As reported by EcoWatch, the key message of a presentation by David Montgomery, professor of geology at the University of Washington, at the Iowa Organic Conference in November was that Soil Health will be the new foundation of agriculture. His principal advice was:
By adopting three practices — no-till farming, cover crops and diverse crop rotations — farmers worldwide can help preserve the world’s soils, feed a growing global population, mitigate climate change and protect the environment. In summarising, Montgomery said the keys to building soil are to “ditch the plow, cover up, and grow diversity“. The benefits of such conservation agriculture practices, according to Montgomery, are higher profits, comparable yields, less fossil fuel, fertiliser and pesticide use for the farmer, increased soil carbon and water retention and less pollution.
“Using agriculture to improve the land is a total game changer, but needs a different way of thinking“. he said.
Welcome to the Agricultural Policy Research in Africa (APRA) newsletter. APRA is led by the Future Agricultures Consortium (FAC) at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) in the UK. APRA aims to empower women and girls, reduce rural poverty and improve food and nutrition security in sub-Saharan Africa. 2019 not only brings APRA into its third year but will also bring exciting new research findings that will help us on our journey to understand the different pathways to agricultural commercialisation. We will send you updates every three months on our latest publications, blogs, events around the world and more!
The January newsletter enables you to see videos. Milu Muyanga, who is involved in workstream-3 studies, discusses the emerging wave of medium-scale farmers in Nigeria. And Mirriam Matita, Malawi Country Lead, gives a primer on ‘tracker studies’ and an update on APRA’s recent work in Malawi.
Have you looked at our website Events pages recently? Many interesting events are scheduled over the next few months, in the UK and overseas. These are all listed on our website. We apologise for the inconsistency in ‘on-line booking’ procedures and location maps. We are working on these issues.
If members have news or events that they feel would interest fellow-members, and would like posted on our website, please send to the Web Manager
TAA Curry Club Talk, 24th Jan, London
APPG Meetings on 4th& 5th February, London
Vertical Agriculture at RAU, Cirencester on 7th February
ECHO biennial symposium Kenya, 12th Feb
‘Beating Sahel Famine’, Bamako 26th-28th Feb
Animal Husbandry conference Pantnagar, N India 3rd to 5th April
Conference on food security, Cambridge 8th & 9th April
TAA visit to Walpole soft fruit farm, Kings Lynn 10th April
TAA seminar on Agriculture & Biodiversity, 15th May Cambridge.
Your ExCo Needs You …… We appreciate those of you who kindly responded to our request earlier this month and in Agriculture for Development. We shall be taking up your offers of help but meantime, we still need more volunteers to assure the continuity of succession of your ExCo team. We are particularly seeking volunteers for membership secretary and for communications/PR. ExCo meets four times a year, usually in the London area to coincide with TAA events. However, we are now looking at possibilities of holding at least one meeting via a conference call (SKYPE etc).
Please take a look at our current members. If you feel that you could ‘donate’ a few hours of your time to help share the load of ExCo and guide the future of TAA, please send an email to the Web Manager, with an indication of how you could contribute and a very brief CV. Please help us in this 40th Anniversary Year.
The Strand Continental Hotel, which hosts the India Club and where TAA holds its Curry Club Talks, has hit the headlines again. Last year it was threatened by conversion to tourist accommodation. This time, the prestigious National Trust is hosting an audio tour to mark the building’s hidden history. The club was opened in 1951 by Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of India, and Countess Edwina Mountbatten, the wife of the country’s last viceroy.
The original minutes b
ook of the India League declared: “The object of the club should be to promote and further Indo-British friendship, that it should be non-political and that its membership should be on a broad basis.” Reproductions of the minutes and other documents will be on display at the exhibition, which will run from January 30 to March 1. The restaurant on the Strand will continue to serve diners while the event is in progress. Read more from the London Times article
Meantime, the TAA is holding its next Curry Club talk on 24th January: Roger Day of CABI will speak on Fall army worm and the problem of invasive species devastating crops and livelihoods. Lunch will be served and there should be a chance to preview the historic National Trust exhibition! Book your place now through Terry Wiles. See Events Pages for details.
This Review covers the recent development of Conservation Agriculture (CA) for rice-based smallholder farms in the Eastern Gangetic Plain (EGP) and the underpinning research on agronomy, weed control, soil properties and greenhouse gas emissions being tested to accelerate its adoption in Bangladesh. The studies are based mostly on minimum soil disturbance planting in strip planting (SP) mode, using the Versatile Multi-crop Planter (VMP), powered by a two-wheel tractor (2WT). One-pass SP with the VMP decreased fuel costs for crop establishment by up to 85% and labour requirements by up to 50%.
The authors developed strip-based non-puddled rice (Oryzasativa) transplanting (NPT) in minimally-disturbed soil and found that rice grain yield increased (by up to 12%) in longer-term practice of CA. On farms, 75% of NPT crops increased gross margin. For non-rice crops, relative yield increases ranged from 28% for lentil (Lens culinaris) to 6% for wheat (Triticum aestivum) on farms that adopted CA planting. Equivalent profit increases were from 47% for lentil to 560% for mustard (Brassica juncea). Moreover, VMP and CA adopting farms saved 34% of labour costs and lowered total cost by up to 10% for production of lentil, mustard, maize (Zea mays) and wheat. Effective weed control was obtained from the use of a range of pre-emergent and post-emergence herbicides and retention of increased crop residue.
In summary, a substantial body of research has demonstrated the benefits of CA and mechanized planting for cost savings, yield increases in many cases, increased profit in most cases and substantial labour saving. Improvement in soil quality has been demonstrated in long-term experiments together with reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
[Reference: Bell RW, Haque E et al. 2019. Conservation Agriculture for Rice-Based Intensive Cropping by Smallholders in the Eastern Gangetic Plain.Agriculture 9, 5; pp 1-17].
Apologies that this Alert duplicates that posted on Dec 30 2018. See also the discussion paper by John Landers, circulated under TAA Latest News 10th January 2019.
A discussion article by John Landers, a TAA member based in Brazil, with extensive experience of zero tillage, was published in Agriculture for Development 35. As John says: “ I believe Zt rice/wheat to be at take-off stage in the Indo-Gangetic plains. But even more important, I flagged here the albedo effect of rice straw – this cooling effect of increased albedo has been totally sidelined in the debate on Global Warming. The impact of 100% ZT Rice/Wheat could be HUGE if adopted widely in the sub-continent. It would significantly reduce globsl warming, cut irrigation water demand and improve yields. It is a win-win-win scenario waiting to be unveiled”.
The rice–wheat succession predominates on the Indo-Gangetic plains, zero-tillage wheat is now widely adopted and second-generation zero-tillage seed drills are in general use. But, the traditional, water-intensive and high-cost method of rice puddling and transplanting is still almost ubiquitous. New zero-tillage rice technologies have recently been successfully developed by scientists from India, the Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), to substitute the traditional technology for a system using zero tillage in both crops. This paper concentrates on recent results for direct- seeded rice as the most common alternative to puddling, while non-puddled transplanting and direct seeding of pre-germinated rice seed have also had some success. Although yield results have not been consistent for direct-seeded zero- tillage rice, there is consensus on significant water and labour savings and improved incomes.
A list of 15 potential benefits for direct-seeded zero-tillage rice is presented, with a discussion of the facts behind the topics of puddling, non-puddling innovations, weed control, water use and aquifer recharge, soil physical parameters, profitability, improved rotations, labour demands, zero-tillage impacts on the System of Rice Intensification and climate change. A fact summary table facilitates the evaluation of different factors in the elimination of puddling in rice. Recommendations are made on research topics that need to be addressed in direct-seeded rice, especially better weed control, improved upland rice varieties, the extent of aquifer recharge and the straw albedo effect in climate change. A risk assessment evaluation for resource-poor farmers is needed and also an evaluation of the willingness of service providers to make investments in new machinery. Social transfer payments for water saving and more sustainable farming practices are suggested. It is noted that zero population growth is essential to our planet’s sustainability, which will also be threatened by the increasing demands of improved wealth distribution from the Millennium Development Goals. More efficient agriculture and resource use in a stable world population are key to future planetary vitality.
Reference: Landers JN. 2018. Discussion paper on eliminating puddling in rice by using zero tillage.Agriculture for Development,35 (2018) pp 23-30.
The UNFCCC’s“4 per 1,000” programme seeks to create an enabling environment to foster soil carbon sequestration in agricultural and forest ecosystems. Click here to access and download all presentations, documents, posters and videos made on the ‘4 per 1,000 Day’ at the FAO COP24 sessions inKatowice, Poland, on December 13th 2018 (options for French, English, Spanish versions). . One can watch a video of proceedings .[submitted by Paul Luu, Executive Secretary of ‘4 per 1,000’, via Amir Kassam of FAO’s Global CA-COP].
Please note that Martin Kaonga [a TAA member and a member of the Science & Technical Committee of the “4 Per 1,000 Initiative”]will be speaking at the TAA seminar in Cambridge on 15th May, under the title “4 per 1,000 Initiative: is it a myth?”. Why not sign up now to join the seminar and learn more about the ‘4 per 1,000’ initiative?
A recent study shows that introduced, non-native apple snails (Pomacea spp) have quickly spread to many parts of Myanmar through irrigation canals, irrigated fields, rivers, waterways, and waterlogged areas. The snails have become a major pest of the country’s rice industry damaging rice nurseries, direct-seeded rice fields as well as the fields with newly transplanted. Moreover, when the snails become established in rivers and wetlands, they pose a high risk to the sustainability of the areas’ native biodiversity and, in particular, to the survival of endangered species such as the native aquatic plants, fish, amphibians, and birds. Occurrence of snails also reduces the the ecosystem services (such as availability of fresh and good-quality water), thereby reducing the availability of plants and fish as food, and making recreation activities less attractive due to diminished bird and fish populations, and growth of algal bl
The paper reviews means for combatting the snails and concludes that hand-picking offers the most environmentally suitable method and that international collaboration is needed to convert the snails into protein-rich fish feed, which could give the apple snails an economic value to farmers. Reference: Win, AK, Naing, HH & Joshi, RC. 2018. Managing the Spread of Invasive Apple Snails and Possible Utilization in Aquaculture: A Case in Myanmar. Fish for the People, 16, 38-40. Published by the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center.
See also a paper co-authored by Ravi Joshi on Cambodian_invasive_Apple_Snails. Reference: Khay S, Joshi RC and Sastroutomo SS. 2018. Invasive Apple Snails: Integrated Management in Lowland Rice fields of Cambodia and Probing their Utilization in Aquaculture. Fish for the People, 16, 34-37.
[Note that Ravi Joshi is Pacific Region Coordinator for TAA].
As a result, they discovered that it is not just farmers who care about farms being more productive and kinder to the environment. People who may never have set foot on a commercial farm have been getting in touch to say that they care about how soil is managed and how crops are grown because they, like us, are worried about how we’re going to feed the world in the future. With crowdfunding, they plan to build robust robots for commercial trials across the UK in 2021. This includes their no-till digital planting robot Harry, whose prototype was unveiled at Agritech REAP, near Cambridge UK.
The digital revolution is gaining pace, and within five years will be mainstream at scale. Small is for the future.We’re looking forward to you joining the Small Robot revolution!
Members are invited to view our publications on the website. Documents recently uploaded include:
Journals: No. 35, Winter 2018, Agriculture for Development, open-themed edition of our journal.
Lectures: The texts of two recent TAA lectures are now posted on our website. These include the Ralph Melville Memorial Lecture on Agri-Tech by Elizabeth Warham (June 2018) and the Hugh Bunting Memorial lecture on‘Integrating women and youth in climate-smart African agriculture’ by Margaret Najjingo Mangheni (November 2017).
Members‘ Publications: Virgo, KJ. 2018. Questions of Rural Development: thoughts on project monitoring and evaluation. J Agri Horti Res 1, 1-6. Based on paper presented at the Agripace conference in Bangkok, Nov 2018 by Keith Virgo, Chair of TAA. Members are welcome to submit texts of their papers (in pdf) for uploading on the TAA website. Send to Web Manager.
The documents are downloadable (non members will not be able to download the two latest editions of Ag4Dev).
The Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience (CAWR: Coventry University) is driving innovative, trans-disciplinary research on the understanding and development of resilient food and water systems internationally. CAWR is also a member of TAA. Read more about their work. In their recent Newsletter, they report on their work in Tripura State, NE India:
We have been working in Tripura, a NE Indian state, with farming communities who are testing the impact of introducing new crops into their rotations. These participatory experiments are specifically investigating the effect on nutrition, biodiversity, economy and ‘practicality’. Together with researchers, farmers selected new crops to include in their cropping. The aim of the experiment was to test:
Whether growing the crops contributed increased nutrition to the household of the farmer engaged in the trial
Delivered increased biodiversity and environmental benefits in local farms.
The trials were completed in 2018 and farmers are now sharing the results of their experiments. The results will be available in 2019. The work is funded by the Agroecology Fund.
The academic partners are: Coventry University CAWR, University of Calcutta and the Oxford India Centre for Sustainable Development. Read more …..
Roger Day of CABI will speak on this subject of Fall armyworm and the problem of invasive species devastating crops and livelihoods. 24th January 2019.
The Fall Armyworm (FAW) has clearly demonstrated the global problem of invasive species. It is a highly damaging pest in its native Americas, but it unexpectedly appeared in Africa in 2016. Its rapid spread across sub-Saharan Africa has been followed by spread into Asia. CABI’s “Action on Invasives” programme aims to address the situation, tackling high priority species such as FAW as a way of strengthening capabilities of developing countries to respond to the increasing threat from invasive species.
Please join us on 24th Jan at the Strand Continental Hotel, London. Gather at 10.45 for coffee, 11.30 the talk starts, followed by Curry Lunch (£15 per head to cover coffee, venue and lunch). Book your place through Terry Wiles. See Events Pages for details.
This year is very special: 40 years ago, in 1979, members of the former ICTA Association decided to rename their organisation as the Tropical Agriculture Association, which was constituted in the UK. Why not read about our history up to 2015?
We hope to use this 40th anniversary to reinvigorate TAA. We need to recruit more members, so let’s make it a resolution for each of us to recruit at least one new member this year (joining is now very easy, via the new website). We need to ensure that we serve the needs of members, especially our younger members. We also need to decide how best to support and encourage our international branches, as part of an overall strategy for the future.
We are grateful to those members who have already volunteered to help with ExCo and planning 40th anniversary events. If you have ideas on how to promote our anniversary, please send them to the Web Manager . We propose that Ag4Dev37, the Summer 2019 issue of our journal, should be dedicated to celebrating our 40th anniversary. Current ideas include publishing articles on the history of the TAA, influential members of the TAA, institutional members, the evolution of Ag4Dev, highlights of key articles, the future of the TAA, and an index of articles and authors.
We would welcome ideas about how we can do this, and/or volunteers to contribute to this special issue of the journal. Please contact the Coordinating Editor, Paul Harding .
Let’s make this an important year and one that reforms the TAA so that it can prosper over the next 40 years! Good wishes to all, Keith Virgo Chairman, TAA
Leading scientists call for action to increase global soil carbon, in advance of the annual climate summit of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Katowice, Poland (COP24) and World Soil Day (5 Dec).The amount of carbon in soil is over twice the amount of carbon found in trees and other biomass. But one-third of the world’s soils are already degraded, limiting agricultural production and adding almost 500 gigatons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, an amount equivalent to the carbon sequestered by 216 billion hectares of U.S. forest.
Modalities for climate action in agriculture were addressed on 3rd December at the first workshop of the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture, a breakthrough initiative of the 2017 UNFCCC climate negotiations. Read more ………
[As reported in International Union of Soil Science (IUSS) newsletter, Dec 2018]
A group of scientists recently reviewed the Conservation Agriculture research and development work in Bangladesh and synthesized this in a review paper: “Conservation Agriculture for Rice-Based Intensive Cropping by Smallholders in Eastern Gangetic Plain”, which has been published in Agriculture Journal (doi:10.3390/agriculture9010005) on 22 December, 2018. In this review paper on the practice of CA (ie. minimum mechanical soil disturbance, organic soil cover and crop species diversification) by smallholders, the authors concluded that CA is an approach that could improve soil health, decrease crop production costs, increase crop production and profitability in Bangladesh. The paper outlined the development of a form of CA suited to rice-based cropping in small farms, with particular reference to Bangladesh. In this paper, the authors also outlined a roadmap for CA in Bangladesh and recommended some priorities of research, extension and education.
A Jagadeesh, Director, Nayudamma Centre for Development Alternatives, Andhra Pradesh, India, offers thoughts on innovations in the context of India.
Technological advancements help to provide farmers with tools and resources to make farming more sustainable. Technology permits innovations like conservation agricuture, a farming process which helps prevent land loss to erosion, reduces water pollution, and enhances carbon sequestration. In the past natural pesticides from neem (Azadirachta indica), oil from the seeds of custard apple (Annona squamosa), tobacco and moonseed (Tinospora cordifolia) were in use and were environment-friendly but chemical pesticides replaced them. There is a need to revive them, especially as they provide employment at the local level.
He reviews opportunities provided by other innovative approaches: Calotropis as a green manure, Opuntia and Sisal (Agave sisalana) as carbon sinks, multiple uses for water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes), including nutritious ruminant feed, and suggestions for gloves and gum boots for rice planters! Read more
Jerry Hatfield calls a spade a spade! Watch this video, which provides a great message for all farmers around the globe.
Dr. Jerry Hatfield is Director of the USDA National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment. He shared his vision for improving Iowa’s soil health at the SOIL 2018 conference, Drake Law School Agricultural Law Center. Published on 29 October 2018.
We are pleased to announce that Ag4Dev 35 has now been uploaded to our website This is an ‘open-themed’ edition.
The primary contents are:
The 35th Ralph Melville Memorial Lecture: Game-changing technologies for agriculture; Livelihoods and sustainable land management in Ethiopia; Eliminating puddling in rice by using zero tillage; A place for equines in the 21st century; The invasive apple snail in Indonesia; Nematode, mite and insect pests of tamarind.
This is the first full-colour edition prepared by GreenInk, our new printers. The Coordinating Editor apologises on behalf of GreenInk due for delays in printing: the hard copies will not be distributed until 7 January 2019.
This ‘Sourcebook on Agriculture for Teachers and Students in East Africa’, has just been published. The authors are Andrew Coulson, Antony Ellman and Emmanuel Mbiha.
This is an important new book on small farmers in East Africa and the constraints and opportunities they face. It includes chapters on how farmers currently use their land, technologies that could help them to raise their productivity, a comparison of large and small farms, water and irrigation, research, extension, finance, markets, gender myths, and policies for a sustainable agricultural sector. Each chapter ends with one or more practical case studies showing how the principles set out in the chapter have been applied, and recommendations for further reading.
The target audience is students and agricultural teachers and practitioners in East Africa, but the book should be of interest to a much wider audience. Written by three professionals with deep experience of African agriculture (including Antony Ellman who chairs the TAA’s Award Fund), the book can be purchased in UK from the African Books Collective or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
An interesting Research letter by Timothy D. Searchinger, Stefan Wirsenius, Tim Beringer & Patrice Dumas published as a Research Letter in Nature 249, 13 December 2018: Assessing efficiency of land use changes.
The authors propose a carbon benefits index that measures how changes in the output types, output quantities and production processes of a hectare of land contribute to the global capacity to store carbon and to reduce total greenhouse gas emissions. This index does not evaluate biodiversity or other ecosystem values, which must be analysed separately. We apply the index to a range of land-use and consumption choices relevant to climate policy, such as reforesting pastures, biofuel production and diet changes. We find that these choices can have much greater implications for the climate than previously understood because standard methods for evaluating the effects of land use4–11 on greenhouse gas emissions systematically underestimate the opportunity of land to store carbon if it is not used for agriculture.
The world’s largest palm oil trader has unveiled a plan to tackle deforestation that campaigners believe is a “potential breakthrough” in saving rainforests.
Wilmar International, which supplies 40 per cent of the world’s palm oil, has committed to map its suppliers’ entire landbank by the end of 2019.
The company, based in Singapore, will use satellite monitoring to check for deforestation. Companies caught cutting virgin forest for plantations will be immediately suspended from doing business with the company. Read th news item in the London Times.
A deal was done in Katowice, Poland that brought the Paris Agreement to life but failed to give it a certain future.
It also bucked a trend of decline in the multilateral order and gave a much searched-for win to those who wish for global solutions to global problems. The rules adopted were more comprehensive than many had expected to be returned from Cop24.
“Sadly, however, nothing on Conservation Agriculture as a best agroecological approach to regenerative and sustainable Climate Smart Agriculture! There is a mention of ‘avoids ploughing’ under the agroecology section. In 2015/16 CA covered more than 180 million hectares of cropland globally (12.5% of global arable lands) and coverage is increasing at the annual rate of over 10 million hectares since 2008/09. Conservation Agriculture is practiced by all types of farmers in all continents in all land-based agroecologies. Clearly, there seems to be a blockage in understanding and communication somewhere!” Amir Kassam (TAA member).
Promusa reports that banana farming in the French Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique used to rely heavily on pesticides. At least until the 1990s, when a series of bans on pesticides that were used against weevils and nematodes prompted a gradual switch to more sustainable and less damaging alternatives, such as crop rotations, fallows and biological control using pheromone traps.
Malawi Fruits, an institutional member of TAA, is considering a project involving processing tomatoes. During the processing, more than 50% of the fruit becomes ‘waste’ but they see this as feedstock to be used, not wasted.
Malawi Fruits has considered converting the ‘waste’ to fish feed, via black soldier flies, but they have been advised that the product is unlikely to bring farmers sufficient benefits for them to buy the sinking pellets. Instead. Converting the waste into a liquid manure to be used to fertilise ‘green’ fish ponds might bring greater gains. If any member can give advice, please email Charles.
Nominations and selection of TAA honours were coordinated this year by David Radcliffe, who chairs our Honours Panel. Certificates were presented at the AGM by Andrew Bennett, our President, to the recipients of this year’s TAA Honours.
Mark Holderness received the Development Agriculturalist award for championing the views of farmers and their organisations, placing them at the centre of the international research agenda.
Young Development Agriculturalist non-UK based) was awarded to JB Madhukesh, for improving the incomes and livelihoods of farmers in Karnataka, India, through business partnerships linked to capacity building services. (unable to be present)
Awards of merit were awarded to Terry Wiles, in recognition of outstanding support to TAA’s London and South-East Branch programme, and to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Agriculture and Food for Development. And to Brian Sims, in recognition of outstanding contributions, as author, book reviewer andtechnical editor, to the improvement of the TAA’s Journal Agriculture forDevelopment
The Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC),a clearing-house of information on conservation farming practices, has launched its brand-new website at www.ctic.org. The easy-to-search,simple-to-navigate site contains thousands of documents and links toinformation on conservation farming systems.
The TAA’s 40th Anniversary. 2019 will be 40 years since establishment of the TAA. We are planning a series of events to commemorate this. A crucial challenge will be to finalise our strategy to ensure success of TAA for the next 40 years. This will entail changes in the way we fund the TAA, the activities we do, how we govern, and how we communicate – internally & externally. These changes will be based on the views of our younger members, who will guide TAA in future.
The Executive Committee (ExCo). The TAA relies on Executive Committee volunteers to manage the Association for the Charitable Trust. Most have given many years of service, some now wish to stand down to encourage a younger and more gender-balanced team to take. We need new blood and new ideas if the TAA. We plan more virtual ExCo meetings via SKYPE to make it easier for people to participate in meetings.
Volunteers are needed. We seek a volunteer to help with planning and organising TAA’s 40th events. We particularly seek volunteers for Membership Secretary, Treasurer and a new Communications and PR post. We also seek new members as deputies to other posts to facilitate succession planning: Chairman, Coordinating Editor, General Secretary, Branches Coordinator and Institutional Membership.
If you have gained something from TAA membership, perhaps now is an opportunity to volunteer a little of your time to keep the TAA functioning. If you have an interest in helping in any particular positions, or simply as an ExCo member, please now email the Chairman, Keith Virgo. email@example.com.
We are probably at the most crucial crossroad of Humanity’s history. We are changing the Earth’s climate as a result of accelerated human-made Greenhouse Gases Emissions (GHG) and biodiversity loss, provoking other effects that increase the complexity of the problem and will multiply the speed with whichwe approach climate chaos, and social chaos too. Read more about regeneration of soils and ecosystems.
Rob Blakemore, however, argues that when terrain is factored in, then land area increases substantially. The surface area of Earth is effectively doubled, so are biodiversity, biomass and SOC carbon. Our baseline for calculations and proper allocation of resources requires recalibration. His calculations may be somewhat inaccurate, but they are less wrong than current ones and any counter-argument is for a “Flat Earth”.
The Indian Society of Veterinary Animal Health and Extension (SVAHE) is holding a conference at GB Pant University of Agriculture & Technology, on “Livestock Development for Societal Needs: Extension and Allied Sectors Initiatives”,April 2019. The conference will be a platform for all livestock and allied sector professionals, researchers, field veterinarians, entrepreneurs and others to interact and share their experiences and weaknesses. Deliberations will spotlight the quality and productivity of livestock and related enterprises and lead to emergence of concrete recommendations. Visit the Events pages for full details.
The University of Birmingham has commenced long term forest research into the dynamic response of forests to environmental change, including climate change, which is only partially understood. To increase understanding, BIFor has built a Free-Air Carbon Dioxide Enrichment (FACE) experiment, set in mature, unmanaged, temperate woodland. It is located on private land in their Staffordshire UK University campus.
Please find a new paper from southern Africa assessing the valuable contribution of spiders in Conservation Agriculture (CA) systems. This was a collaborative effort by CIMMYT Zimbabwe with the University of Chinoyi. The results may be particularly relevant for future research on biological control measures for the Fall Armyworm FAW.
“The present study confirmed our first hypothesis and showed that no-tillage increased abundance of some predatory ground wanderers (Lycosidae and Gnaphosidae) and plant wanderers (Thomisidae), whilst also increasing spider diversity. Moreover, our results partly supported the second hypothesis and found increased abundances of Lycosidae, Gnaphosidae and Thomisidae in mulched plots”.Read the full paper.
Videos & presentations are now available for the ECHO 25th annual International Agriculture Conference, which featured many exceptional speakers, opportunities for networking and hands-on training. For those of you who were unable to attend this year, or for those wanting to review the material presented we are excited to announce that the videos of the plenary sessions are available now for everyone to see. ECHO Asia & East Africa are institutional members of TAA.
NOTE: Regarding those Nigerian hoes [News 7th Dec], Paul S has indicated a possible home with the ethnographic collection of the Anthropology Dept at Durham University.
“My father worked as a Tropical Agriculturalist in Nigeria, West Africa, for most of his life. When he died, he left about 12 transpierced agricultural hoes. My sister and I are keen to find a suitable ‘home’ for them and wondered if anyone in the TAA would be able to offer any suggestions. Catherine F”
If anyone has any suggestion, perhaps a museum, please contact the Web Manager
ABC News in Western Australia reports growing interest in soil microbes, and not just from organic farmers. Internationally-recognised soil scientist Dr Christine Jones travels the world giving talks on the benefits of the microscopic organisms and how they can help improve the quality of your crop — whether it be on the farm or in the garden. She said with healthy soil biology, plants have been shown to become more resilient to frosts and diseases. Soil microbes are the probiotics of the plant world.
In addition, soil becomes less susceptible to weeds and it ends up costing less for the farmer or gardener, without the added costs of inputs. Dr Jones, who has been studying microbes and giving talks for 40 years, said over the past two years interest had gone through the roof. Read more …..
TAA-India is planning to organise “Small Group Discussion-Series” (SGDS) on current global and regional issues in the areas of rural livelihood, agribusiness, conservation agriculture, environment conservation and land husbandry focusing for policy and/or action support. In addition to TAA members, key professional/ specialist non-members will be invited to participate in the SGDS. Thus the learning will be shared to the wider audience.
Initially, SGDS-1 is planned to be organised in Delhi, tentatively during first half of February 2019. However the criteria for the selection of location will be decided across the country on the basis of interest and priority of the respective members. The institutional members of TAA-India are requested to come forward with some modest financial support to organise SGDS. All TAA-India members are also requested to suggest the contacts who can be approached for small financial support.
The suggestions from members will be highly appreciated, including possible invitees. It is also requested to suggest the theme for SGDS-1 to be organised in February 2019. Please respond to Girish Bhardwaj, India Organiser
Many high-volume industrial processes exhibit efficiencies at large scale that decrease inputs per unit of production. The more widgets you make, the more efficiently you can make each one. But agriculture is different. A 1989 a National Research Council study concluded that “well-managed alternative farming systems nearly always use fewer synthetic chemical pesticides, fertilizers, and antibiotics per unit of production than conventional farms.”
MYTH 3: CONVENTIONAL FARMING IS NECESSARY TO FEED THE WORLD
Comparing crop yields on conventional farms to those on organic farms, where cover crops were planted and crops were rotated to build soil health. the yield gap was below 10 percent.
Annual Trustees’ Report for July 2017-June 2018, This is available on the website . We ask members to read it before the AGM on December 11th, when the Chairman will update progress since July and discuss plans for the year ahead.
TAAF Workshop, A successful one-day workshop, bringing together returned TAAF awardees, was held at University College London on 9th November. The aim was to enable awardees to discuss their fieldwork experiences, and to discuss future career opportunities with experienced TAA members. You can read more under ‘TAAF News’
Members’ Login. A new button has been added to the top right corner of the website to make it easier for members to log in, review their profile and access topics such as Vacancies, institutional members, etc.
Events announcements. Future Events can be viewed on the website . Unfortunately, on the new website, adding an event will not automatically initiate an email alert. We will post important ones under ‘TAA News‘ but we ask members to keep a check the events pages regularly for new additions.
The event will include our AGM, a review of activities during the year and a look to the future, by the Chairman, a short presentation by a TAAF Awardee and then awards to the recipients of the TAA 2018 Honours for Development Agriculturalist 2018, Young Development Agriculturalist (Overseas) 2018 and Awards of Merit. Our Development Agriculturalist 2018 will speak. We are delighted that our Young Development Agriculturalist (Overseas) 2018 will be joining us from India and will briefly describe his work. This will be followed by our social evening, with hot buffet dinner.
We hope that this will be an enjoyable event, a chance to learn about what TAA is doing, to meet those who have been given honours and to catch up and interact with each other. The cash bar will be open and there will be a raffle of prizes. Members, spouses and friends are very welcome. Please join us to make the evening a success.
You are requested to book your place as soon as possible through Elizabeth Warham, there will be a £25 per person charge to cover room and facility hire and a hot buffet dinner, payable at the door.
In order to strengthen the links and to promote transfer of technologies among the Conservation Agriculture community of the region, the organisers have uploaded all presentations and materials to the cloud. You can find the materials for the ICCA-2018, click here.
The Science-Policy Interface (SPI) of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) wishes to invite you to participate in a survey on the potential contribution of Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) to enhancing the well-being and livelihoods of people, as well as the state of the environment. More investigation is needed for more effective implementation of LDN by: 1) learning from experiences; 2) understanding the role of enabling and reinforcing factors, including land governance; 3) identification of options to enhance the benefits of LDN for human well-being and livelihoods. All this will help refine the implementation of LDN.
The information you provide through this survey is planned to feed into deliverables of objective 1.2 of the SPI Work Programme 2018-2019, adopted by decision 21/COP.13, and has a great potential of shaping deliberations of the fourteenth session of the UNCCD Conference of the Parties in October 2019. Responses will be stored anonymously and the results of the survey will be presented in an aggregated format without identifying individual respondents.
Please access the survey link. It will only take 20 minutes to complete the survey and share your views on what is needed to achieve and maintain LDN in terms of policies, incentives, and support for implementation. The survey will be closed on 24th December 2018.
Read this article from the Guardian by Sophie Elmhirst, who says that some compare the world championships to snooker, others to figure skating. But for those who have given their lives to competitive ploughing, it’s more than a sport, it’s a way of life.
But read on to her observations on the future, with the expansion of no-till conservation agriculture, quoting John Cherry, a leading conservationist farmer, “The soil is a mixture of inert minerals and living creatures, a wonderful world of superhighways and information paths, then you come along with a plough, turn it all upside-down and destroy it”. So convinced is Cherry of the no-till method that three years ago, he launched Groundswell, a two-day summer festival held on his UK farm, where hundreds of farmers learn about conservation agriculture. Among Brazilian soil experts and English worm specialists, Cherry delivered an hour-long lecture, with slides, to a packed barn on the success story of no-tilling his own farm. He likes to quote Franklin D Roosevelt’s 1937 letter to state governors in the USA after dust storms and floods had caused irreparable harm across rural America: “The nation that destroys its soil, destroys itself”.
Recently, Sheffield University researchers suggested that, given the state of their soil, British farms only have 100 harvests left. But conservationists detect a moment of opportunity. As farmers face the disappearance of EU subsidies after Brexit, Cherry believes they are desperately looking to cut costs. No-till farming uses less diesel, less fertiliser. As well as preserving the soil, it’s cheaper. Every year, he said, more farmers were defecting to his side. In a speech he gave in March this year, DEFRA minister, Michael Gove, talked about giving no-till farmers support “to help control and reduce carbon emissions, demand for chemical inputs and provide a richer habitat for insects and invertebrates”. When he announced his agriculture bill in September, Gove set out out how farming, post-Brexit, would in theory become a paid-for public good.
Many of you will have explored the new website. We hope you like it? There are still several issues being resolved and the full value of the new membership database is yet to be realised. We ask for your patience. We also seek your help in updating your ‘profile’, see below. We have now modified the news item to account for some feedback.
There are few tips to help members become comfortable with the new structure:
Accessing the Membership areas. Please click on the “Members” tab on the nav bar at the top of the site. This will ask you to enter your membership number and password, then click “login”. This will show the status of your membership subscriptions. Click on “edit profile” under “My Account” and you will have access to members’ information, vacancies, downloads of recent journals etc.
We encourage all members to log in and update their Profile as soon as possible, please (‘Edit Profile’ under the ‘My Account’ heading, click ‘Your Profile’) If you have forgotten your password, you can now request a new one under the ‘Login’ heading.
News, Vacancies and Events are being posted at intervals and will be emailed to members. If you need more information on a news item, just click on the blue (live) title of the relevant item in the email. Note that you will need to be logged-in as a member to view the Vacancies pages.
We have deleted the Directory of CVs, which was seldom used before. We have included a new Careers Summary section, which requires members to update their Profiles to include relevant information. This will then be viewable by all members.
SEARCA and WorldVeg (TAA member) will be able to access each other’s networks, develop joint research programs, organize roundtable conferences, and more.
The Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) and the World Vegetable Center (WorldVeg) formalized ties for institutional cooperation through the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) at the Development Academy of the Philippines in Tagaytay City on 7 November 2018. Signatories were Dr. Fernando C. Sanchez Jr. on behalf of SEARCA as chairman of its governing board, and Dr. Marco Wopereis, Director General of WorldVeg. The signing ceremony was held on the sidelines of the International Conference on Nutrition-Sensitive Agriculture and Food Systems, 7-10 November 2018. Read more ….. .
29th November: 10.45 Curry Club talk by Nikki Yates of Rothamsted Research on how the organisation has evolved and will introduce the latest efforts and opportunities at Rothamsted in its transition towards an ever-stronger international role. At Strand Continental Hotel. £15 per head . Book your place with Terry Wiles.
The Second Order Draft for the IPCC Special Report on Climate Change and Land (SRCCL) will be open for Expert and Government Review from Monday 19 November 2018 to Monday 14 January 2019.
You are invited to register as an Expert Reviewer to provide comments and suggestions to the author teams. You are invited to review individual chapters, the Summary for Policymakers and/or to provide overarching comments on the report as a whole. For reference, the approved outline for the report is available on the IPCC website: .
Please follow the link provided below to register as an Expert Reviewer. Registration will be open from 9 November and closes 7 January 2019, but please note the draft will not be available to view or download until 19 November.
It is IPCC practice that all drafts are confidential and should not be cited, quoted or distributed (please refer to Section 4.2 of Appendix A to the Principles Governing IPCC Work for further information. The login details you will receive are personal and non-transferable. When draft chapters and figures are downloaded the files are personalised with a traceable bar code that is associated with your login details. All approved Expert Reviewers will be acknowledged in the final report, due to be finalised in August 2019. The Expert Review is an important part of the IPCC process and we very much hope you will be able to participate as an Expert Reviewer for the SRCCL Second Order Draft.
Cambridge Global Food Security, an institutional member of TAA, highlights this month’s researcher. Dr Payam Mehrshahi, of the Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge, is working to generate a new source of nutrition that could significantly relieve the pressure on agricultural land. Find out more here
The GEO LDN initiative, unveiled in Kyoto last week, hopes to bring together Earth Observation (EO) data providers and governments in order to develop quality standards, analytical tools, and capacity-building to strengthen land degradation monitoring and reporting. Read more ….
The lack of action on one of the world’s biggest environmental problems is largely due to the lack of accurate data and tools to monitor it.
“Land degradation is an existential crisis. Until now, monitoring it in real time felt like an insurmountable challenge. No longer,” said Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) upon welcoming the new initiative. With Earth observation datasets and the practical tools to use them readily available, decision-makers and land users will have immediate and actionable information to scale up sustainable land management and planning. It is a first step to boosting our resilience,” she added.
The Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) is the apex continental organisation responsible for coordinating and advocating for agricultural research-for-development. (AR4D). FARA serves as the technical arm of the African Union Commission on matters concerning agriculture science, technology and innovation.
New funding opportunities in agricultural research for development are available through the Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development (PREPARD). FARA also announces new events in AR4D.
TAA members are also invited to join the FARA and PREPARD Networks
Tomatoes have spread into cuisines around the world but most commercial varieties have a narrow genetic base and only grow well in optimum conditions often in greenhouses. As climate changes and interest in the fruit’s nutritional properties grows, drawing on the huge number of indigenous varieties in Mexico to meet these challenges is hugely important as they grow in a wide range of conditions and have different nutritional properties. That’s a central aim of a project I heard about at Lancaster Environment Centre* earlier this month from Jacob Phelps in a talk on “Charting a future for Mexico’s endemic tomatoes”.
In this interview, he explains more about the importance of Mexico’s significance for the future of tomatoes and the role of the indigenous people in breeding a huge range of varieties and why they need urgent work to ensure they are not lost. Read more and listen to Jacob Phelps of the Lancaster Environment Centre…
29th November: 10.45 Curry Club talk by Nikki Yates of Rothamsted Research on how the organisation has evolved and will introduce the latest efforts and opportunities at Rothamsted in its transition towards an ever-stronger international role. At Strand Continental Hotel. £15 per head . Book your place with Terry Wiles.
The map was compiled from the information available on-line. If you find that some of the information is incorrect (e.g. the exact location of the soil science department is incorrect, the department does not exist, the department exists but does not appear on the map, the department is a research unit and does not offer a soil science degree programme, the link to the department website requires an update) please contact Dr. Andrei Rozanov, Stellenbosch University, South Africa by email: firstname.lastname@example.org to make the necessary corrections.
Apparently, Google Earth is now accessible only via Google Chrome browsers. If you have problems, please refer to Dr Andrei or to the IUSS News Alert September 2018
We look forward to welcoming members and friends to our AGM on 11th December 2018 at the Royal Over-seas League. The event will include the award of TAA Honours for 2018, followed by a presentations by the recipient of the ‘Development Agriculturalist’ award, as well as talks by recent TAAF awardee(s). A cash bar will be open. The event will conclude with our social reunion, accompanied by a fork supper, and a raffle. There will be a charge of £25 to cover room hire and the supper (payable on the night).
TAA has ‘Organisational Membership’ of the Royal Society of Biology (RSB), which provides access to a wide range of events and networking links Read more. The RSB has assigned the TAA a post as representative on the Advisory Board of their UK Plant Sciences Federation http://www.plantsci.org.uk, a special interest group of RSB.
This post is currently vacant, since Ian Martin resigned. Dr Jonathan Carruthers, Science Policy Officer, is seeking a TAA member to fill the position. If any member with interests in crop and plant sciences would like to volunteer some time to join UKPSF advisory committee meetings, contribute to their technical reports and join events, please contact the Web Manager email@example.com. We would welcome the opportunity to have a representative on this important committee again.
The day has finally arrived! The new site is now operational at www.taa.org.uk. It has been a complex process transferring data from the old platform and developing a more efficient and user-friendly membership database. There will inevitably be teething problems, so we askmembers to be patient as we deal with these through our partners at Cambridge Web Solutions.
Unfortunately, during the transfer of our News Items, the weblinks and email addresses in the orihginal posts were lost and do not show on the new website www.taa.org.uk/category/news/. The dates of posting new items are now inserted automatically, however, those transferred from the old website all carry the date of transfer – Oct 9th. A similar problem affected the Event news www.taa.org.uk/events-7/ , in which many of the original web links have failed to transfer, especially those relating to the venue locations. We will rectifiy these issues in future postings. We also encountered a last minute problem with presenting our institutional members, we are working on this and the full listings, linked to the new membership database should be added later this week.
This is only the start. We shall now be able to expand the web services on the new platform. Meantime we would welcome constructive feedbck, as the new website gets bedded down: just click on “Contact Us” www.taa.org.uk/contact-us/
We are pleased to welcome Malawi Fruitsas an institutional member. This Scottish Charity is committed to working with partners in Malawi to establish and grow sustainable community businesses in the north of the country. They aim to provide start-up finance, training and support to agriculture and related community enterprises. Malawi Fruits encourages smallholder farmers to see their smallholding as a business and provides support and training to help develop these fledgling businesses, so that farmers can maximise their income and provide for the education and healthcare needs of their families. Kevin Simpson, would be pleased to hear from TAA members with interests in Malawi , he and colleague Charles Howie joined a TAA event in Edinburgh in 2015 organized by John Ferguson, our convenor for Scotland.
Contract farming and public-private partnerships in aquaculture: Lessons learned from East African countries. FAO fisheries and aquaculture technical paper; 68 pages | 210 x 297 mm | ISBN 9789251307113
Through an array of project outcomes in different countries, this paper demonstrates that contract farming is a “win–win” solution because young workers gain access to markets, while private companies have access to produce without acquiring land or supervising labour. Download here.
Nitrogen inputs to agricultural soils from livestock manure, New statistics. 86 pages | 176 x 250 mm | ISBN 9789251300244
This report sheds light on the amount of nitrogen applied to agricultural soils from livestock manure at different scales, and the relevance of producing, refining and monitoring statistics for agronomic policy and planning. Download here.
This is the first comprehensive book on Argentinian pedology. It discusses the main soil types of Argentina, their geographical distribution, classification, functions, agricultural use, ecological aspects, and the threats to which they have been subjected during centuries of intensive and extensive management. The description of the soils is accompanied by a complete set of data, pictures and maps, including benchmark profiles and an overview of the country’s agricultural production. It also deals with future scenarios of the relationships between soil science and other disciplines and the main challenges that soil science will face in the future. Further, the book explores aspects of the main soil forming factors, such as climate, vegetation, geology and geomorphology, making use of new, unpublished data and elaborations, and presents a history of pedological research in Argentina. Read more …….
Edited by Rubio, Gerardo, Lavado, Raul S., Pereyra, Fernando X. Published in the World Soils Book Series by Springer, 268 pages, ISBN 978-3-319-76853-3, price hardcover EUR 139,99 | GBP 119.99 |USD 169.99; price ebook: EUR 118,99 | GBP 95.50 | USD 129.00.
Here are some of the highlights: read the full newsletter . FAO Headquarters was abuzz last week as the Committee on World Food Security (#CFS45), an inclusive international and intergovernmental platform for all stakeholders, met to shape policy that ensures food security and nutrition for all. Kicking off the week was the release of FAO’s annual flagship publication, The State of Food and Agriculture (SOFA). GFAR Secretariat welcomed four bright young researchers on the occasion of World Food Day to share their fascinating findings on what some cutting-edge food technologies and innovations mean for our future. A stimulating discussion followed about the policy environment needed to scale an innovation up and out. GFAR and Impakter.com have recently launched an exciting new online media campaign: #GFARImpakters. Partners in GFAR are being invited to share written contributions on key topics related to their work with GFAR and involving other GFAR Partners that will enable the public at large to engage with and reflect more deeply upon their work and impacts. By taking part, Partners will raise awareness and further the public’s knowledge on issues of global importance for agri-food research and innovation. During the week of 8-12 October, we ran a Partner Spotlight on Africa RISING highlighting many stories of demand-driven, locally-tailored, resource-saving agricultural innovations for sustainable intensification that improve household welfare and at the same time enhance sustainability. And earlier this month, GFAR was showcased at the Committee on Agriculture (#COAG26) as an innovation in partnership. Watch this short video for a snapshot of GFAR’s work! Mark Holderness, GFAR Executive Secretary (and TAA member), was invited to speak on GFAR’s role in innovation for agricultural development at a COAG26 event showcasing the links between European Union support and the work of FAO.
The Global Alliance on Climate-Smart Agriculture (GACSA) and partner’s announce a new publication, Compendium on Climate-Smart Irrigation: Concepts, evidence and options for a climate-smart approach to improving the performance of irrigated cropping systems. The compendium provides a comprehensive overview of the challenges and issues for sustainable irrigation development, both related and unrelated to climate change. It discusses the options and opportunities for each of the three pillars of climate-smart agriculture (CSA), identifies potential synergies and trade-offs between the different objectives of CSA, and underscores the importance of inclusive processes engaging stakeholders across different sectors and institutional levels. If you have any questions, please contact the GACSA Facilitation Unit at FAO or Julian Schnetzer GACSA-Facilitation-Unit@fao.org or Julian.Schnetzer@fao.org. [Thanks to David R]
The Technical Centre for Agricultural and RuralCooperation (CTA) has launched a Call for proposals to support theimplementation of ICT-enabled mechanisation services in Africa. Applicationshave to be sent by Thursday, 11 October 2018 @ 6:00 pm. Netherlands time. The overall indicative amountmade available under this Grant is Euro250,000. Moreinformation on the CTA website. Contactis Ken Lohento.Web Manager’s Note: Thank you to Jane Guise, who has kindly agreed to take over as Coordinator of Overseas Branches. We are very pleased to have her with us on ExCo.17.8.18
Visit the TAA Student JobSeekers pages for suggestions on seeking jobs. A new link to an extensive list of job websitesfor people looking for employment in International Development has been added.See also the new link to the Facebook group on ‘International Development Jobs for Young Professionals’, by SDG categories. Meantime, our new websiteis taking shape and should be operational soon. In future, we intend to display all the new vacancies posted each week, rather than just one example, This should enable a wider spread of jobs to be displayed, suiting early career aswell as more experienced members. We also expect to have the facility to post photographs with news alerts, where relevant. Web Manager.
Visitthe TAA Student JobSeekers pages http:// for suggestions on seeking jobs. A new link to an extensive list of job websitesfor people looking for employment in International Development has been added.See also the new link to the Facebook group on ‘International Development Jobs for Young Professionals’, by SDG categories.Meantime, our new websiteis taking shape and should be operational soon. In future, we intend to display all the new vacancies posted each week, rather than just one example, Thisshould enable a wider spread of jobs to be displayed, suiting early career aswell as more experienced members. We also expect to have the facility to postphotographs with news alerts, where relevant. Web Manager10.8.2018
This successful symposium was organized by FEPASIDIASlast month. It was attended by about 500 people. It was said that the economiccontribution of No-tillage in Paraguay was about US $ 500 million/year,accumulating to US $ 14,800 million over the past 30 years since introductionof the technology. Unfortunately all the published material is in Spanish orPortuguese. FEPASIDIAS is the Paraguayan Federation of No-till farmerassociations. The National meeting discussed improving theNo-tillage system in the country. Currently, more than 80% of grain production inParaguay grains occurs in areas under No-tillage. Read more ….3/8/18
With sadness, the British Soil Science Societyannounced the death of Michael Stocking, Prof Emeritus in the University ofEast Anglia School of International Development, on 21 May 2018 [as announcedby IUSS]. He completed his PhD at Oxford University in 1969 and, over almost 50years, developed an international profile and reputation as a researcher andadviser in tropical agricultural development, land resources, conservation ofbiodiversity and soil conservation. He was one of very few soil scientistsknown by anthropologists and political economy specialists. Read more …….Although he did not jointhe TAA, many members will remember Michael, especially for his pioneering workon soil erosion in Zimbabwe, contributions to soil fertility/ environmentalissues and advice to GEF.30/7/18
This new book by Theib Oweis of ICARDA was published inJune 2018 in the Burleigh Dodds Agricultural Sciences series. In a review for WASWAC by David Molden, Director General ICIMOD, Nepal and formerly DeputyDirector General for Research at the International Water Management Institute,Sri Lanka, he commends the book:”This bookprovides excellent source material, covering a range of important topics forsound and sustainable water management practices for agriculture. This is anurgent need as food production is the major consumer of water resources. Thisbook will hold the keys to help unlock the potential for improved watermanagement. The editor and author are to be applauded in taking this issue sideby side with issues of sustainability.” 14/7/18
A friend ofthe TAA, who is working with a team that is establishing a 500 acre farm in theCaribbean to grow cannabis for medicinal use, is seeking expertise relating tocannabis growing. If any member has such expertise and is interested, pleaseemail the Web Manager and we will forward to Dylan Banks. Update on TAAWebsite: we can assure members that the new website is now under constructionand we hope to have it fully operational by early August. Meantime, the WebManager has been on leave, we hope that regular news alerts will recommence inearly July. Thank you for your patience. 28.6.18
International scientists have discoveredthat most of the oldest and largest African baobab (Adensonia digitata) trees have died over the past 12 years. Theysuspect the demise may be linked to climate change, although they have nodirect evidence of this. The tree can grow to an enormous size, and may livehundreds if not thousands of years. The researchers, from universities in SouthAfrica, Romania and the US, say the loss of the trees is “an event of anunprecedented magnitude”. Revealing the findings in the journal Nature Plants they say the deaths were not caused by an epidemic.The trees that have died or are dyingare found in Zimbabwe, Namibia, South Africa, Botswana and Zambia. They are allbetween 1,000 and more than 2,500 years old. Baobabs are an iconic feature inmany parts of the continent. See more at BBC.co.uk undernews/science-environment-4441884914.6.18
We are pleased to announce that we have identified a suitable web developer to re-build our website. At the Executive Committee meeting on June 11th, agreement was reached to proceed with developing the new site immediately. Meantime, the Web Manager will be on holiday from mid-June, so you will not be receiving the regular News Alerts. Moreover, there may be a slight hiatus as we transfer data to the new website and populate the new linked membership database. We seek your patience. Hopefully, we should be able to launch the new site in early August, in time for the next new membership year. The website is a vital part of the Association but re-building it is an expensive process: we would be very grateful for donations from members, any amount is welcome. You can donate via the website. Go to taa.org.uk and add /taa-donations.asp and follow the instructions. Alternatively, please contact the Treasurer.13.6.18
Apologies – the link was missed: click here to watchThis film is about farmers moving away from conventional tillage agriculture and adopting Conservation Agriculture or No-Till Farming. It was produced, directed and narrated by Ms Fiona Cunningham and features TAA members Amir Kassam and Tony Reynolds. Do watch it – a moving film with a powerful message, although lacks full mention of all the technical benefits of CA and aims mainly at the European farming systems. Just right for New Years Day. The next Groundswell Agriculture show will be held in June 2018 in the UK. Many thanks to Amir for submitting this link: now we need a similar film of tropical CA?Happy New Year!1/1/18b
In2008 a survey was conducted, which served to refine a future strategy, based onsix major themes. Since then, much has happened: technologies have changed andthe activities of TAA have evolved. Therefore we have decided to conduct a newQuestionnaire Survey, which we ask all members to complete by 31 October. The Questionnaire can also be accessed from our Home Page. It is in two parts. Please attempt to answer all questions but if you have only recently joined TAA or have no experience of the 2008 strategy activities you may omit responses to Part 1. All members should please respond to Part 2, which relates to a future TAA strategy. Your views are important: the survey is an opportunity for you to contribute to the future of TAA. Part 1. A review of themes andactivities in the 2008 strategy, to identify successes and constraints to theactivities undertaken – questions are shown in green font. Part 2. Covers issues related to a futureTAA strategy, to suggest any necessary modifications to existing activities,identify new activities and consider links to other organizations and themanagement of the Association. Questions are shown in red font.Concurrently,we shall be circulating by email a slightly different questionnaire to therepresentatives of each of our Institutional member organisations for theirviews. Institutional member representatives can also access their survey here. 4/10/17
Theannual TAA Honours recognises people who have made significant contributions inthe field of agriculture for development or to the TAA itself. We rely onnominations by our members. Please send the name(s) of candidates whom you wishto propose for the 2017 Honours. The honours will be awarded at the AnnualReunion (Royal Over-seas League, London 13thDecember 2017).The three categories are: ‘Development Agriculturalist of the Year’ (neednot be a TAA member); ‘Young Development Agriculturalist of the year’ (usuallyawarded to a TAAF Awardee); and ‘Award of Merit or HonoraryMembership’ is given to TAA member(s), who have made outstandingcontributions to meeting the objectives of the Association. The HonoursPanel firstname.lastname@example.org seeks nominationsfor each category. The closing date for nominations is now 15th October. Eachnomination should include a proposer and a seconder (both TAA members oremployees of an Institutional Member) and a short statement of the ways inwhich the nominee meets the criteria for the award for which he or she is beingnominated. For more details and nomination forms, visit the TAA website Honours andAwards. Click here to see previousrecipients of awards. 14.9.17
Reliance Foundation has recently joinedTAA as an institutional member. Reliance works toward enriching the lives ofthe marginalized communities of India. It enhances livelihood opportunities andprovides relevant information to help reduce risks for rural communities. TheFoundation makes systematic efforts to improve the quality and productivity ofrural assets, leading to increased and more reliable yields. Read more ….. .. GirishBhardwaj (TAA Organizer) is arranging a small get-together for Indian TAAmembers on 28th of September 2017 in Delhi. It is timed to coincidewith a visit by the TAA Chairman, Keith Virgo, and is planned as an informalinteractive session to focus on on: (i) Introduction to the participants; (ii) Updateon TAA globally, along with future strategies; (iii) Challenges in increasingmembership in India; (iv) Suggestions on implementing strategies. The output willcontribute toformulating a TAA-India strategy and 3-5 years of perspective plan. 13.9.17
Information on the outcomes of the 2017 GroundswellNo-Till Show and Conference, held at Weston, Hertfordshire, UK on 28 and 29 June, are now available via links in the TAA website, including speakers and presentations. 7.9.17
We welcome VRUTTI as an institutionalmember of TAA. Vrutti, is an NGO based in India, that works withrural communities who are dependent predominantly on farm-based livelihoods,to increase their income, make them resilient and more responsible farmers, inturn creating successful entrepreneurs and sustained job creators. Establishedin 2002, VRUTTI has been contributing towards empowering poor and marginalised communities across India. VRUTTI is keen to apply for supportunder the Netherlands Government Sustainable Water Fund (FDW) projectsand seeks TAA member organisations to join in a technical partnership on the themearea of “Efficient and sustainable water use, particularly within agriculture”http://.In India, FDW works in partnerships with Solidariadad, a Dutch NGO. If any TAAmembers are interested in pursuing this link, please contact Pramel Gupta 29.8.17
Good Day No-Till Members andNo-Till Conservation Agriculture Supporters! This isthe second e-newsletter being sent out toreach a great deal morefarmers, agriculturaladvisors, etc, to provide encouragement andideas in the adaptation and technical applications required by No-Till CA. Please download the newsletter here,Do not forget our No Till Conference on 5 to 7September 2017: Programme/Program 2017;Speakers 2017;Registration Forms 2017 Delegates’ Registration.See TAA events page for more details.28.8.17
Join the London & SE Branch ‘Curry Club’ Meeting on 28th September. Thetalk will be given by TAA member Jim Ellis-Jones on Sustainable LandManagement and Socio-economic Development in the Highlands of Ethiopia. He will look at major initiatives forsustainable land management to improve farm and landscape practices, markets,food security and livelihoods. These include the participation ofcommunity-based organisations and farmer-to-farmer extension initiatives. Join us for coffee at 11.00. The talk will be followed by a curry lunch. Details are given on the TAA Events webpages. Book your place with Terry Wiles. 26.8.2017
This document, with examples and recommendations forrural advisory services, summarizes experience and inputs from the FAO Communityfor Agriculture Sectors and Climate Change, and relevant sources (cited). Ourteam request your feedback especially on the content (editing will still bemade and images will be replenished and inserted in full quality) and on the structureof the content. You can send your comments either as sticky notes to the PDF,or via email to: Agriculture sectors and climate change ,with a copy to Maria Nuutinen by Wednesday 16 August2017. Read the full draft text Review-draft_CC-communication_with_smallholders_RAS_Examples_compressed2017.pdf 23/8/17
The gardener has a long, touchy-feely relationship with the soil. As every good cultivator knows, you assess the earth by holding it. Is it dark and crumbly, is there an earthworm or beetle in there, is it moist, and when you smell it, are you getting that pleasant earthy aroma? All these signs are reassuring, and have been through the ages, but they are mere indicators of something much greater and infinitely mysterious: a hidden universe beneath our feet. READ MORE from the Washington Post21.8.17
The European Journalism Centre (EJC) has opened applications for the Innovation in Development Reporting Grant (IDR) Programme. With a focus on food production, food security, health and nutrition, and food trade and markets, the grant aims to enable better coverage of international development issues. The programme is open to both freelancers and newsrooms and the grant given will average €20,000.Deadline:Wednesday 6 September 2017. More information about how to apply, the eligibility criteria and more about the grant18.8.17
A big thank you to everyone who has updated their membership for the year commencing July 1st 2017. And special thanks to those who have taken the trouble to update their Standing Order or set up a new payment. This makes running the TAA so much easier for everyone.If you have not made a recent payment or are unsure of your current membership status then please contact our Membership Secretary Linda Bluntmembership_secretary@taa.org.ukThere are still around 62 people who have not amended their payments. Subscription rates changed 12 months ago and they should have received several reminders. Some of you may still use @btinternet.com addresses and so are not contactable. Please act now!17.8.17
At their meeting in June 2017, theGFAR Steering Committee appointed Ms. Bongiwe N. Njobe from South Africaas their new Chair. She is joined by Mr. Raffaele Maria Maiorano from Italy asVice-Chair. They have shown themselves to be a dynamic team, eager toengage the members of the GFARSteering Committee, who will guide thePartners in GFAR (including TAA) in taking forward collectiveactions.The Partners in GFAR welcome the new appointments andlook forward to working with them as GFAR develops and implements its nextMedium Term Plan (2018-2021). Dr Mark Holderness, GFAR Executive Secretary (andTAA member) and the GFAR Secretariat staff also take this opportunity toexpress thanks to the outgoing Chair and Vice-Chair,for their leadershipand vision as GFAR has undertaken to transform itself, with their Partners, tobe truly representative of the many, diverse voices in agri-food researchand innovation. Read more about the new Chair and Vice-Chairand the GFAR Strategic Workshop andSteering Committee held in June. In thisGFAR Update we’re also highlighting recent Partner Spotlights on SIANI and IFAD, andsharing the final reflections of the young agri-preneurs who took part in YAP Phase 1.3/8/17
At they rmeeting in June 2017, theGFAR Steering Committee appointed Ms. Bongiwe N. Njobe from South Africaas their new Chair. She is joined by Mr. Raffaele Maria Maiorano from Italy asVice-Chair. They have shown themselves to be a dynamic team, eager toengage the members of the GFARSteering Committee, who will guide thePartners in GFAR (including TAA) in taking forward collectiveactions.The Partners in GFAR welcome the new appointments andlook forward to working with them as GFAR develops and implements its nextMedium Term Plan (2018-2021). Dr Mark Holderness, GFAR Executive Secretary (andTAA member) and the GFAR Secretariat staff also take this opportunity toexpress thanks to the outgoing Chair and Vice-Chair,for their leadershipand vision as GFAR has undertaken to transform itself, with their Partners, tobe truly representative of the many, diverse voices in agri-food researchand innovation. Read more about the new Chair and Vice-Chairand the GFAR Strategic Workshop andSteering Committee held in June. In thisGFAR Update we’re also highlighting recent Partner Spotlights on SIANI and IFAD, andsharing the final reflections of the young agri-preneurs who took part in YAP Phase 1.3/8/17
Reuters (July 24) reports that Indonesia’s environment ministersays that she wants to make permanent a moratorium on issuing new licences touse land designated as primary forest and peatland. “So far its only beenextended, and extended again. I want a permanent (moratorium),” saidEnvironment and Forestry Minister Siti NurbayaBakar. “Our primary forest cannot be cleared out.”Indonesia is prone to outbreaks offorest fires during dry seasons, often blamed on the draining of peatlandforests and land clearance for agriculture such as the cultivation of palm oil.The resulting choking smoke from the world’s biggest palm oil producer oftenblows across to neighbouring countries like Singapore and Malaysia, reducingvisibility and causing a health hazard. Established in 2011, the moratoriumcovered an area of more than 66 million ha by November 2016. 1.8.17
Appropriate Technologymagazine communicates new practical technologies, policiesand ideas addressed to the elimination of poverty and hunger. The readership includes personnel who are actively involved in a widerange of urban and rural economic development projects, programmes, health,education and training work. Thismay include, helping communities to achieve self-sufficiency in food, water andenergy; develop micro-enterprises; design & construction of ruralbuildings; emergency relief management; water supply & sanitation:improving healthcare; improving agricultural and natural resource output etc.Published quarterly, subscribers to AppropriateTechnology also benefit by having online access with search facility to ALLvolumes from year 2003. If you have a genuine interest in AppropriateTechnology and would like to increase your network with others who have similarinterest then why not join the LinkedIn Appropriate Technology Group. Meantime,why not read the July 2017 edition. 31.7.17
We welcome Girish Bhardwaj, who has agreed to look after the TAA interests in India, following the sad loss of Sanjeev Vasudev earlier this year. Girish has wide-ranging experience in agriculture and rural development. He has already made an impact on recruiting new members and recently chaired a small meeting in Delhi to discuss plans for the future. You can read the minutes on our webpages, under news of overseas branches. Girish is based in Delhi and would be delighted to meet any TAA members passing through the city, just send him an email.We all wish Girish good luck in his plans to further TAA activities in India.21.7.2017
There are quantitative tests to determine soil health, there are qualitative tools to assess soil health, and there are predictive models to project changes in soil health. But after all the work, there is very little meaningful data to answer the most important question: does soil health improve farm economics? To find an answer to this, scientists compared multiple independent tests correlated to yield. [Reported by IUSS].Read more …..20.7.17
Watch thevideo initiated by ML Jat, PrincipalScientist/Systems Agronomist at the International Maize and Wheat ImprovementCenter (CIMMYT) in N India. An interesting perspective on scaling-up Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA) methods from a CGIAR institution. Perhaps lacking the real views of smallfarmers?Clickhere to view 27.6.17