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Multi-objective land use allocation modelling for prioritizing climate-smart agricultural interventions

Our latest outputs -

Multi-objective land use allocation modelling for prioritizing climate-smart agricultural interventions Aggarwal, Pramod K; Thornton, Phillip K.; Dunnett, Alex; Shirsath, Paresh B; Joshi, Pramod K; Pal, Barun D; Khatri-Chhetri, Arun; Ghosh, Joydeep Climate-smart interventions in agriculture have varying costs and environmental and economic impacts. Their implementation requires appropriate investment decisions by policy makers that are relevant for current as well as future scenarios of agro-ecology, climate and economic development. Decision support tools are therefore needed to assist different stakeholders to prioritize and hence implement appropriate strategic interventions. These interventions transform agriculture ecosystems to climate-resilient, adaptive and efficient. This paper outlines the mathematical modelling framework of one such, the Climate Smart Agricultural Prioritization (CSAP) toolkit. This toolkit employs a dynamic, spatially-explicit multi-objective optimization model to explore a range of agricultural growth pathways coupled with climate-adaptation strategies to meet agricultural development and environmental goals. The toolkit consists of three major components: (i) land evaluation including assessment of resource availability, land suitability, yield and input-output estimation for all promising crop production practices and technologies for key agro-ecological units; (ii) formulation of scenarios based on policy views and development plans; and (iii) land-use optimization in the form of linear programming models. Climate change and socio-economic drivers condition the land evaluation, technological input-output relations, and specification of optimization objectives that define modelled scenarios. By integrating detailed bottom-up biophysical, climate impact and agricultural-emissions models, CSAP is capable of supporting multi-objective analysis of agricultural production goals in relation to food self-sufficiency, incomes, employment and mitigation targets, thus supporting a wide range of analyses ranging from food security assessment to environmental impact assessment to preparation of climate smart development plans.

Prevalence, risk factors and molecular characterization of Cryptosporidium infection in cattle in Addis Ababa and its environs, Ethiopia

Our latest outputs -

Prevalence, risk factors and molecular characterization of Cryptosporidium infection in cattle in Addis Ababa and its environs, Ethiopia Manyazewal, Anberber; Stomeo, Francesca; Pal, Mahendra; Gezahegn, M.; Tesfaye, Mamo; Muthui, Lucy W.; Teklu, Wegayehu; Getachew, Tilahun A cross-sectional study was conducted to determine the prevalence and risk factors of Cryptosporidium infection and identify species of the parasite in cattle in central Ethiopia. Faecal samples, collected from 392 dairy cattle managed under intensive and extensive production system, were analyzed by the Modified Ziehl-Neelsen (MZN) microscopy, Nested PCR, PCR-RFLP and sequence analyses of the SSU rRNA gene of Cryptosporidium. The overall prevalence, the prevalence in the extensive and intensive farms was 18.6%, 11% and 21%, respectively. The infection was detected in 37.7% of the investigated farms with prevalence range of 7.4% -100%, and all of the six surveyed districts with significant (P = 0.000) prevalence difference. Restriction digestion and sequence analysis showed Cryptosporidium parvum and C. andersoni in 27% and 73% of the infections, respectively, showing an age related distribution pattern, C. parvum exclusively occurring in calves <2 months old and C. andersoni only in heifers and adult cattle. The infection was significantly associated with management system, farm location, herd size, source of drinking water, weaning age, presence of bedding, pen cleanness and cleanness of hindquarter. In conclusion, Cryptosporidium infection due to C. parvum and C. andersoni was prevalent in cattle in the study area. Cryptosporidium parvum has the concern of public health importance, especially to farm workers and people in close contact with cattle. Instigation of imperative control measure is suggested to lessen the risk of human infection and loss of production in dairy farms.

Prevalence, risk factors and molecular characterization of Cryptosporidium infection in cattle in Addis Ababa and its environs, Ethiopia

BecA outputs -

Prevalence, risk factors and molecular characterization of Cryptosporidium infection in cattle in Addis Ababa and its environs, Ethiopia Manyazewal, Anberber; Stomeo, Francesca; Pal, Mahendra; Gezahegn, M.; Tesfaye, Mamo; Muthui, Lucy W.; Teklu, Wegayehu; Getachew, Tilahun A cross-sectional study was conducted to determine the prevalence and risk factors of Cryptosporidium infection and identify species of the parasite in cattle in central Ethiopia. Faecal samples, collected from 392 dairy cattle managed under intensive and extensive production system, were analyzed by the Modified Ziehl-Neelsen (MZN) microscopy, Nested PCR, PCR-RFLP and sequence analyses of the SSU rRNA gene of Cryptosporidium. The overall prevalence, the prevalence in the extensive and intensive farms was 18.6%, 11% and 21%, respectively. The infection was detected in 37.7% of the investigated farms with prevalence range of 7.4% -100%, and all of the six surveyed districts with significant (P = 0.000) prevalence difference. Restriction digestion and sequence analysis showed Cryptosporidium parvum and C. andersoni in 27% and 73% of the infections, respectively, showing an age related distribution pattern, C. parvum exclusively occurring in calves <2 months old and C. andersoni only in heifers and adult cattle. The infection was significantly associated with management system, farm location, herd size, source of drinking water, weaning age, presence of bedding, pen cleanness and cleanness of hindquarter. In conclusion, Cryptosporidium infection due to C. parvum and C. andersoni was prevalent in cattle in the study area. Cryptosporidium parvum has the concern of public health importance, especially to farm workers and people in close contact with cattle. Instigation of imperative control measure is suggested to lessen the risk of human infection and loss of production in dairy farms.

Early stage litter decomposition across biomes

Our latest outputs -

Early stage litter decomposition across biomes Djukic, I.; Kepfer-Rojas, S.; Kappel Schmidt, I.; Steenberg Larsen, K.; Beier, C.; Berg, B.; Verheyen, K.; Carbonell, Victoria Through litter decomposition enormous amounts of carbon is emitted to the atmosphere. Numerous large-scale decomposition experiments have been conducted focusing on this fundamental soil process in order to understand the controls on the terrestrial carbon transfer to the atmosphere. However, previous studies were mostly based on site-specific litter and methodologies, adding major uncertainty to syntheses, comparisons and meta-analyses across different experiments and sites. In the TeaComposition initiative, the potential litter decomposition is investigated by using standardized substrates (Rooibos and Green tea) for comparison of litter mass loss at 336 sites (ranging from −9 to +26 °C MAT and from 60 to 3113 mm MAP) across different ecosystems. In this study we tested the effect of climate (temperature and moisture), litter type and land-use on early stage decomposition (3 months) across nine biomes. We show that litter quality was the predominant controlling factor in early stage litter decomposition, which explained about 65% of the variability in litter decomposition at a global scale. The effect of climate, on the other hand, was not litter specific and explained <0.5% of the variation for Green tea and 5% for Rooibos tea, and was of significance only under unfavorable decomposition conditions (i.e. xeric versus mesic environments). When the data were aggregated at the biome scale, climate played a significant role on decomposition of both litter types (explaining 64% of the variation for Green tea and 72% for Rooibos tea). No significant effect of land-use on early stage litter decomposition was noted within the temperate biome. Our results indicate that multiple drivers are affecting early stage litter mass loss with litter quality being dominant. In order to be able to quantify the relative importance of the different drivers over time, long-term studies combined with experimental trials are needed.

Additive yield response of chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) to rhizobium inoculation and phosphorus fertilizer across smallholder farms in Ethiopia

Our latest outputs -

Additive yield response of chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) to rhizobium inoculation and phosphorus fertilizer across smallholder farms in Ethiopia Woldemeskel, Endalkachew; Heerwaarden, J.; Abdulkadir, Birhan; Kassa, S.; Aliyi, I.; Degefu, T.; Wakweya, K.; Kanampiu, F.; Giller, K.E. The impacts of rhizobium inoculation on growth and yield of chickpea have mainly been tested in experiments conducted in greenhouses or on research stations. We report the response of the crop to inoculation (I) and phosphorus fertilizer (P) application across a large number of smallholder’s farms over four regions of Ethiopia, covering diverse soil fertility and agro-ecological conditions. Increased grain yields due to the soil fertility treatments was evident for 99% target farmers. On average, I and P increased grain yield by 21% and 25% respectively, while the combined application of I and P resulted in a 38% increase. However, observed grain yields on control plots and responses to the treatments on individual farms varied greatly, and relative yield responses (%; yield of P and/I minus control yield, divided by control yield) ranged from 3% to 138%. With the exception of a few extremely poorly yielding locations, average responses to P and I were high across a wide range of control yields, indicating the possibility of boosting chickpea productivity for smallholders with P fertilizer and inoculant technology. Variation in response to rhizobium inoculation was mostly independent of agro-ecology and soil type although it was found to be low on a number of farms with extremely high N contents (%). Assuming that a relative yield increase of 10% due to treatment effects is required to be visible, 71%, 73% and 92% of the farmers observed a yield benefit by applying P, I, and P + I, respectively. The results are discussed with respect to the additive benefits of P fertilizers and rhizobial inoculation and their implications for wide scale promotion of inoculant technology to smallholders.

Enhanced nitrogen cycling and N2O loss in water-saving ground cover rice production systems (GCRPS)

Our latest outputs -

Enhanced nitrogen cycling and N2O loss in water-saving ground cover rice production systems (GCRPS) Zhe Chen; Shan Lin; Zhisheng Yao; Xunhua Zheng; Gschwendtner, S.; Schloterd, M.; Meiju Liu; Yanan Zhangb; Butterbach-Bahl, Klaus; Dannenmann, M. An alternative to conventional cultivation of rice on submerged paddy soil is the ground cover rice production system (GCRPS), in which soil is covered with a plastic film to reduce the use of irrigation water. However, reduced soil water, increased aeration and temperature under GCRPS could promote soil nitrogen (N) mineralizing, nitrifying and denitrifying microbes and thus enhance soil N turnover and environmental losses e.g., through emission of the potent greenhouse gas nitrous oxide (N2O). At two sites with paired GCRPS and conventional paddy fields in Central China, we followed the abundance and activity of N-mineralizers, nitrifiers, denitrifiers and N2-fixing microbes based on qPCR from DNA and RNA directly extracted from soil. With decreasing soil water during the growing season, GCRPS strongly increased N mineralization as illustrated by several fold increased transcript levels of chiA. Furthermore, GCRPS reduced the nifH transcripts (encoding for nitrogenase) by 38% to 70% but increased the qnorB transcripts by 160% and archaeal amoA (AOA) transcripts by one order of magnitude (encoding for nitric oxide reductase and ammonia monooxygenase). This indicated a higher potential for N losses due to decreased biological N2 fixation, increased N leaching and increased N2O emission in GCRPS. The latter was confirmed by increased in situ N2O emissions. In addition, the N2-fixing and denitrifying microbial community composition as measured by a community fingerprinting approach was strongly influenced by GCRPS cultivation. Hence, our study reveals the microbial mechanisms underlying the risks for increased N mineralization, nitrification and N2O emissions and decreased biological N fixation in GCRPS. However, analysis of topsoil N stocks provided evidence that at least under N fertilizer application, GCRPS might overall maintain soil N stocks. This might result from a GCRPS-induced increase in fertilizer N use efficiency, root development and C and N return via residues, which appear to outbalance the observed effects on nitrification, gaseous N losses and biological N fixation, thereby preventing a net loss of total soil N.

An inclusive and participatory approach to changing policies and practices for improved milk safety in Assam, northeast India

Our latest outputs -

An inclusive and participatory approach to changing policies and practices for improved milk safety in Assam, northeast India Lindahl, Johanna F.; Deka, R.P.; Melin, D.; Berg, A.; Lundén, H.; Lapar, M.L.; Asse, R.; Grace, Delia Animal products are highly nutritious, but also highly perishable. In India milk is an important source of animal protein, but problems with low quality of the milk, high degrees of adulterated milk on the market, high bacterial loads, and sometimes presence of zoonotic pathogens persist. Most dairy farmers in India are resource-poor small-holders, often with limited knowledge about the importance of food safety and hygiene. Milk quality problems including adulteration and bacterial contamination is common in the country. This paper describes a training intervention for improved food safety in Guwahati, Assam, India, conducted in 2009–2013. The training was designed to be short, simple and customized, cheap to deliver, easily accessible, and accompanied by incentives to bring change in knowledge, attitude and practices (KAP). In 2014 three outcomes were assessed: changed KAP; milk production; and, mastitis prevalence. Selected food safety hazards were also assessed, although their management had not been included in training. We found evidence of improved KAP among trained farmers, 14% higher milk production, and a tendency towards less mastitis, but no effects on food safety hazard levels. This study shows that a training intervention can have a medium-term impact, while the issue of food safety is more complex and cannot be assumed to automatically follow from even successful training.

Assessing the chemical and microbiological quality of farmed tilapia in Egyptian fresh fish markets

Our latest outputs -

Assessing the chemical and microbiological quality of farmed tilapia in Egyptian fresh fish markets Eltholth, M.; Fornace, K.; Grace, Delia; Rushton, J.; Häsler, B. Fish make important contributions to food and nutrition security in low and middle income countries; however, they are also prone to contamination with a range of chemical and biological hazards. The presence of people's perception and health hazards has implications for consumer acceptability and hence the potential contribution of fish to nutrition and health. The aim of this study was to assess the chemical and microbiological quality of farmed tilapia in Egypt. We conducted a systematic literature review resulting in 38 papers meeting inclusion criteria. We also conducted a survey of seven hazardous chemicals in fish sampled from farms (300 samples from 100 farms) and of 5 biological hazards as well as total bacterial counts in fish sampled from retailers (300 samples from 100 retailers). The results showed that the level of contamination with heavy metals and pesticides was lower than the national and international permissible limits. On the other hand, level of contamination of a considerable proportion of samples with microbial pollutants was higher than the permissible limits. Results from the literature indicated that, the level of contamination of wild tilapia was higher than farmed tilapia, again in contradiction to common perceptions. Our results indicate that the risk of human exposure to heavy metals and pesticides via consumption of farmed tilapia is negligible compared to microbial hazards. These findings suggest that post-harvest contamination is the major health risk in the tilapia fish value chain and we make recommendations for addressing this.

Celebrating Africa Day and the future of agriculture in Africa

CRP 7 News -

Africa has the youngest population of any continent on Earth. As of 2015, 226 million young people (ages 15-24) lived on the continent, with the number expected to more than double by 2055. This burgeoning group of young people provides a wealth of energy and innovation to developing regions. At the same time, unemployment remains a serious concern, with the youth unemployment rate in Sub-Saharan Africa hovering just above 14 percent. Aspirations from the African Union Commission Agenda 2063 include “a prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth and sustainable development.” In order to make this prosperity a reality, investing in young people is paramount.

One such investment comes in the form of agriculture, where the focus should be on making it inclusive, sustainable, and profitable. And, while agriculture employs the vast majority of the population, it is demanding work that is made more difficult by climate change, which is expected to alter temperatures, rainfall patterns, extreme weather events, and crop-related pests across the continent. Climate-smart agriculture (CSA), which aims to increase agricultural sustainability and adaptation, is one way to combat the detrimental effects of climate change.    

This year, in celebration of Africa Day, which, since May 25, 1963, has recognized the founding of the Organisation of African Unity (now the African Union), the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) is showcasing an online discussion, held from 23 April to 21 May, titled “Partnerships, innovations and financing for youth in climate-smart agriculture.” The discussion focused on young people and CSA, specifically innovation, partnerships, financing, and youth engagement in CSA activities.

In regards to youth adoption of CSA practices, one discussion member commented, “young people in colleges of agriculture are keen to embrace CSA,” while also noting that young people face barriers to CSA adoption. Recent research from CCAFS supports this comment, finding young people interested in climate change adaptation, but confronted with numerous barriers, including a lack of capital, land, access to markets, and limited participation in decision-making. Another discussion member underscored the need for youth participation, calling it “ambitious” to “exclude the youth in the CSA decision-making process and expect them to take up the ideas and solutions reached.” Instead, “the youth must be involved in the discussion and decision-making process about CSA to enhance uptake of the innovations designed.”

Youth must be involved in the discussion and decision-making process about CSA to enhance uptake of the innovations designed

The need for enhanced technological approaches was also cited by a number of discussants. “CSA should encompass modern Information and Communication Technology (ICT)-based approaches such as e-learning, discussion forums, and video conferencing to spread information to the youths,” said one participant. Another suggested “flood[ing] the digital space with CSA content” and CSA-based video games were put forth by a third participant.  

Given the complexity of climate change, and its impact on agriculture, CSA partnerships were also discussed. One discussion member stressed the need for partnerships to be “multi-disciplinary and integrative” and another the need for strategic partnerships. Still, another discussant cautioned that partnerships come with their own form of disadvantages, noting, “for these partnerships to work, all parties must get benefits according to the energy they invest and must agree before commencing.” The discussion ended with a conversation about financing, with commenters calling for specific funds to be set aside for young people, better processes for youth to apply for and receive funds, and leaders that focus on and understand the needs of young people.

Agriculture will continue to be the cornerstone of livelihoods and economic development in Africa. Supporting young people and providing a platform for their contributions to climate change solutions is essential. 

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Governance of Natural Resources research in PIM

CRP 2: program news -

Why do property rights for land and other natural resources matter? How do they affect agricultural productivity, environment, gender relations? How do people coordinate with their neighbors, governments, and private sector so that natural resources are used sustainably? And what innovative approaches can researchers offer to help in the process? Dr. Ruth Meinzen-Dick explains.

The post Governance of Natural Resources research in PIM appeared first on Policies, Institutions and Markets.

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