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In print

Enabling Innovation
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Enabling Innovation

By Boru Douthwaite
Published by Zed Books
7 Cynthia St., London N1 9JF, UK
2002, 282pp, ISBN 1 85649 972 3(Pb), £15.95

Enabling Innovation is a book motivated by a frustration shared by many who work in the field of technology development. Boru Douthwaite writes from his experiences in Myanmar. In 1995 the authorities, anxious to meet the rising demand for rice, decided that a rice harvesting machine, originally designed by Douthwaite and colleagues at IRRI, would enable farmers to harvest a second crop in the wet season. Using some basic design plans, a machine was constructed which appeared to do the job. The harvester was mass produced and sent to the fields. The end result was a total failure; the machines never worked, and remained rusting in yards. Why? This question was the starting point for the author's research into the process of technology adoption. It is not the first time that this question has been asked but Douthwaite's book provides clear examples to illustrate key elements of adaptation and adoption - lessons that deserve to be repeated.

The basic principles are imaginatively and engagingly explained through the story of two rice drying machines; a 'flash dryer' in The Philippines that failed, and a Vietnamese flatbed dryer which, from humble beginnings, became widely adopted. The author gives a convincing account of how, in a top down, donor funded venture, it may be in everyone's interest - donors, ministry officials, regional staff and even end users - to keep the 'technology transfer' process going even when it is clear that the technology in question is inappropriate or unusable. In contrast, the Vietnamese dryer was a commercial venture from the outset which, through innovative contributions of manufacturers and users, became increasingly useful and adopted.

Douthwaite is also interested in the social dynamics that support innovation adoption. Product users understandably feel a strong sense of ownership towards the technology if they have helped to develop it. As a result they can contribute to its wider adoption, not least from their personal recommendation to others. Rusting machinery is a common sight in both the developed and developing world but a better development process that includes manufacturers and end users should at least ensure that the machines are well used before they are allowed to rust.

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Rural Aquaculture
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Rural Aquaculture

Edited by P.Edwards, D.Little and H.Demaine
Published by CABI Publishing, Wallingford, Oxon, OX10 8DE, UK
Email: cabi@cabi.org
Website: www.cabi-publishing.org
2002, 368pp, ISBN 0 85199 565 9 (Hb), £49.95

The potential for aquaculture to contribute to income-generation and food security is being increasingly recognised in many developing countries. Based on papers given at the Fifth Asian Fisheries Forum in 1998, this collection offers a good overview of recent aquacultural research in Asia. The contributions, based on research programmes in ten Asian countries, in particular Bangladesh and Vietnam, consider: whether there is a need for aquaculture in ricefield systems that are already yielding large amounts of fish; how aquaculture is being integrated with agriculture in lowland rice and upland forest areas; specialist and intensive systems such as fish-cage culture; and different systems for fish seed supply. There is also analysis of some social questions, such as the potential for aquaculture to improve the situation of women, and four chapters covering extension methods, including farmer-managed trials in the Mekong Delta, and experiments with distance extension in Thailand. A good collation of information for those working in the field, and accessibly written for those that are not.

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Community-based Animal Healthcare
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Community-based Animal Healthcare: A practical guide to improving primary veterinary services

Edited by Andy Catley, Stephen Blakeway and Tim Leyland
Published by ITDG Publishing, 103-105 Southampton Row, London, WC1B 4HL, UK
Email: itpubs@itpubs.org.uk
Website: www.itdgpublishing.org.uk
2002, 368pp, ISBN 1 85339 485 8 (Pb), £9.95

Setting up sustainable community-based animal healthcare projects is a huge challenge but one which has been increasingly attempted since the late 1990s. Writing a useful book on the subject is no less a challenge and this 'practical guide' is an inspiration. 'Getting started' describes the process of information gathering in the community, including training for veterinary staff in participatory appraisal, who should be consulted, and what information will be needed. A careful review will need to be made of existing animal health services, their strengths and weaknesses, and how different groups may be affected by a new system of community health workers. From the outset, the financing of the system will also need to be discussed, since many systems fail once external supports are removed.

Subsequent sections focus on the long term perspective, for example how community schemes can get continuing support from government or private vets, pharmacists and trainers, or contribute to policy making processes. There is also coverage of participative and practical methods for training health workers, and processes for monitoring and evaluation. By excellent use of structure, simple language and a wealth of examples from field experience, the writers succeed in compiling a sharply focussed and practical guide in what is potentially a loose and theory-dominated area.

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The World Ahead: Our future in the making
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The World Ahead: Our future in the making

By Federico Mayor in collaboration with Jerome Binde
Published by Zed Books
7 Cynthia St., London N1 9JF, UK
Website: www.zedbooks.co.uk
2001, 496pp, ISBN 1 85649 875 1 (Pb), £16.95 / US$27.50

What are the real trends in the world's population, in poverty and hunger? Are water and energy running out? Are deserts creeping in? Fears inherited from ill-informed hearsay may be dispelled, supported, or changed, but readers of The World Ahead should derive some facts upon which to base their own opinions. The author, a former Director General of UNESCO, gives high prominence to education and training as the basis for sound development. Each section ends with recommendations, although many of these are of a general 'wish list' nature such as the call to "Energize agronomic research and the transfer of technologies and of know-how". If only.

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The Elusive Quest for Growth
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The Elusive Quest for Growth: Economists' adventures and misadventures in the tropics

By William Easterly
Published by The MIT Press Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Email: books@mit.edu
Website: mitpress.mit.edu/bookstore/
2001, 355pp, ISBN 0 262 05065 X (Hb), £20.50

One of the most basic truths of economics, writes Easterly, is that people respond to incentives. But if the goal is deep-rooted, widespread economic growth, the incentives have to be the right ones. For the last fifty years, countless development philosophies and panaceas have failed, because the right incentives have not been found. Donors, for example, have seen it more in their interest to distribute aid money regardless of the benefits accrued, as a way of securing their own budgets in the future. Individuals have been reluctant to boost their income when welfare policies have penalised them for doing so and governments have found it more profitable to redistribute existing wealth in their favour, than to try to generate new wealth.

Easterly's is a strongly personal account of aid and development policies, and their fifty year failure to narrow the gap between rich and poor. Drawing on his experience as an employee of the World Bank, it is both authoritative and anecdotal, thought-provoking and enjoyable. Chapters are interspersed with brief snapshots of life in developing countries, an attempt to remind us of the reality behind the statistics. And while the author accepts that finding the reasons for failure is much easier than finding the solutions to the problem, he has a confidence and optimism that the right incentives can be found and economic progress made.

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Wild Health
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Wild Health

By Cindy Engel
Published by Weidenfeld and Nicolson
The Orion Publishing Group, Orion House 5 Upper Saint Martin's Lane, London UK
Email: info@orionbooks.co.uk
Website: www.orionbooks.co.uk/pub/
2002, 286pp, ISBN 0 297 64684 2 (Hb), £20.00

In Wild Health, Cindy Engel reviews the multitude of ways in which wild animals maintain their health, for example by avoiding poisonous plants and finding natural remedies for parasites and bacterial diseases. From her study she draws important lessons on how humans can support the health of animals in their care. Not surprisingly, Engel is critical of how farm animals are commonly fed, and highlights the consequences of unnatural diets, both in terms of animal and human welfare. But allowing livestock to self-medicate could, she argues, be a way of reducing the cost of medicines and animal losses, and, in doing so, give us better quality food. She cites the example of cattle ranchers in Utah who learned by observing sick animals that providing clay to their herds allowed them to self-medicate against bacteria-induced diarrhoea. Research by the University of Leeds has found that by providing colour coded vitamin C enhanced food to chickens, they quickly learn to self-medicate against heat stress. Further research will be needed to see whether the principle of self-medication could equally apply in reducing other forms of stress, for example from parasitic infestation or high humidity. This overview of the emerging science of 'zoopharmacognosy' will be of great interest to veterinarians and all concerned with livestock welfare.

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Horse Healthcare: A manual for animal health workers and owners
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Horse Healthcare: A manual for animal health workers and owners

By David Hadrill
Published by ITDG Publishing 103-105 Southampton Row, London, WC1B 4HL, UK
Email: itpubs@itpubs.org.uk
Website: www.itdgpublishing.org.uk
2002, 244pp, ISBN 1 85339 486 6 (Pb), £10.95

A comprehensive and practical guide to horse and donkey healthcare, written in non-technical language and well illustrated for ease of understanding. As well as advice on prevention and treatment of all common illnesses and injuries, there are also sections on how to restrain horses, check for health, and give medication. There are also clear indications of when professional help should be sought. The book will be of great value to animal health workers and owners, particularly in areas where veterinary facilities are scarce.

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Listen to the Cradle: Building from local dynamics for African renaissanceListen to the Cradle: Building from local dynamics for African renaissance

By Dominique Hounkonnou
Published by the author
For more information contact D. Hounkonnou
2001, 263pp, ISBN 90-5808-580-5(Pb)

Listen to the Cradle explores how local groups of rural people in three West African countries - Benin, Burkina Faso and Ghana - have become important forces for development. Thus the book is a plea to national governments in Africa, and to the wider development community, to realise that lasting success in development is possible if local people are allowed to determine the process. The case studies indicate that success is much more likely to come when local people are the initiators of an activity. Examples include a group of young people in Burkina Faso who started raising funds through gardening work in order to replace a burst football. They continued their work, and have become a dynamic group of young adults setting up a local radio station and building a college for local children. Successful initiatives evolve to meet changing needs, and this has implications for any external organisations that seek to work through local groups. They too must be flexible, prepared for long term contact, and not hope for quick fix solutions. The final chapters of the book, which is essentially a PhD thesis, consider how local initiatives can be linked with each other, and with larger bodies, in order to spread their success.

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Environmental Change and the Autonomous Control of Tsetse and Trypanosomosis in Sub-Saharan Africa Environmental Change and the Autonomous Control of Tsetse and Trypanosomosis in Sub-Saharan Africa

By David Bourn et al.
Published by Environmental Research Group Oxford
Copies available from DFID Animal Health Programme Office
Centre for Tropical Veterinary Medicine
University of Edinburgh, Easter Bush, Roslin Midlothian,
EH 25 9RG, Scotland, U.K.
Email: ahp@vet.ed.ac.uk
Website: ourworld.cs.com/ergowww/
2001, 275pp, ISBN 1 898028 05 2 (Pb), £10 (free for students and developing countries)

The most effective mechanism controlling the prevalence of tsetse flies and trypanosomosis over the last fifty years has been unintended. Human population growth, agricultural expansion and hunting have robbed the insect vector of its natural home and restricted the reservoir of disease in wildlife populations. In addition, the disease has evolved to become a less acute, survivable condition. Such at least, is the evidence offered by this review, based on five case studies from West, East and Southern Africa. Given that further population growth is likely to lead to a greater marginalisation of the disease in future, what bearing should this have on control strategies? For instance, will treatment of the infection in livestock and people be a more effective approach than vector control methods, which have largely failed to have an impact on infection rates in the past? Perhaps the most important conclusion from the review is that interventions at an individual or community level will only be sustainable in places where livestock farmers genuinely regard trypanosomosis as a significant problem and priority in comparison with other diseases and livelihood constraints.

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Principles of Tropical Agronomy
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Principles of Tropical Agronomy

By S.N. Azam-Ali and G.R. Squire
Published by CABI Publishing Wallingford, Oxon OX10 8DE, UK
Email: cabi@cabi.org
Website: www.cabi-publishing.org
2002, 256pp, ISBN 0 85199 136 X (Pb), £25.00

A serious but straightforward and readable textbook for students of crop science, this book is concerned with the principles by which crop management can influence how plants use environmental resources. Part I explains the impact of two basic resources on plant growth; solar radiation and water. How, when and why different crops and cropping systems respond to and use environmental resources are discussed in Part II and Part III covers management of water, nutrients, etc. This final section also provides a brief historical analysis of crop development, discusses future opportunities particularly in view of advances in information technology and molecular biology, and puts forward a plea for more scientific attention to be given to minor crops.

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Pastoralism in the new millenniumPastoralism in the new millennium

FAO Animal Production and Health Paper 150
Published by FAO Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy
Email: publications-sales@fao.org
Online catalogue: www.fao.org/catalog/giphome.htm
2001, 93pp, ISBN 92 5 104673 5 (Pb), $14

Pastoralism, as this concise review makes clear, is facing threats from many angles: new technologies are allowing agriculture to expand onto marginal areas that were once too barren to support crops; increased global trade in livestock products is taking markets once fed by local pastoralists; and concerns about biodiversity conservation are leading to more rangelands becoming protected areas. Pastoralists, by their very nature as nomadic outsiders, tend to have little political influence, and few governments have the political will to defend pastoralists' interests against those of urban populations. This FAO paper summarises the history and nature of pastoral systems across the globe, including systems of grazing, breeding and health, the marketing of livestock products and ways of reducing the vulnerability of pastoralist communities. It also recommends some directions for future policy, including support for greater integration with crop farming, and closer links between pastoral production and other interests such as environmental conservation and ecologically sensitive tourism.

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