CABI on cotton (part 2): The famous farmer and The compost king

CABI on Cotton part 2 Shahbaz 2

In part one of ‘CABI on cotton’ we heard about 100 Pakistan cotton farmers, as part of CABI’s Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), attending a seminar on integrated pest management. In part two, we hear a couple of success stories from farmers on how taking part in BCI is helping them produce better cotton.

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CABI on cotton (part 1): Farmer seminar on pest management

CABI on Cotton part 1
Meeting of cotton farmers in progress

Cotton. How many of us come into daily contact (literally) with this wondrous natural fiber? Used in a huge array of materials, from the obvious clothing and cotton wool buds, to the less obvious products like cottonseed oils used to make soap, margarine, emulsifiers, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, rubber and plastics, the cotton plant is woven into the fabric of our lives.

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Empowering marginalized communities: Success story of Mr Maula Dad, an apple grower from Balochistan

mauladad2

Balochistan province is famous for producing apples, contributing more than 80% to the total apple production in Pakistan, and therefore has a significant impact on the household income of farmers in the region. However, apples are also prone to infestation by a number of different pests, of which the apple codling moth (Cydia pomonella) is of major concern.

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

Better Cotton
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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Building capacity for greater food security in Pakistan

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Around 30-40% of crops around the world are lost to insect pests thereby affecting the ability of the 500 million small-scale farmers around the world to contribute towards the goal of achieiving zero hunger and ending poverty. Reducing losses by just 1% could feed millions more people but many countries in the Developing World need support to implement biological control programmes to reduce food losses.

As part of CABI’s mission to help farmers grow more and lose less, we have been funded by USAID – via the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) – to help Pakistan improve its sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) systems and therefore open up its fruit and vegetables to more high-end global markets that were previously untapped. Currently these products only contribute 13% of the country’s export but improvements to its SPS capabilities could see this number rise significantly.

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Low salt diets could allow iodine-deficiency diseases to re-emerge

Salt has been used for thousands of years to flavor
& preserve food BUT reliance on fast food, biscuits and tinned goods, with
their hidden salt content, has created for us a high salt diet and with it an
alarming rise in cardiovascular disease.
SaltshakercreditPHILandamandamillls_cropped3

Reducing our salt intake, by working
with food industry and educating the public (World Salt Awareness Week), should
counter this disease epidemic.  BUT take this too far, and could an old
disease re-emerge? I speak of iodine deficiency in the diet, which can cause abortion,
stillbirth, goitres, mental retardation & birth defects: iodized salt
solved it.

WHO recommend universal salt
iodization for developing countries as a simple, safe and cost-effective
measure to address iodine deficiency, and many developed countries follow this
too. 

                                                                        Image: Amanda Mills, USDA. 

People afraid of salt so a disease re-emerges or is unaddressed?

If we ever needed
a reminder of the importance of iodized salt & public attitudes to health, you
only had to read “salt
rumors add to health crisis in pakistan
” (Washington Post).

A fuller discussion of these issues can be found in the March issue of Global Health Knowledge Basealong with the latest research on iodine
deficiency and salt iodisation.

 

 


 

 

 

 

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Is artisanal salt healthier than commercial salt?

 Guest
blogger, Henry Ko, health services researcher with SingHealth,
Singapore, provides a personal commentary on issues raised by Mark
Bitterman
's book  on salt: “Salted: A manifesto on the world’s most
essential
mineral, with recipes
”.

 As a
healthcare researcher with both professional and recreational interests in
food, nutrition, and cooking, I was drawn to a book I casually found whilst
scanning a bookstore shelf in the cooking section called “Salted: A manifesto
on the world’s most essential mineral, with recipes
”. The writer is ‘selmelier’, Mark Bitterman.  

Salted-Cover-Bitterman-from-author  Image: Mark Bitterman


For a book in
the cookbook section, I found it highly enlightening and detailed, almost like
a scientific textbook on salt. Make no mistake, this is not a regular cookbook.
It is a book with three sections that (1) highlights human’s history with salt,
especially the production of salt and culinary traditions of using salt, (2)
has a section on identifying all the many different types and features of
artisanal salts, and finally (3) a section with recipes for cooking and using
salt for food (e.g. seasoning, curing).

What I learnt
about the salt industry really opened my eyes. Some of the
points highlighted in the book and by skeptics of the salt industry in the
public, match – that there appears to be an agenda by big industry to sell iodised salt.

Editor's note:

You can read the full article  by Henry Ko in the March issue of Global Health Knowledge Base, along with the latest research on
iodine deficiency and salt iodisation.

Also relevant to the debate is "Salt, could it be implicated in autoimmunity?"(CABI's Nutrition and Food Sciences),
reporting on two animal studies in Nature two weeks ago.

Related articles 

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Eat less salt but make sure it contains iodine
Govt promotes use of iodised salt in far-west
Preserving Food: Traditional Method
Finding the Right Salt
Foods aimed at toddlers loaded with salt, study finds
It Had to Happen: CT'ers Go After Iodized Salt
Salty ain't healthy