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New maize virus strikes Uganda

Scientists are gathering data on on MRDV (credit: Morgan Mbabazi)

A virus that causes maize plants to be stunted and have no cobs has been identified in parts of Uganda. Maize rough dwarf virus, first noticed by farmers several seasons ago, is now being studied by plant scientists, so that both short term and long term control measures can be developed. In the meantime, farmers are being advised to pull up and burn any infected plants, in order to slow the spread of the virus, which is carried by leaf hopper insects. In New maize virus strikes Uganda, Dr Godfrey Asea, a senior maize breeder from Uganda's National Crop Resources Research Institute, explains more about the symptoms of the disease and what is being done to tackle it.
Audio link: http://www.agfax.net/radio/detail.php?i=375
Article: Maize rough dwarf virus yet to be an epidemic

Drought-tolerant maize - high yielding and affordable

CIMMYT has called on governments to strengthen community-based seed producers (credit: CIMMYT)

For subsistence and smallholder farmers, buying improved maize seed, such as hybrid varieties, is a gamble. If rains fail, they can lose not only their crop, but also the savings they have invested in the seed. In response, the Drought Tolerant Maize for Africa (DTMA) project is developing open pollinated varieties of maize which have shorter maturity and offer high yields. They are also cheaper for seed companies to multiply, and therefore can be sold at a more affordable price. Wilfred Mwangi of DTMA and Dellings Phiri of Seed Co Malawi discuss the new varieties, and their growing popularity.
Audio link: http://www.agfax.net/radio/detail.php?i=380
Article: African governments urged to increase uptake of drought tolerant maize

Women's right to land - driving agricultural progress?

Customary land tenure systems often favour male interests (credit: © FAO/Walter Astrada)

How would the world be different if men and women had equal rights and access to land? What, for example, would be the impact on agricultural production, food security and poverty? And what steps are needed to strengthen women's rights - by governments, local and traditional authorities and ordinary women themselves? Four delegates at a conference on women's land rights in Africa offer their views on topics such as increasing incentives for women farmers, reform of customary land tenure and strengthening democracy in rural communities.
Audio link: http://www.agfax.net/radio/detail.php?i=381
Article: Women's rights and access to land in Africa

New Agriculturist podcast 2010-5

 (credit: Abdul Majeed Goraya/IRIN)

What impact has agricultural research had in Africa? How can evidence of impact be gathered and presented, and what is needed to turn a good research idea into actual improvements in people's lives? These are questions that will occupy many New Agriculturist readers, and were also under discussion at FARA's Africa Agriculture Science Week. In this podcast, three of the delegates offer their views. We also hear from young farmer Kennedy Chindi, who describes a simple technology that is spreading fast in some of Nairobi's slum areas - growing vegetables in sacks. And from Tanzania, community animal health worker Kapoo Lucumay explains the challenges he has faced delivering East Coast fever vaccine to his fellow Maasai pastoralists.
Audio link: http://wrenmedia.jellycast.com/files/audio/new-ag10-5.mp3
Article: Editorial, Evidence and impact in agricultural research and development, Garden-in-a-sack for urban poor, Fighting East Coast fever - lessons from Maasailand

Vegetable growing in the slums

 (credit: Solidarités)

Slum dwellers generally have little space to grow crops close to their homes. But in some slum areas of Nairobi, a project has introduced the growing of vegetables, such as onions and kale, in sacks. The sacks have a simple but effective design, including a central column of stones which helps plants in all parts of the sack to get water. And to prevent theft of the vegetables, the sacks are stored in a central location which is fenced and guarded. Winnie Onyimbo talks to an agronomist who has helped to introduce the sacks and to one of the growers, to find out more.
Audio link: http://www.agfax.net/radio/detail.php?i=347
Article: Garden-in-a-sack for urban poor

Getting East Coast fever vaccine into use

Over 90,000 cattle were vaccinated in Tanzania in 2009 (credit: GALVmed)

In May 2010, Tanzania formally registered a vaccine against East Coast fever, allowing commercial manufacture and delivery of the vaccine to livestock farmers. The vaccine is very effective, preventing up to 98% of deaths in cattle from the disease. In recent years, the pharmaceutical company Vetagro Tanzania Ltd. has been developing a system to deliver the vaccine among the Maasai cattle herders of northern Tanzania. Company director, Lieve Lynen and animal health worker Kapoo Lucumay, discuss the opportunities and challenges for widespread use of the vaccine.
Audio link: http://www.agfax.net/radio/detail.php?i=359
Article: Fighting East Coast fever - lessons from Maasailand

New Agriculturist podcast 2010-4

Agriculture is more than just farming

Few would dispute that private sector investment is essential if African agriculture is to fulfil its potential. In the podcast we hear from some of those who are championing a greater private sector role in shaping Africa's farming future. From the discussions on how to awaken the 'sleeping giant' of the Guinea savannah, Gem Ardwings-Kodhek and Maja Slingerland offer strong views, including on the 'land grab' issue of foreign investment. The development of export horticulture to meet European quality and environmental standards is advocated by consultant Peter Keniarariti, and Brenda Wandera from the International Livestock Research Institute describes an innovative approach that is enabling livestock farmers in parts of Kenya to insure their animals against the risk of drought.
Audio link: http://wrenmedia.jellycast.com/files/audio/new-ag10-4.mp3
Article: Editorial, Livestock insurance: reducing vulnerability, Sharing belief in LEAF, Africa's agricultural future - large-scale or small?

Grain amaranth - quick maturing and nutritious

1 - IMG_0801 (credit: Pius Sawa)

Despite being commonly regarded as a weed plant, amaranth species are seen by some as a crop for the future. Like many weeds, they can thrive in poor soils and arid conditions, and they produce large numbers of seeds - up to half a million on one seed head. The grain has higher levels of protein and iron than found in wheat or rice. Pius Sawa visits western Kenya to meet farmers who have recently started to grow grain amaranth, both for home consumption and for sale. He finds them upbeat about a crop which is helping them cope with a challenging climate.
Audio link: http://www.agfax.net/radio/detail.php?i=322
Article: Grain Amaranth - the drought-beater

New Agriculturist podcast 2010-3

DSC_0110

This podcast highlights what can be achieved through partnership. From a forest that is home to over 400 species of butterflies, Dr Paul Bosu explains how the Forestry Research Institute of Ghana is partnering with local schools to instil respect for trees and forests among children. In Uganda, Dr Godfrey Asea describes the work of the WEMA partnership, which includes private company Monsanto and international research institute CIMMYT, in developing Water Efficient Maize for Africa. And from the Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development, Sharmila Karki and Namanga Ngongi reflect on the role of farmers in driving the research agenda, and the need for research programmes to have a strong local focus.
Audio link: http://wrenmedia.jellycast.com/files/audio/new-ag10-3.mp3
Article: Editorial, Small steps towards a greener Ghana, Public-private partnerships, The future of agricultural research for development

Agriculture could end poverty in Africa

Rajasthan 23rd Feb 2009 024

Hartmann, director general of IITA, has an exciting vision for farming in Africa. Young people are not interested in farming like their parents and grandparents did. But agricultural products can find a good market in many industries, so increased production can mean higher incomes. This in turn gives the potential for agriculture to modernise, making use of sophisticated equipment and supporting many other jobs. But higher education in Africa needs to change, to produce a new generation of well-trained young entrepreneurs who can drive the modernisation of African farming. He explains his vision to Busani Bafana in Agriculture could end poverty in Africa.
Audio link: http://www.agfax.net/radio/detail.php?i=331
Article: The future of agricultural research for development

 

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