Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Major Consumption of Citrus; Post Harvest Losses

In a developing country like Pakistan, post-harvest losses of citrus fruits are in the range of 23-38% as against 5-10% in developed citrus growing countries like Brazil, USA, Australia, Spain, Italy and Israel. Primary factors of post-harvest losses in citrus are mechanical, physiological, pathological or environmental factors are directly responsible. Mechanical loss is caused by careless handling during harvesting, packing, transportation, storage etc. Some insects and birds are also responsible for the mechanical injury. A significant portion of losses during post-harvest period is attributed to diseases caused by fungi and bacteria. Besides attacking fresh fruits and vegetables, these organisms also cause damage to canned and processed products. Environmental factors, temperature, humidity, composition and proportion of gases in controlled atmospheric storage also play an important role. High temperature and relative humidity favors the growth of micro-organisms which cause extensive damage to the produce.

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Report: 'Water and Agriculture in Canada: Towards Sustainable Management of Water Resources'

Expert panel report on sustainable management of water in the agricultural landscapes of Canada

Ottawa (February 26th, 2013) – Canadian agriculture is faced with great opportunities, but also challenged by water-related risks and uncertainties. An expert panel convened by the Council of Canadian Academies has found that water and land resources in Canada can be more sustainably managed by developing forward-thinking policies and effective land and water management strategies, adopting effective governance mechanisms, and harnessing technological advancements.

The agricultural sector is an important contributor to Canada's prosperity and well-being. In 2011, primary agriculture alone produced $51.1 billion in gross farm receipts. It also plays a vital role in the food sector which is linked to nearly $100 billion per year in economic activity and approximately 1 in 7.5 Canadian jobs. As the world's population grows, so does the demand for food. Rising incomes are causing a shift in global patterns of food consumption towards higher-value forms of agricultural production. There is also increased demand for non-food agricultural products such as biofuels and natural fibres.

Dr. Howard Wheater, chair of the Council's expert panel noted, "Agriculture and water provide us with our most basic needs, and are intimately connected. While most farmers are their own water managers, using rain and snow for crop production, irrigation and livestock farming are major water consumers and face increasing competition from other water uses. Agriculture has changed much of our land area and can affect the water environment in many ways. It also faces major challenges due to the uncertain impact of climate variability, including floods and droughts, and climate change." He added, "Our expert panel explored these issues in great detail and our report lays out five practical areas where additional science and action can contribute to better sustainable management of water in agriculture."

Additional science is needed regarding:


the risks and uncertainties of market conditions, competition for land and water resources, and climate change


improved monitoring, modelling and forecasting to facilitate adaptive management


the interaction between land management and water resources – including assessment of beneficial management practices (BMPs), conservation agriculture, and ecosystem services approaches


promising farm-scale technologies that could contribute to efficient water use, reduced environmental impacts, and sound investment decisions


governance structures, valuation techniques, economic incentives, and knowledge transfer strategies that would help to facilitate better management decisions and uptake of sustainable practices



"Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada asked the Council to conduct this in-depth assessment and I am confident that the Panel's work has been comprehensive and the evidence provided within this report will be of significant value and insight for policy- and decision-makers, stakeholders and the wider research community," said Elizabeth Dowdeswell, President and CEO of the Council of Canadian Academies.


###



For more information, or to download a free copy of the report, please visit www.scienceadvice.ca after the embargo lifts.

About the Council of Canadian Academies

The Council of Canadian Academies is an independent, not-for-profit organization that began operation in 2005. The Council supports evidence-based, expert assessments to inform public policy development in Canada. Assessments are conducted by independent, multidisciplinary panels of experts from across Canada and abroad. The Council's blue-ribbon panels serve free of charge and many are Fellows of the Council's Member Academies: the Royal Society of Canada; the Canadian Academy of Engineering; and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. The Council's vision is to be Canada's trusted voice for science in the public interest. For more information visit www.scienceadvice.ca.

For more information please contact:

Cate Meechan
Director, Communications
Council of Canadian Academies
Cell: 613-302-6174

With Water in the Spotlight, Texas Agriculture Stakes Its Claim

When the 2013 Texas Ag Water Forummet today, it was no coincidence it met just a few blocks from the State Capitol. As lawmakers grapple with how to fund theState Water Plan, agricultural groups worry that their water needs might be sidelined this legislative session.

There is an emerging consensus among legislators that the state should take around two billion dollars from the Texas Rainy Day Fund to put towards water projects. The Senate bill to do that designates ten percent of the money for rural use, but the House bill does not. The feeling among many of those at the forum was that both bills should set aside funds for rural projects.

“There has to be a way to marry the needs of both agriculture and municipal use, because in reality, they’re married to one another, and it’s just through policy and funding that we do that,” Democratic State Representative Eddie Lucio III, who represents agricultural regions in the Rio Grande Valley told StateImpact Texas.

One way to “marry” city and agricultural spending, according to framing and ranching interests, would be to direct money to conservation technologies for agriculture. Machines that monitor soil moisture, and double drip irrigation methods were showcased at the forum. The Harlingen Irrigation District presented videos on innovative conservation measures that were in part funded by state and federal dollars.

Though the competition between town and country over the state’s limited supplies took center stage, it’s far from the only threat to agricultural water use.

Carolyn Brittin, the Deputy Executive Administrator for the Texas Water Development Board, pointed out that more and more water is being used for oil and gas drilling in Texas as well. The water-intensive drilling method known as hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) now accounts for about one percent of water use in Texas. It’s not a huge slice of the overall pie, but many of the regions where drilling is booming are also some of the state’s most water-starved areas.
“In local areas it is huge, and has a huge impact,” said Brittin. “We’re seeing irrigated [agriculture] provide water to fracking operations. The money is just too good. What are we doing to [agriculture] with that?”
Original Article Here

Agriculture has slipped from D.C.'s radar screen

Trying to sell Ram trucks, Chrysler made a splash in the Super Bowl this month with a two-minute television spot celebrating the American farmer — a montage of handsome still photos and a vintage Paul Harvey speech all ending with the pitch: “For the farmer in all of us.”

Nine days later, the picture was very different as President Barack Obama skipped over farmers entirely in his State of the Union address, never mentioning the yearlong farm bill stalemate in Congress nor even including “agriculture” among the thousands of words spoken that night.

“It’s obviously not on their radar screen,” said Minnesota Rep. Collin Peterson, the ranking Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee. “The president and his people I don’t think even get it.”

The White House declined to speak on the record, referring questions to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. A spokesperson for the secretary told POLITICO that he remains convinced Obama truly wants a farm bill notwithstanding his silence. Ag trade groups smoothed over the slight by focusing on the president’s remarks regarding potential markets in Europe.

But the juxtaposition of the Super Bowl ad and State of the Union silence reflects a real disconnect in American politics over farm policy. And one that goes well beyond the president.

Chrysler’s marketers made a business decision to invest millions of dollars to identify with farmers, just as the automaker also aired a second two-minute spot for Jeep — this time celebrating U.S. troops coming home from wars overseas.

“We have used the largest television viewing audience to highlight the pride, the resilience and the determination that form an integral part of the American character,” said Sergio Marchionne, CEO for both Chrysler Group LLC and its principal owner, Fiat S.p.A. An accompanying news release speaks of the troops and farmers as “two groups whose work ethic, dedication and service have sustained the very fabric of this nation.”

Contrast that with Washington where in the middle of the worst drought in a generation, no farm bill was even brought to the floor of the House — an unprecedented delay for which Republicans paid little at the ballot box. Indeed, the year ended with Obama washing his hands of the whole matter and allowing Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to pen a nine-month extension that infuriated many dairy farmers and left the two Ag committees out in the cold.

What is it that Chrysler sees that Washington doesn’t? Are these just modern Mad Men selling pickups to suburban men with farm fantasies?

Or is something bigger happening here in power politics? And is there a lesson that farmers themselves must learn from if they are to better market their importance to American consumers — and voters?

“It was a prideful moment out here in Ag country,” said Keith Alverson, a 32-year-old farmer in Lake County, S.D. “But we’re a small percentage of the population, and it’s clear we’re not connecting the way we used to. We have to find new ways.”

“No one is thinking about the promotion of agriculture in a big and bold way,” said one Republican aide who tracks farm issues. “There are numerous newsletters, coalitions, websites but they’re all serving the same audience. They’re essentially all singing to the choir, but no one is bringing any new folks to the church service.”

Politics is certainly part of it.

When Iowa was in play in the presidential election, Obama talked a good game on the farm bill last summer. But more than past administrations, this White House has taken a remarkably hands-off approach to farm issues — the chief exception being the first lady’s vegetable garden.
Original Article Here

Saturday, 23 February 2013

District-level agriculture offices get chief minister's approval



MARGAO: Stressing on the need for modernization of agriculture in the state, Curchorem MLA Nilesh Cabral said that his proposal of setting up district-level offices of the directorate of agriculture, in North and South Goa, has been approved by chief minister Manohar Parrikar, and that the state administration has already started the necessary work in that regard. The two district offices will be headed by a joint director, a new post that will be created for the purpose.
Cabral said while addressing a gathering at an awareness programme on the "use of eco-friendly pesticides and their monitoring to grow seasonal vegetables" organized by the department of science and technology in association with the zonal agriculture office (ZAO) Quepem at Xeldem, recently.
Original Article Here

EU to grant Burundi 18 million Euro for agriculture


Bujumbura, Burundi (PANA) – The European Union (EU) is to give Burundi 18 million Euro to finance the Central African country's agricultural sector, the European Development Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs, said on Friday in Bujumbura.

Speaking at the end of a two-day visit to Burundi, he said that the aid was to improve food production to reduce malnutrition.

Mr Piebalgs visited the central market of Bujumbura to see the huge damage caused by a recent fire outbreak.

EU is considering the release of five million Euro to help rebuild the market, which served as employment for about 5,000 people.
-0- PANA FB/AAS/IBA/MSA/MA 22Feb2013

Original Article Here

Agriculture: Agronomic board condemns genetically modified maize in retail products


Genetically modified maize - The Namibian Agronomic Board (NAB) has reprimanded those responsible for producing and marketing maize products that a consumer lobby charged contains so-called Genetically Modified maize, despite a general ban on GMO maize.

In a telephonic interview, CEO of the Agronomic Board, Christoph Brock informed the Economist that the Board does not in any way support the production of modified maize as these substances are banned. 'Who wants to eat genetically modified maize? I for sure don't want to eat it so of course the Board does not agree with such procedures,' said Bock.

Bock was reacting to findings done by the Namibia Consumer Trust which revealed that three popular maize products consumed in the country, contained evidence of genetically modified maize. The enterprising trust sent samples of maize for testing in South Africa and found that Ace Instant porridge contained 56.82 % genetically modified maize, White Star Maize Meal contained 2.75% genetically modified maize and Top Score contained 1.09% genetically modified maize.

According to the chairperson of the Consumer Trust, Sandi Tjarondo, the agronomic industry is operating under an agreement referred to as the 'marketing agreement' through which the price of maize is fixed and also provides for a 'GMO-free premium' which Tjarondo says consumers are charged for because Namibian maize presumably does not contain GMO's since it is a 'controlled crop'.

'The Namibian Agronomic Board is overseeing this industry through registration of procedures and millers as well as endorsement and implementation of the agreement, thus the Agronomic Board is called upon to proactively call on the industry and use the permit system to discipline uncalled-for production and marketing of genetically modified maize in the country,' Tjarondo emphasised. He said the Agronomic Board has a moral obligation to ensure that the industry refunds consumers for having been subjected to a premium fee while in actual fact, most local maize contains GMO's.

Namibia has adopted the Biosafety Act in 2006 which governs the use of genetically modified crops, feed and foods. The objective of the Biosafety Act no.7 of 2006 is to introduce a system and procedures for the regulation of genetically modified organisms in Namibia in order to provide an adequate level of protection to the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, taking into account potential risks to the health and safety of humans and harmful consequences to the environment posed by genetically modified organisms or genetically modified products.

The act stipulates that a person must not deal with a GMO or GMO product unless the person is authorised by a permit issued under the Biosafety Act to deal in the GMO product and any person found to have contravened the act is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding N$100,000 or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding 5 years, or to both such fine and such imprisonment.

According to Bock, the Act has not yet been implemented as the decision lies with the Ministry of Education. 'The Board has called for the fast implementation of the Act but the procedures are very complicated at this stage so people should not blame the Agronomic Board,' he said.

Bock was however not surprised at the findings as he said a few criminals existed in the industry. 'Instant porridge is found in a niche market and people are free to import it from South Africa,' Bock said.

The Directorate of Research, Science and Technology within the Ministry of Education, which is the implementing body of the Biosafety Act says that details of commencement of the act have not yet been gazetted therefore the act cannot operate before it has been gazetted.

South Africa is said to be the largest producer of modified crop, topping the list at 9th place in the global status of commercial genetically modified crops. The country grows genetically modified maize, soya and cotton. Over 50% of Namibia's maize is imported from South Africa.

Although some scientists have found genetically modified food to be safe, independent studies have shown that genetically modified food can cause health problems such as lesions in the gut, poor functioning of the liver and kidneys and decreased fertility, amongst others.

The Namibia Consumer Trust has embarked on further tests by sending maize cobs from Otavi to determine whether maize that has not been gown locally, comes from GMO seed.
Original Articlc Here

Agriculture credit disbursement surges by more than 13 percent

Agricultural credit disbursement by banks surged by 13.21 percent on year-on-year basis to Rs 169.42 billion in the first seven months (July-January, 2013) of the current fiscal year (2012-13). In absolute terms, disbursement of credit to the agriculture sector increased by over Rs 19.77 billion in July-January, 2013 when compared with the total disbursement of Rs 149.65 billion in the same period of the last fiscal year.

Overall credit disbursement by five major commercial banks including Allied Bank Limited, Habib Bank Limited, MCB Bank Limited, National Bank of Pakistan and United Bank Limited stood at Rs 89.65 billion in July-January, 2013 as compared with Rs 82.46 billion disbursed in July-January, 2012 depicting an increase of Rs 7.19 billion or 8.72 percent.

Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL), the largest specialised bank, disbursed a total of Rs 26.22 billion in July-January, 2013 as compared with Rs 26.36 billion disbursed in the same period of the last fiscal year. Punjab Provincial Co-operative Bank Limited (PPCBL) disbursed Rs 4.65 billion in July-January, 2013 down by 6.46 percent when compared with Rs 4.98 billion disbursed in the same period of the last fiscal year. Fourteen domestic private banks also loaned a combined amount of Rs 38.81 billion in July-January, 2013 up by 33.85 percent as compared with Rs 28.99 billion disbursed in the same period of the last fiscal year.

Five Microfinance Banks including Khushhali Bank Ltd, NRSP Microfinance Bank Ltd, The First Microfinance Bank Ltd, Pak Oman Microfinance Bank Ltd and Tameer Microfinance Bank Ltd disbursed agri. loans amounting to Rs 10.06 billion during July-January, 2013 as compared to Rs 6.85 billion disbursed in the same period of the last fiscal year. It may be pointed out that the State Bank has provisionally set an indicative agricultural credit disbursement target of Rs 315 billion to banks for the current fiscal year.-PR
Original Article Here

Fields of gold


ON THE basis of headlines alone, you might be forgiven for thinking that last year’s record-breaking drought had devastated American agriculture. Across the Midwest (and farther afield) more than 1,000 counties in 26 states were declared natural-disaster areas—the largest such ruling that the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has ever made. Yet despite withered crops, sun-baked soil and damage from wildfires, some think that farming is in the midst of another golden age, thanks to booming commodity markets and record prices for farmland.

In recent years strong global demand for food and biofuels has been pushing crop prices higher. The drought has helped, not hindered, profits. For farmers able to produce corn (maize), it raised prices dramatically. The average price of corn was about 20% higher last year than in 2010, and reached $8.49 a bushel (25kg) in August. For everyone else crop-insurance payments have stepped in, reaching a record $14.2 billion in payments in mid-February, a figure that is expected to go on growing a bit as insurers finalise the claims. This year, according to a report from the USDA on February 11th, farm profits may rise by 14% to $128 billion, the highest in real terms since 1973.As crops are bringing in higher prices, and with interest rates at historic lows, farmland has become increasingly valuable to investors. Prices have been rising surprisingly fast. According to a new report by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, prices in the Midwest leapt by 16% last year. Moreover, 2012 was the third consecutive year of big jumps in agricultural land values, and the increase was the third-largest since the late 1970s. Between 2010 and 2012 values rose by a cumulative 52%, matching the gains of 40 years ago.

Land values in Iowa, the biggest corn and soyabean producer, jumped 20%, the most among the five big agricultural Midwestern states (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin are the others). The Federal Reserve Bank in Kansas City, which covers a different area, also reports a 20-25% increase in farmland prices from a year ago.

Such frothy numbers are drawing many comparisons with the farmland boom of the 1970s, which was followed by a bust in which land prices fell by 40% from their peak. In July last year Brent Gloy of Purdue University in Indiana told a symposium on farmland prices that increases were on a par with the most dramatic seen in the past 50 years. The rapid growth has already worried regulators, and as early as 2010 the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which insures bank deposits and monitors the industry’s finances, sent a letter to lenders warning them to not let high farmland values lull them into lax lending practices.

Many observers are now wondering whether a repeat of boom-and-bust is on the horizon. Some hopeful people, as well as the USDA, argue that farm debt has not soared as it did in previous farm booms. Others point out that the picture is more patchy. Allen Featherstone, a professor at Kansas State University, has studied farms within the Kansas Farm Management Association. He found that in 2010 the average debt-to-asset ratio was higher than it was in 1979; and that there was a higher percentage of farms with ratios of more than 40% debt to assets, and more with 70% or more. If commodity prices take a dive downwards, the future for some farmers will be far less golden.
Original Article Here

Investment in agriculture stressed to create jobs


Pointing out that 85 million of the population in Pakistan is working with the agricultural sector, Mellor stressed that agriculture had a direct relation with employment as it created more jobs. Agricultural research was the area that needed to be developed to cater to growing food needs of the country as well as the entire region, he said.

Giving a comparison, he said the federal government was spending 1.7% of its budget on agriculture, but Punjab was spending 7.5% of the budget on farmers.

He said in the 60s the sector grew at a fast pace in Pakistan, but in the 70s and early years of 21st century, it recorded a decline. This underlines the need for undertaking reforms at the micro level to help develop the sector.

Original Article Here

Preparation of Agriculture and Fisheries Council, 25-26 February 2013


The Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting of February will take place in Brussels on 25 and 26 February 2013, under the presidency of Mr Simon Coveney, Irish Minister of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. The Commission will be represented by Maria Damanaki, Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Dacian Cioloş, Commissioner for Agriculture & Rural Development and Tonio Borg, Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy. Agriculture points will be dealt with on Monday, while Tuesday will be dedicated to Fisheries and Health issues. A press conference will be held for each session at the end of the discussions. The public debates and the press conferences can be followed by video streaming:http://video.consilium.europa.eu.

Agriculture

The Council will have 2 public debates – webstreamed "live" - on direct payments and on transparency, two major aspects of the reform of Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

For direct payments, the Commission proposed in October 2011 to support farmers' income in a fairer, better targeted and simpler way, in particular with a more equitable distribution of funds between farmers, between regions and between Member States (respectively internal and external convergence) - see IP/11/1181. The Presidency has circulated a paper setting out a number of amendments to the Commission proposal, as well as new provisions relating to internal convergence.

On transparency, Ministers will discuss the Commission proposal of September 2012 aimed at reconciling the need for transparency with the protection of personal data. Previous rules had been put on hold following a 2010 judgment by the European Court of Justice partially invalidated transparency rules on the basis that they went beyond data protection rules for "natural persons". The new proposal – see IP/12/1006 - sets out limits on the publication of individual names and asks Member States to publish more detailed information, particularly on the type of aid and the description of the measures for which the funds have been allocated. Discussions will be structured around three questions put forward by the Presidency – the objective pursued by the Commission's proposal; elements relating to beneficiaries of funding to be published; and possible thresholds.

Any other business


The Austrian delegation will present a document on a new European protein strategy, concerning the EU's continued dependence on imports for protein supplies.

Fisheries

Fisheries reform: Discard ban and environmental obligations

The Council will discuss the main Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Common Fisheries Policy, proposed by the Commission in July 2011, as part of the package of proposals for a new, reformed fisheries policy for the EU.

Ministers will try to reach a general approach on the remaining parts of the Regulation, after the partial approach they agreed in June 2012 under Danish Presidency. More specifically, the Council will focus on the environmental obligations of Member States and on the ban of discards that are foreseen in the Regulation.

The objective of the reformed fisheries policy is to end overfishing and make fishing sustainable - environmentally, economically and socially. The new policy aims to:


bring fish stocks back to sustainable levels by setting fishing opportunities based on scientific advice,


provide EU citizens with a stable, secure and healthy food supply for the long term,


bring new prosperity to the fishing sector, end dependence on subsidies and create new opportunities for jobs and growth in coastal areas.IP/11/873.

EU-Morocco

The Commission will inform ministers on the latest state of play in the negotiations between the Commission and the government of Morocco for the signing of a new Protocol under the Fisheries Partnership Agreement.

Health and Consumer Policy

The Irish Presidency has put the "mislabelling of beef products" on the agenda of the February Agriculture Council. The issue was first discussed in Coreper on 13 February 2013, followed by an Informal Ministerial meeting on 13 February evening organised by the Irish Presidency where the Member States most affected by the mislabelling of beef products, France, Luxembourg, Poland, Romania, Sweden and the United Kingdom participated.

The Commission proposed an intensive monitoring plan comprising two elements:


1. Extensive DNA tests on beef products (taken from the shelves) to check for the presence of horsemeat;


2. Verification of the absence of phenylbutazone in horsemeat in slaughterhouses or at the border when imported from third countries.

These tests will be carried out for three months with the first phase during March. The results of the first phase will be reported to the Commission by 15 April and will be published immediately. The number of tests to be conducted in each Member State will be proportionate to its meat product trade, the number of slaughtered horses, and the quantity of imported horsemeat.

The Commission is in close contact with the enforcement authorities in the Member States, in order to ensure that all information related to the investigations is circulated through the RASFF system allowing Member States to target their investigations.
Original Article Here

Friday, 22 February 2013

Can We Revolutionize Agriculture Without 'Science'?

Henri de Laulanie arrived in Madagascar from France in 1961 as a 40 year old Jesuit priest assigned to the local mission. There he found one of the poorest populations on earth, and an environment quickly degrading as hungry farmers tried desperately to cultivate rice in the eroding soil.

Armed with a degree in agriculture, he spent the next 30+ years of his life working with farmers to establish a series of protocols for growing rice. And in the process, Fr. de Laulanie set in motion possibly one of the most important, and most controversial, advances in modern agriculture.

As its name implies, a System of Rice Intensification is a “system” – a set of practices which include using less seed, water and fertilizer to grow more rice with less inputs and, therefore, cost.

Yet the controversy, and arguably the strength, of SRI is in its lack of “science.” The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and prominent rice scientists say it is at best a “methodology” with some of the individual practices long promoted by researchers. Other parts of the “system,” they say, run directly counter to well established scientifically proven best practices. Little peer reviewed evidence exists regarding SRI, opponents say, and researchers have had difficulty replicating the results found in the field.

In fact, Thomas Sinclair, a plant physiologist in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service, dismissed SRI completely in 2004 in an article he wrote in Rice Today.

Discussion of the system of rice intensification (SRI) is unfortunate because it implies SRI merits serious consideration. SRI does not deserve such attention.

But even without the help of the most powerful players in rice, SRI has spread around the world like a long, slow burning fire. For years, farmers watched local test fields or pioneering neighbors use the strange methods before adopting SRI themselves. And slowly, as they saw yields rise and costs diminish, they adopted the practices themselves. Today, an estimated 4 to 5 million farmers in 51 countries around the world use it in whole or part, and are seeing yield increases of up to 200 percent.

In fact, farmers in Bihar, India recently broke records for the world’s highest rice yields using SRI techniques (recently reported on by John Vidal of the Guardian), and others in the village used the same principles to grow record amounts of wheat and potatoes. Farmers in Goa last year found they spent 70 percent less on seed with SRI to grow up to twice as much rice. And because less water is used in to grow rice with SRI, studies now show both the land and the rice grown with SRI has less incidence of arsenic contamination and paddies release less methane – two huge issues in rice cultivation world wide.

So the question is: “science” or no science, with 70 percent of poor people in developing countries dependent on agriculture for their livelihoods, and nearly half the world’s population eating rice as a daily staple, shouldn’t we promote environmentally friendly, inexpensive options for higher yields? Why is the focus of “science” on the more expensive, product-based outcomes like genetically modified seeds and chemical pesticides?
original Article Here

Toxic Effects of Excessive and Unbalanced Application of Pesticides on Plant Growth and Development

Different control practices including pesticides must be adopted in proper and balance order to achieve the optimal plant growth. If unbalance pesticides are used, insect pests are resistant afterward and thus reduced thecrop growth and yield. Ina research trial in California, pesticides affectedthe fertility, birth rate, reproductive function and development and normal growth plants. Many pesticides are known to defect endocrine functions. Methylparathion effect the stomatal conductance and photosynthesis of Lettuce.Excessive and unbalance use of pesticides cancause structural change in chromosome and chromotids also create sterility and lethality. Over-spraying of pesticides may create mutation in somatic and generative cells.Excessive and unbalanceuse of pesticides can affect any part of a plant like stems, blossoms, foliage and fruit. This reaction may vary with the plant age, with the plant species and with the weather at the time of exposure.Excessive pesticides reduced the nitrogen fixation and thus results in reduced the crop yields. Excessive spraying affects photosynthesis by disrupting gas exchange or resulting damage to plants. New growth of the plant also stops in extreme conditions.
Original Article Here

Thursday, 21 February 2013

FFA members urged to support Main Street Agriculture movement


WOODSTOCK -- Students with Central High School's Future Farmers of America may soon become part of a nationwide agricultural movement.

That movement -- Main Street Agriculture -- was the chief topic of a Central High School FFA meeting Wednesday during which students learned the importance of supporting farmers in a changing agricultural landscape.

Dee Cook, membership development specialist for the Virginia Farm Bureau, spoke to students about the importance of agriculture in the modern world, and how the state's Farm Bureau is working to spread the word.

Cook said while she didn't grow up on a farm, she was still taught the importance of agriculture. Once a week her family would purchase local produce from a central location -- something that is now better known as community supported agriculture. By paying a fee, citizens get a portion of produce grown close to home.

As she gained interest in the thought of agriculture and government working together in the food distribution chain, Cook came across the Farm Bureau and was "quickly sold."

When asked what the Farm Bureau does, a long pause overcame the FFA members until one student called it "an insurance company."

Cook explained that insurance is only one of the benefits of being a Farm Bureau member.

"A member pays $40 a year ... that's it," she said. "Yet everything we do, including education and support for our farmers, is controlled by these member funds."

Challenges face today's agriculture industry, Cook said, like the need for more farmers and the increasing loss of farm land. With the looming projected rise in population over the next 40 years, she said the gap needs to be bridged.

"Where will we get our food?" she asked. "Food will always be a market place. When all else fails, food matters."

Cook told the students that they are the generation she's fighting for. She said it starts with the youth, like those participating in FFA, and making sure they understand the necessity in supporting farmers, especially locally.

That is where the Main Street Agriculture movement comes into play.

In October, the Frederick County Farm Bureau was the first to hold an event, or "celebration," to kick off the movement. The chapter worked with the Virginia Main Street program to bring together local vendors, farmers and exhibitors to show the community just what it had to offer.

Held in Winchester's downtown walking mall, the day brought about 15 vendors, who sold a variety of products that came from agriculture, like fruit, meat, plants, cheese, wine and even clothing.

Activities were provided for kids as well, and two music acts entertained those who participated. Food demonstrations, using local produce, were given at several downtown restaurants.

"This was all about educating the community about what it has to offer," Cook said.

Now, Cook is ready to spread the movement to other counties in the state, and make each "celebration" specific to the area. She said it wouldn't be hard to give each locality a special flare, as agriculture focuses can vary just between neighboring counties -- and definitely between places in the north, south, east and west parts of Virginia.

The movement is also important to connect farmers and producers with their consumers -- both rely on each other.

"Think about it. If we gain nationwide attention with this, at the end, Virginia will be known as the genesis of such a movement, and we can say it actually launched right here," she told students.

Just like the FFA in Frederick County participated in the event last fall, Cook asked Central High School's FFA what they could bring to such an event.

"How can you educate your fellow community members on the importance of buying fresh, buying local?" she asked them. "Everyone can be a part of this. Looking out at you today gives me hope that we can make this happen."

Cook said plans are already in the works to expand the movement to nearby counties.

After the meeting, a flock of FFA officers surrounded Cook with questions on joining the Virginia Farm Bureau, as well as how they could get involved in the educational movement.

"This is so exciting," Cook said, smiling. "I could see it in their eyes ... these students are ready to make a difference."

For more information on the state and local chapters of the Farm Bureau, go towww.vafarmbureau.org.
Originl Article Here

AGRICULTURE AND CLIMATE: CONNECTING THE SCIENCE


Rachel Hauser • February 19, 2013 | With U.S. agriculture taking a massive hit from the widespread drought of 2012, farmers and other stakeholders are hungry for guidance on how crops may fare as the nation’s climate evolves over the coming decades. This year’s National Climate Assessment (NCA) includes new findings on agriculture and climate change—key science that draws from a longstanding collaboration between NCAR and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Pulling together the latest studies, researchers from the USDA, the university community, and nongovernmental organizations produced Climate Change and Agriculture in the United States: Effects and Adaptation. This newly released technical document explores the current effects of changing climate as well as projections of change that may occur over the next 100 years. Scientists from the USDA and collaborating organizations used the information from this report to write the NCA chapter on the effects of climate change on U.S. agriculture.The report marks the second time the USDA has worked closely with NCAR on a major climate analysis. The previous NCA, released in 2009, called on a variety of synthesis and assessment (SAP) products, including the widely used SAP 4.3, The Effects of Climate Change on Agriculture, Land Resources, Water Resources, and Biodiversity in the United States.

“We initially approached NCAR because of its reputation for climate knowledge and modeling capabilities, both of which broadened the perspective on current and future effects of climate change on U.S. agriculture,” explains Margaret Walsh, a senior ecologist with the USDA’s Climate Change Program Office, who oversaw the creation of both background reports. “As an added benefit, NCAR leveraged connections within the U.S. scientific community to work on both the 2008 and 2013 reports, which played an important role in the success of both efforts.”

Peter Backlund, director of NCAR’s Integrated Science Program, was a lead author on both reports. “Working with the USDA gives NCAR a great opportunity to bring our science to bear on real-world problems,” says Backlund.
PUTTING THE PHYSICAL IMPACTS TOGETHER

The roots of the national assessments lie in the 1990 Global Change Research Act (GCRA), which created the U.S. Global Change Research Program to establish a better national understanding of global change. Part of this act requires U.S. federal agencies to assess the effects of human activities on the environment and to produce a national assessment of climate every four years. The NCA presents the latest details on the effects of climate change on the United States; U.S. federal agencies gather and compile the information that feeds into the NCA.

Toward this end, USDA focuses on how the nation’s agro-ecosystems will fare.

The 2008 SAP pulled together previously disparate information for the first time in a single document. The response from U.S. agriculture stakeholders—who range from farmers to participants in the agriculture industry to local, state, and national decision makers, as well as scientists and the public—has been overwhelmingly positive, says Walsh.

“We meet with stakeholders almost every week, and most come in with the SAP 4.3, talking about its conclusions as they relate to their interests,” Walsh says. “With the release of this new report, we are seeing similarly high levels of interest.”
ADDING ECONOMICS AND ADAPTATION

Building on the earlier report, the authors of the 2013 technical document updated and expanded the breadth of SAP 4.3. They included issues not addressed by the 2008 report, honing in on the potential economic effects of climate change on U.S. agriculture and considering adaptation strategies.

Additionally, a variety of climate scenarios created by NCAR scientist Caspar Ammann provided insights on understanding climate’s influence on changes in seasonal length and timing of frost days—changes that affect plant germination and other factors considered in planning for the next growing season.“American farmers have a long history of adaptability—they’ve always adapted to changes in weather, consumer demand, soil requirements, and invasion of noxious weeds and insects,” says Charles Walthall, a scientist in the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service who led the team writing the 2013 technical report.

“However, climate change is now happening so quickly, presenting challenges previously not encountered by agriculture. These new challenges may make it harder than ever before for farmers, ranchers, land managers, industry, and government to adapt to changes as they occur. This reality made considering the question of what to expect and how to adapt important ones to address in this report.”

In essence, says Walthall, the document provides a synthesis of agricultural climate science that helps define the vulnerability of agriculture to the effects of climate change.

“The 2013 technical report offers the most comprehensive treatise to date on the topic of climate change effects on U.S. agriculture, and its contents will affect the priorities of future USDA research,” Walthall says.

The effects of climate change—physical, social and economic—and how to approach climate adaptation have become what Walthall calls “a rallying point,” both within the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service and in the broader agricultural research community.

“We were fortunate to have the benefits of NCAR scientists and their scientific network to help us merge cutting-edge climate knowledge with cutting-edge agricultural science. The results of this collaboration, as presented by the document, are expected to have lasting influence on choices made about U.S. agriculture,” says William Hohenstein, Director of USDA’s Climate Change Program Office.

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Agriculture and food production


IT is absolutely important that the country enables and helps our farmers to produce enough food for the country and even surplus for export. In a country like Namibia which has difficult climatic challenges the country needs to help our farmers. Namibia’s climate is difficult and challenging. Moreover there are also other problems that farmers are being confronted with.

To substantiate this let me just mention but a few of them: Namibia in most places where farming is taking place has unpredictable annual rainfall of about 270mm coupled with a high evaporation rate, therefore, it is largely an arid country. The climatic conditions dramatically change and this type of situation makes both crop and animal production unpredictable.

In most cases the farmers are forced to invest heavily in agriculture production just to be confronted with unpredictable rain and climatic conditions both for crop and animal production. When the climate changes and the rain does not come as anticipated, the crops don’t grow or survive and the animals die thus negatively affecting agriculture output and cause heavy financial losses for farmers. Farmers are expected to buy fertilizers for their crops at high prices.

Those who farm with animals are expected to buy lick and body building substances for their animals. All these are expensive and are not subsidized. If the farmers fail to buy fertilizers the crops may not grow as expected and those who are farming with animals if they do not buy the necessary lick their animals may not survive properly on the grazing alone.

Although rivers crisscross the country they are dry for several years. The perennial rivers are very few therefore the country is dry most of the time. The animals for example can only survive from the water in the dams or boreholes.

The underground water can be pumped out at a cost by using various machines and equipment and fuel throughout the whole year. All these need substantial amounts of money.

In addition to these expenditures farmers are employing a big number of farm workers who are supposed to be paid an appropriate wage every month.

On top of the payment of wages to the workers the farmers are expected to supply food rations every month to their workers. In addition to this they are responsible for the medical care of their farm workers and the families of such farm workers.

Farm equipment such as motor vehicles, water-pumping engines, tractors, etc. need to be kept in working condition and be supplied with appropriate fuel at high cost.

Those who have electricity from NamPower at their farms are paying enormous amounts of money to NamPower on a monthly basis. Those who do not have NamPower electricity are forced to buy engines which supply electricity to the farms, which also require lots of money both for buying such engines and to maintain them in good order. Coupled with these also is the keeping of camp fences on the farm in good order.

The wires, poles, etc. which are needed for maintenance of the farm camp infrastructure are also not cheap but the camps must always be kept in good order.

Moreover, the animals must always be kept vaccinated and the vaccines are just expensive and they are not subsidized either. Failure to vaccinate animals as required may result in catastrophic results for the animals.

For the crop farmers there is always a need to buy various chemicals to protect the crops from being destroyed by insects. Wild animals can also be a problem for farming because for example animals like baboons can easily destroy the crops and other animals such as lions, leopards, jackals can kill animals.

These are just some problems which the farmers are confronted with in the country. To counter those problems the farmers need money and expertise. However, money is not easy to come by since things are simply expensive.

Therefore, the best way is to seriously put heads together and find a sustainable way to subsidize the farmers. It is proven elsewhere that subsidy programmers do in fact help all farmers, particularly small-scale vulnerable farmers to access fertilizes and seeds at heavily subsidized prices.

It is reported that for example in Malawi since subsidies were introduced the farmers have been harvesting between 500 000 and one million tons of surplus maize every year and that is above the national requirement for that country.

In fact the farm crops are not only consumed locally but they are exported – in that way they replenish the foreign exchange and help develop the country. It is time therefore to adopt subsidy programmes for all farmers to match those awarded by the Western governments to their own farmers.

By doing so the country cannot only produce enough food but also create much needed jobs for our unemployed people.

In addition to this sustainable programmes of de-bushing the land may be introduced to make more land available for agriculture. The wood that had been cut and removed through debushing can also be processed into charcoal and be exported to replenish the state coffers.

What will be critical here is also to build enough storage facilities to hold the surplus crops. These facilities must have the capacity not only to store the crops but the operators of such facilities must go out in the country and buy the crops from the farmers thus making it easy for farmers to sell their products. Such arrangements will motivate the farmers to produce more food.

It is indeed unfortunate and incomprehensible that instead of subsidizing our farmers the country found it necessary to impose land tax on farmers. It could have made sense if this land tax was only paid by those who have multiple farms or extraordinarily big farms and absentee land lords. But to impose land tax on all farmers does not make good and reasonable sense in the country, which ought to encourage its farmers to produce more food under the difficult conditions as, stated above.

The fact that there is a halfhearted tax exemption as regards this land tax does not help the issue and it does not assist farmers.

It was an ill-conceived and counterproductive measure taken against the farmers to introduce and impose this notorious land tax on farmers, while other countries even in the developed world are subsidizing their farmers.

Since this land tax is not an absolute necessity and an irreversible constitutional requirement it will be highly appreciated if it is abolished without further delay.

Other avenues can be explored to raise funds for buying land for resettlement and redistribution rather than getting such money from farmers through unwelcome and painful land tax.

It is laughable, ridiculous and silly to expect our farmers to produce more food for the country and surplus for export and at the same time impose on them unnecessary financial burdens which negatively affect their capability to produce effectively.

Finally, if we really want our farmers to produce more let us:

• Just like in Europe and elsewhere subsidize our farmers;

•Abolish the ill-conceived land tax;

• Build more storage facilities for excess food produce;

• Go out to farmers and buy their products on the farms or nearby points;

• Encourage more food processing industries in the country which will use local agriculture products by adding value to such products;

• Locally produce things such as fertilizers; vaccines and animal medicines;

• Seek new and viable markets for Namibian agriculture products worldwide etc.

To do what I have suggested above is not something out of this world. It has been done elsewhere, particularly in Europe. Why not here in our developing country? We cannot have our cake and eat it!
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Beef, agriculture subject of rotary program


Ed Whatley wears a black cowboy hat and has the swagger of “the Man in Black.”

He plays a mean guitar and sings country music but, all of that aside, beef is his main thing.

Whatley brought his “Eat more beef” philosophy to the Brundidge Rotary Club Wednesday and the Rotarians “bit’ into it.

Whatley is a 40-year veteran of the beef and cattle industry. He has experience in the retail meat business, restaurant management and most recently as a field man and public relations specialist for the Alabama Cattlemen’s Association.

After his retirement in 2010, Whatley focused his efforts on the promotion of his all-natural meat and vegetable seasoning, “Cattlemen’s Steak Shake,” which is also the spice for a tasty dip mix.

Whatley could have talked to the Rotarians about his music, his adventures and experiences as a beef promoter or a dozen other interests but he chose instead to talk about agriculture and the role in plays in the lives of all Americans.

“We live in a rather rural area so we know something about the importance of agriculture in our daily lives,” Whatley said. “But Most of the people in New York City and Chicago — people in all the urban areas — know little about the role agriculture plays in their lives and don’t appreciate what it takes to put food on the table. We probably are going to have to go hungry for them to know.”

Whatley praised the Pike County Cattlemen’s Association for the role it plays in putting the highest quality beef on America’s table and for its contributions to the Pike County community.

“Cattleman Park is a facility that is second to none,” he said. “The indoor facility seats nearly 1,100 and the covered arena seats 3,000. The facility is available to the community for a variety of events and at a very reasonable rate.”

Whatley expressed appreciation to the Cattlemen for the rodeo events that their association brings to the county.

“The Pike County Cattlemen are a very active and involved group and their focus is the youth of Pike County,” he said. “Their organization is dedicated to growth – to moving to the next level — and to making dollars to educate the youth and the general public about beef and agriculture.”
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Brazil, Russia enhance ties in defense, agriculture

BRASILIA, Feb. 20 (Xinhua) -- Brazil and Russia agreed on Wednesday to negotiatethe purchase of Russia's anti-aircraft defense systems, jointly develop defenseproducts and transfer technology to Brazilian defense companies without restrictions.

The agreement was reached during the talks between Brazilian President DilmaRousseff and visiting Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev, who arrived in Brazil onWednesday for a three-day visit.

Brazil is interesting in buying Russia's medium-range surface-to-air Pantsir S1combined missile and artillery batteries and Igla-S shoulder-held missiles, in part tobeef up security during the World Cup soccer tournament next year and the 2016Olympic Games. Contract negotiations are expected to begin in March.

The two countries have sought to deepen defense cooperation since they signed aStrategic Partnership Action Plan in December during Rousseff's visit to Moscow. Underthe document, Brazil and Russia will strengthen cooperation in defense industry andtraining while setting up partnership for the purchase of defense systems.

During their talks on Wednesday, the two leaders also agreed to exchange informationon organizing major sporting events. Russia is to host 2014 Winter Olympics and theWorld Cup in 2018.

In addition, Russia agreed to collaborate with Brazil's "Science Without Borders"scholarship program by opening slots in graduate and post-graduate courses forBrazilian students in Russia.

On agriculture, the two countries sealed two agreements to eliminate trade barriers forBrazil to sell soy bran for animal feed in Russia and establish phytosanitary measuresfor Russian wheat exports to Brazil.

During their talks, Medvedev and Rousseff also discussed the ongoing global financialcrisis and the political unrest in Syria, according to official sources from the Brazilianpresidency.

As a sign of the two countries drawing closer, Brazil on Tuesday became the firstcountry outside Russia to host a monitoring station for the Russian satellite navigationsystem GLONASS, a global positioning system that uses 24 satellites.

After his visit to Brazil, Medvedev will continue to travel to Cuba, where he will meet withCuban leader Raul Castro for broader trade ties.
Original Article Here

SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans Available in Florida Following Secretary of Agriculture Disaster Declaration for Drought By U.S. Small Business Administration Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2013/02/20/5204357/sba-economic-injury-disaster-loans.html#storylink=cpy

ATLANTA, Feb. 20, 2013 -- /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The U.S. Small Business Administration announced today that federal economic injury disaster loans are available to small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private non-profit organizations of all sizes located in Columbia, Hamilton, Jefferson, Madison and Nassau counties in Florida as a result of the drought that began on Dec. 15, 2012.

(Logo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20110909/DC65875LOGO)

"These counties are eligible because they are contiguous to one or more primary counties inGeorgia. The Small Business Administration recognizes that disasters do not usually stop at county or state lines. For that reason, counties adjacent to primary counties named in the declaration are included," said Frank Skaggs, director of SBA's Field Operations Center East in Atlanta.

"When the Secretary of Agriculture issues a disaster declaration to help farmers recover from damages and losses to crops, the Small Business Administration issues a declaration to assist eligible entities affected by the same disaster," Skaggs added.

Under this declaration, the SBA's Economic Injury Disaster Loan program is available to eligible farm-related and nonfarm-related entities that suffered financial losses as a direct result of this disaster. With the exception of aquaculture enterprises, SBA cannot provide disaster loans to agricultural producers, farmers, or ranchers. Nurseries are eligible to apply for economic injury disaster loans for losses caused by drought conditions.

The loan amount can be up to $2 million with interest rates of 2.875 percent for private non-profit organizations of all sizes and 4 percent for small businesses, with terms up to 30 years. The SBA determines eligibility based on the size of the applicant, type of activity and its financial resources. Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant's financial condition. These working capital loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills that could have been paid had the disaster not occurred. The loans are not intended to replace lost sales or profits.

Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA's secure website at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.

Disaster loan information and application forms may also be obtained by calling the SBA's Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or by sending an e-mail to disastercustomerservice@sba.gov. Loan applications can be downloaded from the SBA's website at www.sba.gov. Completed applications should be mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth,TX 76155.

Completed loan applications must be returned to SBA no later than October 15, 2013
Original Article Here

Agriculture on the Air


CHAPAINAWABGANJ, Bangladesh, Feb 21 2013 (IPS) - The sun is just beginning its descent as a knot of farmers gathers around a small, portable radio in the grounds of the Nachol Pilot High School in Bangladesh’s northwestern Chapainawabganj district, about 300 kilometres from the capital, Dhaka.

The voices of Kauser Ali and Dhiren Karmakaur — two farmers from Nachol who are sitting in a studio about 15 kilometres away from the crowd of eager listeners – come in clearly on the airwaves, welcoming their remote audience to ‘Krishi O Jibon’ (Agriculture and Life), a daily programme on Radio Mahananda.

The anchor begins by playing a popular song known as Gambhira, a blend of folk music performed in the native dialect by local artistes, before launching the farmers into a discussion about a common problem among this community of roughly 5,000 agriculturalists: pest attacks on maize crops.“The feeling here is absolutely electric,” says the anchor, Selim Kabir, a local farmer who uses this radio show to promote crop production in Chapainawabganj.



“Gambhira enlightens farmers about various aspects of agriculture,” Kabir told IPS, “so, we chose to use it throughout our programme, which delivers important messages and hosts live discussions on best practices to solve farm-related problems.”

Radio Mahananda, launched last April, has today become an indispensable communication tool in an almost entirely agriculture-dependent region, where illiteracy rates are as high as 50 percent.

The long fingers of development have not yet reached this part of the country, hundreds of miles from Bangladesh’s bustling industrial centres, where there is little infrastructure and few plans to build any.

Chapainawabganj lies partially within the 7,780-square-kilometre Barind region, an arid expanse of land located in northwestern Bangladesh. Here, extreme weather brought on by climate change has made crop production a huge challenge.

Characterised by an exceptionally high population density, Barind is also forced to contend with severe drought in the summer months, inadequate rainfall during the monsoon season, excessive withdrawal and depletion of groundwater, gradual loss in soil moisture and progressive deforestation.

In a bid to confront these challenges, the government set up the Agriculture Information Service (AIS), which resulted in the establishment of over 1,000 farmers’ clubs – each with between 30 and 50 members — in all 64 districts, to facilitate regular exchanges of information about boosting crop production and adapting traditional growing and planting cycles to a changing climate.Now, with the help of Radio Mahananda, the government initiative is having an even greater impact.

The rural community station reaches a 17-kilometre radius and helps farmers share their own crop research with listeners and even invites farmers to participate in studio discussions on capacity development, cultivating improved varieties of seeds, promoting use of organic fertilisers, using less water for irrigation and improving yields.

Ahmed Moin, producer of the 30-minute-long Krishi O Jibon show, told IPS, “Over 60 percent of our programmes are focused on developing agriculture. We use the benefits of radio transmission to build awareness and overcome crop production crises.”

Earlier this year, in response to massive popular demand, Radio Mahananda introduced another special programme – ‘a masher krishi’, meaning ‘agriculture this month’, which focuses on cultivating seasonal crops.

“We have seven hours of daily programmes,” Hasib Hossain, chief executive officer of Radio Mahananda, told IPS, “and since Chapainawabganj is an important agricultural zone we design our programmes to maximise benefits to local farmers.”

Radio shows typically begin after three p.m. to enable farmers to gather together at the end of the workday and tune in live. The programmes are interspersed with useful tips on how to avoid pest attacks or use drought-resistant seeds.Television is a rare luxury in this part of the country, and a high illiteracy rate among farmers makes it almost impossible to disseminate agriculture-related news and information in print – the radio shows offer an excellent alternative to farming communities, who can even tune in using their cell phones.

Habibur Rahman, a local farmer and regular listener from Delbari village, told IPS, “We certainly benefit from listening to the radio programmes. For instance, I had a pest attack in my mustard field two years ago. Last season I avoided that by seeking advice in advance from experts who discuss these problems live (on the air).”

Farmers are encouraged to participate and send queries directly to the radio office through phone calls or text messages.

There has been “huge enthusiasm among the farmers. Requests for advice keep pouring in and many have reported better grain harvests” after the radio prgrammes came into existence, according to Moin.

Mohammad Mosharaf Hossain, senior scientific officer of a local mango research institute, told IPS, “We… teamed up with Radio Mahananda recently to disseminate information on our research and received an unbelievable response.”

In 2013 alone the institute has developed four new varieties of sweet mango, popularised among the local farmers through radio programmes. Such information is crucial in Chapainawabganj, home to over 90 percent of Bangaldesh’s mango production, with hundreds of square kilometres dedicated to growing and harvesting the fruit.

“We participated in regular live discussions to inform and encourage mango farmers to use the new varieties of mango seeds known as BARI-6, 7, 8 and 9,” Hossain told IPS.

According to Enayet Khan, a local farmer, “Mahananda has united the local farmers and has played a huge role in contributing to boosting regional crop production.”

Original Article Here

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Exogenous Application of Insecticides Supplemented with Weedicides: A New Quick Action Approach to Vanish Insects and Weeds

Insecticides are commonly united with acaricides(for pathogenic mites),since they have same mode of action, so this group of pesticides called insectoacaricides.The term insecticide is used as short form of insectoacaricide like fungicides and herbicides, insecticides cause harmful effect on plants which cause losses in yield and decreased the yield quality(low the gluten contents).Combination of a non pyrethroid insecticide and a repellent are used against mosquito. The development of pyrethroid resistance in mosquito vector may reduce their personal use. Mixture of repellent(DEET) and non pyrethroid insecticide propoxur is widely used. Combination of propoxur and DEET create more mortality rate and knockdown effect than deltamethrin.Unfortunately the creation of pyrethroidgot resistance in most mosquito species in tropics. Knockdown resistance creates cross resistance to DDT and pyrethroids is now creating in mosquitoes.To reduce these problems for personal protection launch an alternative way to control them is the mixture of repellent(DEET) classic synthetic repellent and non-pyrethroid(propoxur) a carbamate insecticide which have low imitant properties and high insecticidal activity against insects. The mortality rate of Bora strain (96%) when treated with DEET –propoxur.The combination of propoxur (at LC30) and DEET (at sub lethal dose) showed more imitant properties than deltamethrin (at LC100) for both LHP and Bora mosquito strains. 

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FUSARIUM WILT; AN EMERGING THREAT TO PEA PRODUCTION IN PAKISTAN

INTRODUCTION
Pea is (Pisumsativum L.) the fourth important legume crop in the world. Its importance can be estimated from the fact that, 40% of total pulse trade is based over pea. Pea is also important due to its high nutritional value which contains 15.5 to 39.7% of proteins. It is also a rich source of carbohydrates, Calcium, Potassium, Sodium, Iron and Phosphorus.This crop is best for the improvement of soil fertility, particularly it reduce the nitrogen requirement of other crops upto 20-50 Kg/ha.Pulses have been an imperative part of Pakistani food for the years and known as “common man’s meat”, because they are rich source of proteins. They are cultivated in Pakistan over a large scale which covers 1,298,000 hectares. Among the total cultivated area under pulses, 84% is present in Punjab province, which is followed by 8% in Sindh, 5% in Baluchistan and 3% in KPK.
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Monday, 18 February 2013

Project at GCSC promotes local agriculture

Ponce de Leon made a special appearance at Gulf Coast State College on Monday morning for his post as governor of the Ponce Plantation project.

The project coincides with the 500th anniversary of Florida’s discovery in 1513; acreage on the college’s property facing U.S. 98 will be planted according to how and what his farm would have looked like.

Dr. Jim Kerley, president of GCSC, made the appearance as Ponce de Leon for the announcement and said he believes this is the only project of its nature in the state.

“Agriculture is not promoted that much here,” Kerley said. “My understanding is we’ve fallen off the list as far as production goes. My understanding is we’re last in Florida, so this is our way of getting attention. Maybe more people will start growing gardens.”

The 10-month project’s estimated cost, $2,000, was presented by Bay County Soil and Water Conservation District’s vice chairman John McMurray. He said the money came from three districts: Bay County Soil and Water Conservation District, Orange Hill Soil and Water Conservation District in Chipley and the Three RiversResource Conservation and Development in Milton.

“For years, we’ve handled farming stuff; as you heard today, farming in Bay County is pretty much done,” McMurray said. “This is a great thing; maybe we can get a few gardeners started or plant some sugar cane. We want people to understand the farming.”

Waterfront Markets Inc. coordinator Ronnie Barnes, one of the project’s organizers, said they’re aiming to be as authentic with planting as they can. With such intense effort being put into the project, they want it as visible as possible so more people can see it.

“There will be segmenting of sugar cane next and of the cassava; we’ve got to get those into the ground quickly because they have the longest growing cycle,” Barnes said. “Dr. Linda Fitzhugh, biology professor, will be leading biology students and any other students that want to be involved, through planting and cultivating.”

She said there would be many more events on campus throughout the year.

Cassava, a woody shrub also known as yucca, is one of the cropsPonce cultivated on his farm and harvested for production in his bakery on the estate. Girls Inc. will be harvesting sunflowers and learning entrepreneurship by selling them to the public.

“We re-creating Ponce’s bakery … and we’re going to show people how to produce the bread from the cassava plant,” Barnes said.

The ground already has been tilled and sunflower seeds were planted after the announcement. Other plants on the schedule are all drought-resistant crops; sweet potatoes, maize, beans, and ornamental annual flowers. Other additions to the demo plantation will be information signs, kiosks and off the grid lighting for evening walks through the garden.
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