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News Article | June 6, 2017
Site: www.npr.org

PHOTOS: Here's What Climate Change Looks Like To Uganda's Coffee Farmers If you've ever bought coffee labeled "Uganda" and wondered what life is like in that faraway place where the beans were grown, now's your chance to see how climate change has affected the lives of Ugandan coffee farmers — through their own eyes. Rising temperatures and prolonged drought can make coffee trees less productive and increase their exposure to pests and diseases. This is especially a problem in Uganda, where nearly all of the coffee is produced by small farmers who have little access to irrigation or other modern farming conveniences. Coffee is by far the country's most valuable industry: It accounts for one-fifth of export revenue, and about 1 in 5 Ugandans rely on it for part or all of their income. Yet climate change could slash the country's coffee production in half by 2050 —a loss worth $1.2 billion, according to a 2015 economic analysis commissioned by the Ugandan government. Because Uganda is a relatively small player in the global coffee market, disruptions there won't necessarily affect the price of your morning joe in the U.S. But within the country, a disturbing new reality is taking root. To find out exactly how Uganda's coffee farmers view their experience of climate change, I recently equipped a dozen of them with disposable cameras. None of the farmers had ever used cameras, and the ones I gave them were pretty low-quality. But I was amazed by the more than 300 images that the farmers delivered. Many are candid, well-composed and achieve a level of intimacy that would be hard for an outsider to capture. You can access the full Flickr album here. The photos show the struggles of everyday life for small family farmers who are facing drought on Mount Elgon, one of Uganda's oldest and most prestigious coffee-producing regions. We see cows and chickens; children on their way to school; people bustling around water sources; and plenty of manual labor around the farm. That might all sound a bit mundane, until you realize the photos are really a window into the minds of a vulnerable population living on the front lines of climate change. I set up this project in March with a group of coffee-focused agronomists at the Kampala offices of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), a nonprofit research organization. We found our 12 volunteers — six married couples spread across low, middle and high elevations of Mount Elgon. We gave each a quick briefing on how to operate the camera, then asked them to document the impacts of climate change. We left those parameters intentionally vague so the farmers would feel free to define "climate change" in their own terms. A week later, we got the cameras back — and with them, an unfiltered glimpse into how the farmers understood their situation. Among the intriguing images is a sort of still-life, shot on the farm of Sam Massa and his wife, Robinah Muzaki. They live in a mud-brick house in the mist-shrouded upper slopes of the mountain, surrounded by coffee trees that Massa's great-grandfather planted more than 100 years ago. The photo shows artifacts from the farm that represent the effects of rising temperatures: leaves affected by fungal disease; a stem-borer beetle, which lays eggs inside coffee trees, causing branches to wither; a clutch of red coffee berries that Massa says "are not properly matured." "When you open the inside, there's nothing," he says. Massa's wife is fond of a picture she took of the family cow. She says that because drought had severely reduced the last coffee harvest, the family was desperately looking for other ways to raise cash. When she took the picture, she and Massa were considering selling the cow. By the time the pictures were developed, the cow was gone. (A calf, also seen in the image, is still on the farm.) So the picture became a memorial to something climate change had taken from the family. "I had to sell that cow to pay the school fees for the kids," she says. "If the yield of coffee had been good, I wouldn't have needed to sell it." There were other revelations, things that people might not normally associate with climate change, but that are painfully obvious to those living in its harsh reality. Pictures of nondescript dusty roads show the challenges of transporting produce to market; photos of children in uniforms represent school fees, which is many families' biggest cash expense — paid for by coffee. "We are in poverty now," says Michael Lullonde, whose wife, Lofisa, snapped the picture of a school seen on this page. "To take our children to school, or even get food, is very hard." Peter Magona, another of the photographers, says that despite the obvious change in climate, for him and other farmers on the remote Mount Elgon, there's no other viable livelihood than coffee: "If you look around, you can see the environment has changed considerably. There's no rain. The yield is very poor, and the income is very poor, due to this prolonged drought. But coffee is our cash crop, and we cannot drop it. We depend on it." There are many other stories hidden in the photos, too. Over the coming months, IITA scientist Onno Giller plans to finish interviewing the farmers about the images they took and compile the findings in a peer-reviewed research paper. In the meantime, Massa plans to use the prints of his photos as a teaching tool, to encourage his neighbors to take a second look at their own farms and see what they can do to climate-proof their practices. Journalist Tim McDonnell spent three months reporting in Uganda as part of a Fulbright-National Geographic Storytelling Fellowship.


News Article | June 6, 2017
Site: www.npr.org

PHOTOS: Here's What Climate Change Looks Like To Uganda's Coffee Farmers If you've ever bought coffee labeled "Uganda" and wondered what life is like in that faraway place where the beans were grown, now's your chance to see how climate change has affected the lives of Ugandan coffee farmers — through their own eyes. Rising temperatures and prolonged drought can make coffee trees less productive and increase their exposure to pests and diseases. This is especially a problem in Uganda, where nearly all of the coffee is produced by small farmers who have little access to irrigation or other modern farming conveniences. Coffee is by far the country's most valuable industry: It accounts for one-fifth of export revenue, and about 1 in 5 Ugandans rely on it for part or all of their income. Yet climate change could slash the country's coffee production in half by 2050 —a loss worth $1.2 billion, according to a 2015 economic analysis commissioned by the Ugandan government. Because Uganda is a relatively small player in the global coffee market, disruptions there won't necessarily affect the price of your morning joe in the U.S. But within the country, a disturbing new reality is taking root. To find out exactly how Uganda's coffee farmers view their experience of climate change, I recently equipped a dozen of them with disposable cameras. None of the farmers had ever used cameras, and the ones I gave them were pretty low-quality. But I was amazed by the more than 300 images that the farmers delivered. Many are candid, well-composed and achieve a level of intimacy that would be hard for an outsider to capture. You can access the full Flickr album here. The photos show the struggles of everyday life for small family farmers who are facing drought on Mount Elgon, one of Uganda's oldest and most prestigious coffee-producing regions. We see cows and chickens; children on their way to school; people bustling around water sources; and plenty of manual labor around the farm. That might all sound a bit mundane, until you realize the photos are really a window into the minds of a vulnerable population living on the front lines of climate change. I set up this project in March with a group of coffee-focused agronomists at the Kampala offices of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), a nonprofit research organization. We found our 12 volunteers — six married couples spread across low, middle and high elevations of Mount Elgon. We gave each a quick briefing on how to operate the camera, then asked them to document the impacts of climate change. We left those parameters intentionally vague so the farmers would feel free to define "climate change" in their own terms. A week later, we got the cameras back — and with them, an unfiltered glimpse into how the farmers understood their situation. Among the intriguing images is a sort of still-life, shot on the farm of Sam Massa and his wife, Robinah Muzaki. They live in a mud-brick house in the mist-shrouded upper slopes of the mountain, surrounded by coffee trees that Massa's great-grandfather planted more than 100 years ago. The photo shows artifacts from the farm that represent the effects of rising temperatures: leaves affected by fungal disease; a stem-borer beetle, which lays eggs inside coffee trees, causing branches to wither; a clutch of red coffee berries that Massa says "are not properly matured." "When you open the inside, there's nothing," he says. Massa's wife is fond of a picture she took of the family cow. She says that because drought had severely reduced the last coffee harvest, the family was desperately looking for other ways to raise cash. When she took the picture, she and Massa were considering selling the cow. By the time the pictures were developed, the cow was gone. (A calf, also seen in the image, is still on the farm.) So the picture became a memorial to something climate change had taken from the family. "I had to sell that cow to pay the school fees for the kids," she says. "If the yield of coffee had been good, I wouldn't have needed to sell it." There were other revelations, things that people might not normally associate with climate change, but that are painfully obvious to those living in its harsh reality. Pictures of nondescript dusty roads show the challenges of transporting produce to market; photos of children in uniforms represent school fees, which is many families' biggest cash expense — paid for by coffee. "We are in poverty now," says Michael Lullonde, whose wife, Lofisa, snapped the picture of a school seen on this page. "To take our children to school, or even get food, is very hard." Peter Magona, another of the photographers, says that despite the obvious change in climate, for him and other farmers on the remote Mount Elgon, there's no other viable livelihood than coffee: "If you look around, you can see the environment has changed considerably. There's no rain. The yield is very poor, and the income is very poor, due to this prolonged drought. But coffee is our cash crop, and we cannot drop it. We depend on it." There are many other stories hidden in the photos, too. Over the coming months, IITA scientist Onno Giller plans to finish interviewing the farmers about the images they took and compile the findings in a peer-reviewed research paper. In the meantime, Massa plans to use the prints of his photos as a teaching tool, to encourage his neighbors to take a second look at their own farms and see what they can do to climate-proof their practices. Journalist Tim McDonnell spent three months reporting in Uganda as part of a Fulbright-National Geographic Storytelling Fellowship.


URBANA, Ill. - Midwestern growers don't worry much about soybean rust, but the fungal disease has been popping up at the end of the growing season nearly every year since 2006. But because the fungus can't survive winter without a host plant, it's not much of a threat to Midwest crops under current conditions. Right now, the disease only impacts U.S. soybean growers in the frost-free south, and only over-winters in parts of the Gulf Coast and the Caribbean basin. "But if the frost-free zone were to expand northward sometime in the future, there would be a greater potential for soybean rust to impact Midwestern growers," says Glen Hartman, plant pathologist in the Department of Crop Sciences at the University of Illinois and crop pathologist for USDA-ARS. Even though the major soybean-producing region in the United States is currently safe, Hartman and his collaborators aren't willing to let the ball drop on soybean rust. "We'd like to stay ahead of the game by knowing more about the pathogen and whether strains of the fungus can overcome soybean rust resistance genes," he says. The disease is also active and spreading in many other parts of the world. In Africa and other continents, soybean losses of up to 80 percent have been reported due to this disease. "People talk about walking through soybean fields and stirring up clouds of spores," Hartman says. The team verified soybean rust first in Ghana, then Malawi and Tanzania, and most recently Ethiopia in 2016. Hartman notes that fungicides can be effective, but the chemical strategy comes with several pitfalls. "Spraying fungicides over millions and millions of acres does not always provide effective control and certainly is not environmentally appealing," he says. The problem wouldn't be solved with a single treatment, either. In Brazil, where losses up to 75 percent have been reported, producers often spray two or three times every growing season. Finally, the pathogen can develop resistance to fungicides, making them less effective. Hartman believes the way forward is finding rust-resistant soybean varieties. In a recent study, he and several international collaborators tested the ability of 10 such varieties to stand up against rust strains from around the world. None of the soybean varieties were able to resist all of the rust strains that were tested, but a few showed promise. "Soybean genotypes carrying Rpp1b, Rpp2, Rpp3, and Rpp5a resistance genes, and cultivars Hyuuga and UG5 (carrying more than one resistance gene), were observed to be resistant against most of the African rust strains, and therefore may be useful for soybean-breeding programs in Africa and elsewhere," Hartman says. On the flip side, the researchers also evaluated which rust strains were the most destructive. It turned out that strains from Argentina were the most virulent. One of them was able to cause full-blown disease symptoms - tan spore-producing lesions on the leaves - on eight soybean lines, including two with multiple resistance genes. The study's major conclusion is that it won't be as simple as choosing one soybean variety with resistance and rolling it out for commercial use around the world. Instead, it will take a more tailored approach, pushing out the varieties whose specific type of resistance offers the best chance of maintaining effective resistance to local rust strains. The article, "Virulence diversity of Phakopsora pachyrhizi isolates from East Africa compared to a geographically diverse collection," is published in Plant Disease. First author H. Murithi is from the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture in Tanzania. Co-authors include J. Haudenshield, F. Beed, G. Mahuku, M. Joosten, and Hartman. The research was supported by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture and the USDA Agricultural Research Service.


Saenphoom P.,Institute of Bioscience | Liang J.B.,Institute of Tropical Agriculture | Ho Y.W.,Institute of Bioscience | Rosfarizan M.,University Putra Malaysia
Asian-Australasian Journal of Animal Sciences | Year: 2013

This study examined whether pre-treating palm kernel expeller (PKE) with exogenous enzyme would degrade its fiber content; thus improving its metabolizable energy (ME), growth performance, villus height and digesta viscosity in broiler chickens fed diets containing PKE. Our results showed that enzyme treatment decreased (p<0.05) hemicellulose and cellulose contents of PKE by 26.26 and 32.62%, respectively; and improved true ME (TME) and its nitrogen corrected value (TMEn) by 38% and 33%, respectively, compared to the raw sample. Average daily gain (ADG), feed intake and feed conversion ratio (FCR) of chickens fed on different dietary treatments in the grower period were not significantly different. Although there was no difference in feed intake (p>0.05) among treatment groups in the finisher period, ADG of chickens in the control (PKE-free diet) was higher (p<0.05) than in all treatment groups fed either 20 or 30% PKE, irrespective of with or without enzyme treatment. However, ADG of birds fed with 20% PKE was higher than those fed with 30% PKE. The FCR of chickens in the control was the lowest (2.20) but not significantly different from those fed 20% PKE diets while birds in the 30% PKE diets recorded higher (p>0.05) FCR. The intestinal villus height and crypt depth (duodenum, jejunum and ileum) were not different (p>0.05) among treatments except for duodenal crypt depth. The villus height and crypt depth of birds in enzyme treated PKE diets were higher (p<0.05) than those in the raw PKE groups. Viscosity of the intestinal digesta was not different (p>0.05) among treatments. Results of this study suggest that exogenous enzyme is effective in hydrolyzing the fiber (hemicellulose and cellulose) component and improved the ME values of PKE, however, the above positive effects were not reflected in the growth performance in broiler chickens fed the enzyme treated PKE compared to those received raw PKE. The results suggest that PKE can be included up to 5% in the grower diet and 20% in the finisher diet without any significant negative effect on FCR in broiler chickens. Copyright © 2013 by Asian-Australasian Journal of Animal Sciences.


PubMed | Institute of Tropical Agriculture
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Animal science journal = Nihon chikusan Gakkaiho | Year: 2015

This study assessed the effect of halal slaughter and anesthesia pre-slaughter followed by bleeding on meat quality characteristics of goats. Eleven male Boer cross goats were divided into two groups and subjected to either halal slaughter (HS) or anesthesia with halothane and propofol pre-slaughter (AS). At pre-rigor, HS had significantly lower (P<0.05) muscle pH and glycogen than AS. However, no significant difference was observed in the pH and glycogen content between the treatments on 1, 3 and 7 days post mortem. The drip loss of HS was significantly lower (P<0.05) than that of AS at all aging periods. Treatment had no effect on sarcomere length, myofibrillar fragmentation index and shear force values, loss of thiol groups and degradation of major myofibrillar proteins. It can be concluded that HS did not have deleterious effect on meat quality traits of goat when compared to AS.


Juraimi A.S.,Technical University of Madrid | Begum M.,Institute of Tropical Agriculture | Mohd Yusof M.N.,Technical University of Madrid | Man A.,MARDI
Plant Protection Quarterly | Year: 2010

Field experiments have been conducted at the MARDI Seberang Perai Research Station for two seasons: main season 2005/2006 (October - February) and off-season 2006 (March - September) to determine the efficacy of herbicides in controlling weeds and their subsequent effect on rice productivity. Ten herbicides widely used and available in the market have been evaluated singly, as mixtures and as sequential applications in direct seeded rice fields during critical period of weed competition under minimal water conditions of less than 2 cm water depth. In main season the hierarchical position of the four dominant weed species out of 10 species were Fimbristylis milliaceae > Lndwigia hyssopifolia > Leptochloa chinensis > Echinochloa crus-galli, this was completely reverse to that of off-season where Echinochloa crus-galli > Leptochloa chinensis > Fimbristylis milliaceae > Limnocharis flava. Seven of the eighteen treatments over the two cropping seasons showed better broad spectrum weed control, increased grain yields and better yield component indicators. Due to variation of the dominant weed infestation between seasons the potential treatments were pretilachlor followed by bentazon/MCPA (T2), cyhalofop-butyl + bensulfuron followed by bentazon/ MCPA (T4), bispyribac-sodium followed by bentazon/MCPA (T6), benthiocarb/ propanil followed by bentazon/MCPA (T8), penoxsulam + benthiocarb followed by bentazon/MCPA (T10), fenoxaprop-p-ethyl/safener + benthiocarb/ propanil followed by bentazon/MCPA (T12) and quinclorac + benthiocarb/propanil followed by bentazon/MCPA (T14) in main season and Pretilachlor followed by bentazon/MCPA (T2), bispyribac-sodium followed by bentazon/MCPA (T6) and penoxsulam + benthiocarb followed by bentazon/MCPA (T10) in off-season. Rice yield losses due to weed competition in unweeded treatments were 60% in main season and 54% in off-season. This experiment showed that sequential herbicide applications at the critical period of weed competition would give a better result compared to a single herbicide application.


Soleimani A.F.,3400 UPM Serdang | Zulkifli I.,Institute of Tropical Agriculture | Omar A.R.,3400 UPM Serdang | Raha A.R.,University Putra Malaysia
Poultry Science | Year: 2011

Domestic animals have been modified by selecting individuals exhibiting desirable traits and culling the others. To investigate the alterations introduced by domestication and selective breeding in heat stress response, 2 experiments were conducted using Red Jungle Fowl (RJF), village fowl (VF), and commercial broilers (CB). In experiment 1, RJF, VF, and CB of a common chronological age (30 d old) were exposed to 36 ± 1°C for 3 h. In experiment 2, RJF, VF, and CB of common BW (930 ± 15 g) were subjected to similar procedures as in experiment 1. Heat treatment significantly increased body temperature, heterophil:lymphocyte ratio, and plasma corticosterone concentration in CB but not in VF and RJF. In both experiments and irrespective of stage of heat treatment, RJF showed lower heterophil:lymphocyte ratio, higher plasma corticosterone concentration, and higher heat shock protein 70 expression than VF and CB. It can be concluded that selective breeding for phenotypic traits in the domestication process has resulted in alterations in the physiology of CB and concomitantly the ability to withstand high ambient temperature compared with RJF and VF. In other words, domestication and selective breeding are leading to individuals that are more susceptible to stress rather than resistant. It is also apparent that genetic differences in body size and age per se may not determine breed or strain variations in response to heat stress. © 2011 Poultry Science Association Inc.


Soleimani A.F.,3400 UPM Serdang | Zulkifli I.,Institute of Tropical Agriculture | Omar A.R.,3400 UPM Serdang | Raha A.R.,University Putra Malaysia
Poultry Science | Year: 2011

This study aimed to determine the effect of neonatal feed restriction on plasma corticosterone concentration (CORT), hippocampal glucocorticoid receptor (GR) expression, and heat shock protein (Hsp) 70 expression in aged male Japanese quail subjected to acute heat stress. Equal numbers of chicks were subjected to either ad libitum feeding (AL) or 60% feed restriction on d 4, 5, and 6 (FR). At 21 (young) and 270 (aged) d of age, birds were exposed to 43 ± 1°C for 1 h. Blood and hippocampus samples were collected to determine CORT and Hsp 70 and GR expressions before heat stress and following 1 h of heat stress, 1 h of post-heat stress recovery, and 2 h of post-heat stress recovery. With the use of real-time PCR and enzyme immunoassay, we examined the hippocampal expression of GR and Hsp 70 and CORT. The GR expression of the young birds increased following heat stress and remained consistent throughout the period of recovery. Conversely, no significant changes were noted on GR expression of aged birds. Although both young and aged birds had similar CORT before and during heat stress, the latter exhibited greater values following 1 and 2 h of recovery. Within the young group, feeding regimens had no significant effect on Hsp 70 expression. However, neonatal feed restriction improved Hsp 70 expression in aged birds. Neonatal feed restriction, compared with the AL group, resulted in higher CORT on d 21 but the converse was noted on d 270. Neonatal feed restriction appears to set a robust reactive hypothalamo- pituitary-adrenal response allowing the development of adaptive, healthy, and resilient phenotypes in aged quail as measured by a higher hippocampal Hsp 70 expression along with lower CORT. © 2011 Poultry Science Association Inc.


Omidvar V.,University Putra Malaysia | Omidvar V.,Institute of Tropical Agriculture | Abdullah S.N.A.,University Putra Malaysia | Abdullah S.N.A.,Institute of Tropical Agriculture | And 3 more authors.
Planta | Year: 2010

The 1,053-bp promoter of the oil palm metallothionein gene (so-called MSP1) and its 5′ deletions were fused to the GUS reporter gene, and analysed in transiently transformed oil palm tissues. The full length promoter showed sevenfold higher activity in the mesocarp than in leaves and 1.5-fold more activity than the CaMV35S promoter in the mesocarp. The 1,053-bp region containing the 5′ untranslated region (UTR) gave the highest activity in the mesocarp, while the 148-bp region was required for minimal promoter activity. Two positive regulatory regions were identified at nucleotides (nt) -953 to -619 and -420 to -256 regions. Fine-tune deletion of the -619 to -420 nt region led to the identification of a 21-bp negative regulatory sequence in the -598 to -577 nt region, which is involved in mesocarp-specific expression. Gel mobility shift assay revealed a strong interaction of the leaf nuclear extract with the 21-bp region. An AGTTAGG core-sequence within this region was identified as a novel negative regulatory element controlling fruit-specificity of the MSP1 promoter. Abscisic acid (ABA) and copper (Cu 2+) induced the activity of the promoter and its 5′ deletions more effectively than methyl jasmonate (MeJa) and ethylene. In the mesocarp, the full length promoter showed stronger inducibility in response to ABA and Cu 2+ than its 5′ deletions, while in leaves, the -420 nt fragment was the most inducible by ABA and Cu 2+. These results suggest that the MSP1 promoter and its regulatory regions are potentially useful for engineering fruit-specific and inducible gene expression in oil palm. © 2010 Springer-Verlag.


Hossain M.D.,Institute of Tropical Agriculture | Hanafi M.M.,Institute of Tropical Agriculture | Jol H.,University Putra Malaysia | Jamal T.,University Putra Malaysia
Australian Journal of Crop Science | Year: 2011

Dry matter and nutrient partitioning of different kenaf varieties grown on sandy Beach Ridges Interspersed with Swales (BRIS) soils were investigated. The experiment was conducted under a shade house condition. Five kenaf varieties, V36, G4, KK60, HC2 and HC95 were grown in pots, replicated four times in a randomized complete block design. Plants were partitioned into roots, stems, and leaves and the dry weights were recorded at harvesting time. The dry matter accumulation differed significantly among varieties. Total biomasses for the different varieties ranged from 56.19g to 63.33g. Stem accounted for the greatest proportion of dry matter (63.98%), followed by root (18.99%). The proportion of the dry matter accumulation in stem was highest (64.28%) in HC2, followed by V36 (64.04%). The average dry matters were 76.83% and 20.56%. in stems and leaves, respectively. The proportion of the macroand micronutrients in kenaf parts differed significantly among varieties. Nitrogen content had the highest proportion (27.54 to 28.04%) in leaves and lowest (8.06 to 8.24%) in stem, which followed by K, Ca, P and Mg. Most of the kenaf varieties showed variation in nutrient use efficiency (NUE), respect to the measured nutrient elements. The NUE values of < 1.0 g dry matter mg-1nutrient were observed for macronutrients, where as higher NUE values obtained for micronutrients. Total nutrient accumulation in the plant components differed among the kenaf varieties. Partitioning of dry matter and nutrients in kenaf provides a means to select better varieties and makes it possible to grow kenaf on BRIS soil using better fertilizer program.

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