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Understanding the business of coffee

Matap Embaku, Chairman of Mainland Holdings Ltd

The world is difficult to imagine without coffee. In Europe in particular, in the coffee houses and cafes lining the streets of every city, or on the crowded streets of commuters making their way to work, the drink is often an essential part of everyday routine. But from the bean to the coffee cup, there is a long process of growing, quality testing, buying and selling. For one co-operative of farmers in Papua New Guinea, the process has yielded a success story. Georgina Smith spoke to the Directors of the co-operative Mainland holdings, and sent this report. Understanding the business of coffee explores what they have done right. What can farmers in Africa learn from them?
Audio link: http://www.agfax.net/radio/detail.php?i=21
Article: Matap Embaku of Mainland Holdings coffee company

Getting the best from bamboo

Professor Chin Ong is passionate about the potential of bamboo

Bamboo is a highly useful plant, providing poles and timber for roofs, scaffolding, fencing and furniture, as well as many craft items. But it can also play a very valuable environmental role. Its complex root system, for example, can act as a fantastic water filter, removing nutrients and dangerous poisons such as heavy metals. As such, bamboo could have a lot to offer in slum areas, where it can be used to clean up waste water. And bamboo is also an excellent material for making charcoal. On the shores of Lake Victoria, bamboo charcoal is being used to smoke fish, reducing the pressure on forest resources. Professor Chin Ong has been working on bamboo in Africa for many years. In Getting the best from bamboo, he explains some of the lesser known values of this amazing plant to Susie Emmett.
Audio link: http://www.agfax.net/radio/detail.php?i=99
Article: African bamboo ready to boom

New markets for African Plum

Safou on sale at a local market in Cameroon (credit: Honoré Tabuna)

The African Plum is the most widely eaten fruit in Central Africa. Known locally as safou, it is described as having a flavour that is both nutty and tangy, and is usually boiled or roasted before being eaten as a paste with plantains or fufu porridge. However, it is also possible to make a number of higher value products from the fruit, including cosmetic oil, cooking oil and crisps or chips. In addition, there are also strong markets for the fresh fruit within the region, as well as internationally. In Cameroon, the World Agroforestry Centre is working with safou growers, traders and processors to improve the marketing of the fruit. This has involved encouraging farmers to grow specific types of safou that meet the varying needs of processors, and supporting the establishment of growers and traders associations.
Audio link: http://www.agfax.net/radio/detail.php?i=107
Article: Branching out - safou goes global

New Agriculturist podcast 2007-4

Transporting fodder for urban dairy - Hyderabad

A good idea can make a world of difference: agricultural progress very often depends on someone's clever thought. But what does it take to nurture good ideas - whether from farmers or researchers? The idea - so to speak - of this edition's podcast is to get to grips with where good ideas come from and what it takes to apply them for the benefit of others. Susie Emmett and Susanna Thorp both report from South Africa: from the Eastern Cape, where four former workers of a failed flower farm had the bright idea of running it themselves, and from Johannesburg, where researchers and farmers from across southern Africa recently gathered to share ideas on how to have more of them.
Audio link: http://wrenmedia.jellycast.com/files/audio/07-4_podcast.mp3
Article: Editorial

Wetland management: a shared responsibility

Wetland management: a shared responsibility

Who is responsible for managing natural resources, such as forests, land and rivers? Should local communities be in charge of decision-making or government offices? Or is the best approach to split the responsibility, putting some decisions in the hands of professionals, and others at the discretion of the people whose lives are affected? In the wetlands of northern Nigeria, building of dams has had negative impacts on livelihoods in downstream communities. Recently, however, improved communication between those communities and the authorities who manage the dams is offering a much more hopeful future. Wetland management: a shared responsibility highlights how the change has come about.
Audio link: http://www.agfax.net/radio/detail.php?i=109
Article: Nigeria's wetlands - talking their way out of trouble

New Agriculturist podcast 2007-3

New Agriculturist podcast 2007-3

From bleating lambs to clucking poultry, this edition's podcast gets you listening to livestock. And it's not just the animals that have their say. Cattle farmers in Kenya describe the impact of Rift Valley fever on their business, and how they try to keep their animals healthy in the absence of veterinary services. We also hear about Newcastle disease, which can wipe out entire poultry flocks in a matter of days. Help could be on the horizon in the shape of GALVmed, a not-for-profit initiative with a ten-year programme to get the private and public animal health sectors working together. Key aims in Africa include the development and provision of effective and affordable vaccines. So join Susie Emmett on her farm in the east of England, and let her take you on a 10 minute migration through the pastoralist world, where you will learn more about the people, and the issues, that feature in this edition of New Agriculturist.
Audio link: http://wrenmedia.jellycast.com/files/audio/07-3%20podcast.mp3
Article: Editorial

A sweet tooth for organic cocoa

Cocoa beans are dried for export

Organic cocoa farmers can get a price premium of between 10 and 40 per cent. However, cocoa faces some serious pest problems. Dr Anthony Cudjoe of Ghana's Cocoa Organic Farmers' Association(COFA) and cocoa farmer Francis Acquah talk about the rising demand for organic cocoa, and how organic farmers are protecting their crop.
Audio link: http://www.agfax.net/radio/detail.php?i=97
Article: A sweet tooth for organic cocoa

Breaking China

Twenty five per cent of Chinese apples, and ten per cent of world apple production, come from Shaanxi province (credit: Professor Yanan)

If fertilisers are used too excessively, some is absorbed by the crops, but the rest is washed down through the soil, polluting groundwater that flows into rivers or is used for domestic purposes. Professor Tong Yanan talks to Susie Emmett about the extent of fertiliser over-use in China, and how he and others are trying to change farmers' fertiliser habit in Shaanxi province.
Audio link: http://www.agfax.net/radio/detail.php?i=98
Article: Halting China's fertiliser frenzy

Injecting immunity to East Coast fever

Many pastoralist farmers lack access to affordable and effective vaccines (credit: GALVmed)

East Coast fever, caused by a parasite which is spread in the bite of ticks, is a major disease of cattle in Africa. Annual losses can run to thousands of animals and millions of dollars. Controlling the disease is possible but producing enough vaccine, and having the delivery systems in place is an enormous challenge. Dr Hameed Nuru of the AU-Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources describes the impacts of the disease and how public and private sector organisations are collaborating with the Global Alliance for Livestock Veterinary Medicine (GALVmed).
Audio link: http://www.agfax.net/radio/detail.php?i=102
Article: Galvanising action against livestock disease

Better vaccines for Rift Valley fever

Many pastoralist farmers lack access to affordable and effective vaccines (credit: GALVmed)

To develop an improved vaccine for Rift Valley Fever and to mass produce it at an affordable price for poor livestock keepers, a government research institute and a private pharmaceutical company in South Africa have formed a partnership with the Global Alliance for Livestock Medicinees (GALVmed). Anthony Musoke and Baptiste Dungu describe the Kenyan situation during the recent Rift Valley Fever outbreak, and how they are working together to develop an improved vaccine.
Audio link: http://www.agfax.net/radio/detail.php?i=96
Article: Galvanising action against livestock disease


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