"Cultivating our futures": conference website launched

FAO has launched a new website in preparation for the FAO/Netherlands Conference on the Multifunctional Character of Agriculture and Land (MFCAL). The Conference will take place in Maastricht, the Netherlands, from 12 to 17 September 1999.

MFCAL is a high-level technical conference bringing together over 350 agricultural and environmental experts and policy-makers from around the world. Participants will consider analytical approaches and policy options to increase agriculture's contribution to food security, social cohesion, economic prosperity and environmental sustainability.

The Conference is being organized jointly by FAO and the Dutch Government's Ministry of Agriculture, Nature Management and Fisheries.The discussions and findings of the conference will assist the preparation of FAO's contribution to the upcoming Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-8), which will take place in New York City in April 2000.

The new website includes conference documents and contact information and allows access to the Web forum that will run during the conference period.

"Cultivating our futures": FAO/Netherlands Conference on the Multifunctional Character of Agriculture and Land

9 July 1999

Guide to maize marketing for extension officers

Zambia: traditional on-farm maize storage
FAO/17831/A. Conti

FAO has published "A guide to maize marketing for extension officers" designed to help them in their work with small-scale farmers in eastern and southern African countries that have recently liberalized their maize marketing systems. These include all maize-producing countries from Kenya in the North, to South Africa in the South.

With the move away from centralized grain boards, extension officers need to know how the new system operates so that they can support farmers in adapting and taking full advantage of the opportunities the new system offers.

The guide sets out to enable extension workers to answer vital questions like:

  • what should farmers grow?
  • how do they obtain seed and fertilizer?
  • how can farmers locate and finance their input purchases?
  • what drying and storage facilities do they need?
  • what are the production and marketing costs?
  • how can they be helped to market maize?
  • who is currently buying maize?
  • how much should farmers sell and when?

Covering the basic principles of private-sector grain marketing, on-farm crop-drying and storage, and crop diversification issues, the guide will also be valuable to extension workers in other parts of Africa and beyond.

FAO has published two other marketing extension guides: "Horticulture marketing extension" (available in English, French, Spanish and Arabic) and "A guide to marketing costs and how to calculate them" (available in English, French and Spanish).

Agricultural Marketing
Maize Marketing Extension

1 July 1999

Bangladesh agricultural experts to advise the Gambia

Bangladesh: early cauliflowers grown from improved seed

Bangladesh and the Gambia have signed a tripartite agreement with FAO to send Bangladeshi agricultural technicians to the West African country. The visiting technicians will share their experience and expertise in areas such as rice production, small animal husbandry, artisanal fisheries, aquaculture and small scale water control technologies with their Gambian counterparts.

The cooperative accord, signed under the framework of FAO's Special Programme for Food Security (SPFS) will put Bangladeshi technical assistance services to work in the Gambia for three years. The effort will be funded by the governments of both countries, and by FAO. Such "South-South Cooperation" under the SPFS is designed to strengthen cooperation between developing countries at different stages of development, with the support of interested donor countries and FAO.

Special Programme for Food Security
South South Cooperation

30 June 1999

Official reports of foot-and-mouth disease from China

FAO has received an official report of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) outbreaks in three provinces in China. The Director-General of the Bureau of Animal Production and Health in Beijing has communicated that there have been outbreaks in Fujian, Hainan and Tibet.

In Rikeze, Tibet, five outbreaks among cattle and pigs have led to the destruction of 60 cattle and nearly 1 200 pigs. In Ningde City, Fujian Province, two outbreaks involving 12 cases have led to 70 pigs being destroyed. In Baisha County, Hainan Province, eight sick cattle have been destroyed.

Laboratory diagnoses have shown the disease to be caused by FMD virus type 0. The authorities are destroying infected and susceptible animals and emergency vaccination is under way. There is also a ban on movement of animals to other districts. The report follows one last year recording outbreaks of FMD virus type 0 in two bordering counties in Yunnan province in July.

EMPRES homepage
FAO's EMPRES opens dialogue with China on animal disease control

15 June 1999

Latest EMPRES bulletin published

Issue No 9 of the EMPRES Transboundary Animal Disease Bulletin has a lead story on the foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) outbreak in North Africa, where the disease has spread across Algeria and shown isolated outbreaks in Tunisia and Morocco. Control activities, which include a vaccination campaign to prevent the spread of the disease, have been put in place.

FAO/14189/R. Faidutti

The Bulletin is published every three months by FAO's Emergency Prevention System for Transboundary Animal and Plant Pests and Diseases. It can be read on the EMPRES web site or downloaded in pdf.

This issue carries updates and technical contributions on three major diseases - rinderpest, Rift Valley fever and Newcastle disease, as well as other news items from EMPRES and RADISCON (the Regional Animal Disease Surveillance and Control Network) and a special feature on transboundary animal diseases in Iraq.

EMPRES homepage

19 May 1999

Near East regional workshop on non-wood forestry products

An expert meeting on coordination of activities on non-wood forestry products (NWFP) in the Near East was held in Beirut from 10 to 12 May. One of the main topics discussed was the formulation of a regional project on NWFP development in the Near East.

FAO's regional forestry expert, Adnan Alfares said, "While wood is the predominant commercial product from most forests, increased attention is being paid to NWFP such as mushrooms, fodder, medicinal plants, insects and insect products like honey. NWFP have gained much importance in the forest communities of the Near East region. They offer interesting regional and international markets, provide income and help achieve food security for rural populations."

More on Non-Wood Forest Products

14 May 1999

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