Knowledge for Development

Related developments

EC ARD: Improving the quality labelling system

The EC wants to improve the quality labelling system it uses to designate traditional agricultural produce and foods. The system helps protect and promote the brand names of Europe’s traditional agricultural produce and foods. Since its creation in 1992, the system has registered products under one of three labels (Protected Designations of Origin; Protected Geographical Indications; Traditional Specialities Guaranteed). The Commission made legislative proposals in December 2010 called "Quality package 2010" to streamline the system and make the labels easier to use and understand.The Quality Package puts in place a comprehensive policy on certification schemes, value-adding terms for agricultural product qualities, and product standards, covering the different facets of quality, from the compliance with minimum standards to the production of highly specific products. The Package comprises a new 'Agricultural Product Quality Schemes Regulation', a new general base-line ‘Marketing Standard’ for all agricultural products and new ‘Guidelines of best practices’ on voluntary certification schemes. For the future, the Commission announced its intention to study further the problems faced by small-scale producers in participating in Union quality schemes as well as mountain producers to market their products.For ACP farmers and food producers, national or regional quality standards could help them market their products abroad. The initiative by the EC could set a baseline for quality certification process and serve ACP countries in their effort to expand exports of agricultural produce of accredited quality. However, ACP countries would need to improve the human and physical infrastructure to take advantage of the opportunities.(Source: EC ARD website, 15 Feb. 2011)


PNG: Improved sweet potato processing techniques

The biggest challenge in Papua New Guinea is accessing the knowledge and technologies for developing possible products from sweet potato that can be sold on the local markets. Sweet potato has not been accorded the importance it deserves in the people’s diets despite the fact that it is produced and consumed in large quantities and has nutritional and economic value. There is a need to consider alternative ways for farmers to use their surplus sweet potatoes. To address some of these issues, a sweet potato food fair was held on 3 February 2011 at the Anglimp South Wagi District Administration office in Minj, Jiwaka Province, PNG. The food fair was funded under the auspices of ACIAR (Australia) funded project.(Source: PNG NARI, 14 Feb. 2011).


New guide on fonio (Digitaria) by CIRAD

This book describes the fonio plant and its grains and provides information on miscellaneous cultivation and production systems in a variety of environments in Africa. It describes the principal traditional fonio production and processing techniques and suggests possible areas for improvement. It shows a keen interest in improved promotion of fonio, by touching on such aspects as preparation of new products, marketing and consumption.


Spicing up Jamaica's exports

Farmers in Jamaica have started to grow turmeric on test plots around the country with the help of the ministry of agriculture's export division. The plant grows wild in Jamaica, especially in western parishes, but this is the first time a concerted effort has been made to cultivate it for the US$ 133 million export market. Tests show that Jamaican turmeric contains at least 4 % curcumin, the chemical that gives the spice its yellow colour (the market-leading Indian turmeric is at 5 %). Turmeric is mainly used for colouring and mixed with other spices to make curry powder. Curcuma is a powerful antioxidant. (Jamaica Observer, 28/9/2011)


Food crops processing: the way forward for Papua New Guinea

Malum Nalu’s blog features among other exclusive posts on agriculture in PNG, a piece by Joel Waramboi, Senior Scientist with PNG’s NARI. Waramboi explains in detail what progress the agricultural sector has made in terms of harvested volume and crop diversification. He also makes the case for a greater commitment to post-harvest technologies within the country, taking the sweet potato as an example. This post is rich in data and has insights into PNG’S NARI work and efforts. Otherrecent blog posts on PNG’s agricultural sector can be found on Malum’s blog. (Malum Nalu, 16/11/2011)


Apiculture value chain experiences in Ethiopia

The project ‘Improving Productivity and Market Success’ (IPMS) in apiculture value chain development in Ethiopia has produced a video titled ‘No bees no honey’. IPMS and stakeholders worked at the district level to produce high quality honey by using an integrated commodity development approach. The video shows various value addition activities and processes employed by the project (ILRI Clippings, 08/02/2012).


New coconut press technology adopted in the Pacific

International markets for virgin coconut oil have expanded rapidly over the past decade. Solomon Island business owner Dr Dan Etherington in collaboration with Australia’s CSIRO and colleagues from the Australian National University (ANU), developed an all-weather cottage industry technology for countries in the Pacific region that produces coconut oil of ‘remarkable’ quality. A March 2012 training workshop introduced coconut oil producers to ‘organic agriculture’ certification and quality control process based on the principles of hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP). (Crawford Fund, 03/2012)


New project ‘Gratitude’: Gains from Losses of Roots and Tuber Crops

Private and public sector organisations from Thailand, Vietnam, Ghana, Nigeria, the Netherlands, Portugal and the UK came together at the Natural Resources Institute, University of Greenwich, UK, in April 2012 to launch the new European Union Framework 7 funded project ‘Gratitude’ (Gains from Losses of Roots and Tuber Crops), and to begin the planning phase. The project aims to help small-holder farmers and small-medium enterprises to find and disseminate solutions that will reduce waste from postharvest losses of root and tuber crops and turn typically discarded by-products into something of increased value. By addressing food security, creating demand for root and tuber crops and improving efficiency at all stages along the value chain; this unique and innovative project will greatly improve the livelihoods of people with low incomes. (NRI via AlpĥaGalileo; 18/4/2012)


New website for CIRAD’s agrifood technology platform

CIRAD’s agrifood technology platform specialises in agrifood processing technologies, of pertinence to developing countries. It has three main types of activities: research, training and business partnerships. The platform's website presents the infrastructure and its resources, describing its installations and equipment. It reports on the platform's operations through news items and a work schedule. The platform is open to: researchers; training establishments; firms wishing to outsource a research topic; project leaders seeking to apply their skills or develop a product. (CIRAD, 14/5/2012)


Feeding cattle algae co-products

Researchers in the US conducted a study where co-products of the production of biofuel from algae were fed with both medium and low-quality forages. Surprisingly, the steers used in the study were not picky eaters as they widely accepted the algal residue in a processed form. The algae co-product is what is left-over after oil extraction and is in powder form. The scientists said the algae feed performed much better than expected compared to cottonseed and that additional research is required to fully explore the value of feeding algae to grazing cattle. (AllAboutFeed, 4/6/2012)


A European project to achieve more sustainable production and distribution of foodstuffs

The SENSE project (Harmonised Environmental Sustainability in the European food and drink chain) brings together researchers, producers, transformers and distributors in order to achieve a harmonised, integral methodology that can be used to evaluate the environmental impact of food products accurately and efficiently. The project SENSE (7th FP) aims to contribute towards getting the food and drink sector to engage in more environmentally sustainable production, transformation and distribution of its products. The current situation presses the need to have tools that will help to reduce the environmental impact of food and drink throughout their production chain, starting with their production and transformation and going right up to their commercial distribution. The SENSE members will be focusing specifically on creating a methodology applied to the juice, dairy, meat and aquaculture sectors, chosen for their importance in the European market. (EurekAlert, 22/02/2012)


Africanised bees make Trinidad and Tobago’s honey so sweet

An article explaining how Africanised bees enabled the revival of Trinidad and Tobago’s honey production. Africanised bees which many feared would have destroyed the country's beekeeping industry (because they colonized the island and overtook the European bees’ habitat) have instead helped put Trinidad and Tobago on the map as having the best honey in the world. Trinidad’s honey is regarded as being of very high quality, having won the top prize in two international competitions. Early 2001, the industry lost its impetus when new European Union regulations stipulated that honey must be tested in laboratories before it enters the European market. Numerous petitions were made to set up laboratories so that Trinidad and Tobago could again sell its prized honey in international markets. Presently the demand for honey is greater than the supply, and the local industry churns out an estimated three tonnes of honey every season. But to stimulate honey production so that the growing demands for honey are met, the Trinidad and Tobago Beekeepers Association have asked the ministry of Food Production, Land and Marine Affairs for access to forested areas to set up apiaries.(Source: Trinidad Express, 27 October 2010.)


Rwanda: banana fibre for fabrics - a refreshing innovation

Rwanda has decided to venture into the creative world of fabrics, this time on a discovery mission of how to manufacture fabrics from banana fibre. Bananas are a staple food here in Rwanda being consumed by the greater part of the population. While we consume the fruit, cloth will be woven from tree fibres. Now imagine how the local textile industry is set for a major boom, after the announcement today of the seven-member technical team that is set for Japan, to start the process of transferring banana textile technology to Rwanda. This team is going to study this ancient tradition of transforming banana fibre into textiles which dates back to the 13th century, in Japan. (Source: New Vision, 16 January 2009)


Manually-operated tools developed to preserve fresh breadfruit as gluten-free flour

Breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis) is a high-yielding underutilized food-crop that grows in abundance in many tropical nations that struggle with malnutrition, including Haiti, the Philippines and India. It's high in carbohydrates, very high-yielding and requires few agricultural inputs. Because breadfruit has such a short shelf-life, most breadfruit goes uneaten, even in extremely malnourished communities. Compatible Technology International (CTI) has developed a set of manually-operated tools that rural villagers can use to preserve fresh breadfruit as gluten-free flour. The tools include a shredder, dryer and grinder. Breadfruit flour can be used in cookies, cakes, and many other products as a substitute or in addition to wheat flour, which is much more costly. In the fall of 2012, the breadfruit equipment will be thoroughly tested at the Breadfruit Institute of the National Tropical Botanical Garden in Hawaii. CTI will use the data collected at the Breadfruit Institute and in Haiti (a project using the tool) to help community enterprises form economically viable business models.(Via, 8/2012)


Australia funds Pacific islands project to produce high quality veneer from coconut wood

A new four-year research project aims to develop the technologies, processes and expertise to produce high quality veneer and veneer products from senile coconut trees in some Pacific island countries. Forestry departments of Fiji, Samoa and Solomon Islands and several industrial companies in the region are collaborating in the project, which is funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR). This research project is a follow-up of an earlier ACIAR-funded project on improving value and marketability of coconut wood, which aimed at the production of flooring from solid coconut wood for the high quality hardwood flooring market overseas.(Via, 14/8/2012)


Research into mild preservation techniques for food products

These days, food can be kept a lot longer than in the past. But techniques such as pasteurisation and sterilisation also affect the quality of the products. The nutritional quality suffers, the product has less aroma and the flavour and smell of the food sometimes deteriorate. New, milder preservation techniques go a long way to preventing this loss of quality. Wageningen UR Food and Biobased Research have joined forces with a group of Dutch companies in the food industry to explore the application of these techniques.(Wageningen UR, 2/7/2012)


Scientific Research Organisation of Samoa (SROS)

The Scientific Research Organisation of Samoa (formerly known as The Research and Development Institute of Samoa - RDIS) is a newly formed government initiative, established to provide scientific and technical research, and develop technologies which provide benefit to Samoa’s industry and economy. It is an independent corporate body constituted and operating under the provisions of the SROS Act 2008.The primary objective of SROS is to assist farmers and businesses through scientific and technical research with the primary aim of adding value to local resources to promote the national economy. There is a need to add value to food production in Samoa to fully utilize local resources (agricultural produce), generate income, employment and reduce imports. There is also a need to exploit energy sources that are renewable to compact high energy cost. All research activities of the Organisation are geared to achieving these goals.SROS research on postharvest disease management, among other themes, has received international commend.


Pacific Community holds consultations on phytosanitary matters

The Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) hosted a meeting of the Pacific Plant Protection Organization (PPPO), a regional plant protection organisation recognised by the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), and a Regional Technical Meeting of Plant Protection (RTMPP) to discuss phytosanitary issues including pest and disease control, quarantine measures, international trade and implementation of international standards. PPPO and RTMPP provide guidance on issues relating to plant protection, biosecurity and trade-related phytosanitary issues for Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs) and ensure that biosecurity requirements of PICTs comply with international standards to facilitate regional and international trade.(Excerpt from ISSD SIDS Policy and Practice, 29/6/2012)


Agri-ProFocus (APF)

Agri-ProFocus (APF) is a partnership with Dutch roots that promotes farmer entrepreneurship in developing countries. The partnership was founded in 2005 with the aim of rallying together professionals, expertise and resources around a joint interest in farmer entrepreneurship. The Agri-ProFocus network members are organisations and companies that gather, train, connect and provide inputs and credit to farmer entrepreneurs and producer organisations.The network operates both at a Dutch (-based) level and at a developing country level, the latter in so-called Agri-Hubs. By promoting entrepreneurship and connecting producers with national and international markets, Agri-ProFocus members aim to both open up market potential for business in developing countries.


Diversity and production methods of fluted pumpkin (Telfairia occidentalis Hook F.): Experience with vegetable farmers in Makurdi, Nigeria

Telfairia occidentalis is an indigenous vegetable consumed by millions of people in Nigeria. The seeds are in high demand as they serve as food oil for making margarine. However, commercial growers in the middle belt zone of Nigeria, source telfairia seeds from south-eastern states of Nigeria. The growers claimed that seeds of the accessions grown in the area are not as viable as those from southeast Nigeria. Thus, seeds are scarce and expensive at time of planting. This survey sought to examine farmers’ perception of diversity and determine the status of fluted pumpkin production as a basis for facilitating further studies, in order to help resolve the constraints to telfairia seed production. The results showed that the farmers, predominantly female (78%), were able to identify two cultivars ‘Ugwu-elu’ and ‘Ugwu-ala’ by their distinctive characteristics – leaves, stem, fruit and seed. The crop was produced on low ridges, with two seeds planted in a hole about 6 cm deep, at a spacing of 31 x 45 cm, giving a population of approximately 71,700 plants/ha. Mulching and fertilizer use were not practised but weeding and irrigation were undertaken. Apparently, seed production is possible in Makurdi and breeders can breed for telfairia seed.(African Journal of Biotechnology Vol. 7, Is. 8, 17/04/2008)