Archive for the ‘#agriculture’ Tag

World-Class Hybrid Grass for the World Cup – YouTube   Leave a comment

World-Class Hybrid Grass for the World Cup – YouTube.

” Published on 26 May 2014

May 27 (Bloomberg) — Desso Sports Systems’ “Grassmaster” is the cyborg version of soccer turf: neither natural nor artificial but a hybrid. Artificial fibers are injected into the pitch, then natural grass is planted and its roots grow entwined with the fibers, anchoring the grass. The result: a more even and durable playing field. The system has been used in the Olympics and in NFL stadiums. Now it’s been installed at the Arena de Sao Paulo — the venue for the opening match of the 2014 World Cup. (Source: Bloomberg) “

Posted May 26, 2014 by arnoneumann in agriculture, FIFA, Sports, Technology

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US farmers scramble to buy Brazil’s farmland   Leave a comment

The debate about land in the hands of foreigners in happening all over the world, in all of the key agricultural frontier countries,” said Mark Horn, an independent agribusiness consultant based in Brasilia. “Laws restricting land purchases by foreigners have been recently passed in Argentina and Uruguay, the discussions are happening in Australia and Ukraine. We went through the same thing in the US as well.

via US farmers scramble to buy Brazil’s farmland – Features – Al Jazeera English.

Posted September 29, 2012 by arnoneumann in agriculture, Brazil

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A Different Kind of Beekeeping Takes Flight – NYTimes.com   Leave a comment

Because there are so many different species of stingless, or meloponine, bees, they produce a wide variety of honey. Its taste has been variously described as sweeter, more bitter or sharper than the honeybee’s product, often with a delightful floral aftertaste, said Stephen Buchmann, a native bee researcher at the University of Arizona. Dr. Buchmann, who has sampled hundreds of varieties, said the best-tasting honey comes from the royal lady bee, a stingless species that the Maya people of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula have cultivated for 2,000 years.

Stingless bee honey also has a variety of medicinal uses. Numerous reports attest to its antibiotic properties, no surprise to native people worldwide who use it to treat eye infections and wounds. A study to be published by the Journal of Experimental Pharmacology by the researcher Peter Kwapong found that this honey is slightly more effective than a store-bought antibiotic at treating eye infections in guinea pigs. And other studies have hinted that it might help deter cancer.

Aside from the Maya, though, few groups have worked out sophisticated methods for cultivating colonies of these bees in manmade structures, partly because of the insect’s tiny size, small colonies and many varieties. Most often, people merely harvest the honey from nests in forest trees and move on, Dr. Roubik said.

But that’s beginning to change. In Brazil, for example, the raising of these bees for their honey, called meliponiculture, is widespread. (The word comes from Meliponini, the taxonomic term for stingless bees.) In some areas, it’s even more common than the cultivation of honeybees known as apiculture.

Patricia Vit, a researcher at the University of the Andes in Venezeula, for example, took humorous issue with frequent references to the stingless bee’s product as the “other honey.” “In the forest, the ‘other honey’ is that of Apis mellifera,” or the European honeybee, she wrote in an e-mail.

Indeed, many prominent meliponiculturists in Brazil and elsewhere have long waiting lists for purchasing their honey, said Breno Freitas, a researcher at the Federal University of Ceará in Brazil. This honey often sells for 10 times the price of honeybee honey.

Dr. Kwapong, an entomologist at Ghana’s University of Cape Coast, first learned about — and fell in love with — stingless bees at a conference in Brazil. When he returned to Ghana, he founded the International Stingless Bee Center, dedicated to studying and spreading meliponiculture of native bees throughout West Africa. Dr. Kwapong has helped train more than 200 people from around the region in the delicate trade.

The practice is also receiving growing recognition and study at institutions throughout Central and South America, Australia and elsewhere. In Japan, stingless bees are being cultivated to pollinate greenhouses, a feat at which they excel. Since they can’t survive in temperate areas, they cannot escape and interfere with local insect populations, a problem that has dogged the use of bumblebees for the same purpose.

Still, little is known about how to raise the vast majority of stingless bee species. That’s frustrating for would-be meliponine beekeepers; many give up on the idea because they cannot get the information they need, Dr. Freitas said.

Sam Droege, a biologist with the United States Geological Survey, said in a phone interview that the newfound interest in meliponiculture may be a harbinger of a revolution in animal husbandry. “In the sweep of history, we don’t often see new groups or classes of domesticated animals arising,” he said.

Of course, meliponiculture is nothing new for certain groups, most notably the Maya, who recorded their age-old craft in the glyphs in ruins throughout the Yucatán and in the Madrid Codex, one of the few surviving collections of Mayan hieroglyphics.

Yet the Mayan beekeeping tradition is in serious danger of dying out. Populations of the bee have declined with deforestation, and beekeepers are less frequently passing on the tradition to younger generations as they move to cities, Dr. Buchmann said. To counter this trend, he has taught a series of classes throughout the peninsula to encourage beekeeping and has published a meliponiculture manual in Mayan and Spanish.”

via A Different Kind of Beekeeping Takes Flight – NYTimes.com.

Posted February 19, 2012 by arnoneumann in agriculture

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Scientists urge countries to adopt ‘climate-smart’ agriculture   Leave a comment

study published last August by the UN Environment Programme found that current agricultural trends are destroying the world’s natural resources, particularly its water supplies.  Reversing this trend would require integrated land-use planning that coordinates decision-making for farming, biodiversity, water management and air pollution, according to the study.

Another report from the UN – its latest World Economic and Social Survey, found that to stop deteriorating land conditions and depleting natural resources, the world would have to move away from large-scale, intensive agricultural systems as they exist today. Instead, smaller scale farms in developing countries should be improved and expanded using ‘green’ technology that minimised the use of water, energy and chemicals, noted the report.

 

Scientists urge countries to adopt ‘climate-smart’ agriculture | Eco-Business.com.

FAO Media Centre: Scarcity and degradation of land and water: growing threat to food security   Leave a comment

“Prospects for the future

FAO estimates that by 2050, rising population and incomes will require a 70 percent increase in global food production. This equates to another one billion tonnes of cereals and 200 million tonnes of livestock products produced each year.

“For nutrition to improve and for food insecurity and undernourishment to recede, future agricultural production will have to rise faster than population growth and consumption patterns adjusted,” says SOLAW.

More than four-fifths of production gains will have to occur largely on existing agricultural land through sustainable intensification that makes effective use of land and water resources while not causing them harm.

Recommendations

Improving the efficiency of water use by agriculture will be key, according to the report. Most irrigation systems across the world perform below their capacity. A combination of improved irrigation scheme management, investment in local knowledge and modern technology, knowledge development and training can increase water-use efficiency.

And innovative farming practices such as conservation agriculture, agro-forestry, integrated crop-livestock systems and integrated irrigation-aquaculture systems hold the promise of expanding production efficiently to address food security and poverty while limiting impacts on ecosystems.

FAO recently highlighted its vision for the sustainable intensification of agricultural production in its publication, Save and Grow: A New Paradigm for Agriculture, released earlier this year.

Another area where improvement is needed is increasing investment in agricultural development. Gross investment requirements between 2007 and 2050 for irrigation water management in developing countries are estimated at almost $1 trillion. Land protection and development, soil conservation and flood control will require around $160 billion worth of investment in the same period, SOLAW reports.

Finally, greater attention should be paid not only to technical options for improving efficiency and promoting sustainable intensification, but also to ensuring that national policies and institutions are modernized, collaborate together and are better equipped to cope with today’s emerging challenges of water and land resource management.”

via FAO Media Centre: Scarcity and degradation of land and water: growing threat to food security.

Posted November 29, 2011 by arnoneumann in agriculture, Global Crisises

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The TH Interview: David Holmgren, Co-Creator of Permaculture : TreeHugger   Leave a comment

“TH: Can a person who wants to experiment with permaculture principles try them in an urban environment?

DH: Yes. For example, weve had a presentation on our website that is a positive view of the suburban towns, which are usually seen as the most unsustainable form of living, since they are car dependent.

From a permaculture point of view, the suburbs are very adaptable to the future of continuous energy descend were facing, whereas the high density cities are more problematic to redesign.

There are many strategies about how we can change the way we live in the suburban landscape producing food in the gardens, start adapting buildings to make them more independent self heating, self cooling, collecting water of the roof and reusing it.

Another powerful idea connected to food supply in cities is community supported agriculture, where a group of people have a financial relationship with a farmer usually not far away from where they live, who provides most of their organic fresh food in a box every week and they pay in advance for this.

This forces the farmer to grow many different things, and makes the consumer eat with the seasons. So it drives the production system towards a more ecologically balanced approach, and the consumer to change his behavior in a way that is synchronized with the region and environment where they live.

This is expanding rapidly in Australia and is popular in California, but comes originally from Japan, where 5.5 million households get their food directly from farmers.”

via The TH Interview: David Holmgren, Co-Creator of Permaculture : TreeHugger.

Posted November 1, 2011 by arnoneumann in Permaculture

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Agribusiness for Africa’s Prosperity | International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)   Leave a comment

In the next 20 years, both farming and agro-industries in Africa need to undergo profound structural transformations in order to generate the jobs, incomes and food products so badly needed by the continent’s growing population. To be able to make the vital transition from the current agriculture-led growth strategy to a more prosperous agribusiness development strategy, the power of market demand will be essential to fully developing African agribusiness capacities and achieving international competitiveness.

In this seminar, Dr. Kandeh K. Yumkella, Director-General of UNIDO, will discuss strategic policy recommendations set forth in the new book “Agribusiness for Africa’s Prosperity”. John Staatz, Professor Emeritus at Michigan State University, will offer his perspective on both the challenges facing Africa’s agribusiness development, as well as the opportunities most likely to provide food, jobs and income to the millions of Africans who depend on agriculture for their livelihoods.

Copies of the book “Agribusiness for Africa’s Prosperity” will be available at the seminar. The book can also be downloaded from the UNIDO website: http://www.unido.org/index.php?id=1000076.”

via Agribusiness for Africa’s Prosperity | International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

Posted October 26, 2011 by arnoneumann in Africa, agriculture

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Big (Green) Deal: Perennial Grains   Leave a comment

Agriculture’s next revolution — perennial grain — within sight

“Earth-friendly perennial grain crops, which grow with less fertilizer, herbicide, fuel, and erosion than grains planted annually, could be available in two decades, according to researchers writing in the current issue of the journal Science.

Perennial grains would be one of the largest innovations in the 10,000 year history of agriculture, and could arrive even sooner with the right breeding programs, said John Reganold, Washington State University (WSU) Regents professor of soil science and lead author of the paper with Jerry Glover, a WSU-trained soil scientist now at the Land Institute in Salina, Kansas.

“It really depends on the breakthroughs,” said Reganold. “The more people involved in this, the more it cuts down the time.”

Published in Science‘s influential policy forum, the paper is a call to action as half the world’s growing population lives off marginal land at risk of being degraded by annual grain production. Perennial grains, say the paper’s authors, expand farmers’ ability to sustain the ecological underpinnings of their crops.

“People talk about food security,” said Reganold. “That’s only half the issue. We need to talk about both food and ecosystem security.”

Perennial grains, say the authors, have longer growing seasons than annual crops and deeper roots that let the plants take greater advantage of precipitation. Their larger roots, which can reach ten to 12 feet down, reduce erosion, build soil and sequester carbon from the atmosphere.  They require fewer passes of farm equipment and less herbicide, key features in less developed regions.

By contrast, annual grains can lose five times as much water as perennial crops and 35 times as much nitrate, a valuable plant nutrient that can migrate from fields to pollute drinking water and create “dead zones” in surface waters.

“Developing perennial versions of our major grain crops would address many of the environmental limitations of annuals while helping to feed an increasingly hungry planet,” said Reganold.

Perennial grain research is underway in Argentina, Australia, China, India, Sweden and the United States. Washington State University has more than a decade of work on perennial wheat led by Stephen Jones, director WSU’s Mount Vernon Research Center. Jones is also a contributor to the Science paper, which has more than two dozen authors, mostly plant breeders and geneticists.

The authors say research into perennial grains can be accelerated by putting more personnel, land and technology into breeding programs. They call for a commitment similar to that underway for biologically based alternative fuels.”

via Big (Green) Deal: Perennial Grains « F that S.

Posted October 23, 2011 by arnoneumann in agriculture

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John Kufuor helps transform Ghana into a model for African agriculture – CSMonitor.com   Leave a comment

Agriculture as a catalyst for health and social change in Ghana. An excellent prescriptive model.

“Ghana’s transformation over the past decade has made it one of the more politically stable countries in Africa, and, as President Kufuor writes, Ghana has “made some of the greatest progress in reducing hunger, poverty, and malnutrition.”

Kufuor, a recently announced recipient of the 2011 World Food Prize, served as Ghana’s democratically elected president from 2001-2009. In the opening of the report, titled “Ghana’s Transformation,” he writes, “When I became Ghana’s President in 2000, my country needed solutions for hunger, malnutrition, and a host of other problems.”

Kufuor found agriculture to be a catalyst for these solutions. Agriculture is critical to Ghana’s economy, as some 60 percent of the country’s population depends directly on rural agriculture. Kufuor’s administration worked to harness an agriculture transformation to strengthen the nation’s economy.”

via John Kufuor helps transform Ghana into a model for African agriculture – CSMonitor.com.

Posted August 3, 2011 by arnoneumann in Africa, agriculture

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IRIN Africa | GUINEA: Nutrition finds a place in agriculture plan | Guinea | Children | Food Security | Health & Nutrition   Leave a comment

A multifaceted approach to food production , health and nutrition  is especially critical in the early  growing stadges of a child. It is a welcome foresight to view that not just quantity but also nutritional quality of food is being considered.

“Gaps remain in research and data on how agriculture can help boost people’s nutritional status. A 2007 report by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and World Bank said: “Malnutrition remains an urgent global public health concern. Yet the question of how agriculture can most effectively contribute to improved nutrition outcomes remains essentially unanswered.”

One of the paper’s authors, Marie Ruel, director of IFPRI’s poverty, health and nutrition division, says this question is still largely unanswered, partly because any initiatives over the years have not been well documented.

What has changed in the past few years, however, is that many more policymakers, donors and researchers are talking about it, she said. “A lot more people are recognizing that we really don’t have the choice; we have to bring the sectors together, we have to make agriculture recognize better its role in providing not just enough food to feed people but also enough of the quality, nutritious foods, and that these are made more accessible to the poor.”

Agriculture could boost nutrition either by increasing income so a family can purchase more and higher quality food, or by helping farmers produce more nutrient-rich foods. The merits and effectiveness of both are still under study but, IFPRI’s Ruel said, neither approach can be standalone.

Food knowledge

“Having the right foods at the household level, either because you produce them or because you buy them in the market, is not enough; people need to know how to use the food and how to use it for the age groups that are most vulnerable to malnutrition – that is, of course, young children and women of child-bearing age.

“The key to success [in countries that have made progress] has been to press all the buttons at the same time, that is, address the problems in the society that contribute to poor nutrition, while also targeting vulnerable groups with specific nutrition interventions, for example, micronutrient supplementation and promotion of optimal breastfeeding and complementary feeding practices.”

She said the 2007-2008 food price crisis had been a wake-up call about the need to incorporate nutrition into other social sectors. “I think the fact that nutrition was always the orphan and always falling between the cracks is maybe less of an issue now because other sectors are… interested in finding ways to incorporate nutrition in social protection, in agriculture, in education.”

via IRIN Africa | GUINEA: Nutrition finds a place in agriculture plan | Guinea | Children | Food Security | Health & Nutrition.

Posted July 17, 2011 by arnoneumann in Africa, agriculture

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