The New Agriculturist - Reporting Agriculture for the 21st Century


Simply Hibi, directly increasing the incomes of hundreds of Ugandan farmers.When the fields around Lake Kyoga in central Uganda turn pink, it signifies the onset of the Hibiscus (Hibiscus sabdariffa) harvesting season. With the help of an innovative British farmer, a lucrative market for the calyces of the flower, has been found in the form of a new organic health drink Simply Hibi.

Small Tail sheep, found in China, are one of hundreds of indigenous species under threat (credit: ILRI)One billion people around the world are involved in livestock farming and 70 per cent of the poor are dependent on livestock. But many indigenous breeds are under threat leading researchers to call for the urgent establishment of genebanks to conserve them.

Villagers from Velchal check the jatropha cropJatropha, the oilseed-bearing tree, is at the centre of a new initiative to rehabilitate wasteland in rural India and improve the livelihoods of landless villagers. Renowned for its ability to withstand harsh conditions, and its growing popularity as biofuel feedstock, the crop has given the barren lands around Velchal village, Andhra Pradesh, a new lease of life.

Bird's eye chillies are a relatively new crop to Rwanda, but they have a well-established market in developed countries (credit: Identity Africa)Production of cassava flour and bird's eye chillies is helping smallscale farmers in Rwanda access lucrative European markets. With the help of several organisations, smallholders have been able to earn income above and beyond subsistence farming.

Rice is central to Japanese culture and traditionA new satellite-controlled rice planting machine is one of the latest developments from the Furukawa Agricultural Research Centre in Japan. Able to turn corners and plant neat rows of rice, scientists hope the invention will help make Japanese farms more efficient.

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November 2007