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News Article | May 4, 2017
Site: www.fao.org

Nutrition education plays a key role in promoting healthy and sustainable diets for all. In many parts of the world, professional training in nutrition education remains scarce. The need for competent professionals skilled to conduct nutrition education interventions is especially great in countries where undernutrition coexists with growing rates of overnutrition and associated non-communicable diseases. Funded by the German Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL), and in collaboration with numerous African universities and the Dutch University of Wageningen, FAO launched the nutrition education course ENACT – Education for effective Nutrition in Action – in 2012. The course aims to promote long-term improvements in diets, giving special attention to social and environmental contexts, in all relevant sectors and in the whole food cycle, including production, processing, marketing, and consumption. FAO’s needs assessment conducted in 2010 in seven African countries revealed a lack of suitable approaches and relevant trainings to promote nutrition behavior change. Two years later FAO launched the programme Education for effective Nutrition in Action (ENACT), a course which trains university students, agriculturists, nurses, health service managers, community workers and NGO staff to conduct nutrition education interventions for behavior change, ranging from planning to evaluation. While developing necessary competencies for their professional lives, course participants also learn how to improve their own diets and how to address nutrition-related threats in their communities. “We are now aware that nutrition education is so important at all levels”, an ENACT student from Cameroon remarks. ENACT was piloted successfully between 2012 and 2014 in Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda. Shortly after, the course was translated into French and piloted with universities in Francophone African coutries, namely Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon and Niger. Improving students’ capacities The four-month course has been integrated into various university programmes and mainly uses the tutorial teaching method, which emphasizes practice and experience, focusing on students’ active participation by making them the main actors of their own learning process. “The lecture method trained us to remember what the lecturer said but the tutorial method made us think”, an ENACT student from Ghana explains. The course specifically targets students who plan to promote nutrition behavior change in their future professional practices, e.g. in nutrition, medicine, agriculture and social science. Overall feedback was very positive, with 86 percent of participating tutors and 82 percent of participating students rating the practical activities using pedagogical approaches as “very useful”. An external evaluation showed that the programme succeeded in increasing professional capacity by preparing students to pursue careers in national governments and intergovernmental organizations, as community or health workers, agriculture extension agents, etc. “I now feel very capable to help people improve their diets and their food behavior”, an ENACT student from Cameroon confirms. Course participants are also prepared to effectively integrate nutrition education into national policies, strategies and nutrition-sensitive interventions. Scaling up nutrition education After successful piloting, partner universities conducted national multi-sectoral workshops at various levels and with relevant stakeholders, e.g. NGOs, governments, training institutions and UN agencies, with the aim to develop a joint strategy for mainstreaming nutrition education into policies and programmes, and in order to integrate training into university curricula. The workshops gave stakeholders an opportunity to strengthen their involvement and collaboration with nutrition education training, as well as defining related roles and responsibilities. While some added the course to existing programmes, others created a professional Master’s degree in nutrition education. The course was also successfully integrated in English-speaking piloting countries, and is expected to start in the academic year 2016/2017. All French-speaking countries aim to launch ENACT during the back-to-school period in 2017/2018. Next steps FAO is currently promoting ENACT through orientation sessions in other African universities, and through trainer’s trainings during regional conferences. FAO is also exploring how to adapt courses to Asian and Latin American countries according to their needs and interests. An online version of the course has been prepared and piloted and will be available shortly. All programme versions are available in English and French, and can be integrated in the curricula of interested universities.


News Article | December 2, 2015
Site: phys.org

This is a major step towards achieving a high quality reference sequence for each of the 21 bread wheat chromosomes. The expected outcome is a new generation of tools for wheat breeders to accelerate breeding programs and produce a new generation of wheat varieties with higher yields and improved sustainability. Reference sequencing of wheat chromosomes 6A and 2D will be carried out over the next two years by the teams of Nils Stein and Uwe Scholz of the Leibniz-Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (IPK Gatersleben) – respectively leading the research groups Genomics of Genetic Resources and Bioinformatics and Information Technology – and by Klaus Mayer, leader of the Plant Genome and Systems Biology research group at the Helmholtz Zentrum München. The teams will use high throughput sequencing technologies and the latest bioinformatics tools to sequence and assemble the genome, and precisely locate the genes along both chromosomes. Describing the project, Nils Stein explained: "The project will underpin the important goals of the IWGSC towards delivering a genome-wide high quality reference sequence of bread wheat – one of the most important food crops in the world. It is very important that Germany's Ministry of Food and Agriculture has identified this as a priority and is supporting this longer lasting research effort." Beat Keller, of the University of Zurich in Switzerland and IWGSC Board and Leadership team member, welcomed the news: "Germany has a well-established excellence in plant genome research, with significant efforts in barley and sugar beet genomics, for example. At IWGSC, we are excited about the decision for a very strong commitment also in wheat genomics. This contribution is very significant for the completion of the international project to achieve a high-quality sequence of the whole bread wheat genome." Of the 21 wheat chromosomes, only one – chromosome 3B – is currently sequenced to high quality. Reference sequencing of 14 other chromosomes, in addition to the 6A and 2D project, is currently underway in 12 countries under the leadership of the IWGSC and will be completed in the next two years. The IWGSC is still seeking funding for reference sequencing of four wheat chromosomes. Provided that additional funding is secured soon, the IWGSC anticipates that a high-quality genome sequence for bread wheat could be publicly available by 2019. Wheat is the most widely grown cereal crop in the world and the staple food for more than 35% of the global human population. It accounts for 20% of all calories consumed throughout the world. As global population grows, so too does its dependence on wheat. To meet future demands of a projected world population of 9.6 billion by 2050, wheat productivity needs to increase by 1.6% each year. Since availability of new land is limited to preserve biodiversity and water and nutrient resources are becoming scarcer, the majority of this increase has to be achieved via crop and trait improvement on land currently cultivated. A high quality reference genome sequence would contribute greatly to achieving this goal. Explore further: Scientists complete chromosome-based draft of the wheat genome More information: For more information, see www.wheatgenome.org/Projects/IWGSC-Bread-Wheat-Projects/Sequencing/Whole-Chromosome-Reference-Sequencing-Projects/6A-2D-reference-sequencing


Grosso N.,Deimos Engineering SA | Patinha C.,Deimos Engineering SA | Sainkhuu T.,Mongolian Academy of Agriculture science | Bataa M.,Ministry of Food and Agriculture | Doljinsuren N.,Ministry of Food and Agriculture
European Space Agency, (Special Publication) ESA SP | Year: 2016

The work presented here shows the results from the project "Climate-Resilient Rural Livelihoods in Mongolia", included in the EOTAP (Earth Observation for a Transforming Asia Pacific) initiative, a collaboration between the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), developed in cooperation with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture of Mongolia. The EO services developed within this EOTAP project primarily aimed at enriching the existing environmental database maintained by the National Remote Sensing Center (NRSC) in Mongolia and sustaining the collaborative pasture management practices introduced by the teams within the Ministry of Food and Agriculture of Mongolia. The geographic area covered by the EOTAP services is Bayankhongor province, in western Mongolia region, with two main services: drought monitoring at the provincial level for the year 2014 and Land Use/Land Cover (LULC) and changes mapping for three districts of this province (Buutsagaan, Dzag and Khureemaral) for the years 2013, 2014.


Boakye O.D.,Kwame Nkrumah University Of Science And Technology | Emikpe B.O.,University of Ibadan | Folitse R.D.,Kwame Nkrumah University Of Science And Technology | Bonnah S.G.,Ministry of Food and Agriculture | And 3 more authors.
Revista Brasileira de Ciencia Avicola | Year: 2016

Newcastle Disease (ND) has been identified as a major constraint to local poultry production with its impact being felt more in rural poultry production which forms about 80% of Ghana poultry population. However documented evidence on ND virus activity in rural poultry in Ghana is still lacking. Hence, this study was conducted to evaluate the level of circulating antibodies against ND using the Haemagglutination Inhibition (HI) technique. Sera collected from unvaccinated 292 chickens and 153 guinea fowls randomly selected from households and a live bird market in Kumasi and its environs were evaluated for Newcastle disease virus antibodies. Results showed 81.8 % (239/292) of local chickens and 24.2 % (37/153) of guinea fowls tested positive for ND antibodies. Comparison was made between the seroprevalence of ND antibodies in household and live bird market as well as between sexes. Significantly higher prevalence rate (p<0.05) was observed with chickens sampled from households compared to those from the live bird market. Higher ranges of titers were also observed in chickens from households than those from live bird markets. The presence of ND antibodies in these unvaccinated local chickens and guinea fowls indicated the presence of the virus amongst the rural poultry population, hence aneed for improvement in vaccine campaignand delivery against ND for rural poultry especially with the use of thermostable and improved oral or feed-based vaccine delivery systems. © 2016, Fundacao APINCO de Ciencia e Tecnologia Avicolas. All rights reserved.


Avornyo F.K.,Animal Research Institute | Salifu S.,Animal Research Institute | Panyan E.K.,Animal Research Institute | Al-Hassan B.I.,ACDI VOCA | And 2 more authors.
Livestock Research for Rural Development | Year: 2016

A baseline survey of guinea fowl production in northern Ghana was conducted to gather bench mark data against which to measure impact of future guinea fowl project interventions. Ten districts were covered in Northern Region and five each in Upper East and Upper West regions. An average of 36 guinea fowl farmers were interviewed per district. Chi-square was used to compare actual values against expected values. Paired T-Test was also used to separate means. Tables and graphs were drawn for better visualization of the findings. A substantial number of the farmers interviewed were between the ages of 21 and 60 years. By gender, guinea fowl farming appeared to be a predominantly male occupation in all three regions. Guinea fowl production was still largely the preoccupation of farmers with no formal education (64%). The local breed comprised the overwhelming majority (98%) of birds kept by the farmers. The respondents obtained day-old keets from two main sources; from their own eggs (52%) and buying eggs (44%) from others to hatch. Farmers in the Northern Region obtained the highest average number of eggs from their guinea fowls per annum (1067 eggs), followed by the Upper West Region (399 eggs per annum), and lastly the Upper East Region (328 eggs per annum). Of the eggs produced annually, about 22.6% were incubated to obtain keets, 37.5% were sold and 13.7% were consumed by the family. Calabash was the clear container of choice for storage of eggs (73.5%). Most farmers (89.8%) stored their eggs for a week or less before incubation. The most common method used to determine the sex of a guinea fowl was the helmet method (35%). Virtually all the respondents offered supplementary feed to their guinea fowls. In northern Ghana the use of grains (maize and millet) to feed guinea fowls dominated. There was normally water for the birds to drink as over 80% of the respondents alleged they gave their birds water. Mud hut for housing guinea fowls predominated. Once in a week sweeping of the guinea fowl house was the most common practice and it was carried out by 33% of the respondents. The most widely used medication was herbs in Northern (25%) and Upper West (40%) regions and dewormer in Upper East Region (35%). About 70% of the respondents had a problem of guinea keet mortality and it was the overriding challenge. Consequently, about 82% of the respondents requested for training in guinea fowl health. The major mode of transporting guinea fowls to market was by bicycle, and about half of the people interviewed used this means of transport. Guinea fowls were commonly conveyed in local cages to the market with 70% of the respondents indicating this practice in northern Ghana. Mortality rate during transportation of guinea fowls was about 0.6%. © 2016, Fundacion CIPAV. All rights reserved.


News Article | March 4, 2016
Site: www.reuters.com

Red cross workers prepare to send trucks to deliver food and monetary aid to eight provinces over Mongolia's vast steppe, mountains and frozen rivers from Ulan Bator, Mongolia, February 26, 2016. Global aid agencies are responding to a call for assistance by Mongolia as... Red cross workers prepare to send trucks to deliver food and monetary aid to eight provinces over Mongolia's vast steppe, mountains and frozen rivers from Ulan Bator, Mongolia, February 26, 2016. Global aid agencies are responding to a call for assistance by Mongolia as... Dry weather has scorched most of Mongolia's wheat crop and now mass animal deaths due to a freezing winter, locally known as "dzud", are threatening more pain for the country, where farming accounts for about 13 percent of the economy. The last dzud in 2009-2010 killed 9.7 million of the country's livestock, according to the National Emergency Agency of Mongolia. While the government has not yet declared the current winter a natural disaster, it has warned the situation could get worse. So far, a drop in temperatures to minus 55 Celsius (minus 67 Fahrenheit) has killed nearly 200,000 livestock. The weather and grazing conditions are already worse than they were in the previous dzud, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said in a statement, citing the Mongolian Ministry of Food and Agriculture. "Usually for the dzud, the most devastation is observed in March, April and May," Garid Enkhjin, national program coordinator for the IFRC in Mongolia, told Reuters. The IFRC said it has launched an emergency appeal for 834,000 Swiss Francs ($835,000) to assist 25,500 Mongolian herders, who are at risk of losing their livestock and livelihoods due to the extreme winter. Currently, 80 percent of Mongolia is under snow, making it difficult for nomadic families to travel along centuries-old pasture routes to find food for their livestock. Aggravating the situation is the fact that herders can live up to 50 kms (31 miles) from urban settlements and many are without cars. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has said it plans to provide trucks to get aid to families' doorsteps at some of the most-difficult-to-reach areas. "We want to relieve the burden of that last mile of distance to the most affected," Ben Hemingway, USAID's regional adviser, said on phone from Bangkok. In the worst affected districts, sheep and other livestock have started dying. Many herders are trying to sell their animals while they are still alive, leading to an oversupply of livestock that has driven down market prices. Although the death toll for animals so far is far less than in 2009, "the impact on the people is more or less the same", said Enkhjin. "Livelihoods will be impacted immediately and have devastating effects."


Ozaytekin H.H.,Selcuk University | Uzun C.,Ministry of Food and Agriculture
Carpathian Journal of Earth and Environmental Sciences | Year: 2012

Entisols and Alfisols are derived from limestone under Mediterranean mountain climate conditions with a mesic temperature regime and a xeric moisture regime. These Entisols are weakly developed, as shown by their reduced thickness and their lack of diagnostic subsurface horizons, The aim of this research is to study and compare the pedogenic evolution of Alfisols and weakly developed Entisols using weathering indices as well as CIA, CIW, WIP, P, PIA, base/R 2O 3, and some geochemical rates together with other features such as the mineralogy and some analytical characteristics. Our results show that soils classified as Alfisol and Entisol have similar weathering indices and pedochemical activity. The major factors determining soil genesis in this area appear to be topographical rather than climatic and the nature of parent material affected by the leaching regime and weathering rates.


Okorley E.L.,University Of Cape Coast | Adjargo G.,Ministry of Food and Agriculture | Bosompem M.,University Of Cape Coast
Journal of International Agricultural and Extension Education | Year: 2014

The potential of Farmer Field School (FFS) as an extension approach in Africa is still evolving, with limited empirical evidence. Cocoa FFSs have been introduced in Ghana by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) since 2006, and are still being experimented with by COCOBOD and NGOs. But, little is known about its effects on farmers to inform COCOBOD’s quest to mainstream and support it. This study, therefore, ascertains the potential of the FFS in terms of its effectiveness and impact on livelihoods of cocoa farmers in Ghana. Using a retrospective comparison design, a survey was conducted on beneficiaries of cocoa FFS in the Mpohor Wassa East District of the Western Region of Ghana. The case study found that the FFS was effective in facilitating farmers’ acquisition of knowledge in all cocoa technologies practiced under the FFS. The participant farmers perceived their yields to have increased significantly up to 79%, and their household livelihoods improved due to the FFS. It was also perceived to have improved all capital assets of the farmers, with human capital being the most affected. The best predictors of impact on the livelihoods of the cocoa farmers in FFS were mirid control practices (40.7%), followed by training and extension methods (7.4%). It can be concluded from this case study that FFS can be an effective tool for cocoa extension in Ghana based on the confidence the study farmers have shown regarding its ability to improve farmer competence, yields, and household livelihoods. © 2014, Assoc. Int. Agricultural and Extension Education. All rights reserved.


Ahmed M.,Pmas Arid Agriculture University | Fayyaz-ul-Hassan,Pmas Arid Agriculture University | Aslam M.,Ministry of Food and Agriculture | Akram M.N.,Pmas Arid Agriculture University | Aslam M.A.,Pmas Arid Agriculture University
African Journal of Biotechnology | Year: 2010

The effect of planting window (PW) acting as changing temperature scenarios and water availability at critical stages of wheat (Zadok's scale) on photosynthesis (A), stomatal conductance (gs) and transpiration rate (E) as well as their relationship with yield of spring wheat genotypes viz: Chakwal-50, Wafaq-2001 and GA-2002 was studied. The research was conducted at three locations of varying climatic conditions (National Agricultural Research Centre Islamabad (NARC), Barani Agriculture Research Institute Chakwal (BARI) and farmer's field at Talagang, District Chakwal) in year 2008-09 and 2009-10. The results showed that photosynthesis, stomatal conductance and transpiration rate were significantly affected under three locations due to change in temperature and water availability. Photosynthesis (27.03, 24.64 and 22.66 μ mole/m2/second), stomatal conductance (0.78, 0.31 and 0.09 mole/m2/second) were recorded and transpiration rate (8.66, 8.17 and 2.07 mole/m2/s) were recorded at NARC, Chakwal and Talagang, respectively. The values of these attributes were highest in growing year 2008-09 due to optimum temperature and water availability. The results clearly indicated that CO2 reduction rate, transmission of stomata and water loss rate were dependent on optimum temperature and moisture availability. Reduction in moisture availability and increase in temperature lead to reduction in photosynthesis which ultimately reduces the biomass produced and accordingly, limit the yield. Grain yield was observed to be 3540, 2352 and 1938 kg ha-1 for NARC, Chakwal and Talagang, respectively, which showed a regular reduction under three different observed environments. These physiological results of wheat genotypes can be used to find adaptive and potential genotypes for changing environment. © 2010 Academic Journal.


Atawalna J.,Kwame Nkrumah University Of Science And Technology | Emikpe B.O.,Kwame Nkrumah University Of Science And Technology | Shaibu E.,Ministry of Food and Agriculture | Mensah A.,Ministry of Food and Agriculture | And 2 more authors.
Global Veterinaria | Year: 2013

There had been dearth of information on the level of fetal wastages in slaughtered cattle in West African countries other than Nigeria; this study evaluates level of fetal wastage in cows slaughtered at Kumasi abattoirs in Ashanti Region, Ghana. Out of a total of 154,719 cows slaughtered, 28,410 (18.4%) were pregnant. The ratio of slaughtered cow and those pregnant was 2.3 while 41.9% of cattle slaughtered were cows. There was rise in fetal wastages over the years with 2009 having the highest, while there was rise in December of most of the years and this may be related high demand for meat during the festivals and ceremonies during this period. The results indicated a high level of slaughtering of pregnant cows in the abattoirs studied. There is need to advocate for routine veterinary checks and interventions among trade animals in order to reduce the high level of fetal wastage in the country. It also gave insight to need for strategic planning and decision-making on animal food security in Ghana. © IDOSI Publications, 2013.

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