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From: AJPN <saganewsletter@...
Sent: Wednesday, November 19, 2008 10:15:41 PM
Subject: SAGA Issue No. 58
SA Grassroots Action (SAGA)
A monthly newsletter of the Asia-Japan Partnership Network for Poverty Reduction (AJPN)
November 1-15 - Issue 58
In This Issue
Biopests help fight papaya mealybug
Researchers discover secret to healthy cow milk
Research shows organic farming health benefits
Single organic certification needed
Nitrogen testing could help detect fake organic products
Intercropping betel nuts with other plant species preserve mountain biodiversity in India
Farmers urged to go for 'zero-budget' farming
From the contributors
Announcement AJPN is a regional network committed to contribute to the reduction by half of the Asian people living in poverty by 2015 and improve their quality of life in support to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Biopests help fight papaya mealybug
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has developed a biological control program to help fight mealybug that has been devastating papaya plantations in Bogor, Indonesia.
Mealybug is considered polyphagous --- it feeds on many things.
The pest not only lives on papaya but also to over 60 species of plants such as cassava, papaya, beans, eggplant, melons, pepper, sweet potato, tomato, citrus, and mango.
On papaya plants, the mealybug infests all parts of the young leaves and fruits, mostly along the veins and midrib of the older leaves.
Young leaves become crinkly while older leaves turn yellow and dry up. Terminal shoots become bunchy and distorted. Affected trees drop flowers and fruits.
Mealybug also secretes a honeydew-like substance that turns into a thick sooty mold growth, making the fruit inedible and unusable for the production of papain.
A study at the US APHIS found three parasitoids or parasitic wasps that can fight mealybug.
These natural enemies are being cultured in a laboratory in Puerto Rico and are offered free to countries that request them.
The use of parasitoids has been very effective in Caribbean countries, in Latin American countries and in Florida, Guam and Palau.
Researchers discover secret to healthy cow milk
Cows that graze on organic farmland are producing better quality milk that contains higher beneficial fatty acids, antioxidants and vitamins, researchers from the Nafferton Ecological Farming Group found.
Gillian Butler, livestock project manager for the Nafferton Ecological Farming Group at Newcastle University and the study's leading proponent explained that nutritionally desirable fatty acids and antioxidants are highest during the summer, when the cows are eating fresh grass and clover.
The research confirms that there are higher concentrations of omega 3 fatty acids in milk from organic production than conventional ones.
Organic milk provides an alternative, natural way to increase intake of nutritionally desirable fatty acids, vitamins and antioxidants without increasing the intake of less desirable fatty acids and synthetic forms of vitamin E.
Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E and carotenoids have all been linked to reduce risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer.
The study involved 25 farms in the UK.
The scientists studied three different farming systems: conventional high input, organically certified, and non-organic sustainable (low-input).
source Research shows organic farming health benefits
Farmers practicing organic agriculture are less likely to incur medical expenses, a researcher said.
Japan-based Asia Development Bank senior research fellow Sununtar Satboonsamg said that farmers of organic produce are in better health because of less exposure to chemicals.
Organic agriculture also has better water management system that prevents diseases.
Satboonsamg said that in a research in Thailand, she found that organic farming areas have fewer cases of malaria.
Governments encouraging organic farming have also less public health expenses.
She added that practicing organic farming has its many benefits. Organic farming promotes family values and balance gender equality.
"The dependence on family labor in most cases leads to increased awareness on gender equality," she said.
With higher income from organic farm activities, parents are able to send their children to schools.
Satboonsamg said that organic farming also resulted in a more diversified food production system, and help restore traditional and indigenous knowledge.
source Single organic certification needed
Participants in the recently concluded Organic Asia Conference held in Malaysia called for a single accreditation certification system for organic products worldwide.
Countries have different certification standards that organic exporters follow.
"In this situation the exporting countries have to follow what has been decided by the importing country and this is a form of colonization," Certification Alliance member Vitoon Panyakul said in an interview.
Certification Alliance is a private institute providing integrated services to small-scale producers.
Tadeu Caldas, from a German-based consultancy, said that the proliferation of different certification standards has already created "bad certification".
He added that there are countries that are resorting to manipulating facts and evidence to help farmers pass certification standards.
On a related note, Caldas reiterated that farmers should go beyond complying with standards.
He said that the aim of organic agriculture is to create sustainable and healthy agriculture practices, and building a productive and dynamic agro-ecosystems and landscapes.
source Nitrogen testing could help detect fake organic products
Nitrogen isotype test can be used to detect synthetic fertilizers and thus be used to provide evidence against fraudulent organic food claims.
A study made at the University of East Anglia in England has found levels of nitrogen isotopes composition in some conventional and organic crops which could be used to identify the validity of organic produce.
The study collected commercial organic and conventionally grown tomatoes, lettuces, and carrots that are grown organically and conventionally.
Organically grown tomatoes on average were found to have nitrogen isotope levels higher than the conventionally grown samples of the product. The same finding was found on lettuces and carrots.
"We strongly advocate that end product tests such as the nitrogen isotope approach cannot and should not be thought of as a replacement for organic certification and inspection schemes," the study explained.
"However, it is our view that any analytical techniques that assist in protecting consumers from fraud and help to protect the interests of all honest growers should be viewed positively.
source Intercropping betel nuts with other plant species preserve mountain biodiversity in India
Intercropping areca palms with other plant species such as vanilla, pepper, bananas and coconuts help retain biodiversity of Western Ghats, a mountain range in south-west India, a study showed.
The areca palms plantations also rely on mulches made from leaf litter deposited in nearby forests.
Researcher Jai Ranganathan of Stanford University said that this method of agriculture provides an ecologically-friendly home to different flora and fauna.
Areca palm fruit, often referred to as betel nuts, are used in medicines but is mostly chewed along with betel leaves as a mild, coffee-like stimulant that stain people's teeth in red.
The practice of chewing betel nuts is widespread in India and its neighbors, in Taiwan, and in parts of South-East Asia and Melanesia.
The study aimed to look into other farming methods that are in harmony with the conservation of biodiversity.
Ranganathan said that despite being cultivated for 2,000 years, Western Ghats remains a biodiversity hotspot because of the local practice of intercropping areca palms with other plant species.
source Farmers urged to shift to 'zero-budget' farming
Farmers in India complained in a forum that they have been suffering from unreasonable prices for their farm produce.
Farmers explained that they have been spending more for their land but get less income for their products. This forced many of them to live and die in debt.
To avoid this, natural farming expert S. Singaravadivelu said that they should shift to zero-budget natural farming, an alternative to chemical and even to organic farming methods.
He said that chemical-based farming pollutes the environment while vermin compost used in organic farming removes the humous in soil.
In zero budget-natural farming, a farmer can cultivate 30 acres of land using one desi cow, he said.
Singaravadivelu said that farmers may also try cultivating horticultural crops, and other farming activities such as diary farming, sheep rearing and poultry.
source From the contributors
Cultivating vegetables in earthen basins gives hope to villagers
M M Mahbub Hasan
Project Coordinator, Coastal Development Partnership
Cultivating vegetables on large earthen basins has given the landless and unemployed people from the Bagdanga, Keshabpur Upazilla of Jessore district a new hope.
Acres of lands in Keshabpur, Monirampur, Jhikorgacha, Sharsha, Tala, Kalaroa and Fultala upazillas of Khulna, Jessore and Satkhira districts of Bangladesh have been flooded for several years creating tropical diseases, unemployment problem and massive migration.
The villagers cultivate vegetables such as pumpkin, cucumber, tomato, chili, puishak, ustay and jhinga then sell their produce to the local market giving additional income to the families.
About 30 kg of Puishak, 8-10 kgs Ustay, and 25-30 pieces of Jhinga are grown for three months in earthen basins. The people use cow dung, lime, ashes and maheguni seeds as fertilizers. The villagers sell the produced vegetables in the local market
The project called Initiative to Strengthen Peoples Movement to Ensure Economic Justice was initiated by the Coastal Development Partnerships (CDP) with the help of Acton Aid Bangladesh and the Panjia Samaj Kallayan Sangstha.
Mr. Babor Ali, director of Panjia Samaj Kallayan Sangstha, said that he plans to replicate the project in nine unions of Keshabpur Upazilla.
CDP and its partner organizations aim to promote the indigenous knowledge to ensure food security in the Khulna-Jessore Drainage Rehabilitation Project (KJDRP) of ADB-affected waterlogged areas.
For complete information and questions on the story, contact the author through:
Coastal Development Partnership
55/2 Islampur Road, Khulna-9100, Bangladesh
Research, Coordination & Networking Office: H # 12/A, Rd # 02, Shyamoli, Dhaka-1207, Bangladesh
Phone: +088 041 810573 (Khulna), +088 01916033444 (Dhaka)
Contact e-mails: tutucdp@...
Events & Announcements
Call for tender
IFOAM is looking to commission a Desk Study on How Organic Agriculture can effect the Participation and Empowerment of Women. Deadline for tenders: December 5th, 2008. For details, check http://www.ifoam.org/
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