processing and nutritional value to animals and humans.

The book provides a solid reference on this important crop and should be of great use to all those involved with its cultivation and production, including agronomists, plant scientists, food scientists and technologists.

The groundout crop: a scientific basis for improvement edited by J Smartt 1994 733pp ISBN 0412 408201 Chapman & Hall, 2-6 Boundary Row, I London SE1 8HN, UK

Under-utilized crops

The world continues to depend heavily upon a relatively small number of crops for food, fuel fibre and industrial use, while many potentially good and economically acceptable alternatives exist. This book which is the first in a new series looking at under-utilized crops, provides thorough details of those crops which research has suggested may be worthy of further and greater commercial development and exploitation. Pulses and vegetables considers in detail the potential for the following crops: yam bean, bambara groundnut, Celosia, lupine, vegetable jute, Opuntia, palm hearts and soybean leaves. Under the guidance of the International Centre for Underutilized Crops the contents of this book have been drawn together by Professor Williams, who has wide research experience in the exploitation of new crops.

The contents of this book will be of interest and use to a wide range of people involved in work on the greater exploitation of currently under-utilized crops, including upper level students in agricultural, plant and food science, researchers in development agencies and scientists working directly on improvement and exploitation of this group of crops.

Underutilized crops: Pulses and vegetables edited by J TWilliams, 1993 ISBN 0 412 46610 4
Published by Chapman and Hall, 2-6
Boundary Row, London SE1 8HN, UK


Climatic change and geomorphology in tropical environments proceedings of a colloquium held on Ma., 1992 in Brussels edited by J Alexandre, M DeDapper and J-J Symoens 1994 253pp Royal Academy of Overseas Sciences, Rue Defacqz 1 bo 3, B-1050 Brussels, BELGIUM

Food policy in sub-Saharan Africa: a new agenda for research and donor assistance proceedings of an NRI/IFPRI symposium held in March 1993 113pp ISBN 0 35954 376 5 price UKL 15. 00 NRI, CentralAvenue, Chatham Maritime, Kent ME4 4TB, UK

The future of the land: mobilising and integrating knowledge for land use options proceedings of a conference held in August, 1993 in Wageningen, The Netherlands edited by Louise Fresco, Leo Stroosnijder, Johan Bouma and Herman van Keulen 1994 409pp ISBN 0 471950173 John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Baffins Lane, Chichester West Sussex PO19 IUD, UK

Plant viruses highlighted

The Asian Vegetable Research and Development Center has produced a series of Technical Bulletins of which numbers 20 and 21 are reviewed here.

Sources of resistance to viruses of pepper (Capsicum spp): a catalog

The primary purpose of this publication is to provide a practical reference for breeders, pathologists and agricultural specialists working on virus diseases of peppers and to encourage the evaluation and use of germplasm reported to carry virus resistance or tolerance.

Some 35 viruses have been reported to infect peppers. For detailed information concerning viruses of peppers the reader is referred to the AVRDC Technical Bulletin No 18.

Leaf curl and yellowing viruses of pepper and tomato: an overview

The leaf curl and yellowing diseases caused by whitefly-transmitted geminiviruses have become increasingly important in recent years. They cause considerable yield losses, chemical and cultural control measures are ineffective, and high levels of host-plant resistance in commercial cultivars are not yet available. This review has been compiled to assist breeders, virologists and extension workers in addressing various aspects of the leaf curl and yellowing virus syndrome on pepper and tomato crops.

Sources of resistance to viruses of pepper (Capsicum spp): a catalog
by S K Green and J S Kim 1994
AVDRC Publication 94-421
ISBN 90 9058 087 9

Leaf curl and yellowing viruses of pepper and tomato: an overview by SK Green and G Kalloo 1994
AVDRC Publication 94-422
ISBN 92 9058 088 7
Asian Vegetable Research and Development Center PO Box 205 Taipei 10099, TAIWAN

Long-term experiments in agricultural and ecological sciences

This book demonstrates that long-term experimentation and monitoring are vitally important in understanding changes that are occurring in the environment and the ways in which these changes interact with agriculture and natural ecosystems. Chapters are based on papers presented at a conference held in 1993 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Rothamsted Experimental Station.

The book consists of 22 chapters covering a wide range of topics, including descriptions of various long-term experiments in the USA Australia, Eastern Europe and Africa, as well as studies at Rothamsted. It also includes chapters on long-term studies of climate-vegetation relationships, tropical forest dynamics, bird populations and planktonic communities as monitors of marine environmental change.

Long-term experiments in agricultural and ecological sciences edited by R A Leigh and A E Johnson 1994 448pp ISBN 085198 933 0 price UKL 55.00 CAB International Wallingford, Oxon OX10 8DE, UK

Horticultural export quality explained

Countries exporting produce to the European Union face a highly competitive market. They also have to meet the demands of strict legislation and customers' requirements for food safety and consistently good quality.

The manual for horticultural export quality assurance, produced by the Natural Resources Institute is a practical guide to the procedures and practices that will meet the requirements of both EU legislation and major customers.

This do-it-yourself guide introduces the concept of total quality management and will enable exporters to establish a basic quality assurance system suited to their own specific needs. As such it will be invaluable to anyone involved in the horticultural export business.

The Manual is in two parts:

Part 1 covers the preparation of a Product Management Manual and other actions that must be undertaken in relation to Total Quality Management.

Part 2 is a reference volume, including information on current EU legislation, on packaging and pesticides, hazard analysis, etc. together with advice on sources of relevant information. This volume will be regularly up-dated to ensure that information, particularly on legislation, is correct.

Manual for horticultural export quality assurance by the Natural Resources Institute, 1994 ISBN 0 85954 382 X Natural Resources Institute Central Avenue, Chatham Maritime, Kent ME4 4RB, UK

Also received

Drainage principles and applications

A revised edition of the book first published in 1972. The result is a comprehensive, up-to-date treatment of drainage and drainage design that includes discussion of the most recent technologies. Current drainage practices are thoroughly reviewed and computer applications are briefly touched upon.

Drainage principles end applications ILRI Publication 16 1993 1200pp ISBN 90 70754 33 9 price US$ 100.00 ILRI, PO Box 45, 6700A A Wageningen, THE NETHERLANDS

Tropical and subtropical vegetable research and development

The need for adequate approaches to integrate vegetable cultivation into development programmes is increasing. This applies both in rural and urban areas of developing countries. At the same time, there is a noticeable interest in various agricultural research disciplines to take up research topics related to vegetables. This book looks at research programmes and development programmes of institutions in Europe. A multidisciplinary approach was taken regarding the research aspect. Not only vegetable research projects, but also projects dealing with plant production in general, botany, genetics, plant protection, plant nutrition, economics, social sciences, geography, human nutrition, ethnology, and development studies were included.

Tropical and subtropical vegetable research and development: a documentation on research and development activities of institutions in Europe edited by Dr Susanne Gura and Petra Boie 191pp ATSAF, Ellerstr 50, 53119 Bonn, GERMANY

Liberalization of cereals marketing in sub-Saharan Africa

During the 1980s there was a move away from centralized state-controlled management of cereals marketing in developing countries. This led to market liberalization and an increased role for the private sector. This booklet reviews the situation following the implementations of this market reform, concentrating on Tanzania, Mali and Ghana.

Liberalization of cereals marking in sub-Saharan Africa: Lessons from experience by J Coulter 1994 38pp ISBN 0 85954 368 4 NRl Central Avenue, Chatham Maritime, Kent ME4 4TP, UK

Appropriate food packaging

This publication on packaging materials for food products offers an inventory of packing materials and cost-effective methods that can be applied on a small scale in developing countries. The information is primarily aimed at entrepreneurs in small-scale food-processing industries in developing countries and employees of development organizations supporting these entrepreneurs.

Appropriate food packing by Peter Fellows and Barry Axtell 1993 136pp ISBN 90 7085728 6 TOOL Publications, Sarphatistraat 650, 1018A V Amsterdam, THE NETHERLANDS


The Aquaculture for Local Development Programme (ALCOM) was established in 1986 and is a regional aquaculture and fisheries programme of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Based in Harare, Zimbabwe, ALCOM covers all the member-countries of the Southern African Development Community (SADC): Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The organization is funded at present by Sweden, Belgium and FAO.

The aim of ALCOM is to assist member countries to improve the living standards of rural populations through the practice of aquaculture. In order to move towards this goal pilot activities are conducted to demonstrate new technologies, techniques or methodologies. Current activities include the culture of Chinese carp in Mozambique, small-scale cage culture in Zimbabwe and investigations relating to the fisheries of small water bodies in Lesotho. Successes achieved, ideas derived and lessons learnt from projects such as these will then be applied on a wider scale by member governments.

ALCOM has had . a very successful area of operation in Zambia, where they work through the extension departments of the agriculture and fisheries departments. Work began with small-scale farmers in the Eastern province and although only a few farmers initially adopted the ideas and advice, fish-farming took off when other farmers saw their success. In that area alone there are 600 fish farmers and more than 1000 ponds. In 1993 the government of Zambia asked ALCOM to introduce the techniques adopted in the Eastern province into the Central and Luapula provinces of Zambia.

In Zimbabwe another important area of operation has been looking at the management and better use of the fishery resources of small water bodies. In Zimbabwe alone there are 10,000 dams whose main purpose was for irrigation and hydropower but nevertheless have enormous fishery potential. Management of dams is a government responsibility, but one community has been encouraged to take over the entire managerial responsibility of the dam. They issue and charge for the fishing licences and the revenue earned is ploughed back into improvements, fresh stock and the hire of guards to prevent poaching.

ALCOM encourages the close cooperation and liaison between agriculture and fisheries officers. They train agriculture extension officers to be able to promote fish-farming techniques as part of integrated farming practices when talking with, and assisting small-scale farmers. ALCOM also conducts surveys of fish farmers; providing women with more opportunities in the field of fisheries and aquaculture; assistance in planning and project formulation; strengthening of institutions for aquaculture extension; and information dissemination.

ALCOM produces publications and extension pamphlets offering practical information for farmers. Some of the titles include: How to dig a fish pond, Feeding the fish and How to take care of your fish pond. ALCOM also has a quarterly publication entitled ALCOM NEWS.

PO Box 3730


In 1994 the Centre for Research on Animal Try panosomiasis, which was established in 1972, was renamed the International Centre for Research and Development of Livestock in the subhumid zone (CIRDES).

CIRDES, which has a regional mandate, has its headquarters in Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso. Its principal objective is to promote a partnership approach, in association with farmers and strengthened by research, to controlling parasitic diseases of domestic animals and to improving animal production whilst ensuring that the environment is better protected.

It has three main areas of activity: research and development; training, and information.

With regard to research and development, CIRDES is involved in the following areas:

· study into the extent and impact of animal diseases
· research on the means of controlling diseases and their vectors so that proven techniques, which are less costly and less harmful to the environment, can be put at the disposal of agro-pastoral communities and the private sector
· study of agro-pastoral farming systems
· research on improved animal breeding.

The CIRDES training programme is aimed at middle and senior levels as well as agro-pastoralists. With the integration of the former Tsetse Control School (ELAT) into CIRDES training has become an important part of the Centre's operations for the benefit of the countries in the region. Many types of training are on offer, both general and specialized, for intermediate or senior level. Support is given to national courses; and practical, intensive short training courses are available for learning specific techniques. Trainees can also be accepted on a longer term basis, usually for preparation of theses.

With regard to information, CIRDES already operates as a centre for collecting and disseminating information within the region. Many technical information sheets and over 200 publications have been produced by the Centre between 1975 and 1992, and a list is available upon request. A report of scientific activities is published annually.

CIRDES receives financial support from the EU and Switzerland. It maintains active collaboration with FAO and many other research institutions and universities.

01 BP 454,
Bobo-Dioulasso 01,