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Topic: Agricultural techniques

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Trends and impacts of foreign investment in developing country agriculture - Evidence from case studies

Large-scale international investments in developing country agriculture, especially acquisitions of agricultural land, continue to raise international concern. Certainly, complex and controversial issues – economic, political, institutional, legal and ethical – are raised in relation to food security, poverty reduction, rural development, technology and access to land and water resources. Yet at the same time, some developing countries are making strenuous efforts to attract foreign investment into their agricultural sectors. They see an important role for such investments in filling the gap left by dwindling official development assistance and the limitations of their own domestic budgetary resources, creating employment and incomes and promoting technology transfer. More investment is certainly needed – more than US$80 billion per year according to FAO analysis. But can foreign direct investment be compatible with the needs of local stakeholders as well as those of the international investor? And can these investments yield more general development benefits?

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Increasing Cropping System Diversity Balances Productivity, Profitability and Environmental Health

One of the key challenges of the 21st century is developing ways of producing sufficient amounts of food while protecting both environmental quality and the economic well-being of rural communities. Over the last half century, conventional approaches to crop production have relied heavily on manufactured fertilizers and pesticides to increase yields, but they have also degraded water quality and posed threats to human health and wildlife. Consequently, attention is now being directed toward the development of crop production systems with improved resource use efficiencies and more benign effects on the environment. Less attention has been paid to developing better methods of pest management, especially for weeds. Here we explore the potential benefits of diversifying cropping systems as a means of controlling weed population dynamics while simultaneously enhancing other desirable agroecosystem processes. We focus on crop rotation, an approach to cropping system diversification whereby different species are placed in the same field at different times.

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Investigating the role of bats in emerging zoonoses

With over 1,150 bat species worldwide – representing about twenty percent of the
biodiversity of all mammalian species – they carry out important ecological and agricultural
functions such pollination and dispersion of seeds. And while many tropical plant species
depend entirely on bats for the distribution of their seeds, it is true that in the tropics bats
can also be carriers of important diseases such as rabies, mokola, duvenhage, hendra or
nipah viruses. These are the ones we know of today, but some 40 years ago, all we knew
was about rabies. Is there more we should be doing?
This manual, “Investigating the role of bats in emerging zoonoses: Balancing ecology,
conservation and public health interests” is an introduction to the complex issues associated
with a One Health approach to understanding the biology and ecological importance of
bats, and the drivers of zoonotic disease emergence from bats to people. As an introduction,
this manual will provide a basis for understanding the need to balance natural resource
management, disease surveillance, prevention and control.

24.08.2012
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Agricultural Extension Services at Crossroads: present dilemma and possible solutions for future in Uganda

Agricultural extension in Uganda has undergone a number of transformations from regulatory 1920-
1956, advisory 1956-1963, advisory Education 1964-1971, dormancy 1972-1981, recovery 1982-
1999, Educational 1992-1996, participatory education 1997-1998, Decentralized Education 1997-
2001 and now Agricultural services under contract extension systems. Each of those up to 1997-
2001 had strengths to build on and weaknesses to change or improve, but had challenges of the
socio-economic and political environment. In addition there have been marked changes in the
concept of agriculture, which is increasingly seen in terms of commercial or farming for market with
emphasis on modernization of agriculture and use of participatory approaches in the process.
The dilemma is that the majority of the Ugandan farming community is predominately
peasantry/subsistence with a small fraction that can be regarded emergent farmers. Such
population may not respond sustainably to the now farmer owned contract extension system
including changing patterns of donors.
The paper examines a range of issues including training needs, identification of theses needs for
more relevant and responsive curricula, the key role of service provider’s development in creating
learning organizations, developing a strategy for linkages/ learning webs or net works and for more
sustainable donor interventions.