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  • Friday, April 2, 2021 - 7:45am

    The Greater Mahale Ecosystem (GME) with its stunning views and fascinating wildlife along the shores of Lake Tanganyika – the world's longest freshwater lake – must be an exciting region to visit in western Tanzania.

    Considered as an important biodiversity hotspot, GME accounts for 90% of Tanzania’s endangered chimpanzees and over 250 endemic fish species. It is also home to colobus monkeys, giant forest squirrels, numerous bird species and several plant species that are only found in this region.

    But the remoteness of this region – with...

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  • Tuesday, March 23, 2021 - 3:49am

    Yapuchiris are expert farmer-researcher-extensionists on the semi-arid, high plains of Bolivia. At 4000 meters above sea level (over 13,000 feet), seasoned farmers know how to observe plants and animals, clouds and stars, to predict the weather, especially to answer the Big Question on their minds: when will the rains start, so I can plant my crop?

    All of the yapuchiris know some traditional ways of predicting the weather. Some yapuchiris also write their observations on a special chart they have designed with their agronomist colleagues at Prosuco, an organization in La Paz....

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  • Friday, February 26, 2021 - 5:01am

    Chemical or mineral fertilizers have long been touted by agro-industry and by governments as a necessity to feed the growing world population. Sixty years after the start of the Green Revolution, the damage caused to farmland, surface water and groundwater, biodiversity and farmers’ livelihoods has forced policy-makers in India and in the European Union to curb the overuse of fertilizers and encourage more environmentally-friendly ways of farming.

    But fertilizers have also affected immigration in various ways. Immigration can be triggered by political suppression or...

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  • Monday, February 8, 2021 - 6:03am

    Hydroponic farming – a system where plants are grown in water instead of soil – seems too high-tech and costly for smallholders in developing countries. But dairy farmers in the Satara district in the Indian state of Maharashtra have in recent years learnt to successfully produce quality green fodder using a simple low-cost hydroponic system.

    Green fodder is vital to feed livestock. But because of the growing pressure on land and water, producing sufficient green fodder throughout the year is a big challenge to meet the requirements of the huge livestock population...

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  • Monday, January 25, 2021 - 6:36am

    The Mediterranean fruit fly is a worthy enemy. This pest, also known as the medfly, is widespread over the tropics, attacking and spoiling oranges, mangoes and many other fruits. Each female can lay 200 eggs in her brief lifetime—allowing rapid population growth. The medfly damages so much high value fruit, that many people would like to eradicate it entirely.

    The medfly has inspired some bizarre responses, such as spraying suburban Los Angeles with Malathion (insecticide) in the 1980s. Then there is the sterile male technique, which has been used from South America to...

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  • Tuesday, December 29, 2020 - 1:29pm

    A little idea can go a long way. This is what Simon Adriko learnt when he started showing farmer-training videos to residents of the refugee settlements in the West Nile region of Uganda to increase agricultural productivity, improve their livelihood and make them self-reliant.

    With about 1.4 million refugees, Uganda is one of the largest refugee-hosting countries in the world. It has also one of the most progressive refugee policies in the world that enables refugees to become self-reliant and lead a dignified life while in exile. In addition to multiple services, they receive...

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  • Tuesday, December 15, 2020 - 4:04am

    Helping to write a script for a farmer training video on vermiwash triggered my interest in trying it out myself, as I began to wonder if ideas from tropical India could work in temperate Belgium.

    As the video explains, vermiwash is the liquid that is collected after water passes through compost made by earthworms. It is rich in plant growth hormones, micro-nutrients like iron and zinc, and major nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. Vermiwash increases the number of beneficial micro-...

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  • Saturday, December 5, 2020 - 4:25am

    With food supply disrupted by COVID-19, concerns about food security have led to increased interest in growing food at home. This is particularly true for vulnerable communities as indicated by Access Agriculture analysis, which shows that its farmer-training videos promoting backyard farming such as ‘Using sack mounds to grow vegetables’ were among the most popular downloads from its video platform during the COVID-19 lockdown.

     “If we could just grow fruits and vegetables...

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  • Thursday, November 19, 2020 - 2:31pm

    The Panzarawani Community Radio Station, named after the river Panjhra in Dhule district of Maharashtra in Western India, is bringing about a welcome change to marginalised indigenous ethnic communities by broadcasting information on good agricultural practices. Panzarawani reaches around 72,000 listeners in 90 villages.

    “I am pleased that for the first time thanks to Panzarawani, Access Agriculture audio tracks in the Marathi language on low-cost organic farming techniques have been broadcast through radio in Maharashtra to help disadvantaged communities,” said...

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  • Friday, October 30, 2020 - 3:47pm

    Gooseberries were my grandmother’s favourite.

    All different varieties - with fruits of varying colour, shape and crispiness – lined the pathways of her tiny backyard garden in western Flanders. Over the span of her life, she had steadily collected them by exchanging cuttings with friends, neighbours and other amateur horticulturists. Having nursed them into full-grown bushes, she annually gathered buckets-full of succulent berries from them – to be turned into the most appetizing jams, sweets or savoury spirits.

    From...

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