Sentimentality stifling youths’ agricultural future

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Photo: Steve Mbogo

I know from personal experience it’s difficult for parents to let go of things they’ve cherished for years – for my dad, it’s broken antique chairs that he insists he’ll fix when he ‘has a spare moment’… i.e. never. ‘What’s the link between clutching on to family objects and youth engagement in agriculture,’ I hear you ask?

Projecting such forms of sentimentality towards traditional crops is stifling youths’ economic prospects in agriculture.

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Overcoming cotton insect/pests through Natural Enemies Field Reservoir (NEFR) technology in Pakistan

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The CABI team at Mr Ahmad’s farm where he installed NEFR technology

Cotton is one cash crop of Pakistan which is attacked by a number of pests including sucking (aphid, jassid, white fly) piercing (mites), cutting (white ant) and chewing (boll worms). Izhar Nabi Sehto of Kurkuli village, district Sanghar of Sindh province, said the only option that comes readily to the farmer’s mind when looking for a control and management solution is pesticide.

But CABI in Pakistan, under the Better Cotton Initiative project, is providing training to farmers to help bring a change in their traditional approach to pest control and management. CABI recommends the use of more environment-friendly practices such as light traps, sticky traps and pheromone traps but above all is use of the Natural Enemies Field Reservoir NEFR technology.

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Plant Parasitic Nematodes – the world’s most important crop pathogen?

By Richard Sikora, Danny Coyne, Johannes Hallman and Patricia Timper

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Plant parasitic nematodes – overlooked, neglected, little known and mostly out of sight; surprising then that they cause billions of dollars’ worth of damage to global crop production annually.  In the tropics and subtropics they persistently undermine production, result in massive waste of disfigured and unmarketable produce, and literally plague some crops.

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Reaping a better cotton crop without the use of pesticides

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Kurkali is a small village with 8700 households in Tehsil Sinjhoro, District Sanghar. Most of the farmers in this village are either ‘medium-sized farmers’, having less than 30 hectares of farmland, or small, with a farm size of 1 to 2 hectares. During the summer season, farmers grow cotton followed by seasonal vegetables and wheat. The literacy rate is very low in this area and the majority of the farming community only has education up to primary level.

The combination of small farms, poor yields and high inputs cost is pushing them towards poverty. Compounding this, the intermediaries often cause financial damage (debit) to profit, further dragging them under the poverty line. To improve livelihoods in such areas, farmers seeks innovative technologies to control insect pest and enhancement of soil fertility and professional extension services.

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The palm oil debate continues

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Palm oil fruits. Image credit: tristantan via Pixabay (CC0)

 

Nowadays palm oil has become ubiquitous as an ingredient across our supermarket shelves, from peanut butter to crackers it is in almost everything. It is also found in nearly half of all household products in developed countries. However, this is a relatively recent trend and given that the demand has increased so quickly, you have to wonder how it is being supplied at such a rate. Continue reading

Mapping out ‘Biological control for a healthy planet’ – notes from a China conference

By Dr Sivapragasam (Siva) Annamalai, Regional Director/Plantwise Regional Team Leader at CABI

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CABI staff at the First International Congress of Biological Control, 14-16 May 2018, Beijing, China

More than 1000 biological control researchers and practitioners from 46 countries came together in Beijing, China during the week of 14 to 16 May 2018 to participate in this First International Congress on Biological Control (ICBC-1).

The theme of the Congress was “Biological Control for a healthy planet” and covered a broad range of highly pertinent topics. There were 12 plenary lectures, 15 scientific sessions with 160 presentations and large number of poster presentations.

The Congress was co-hosted by the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS), the International Organization for Biological Control (IOBC) and the China Society of Plant Protection.

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Making progress on the biological management of Red Palm Weevil at KhairPur – Sindh

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By Riaz Mahmood and Naeem-ul-Haq, CABI Central and West Asia (CWA), Rawalpindi

Date palm (Phoenix dactylifera L.) is of high economic importance for livelihood for hundreds of farmers families in Pakistan. Fruit and tree parts are of many uses. Date palm trees are spread over 98,000 hectares across Pakistan making it the fifth largest date producer in the world at 0.7million metric tons, with most orchards found in Sindh and Balochistan.

However, Sindh leads the way producing more than 0.28 million tons annually and the Khairpur district of Sindh is famous for its date palm orchards. Simple dates, dry dates, sweets made of dates and even date pickles are available in various varieties in the district. High quality of date is produced in this area for local consumption and also exported to many countries. Around 85% of these dates are dried and turned into chuhara, the majority of which is exported to India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

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