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Agriculture and Rural Development

The Raw Material that is Waste

Parvathi Menon's picture

Plastic Waste - Photo credit: Innovation AlchemyIt is estimated that every Indian consumes approximately 8 kgs of plastic a year. If even 20% of the total plastic consumed gets into the waste cycle, that equals over a billion kilograms of plastic waste that will be generated in India just this year alone. The per capita figure usage has gone up from 4 Kgs per Indian in 2006 and is expected to grow to 25 Kgs of plastic used by every Indian per year by 2020. Imagine how much plastic waste we will be dealing with by 2020? Seriously alarming. Remember the film Wall E? *sigh*..

The United Nation’s Environment Program published an excellent study about Converting Waste Plastics into a Resource. Describing the pathways for Waste Plastic, the report traces most routes, which invaribly lead to a dumping site or a land fill.Dumping Cycle - Photo credit: Innovation Alchemy

If India alone is producing over a billion kilograms of plastic waste each year – the global figures are huge. While the world tries to figure out how to use less plastic – an equally important focus for Innovation will need to be: What to do with all the plastic that is already in the dumping grounds?

Wildlife Friendly Rice Captures Elite Market

Karen Wachtel Nielsen's picture

The Wildlife Conservation Society was awarded a DM grant in 2008 to pilot Cambodia's first market for payment for environmental services generated from agriculture using a "wildlife-friendly" branding and marketing strategy. Here is an update after 4 seasons.

Photo Credit: Karen Nielsen

In early 2009, when Ibis Rice first hit the dining tables of ten of Siem Reap’s elite and socially responsible hotels and restaurants, Le Meridien Angkor was amongst them. Going on the basis of a tasty sample and the willingness to aid conservation in Cambodia, these early supporters were vital to the fledgling enterprise. Today many have joined the ranks of Wildlife Friendly® establishments, both here and in Phnom Penh.

Rejuvenating the Cacao Industry in Trinidad & Tobago

Jan Engels's picture

Photo Credit: www.trinitario-cacao.orgA relic cacao tree nestles deep in the valleys of the Northern Range of the island of Trinidad in a sleepy cacao village called Brasso Seco. Moss hangs from this tree creating an eerie effect; its ripe, rough, “lagarta” (alligator) shaped pods only hint at their fascinating contents of pale-coloured, prized Criollo-influenced, flavourful beans.  

This is the realisation of a cacao collector’s dream: ancient Trinitario cacao from the place where Trinitario originated.  Likewise, across the numerous valleys in villages of Aripo, Lopinot, Naranjho, Cumana in North Trinidad and the steep terrains of Moriah, Runnemede and Lanse Fourmi in Western Tobago, cacao trees of mainly relic Trinitario genotype still survive, carefully conserved in farmers’ fields over the decades spanning from when cocoa reigned as king, in the Caribbean islands of Trinidad and Tobago, to the present day.  The chocolate world owes these dedicated farmers a debt of gratitude.

Cacao scientists from Bioversity International and the University of British Colombia at Vancouver, joined forces with some from the Cocoa Research Section of the Ministry of Food Production, Land and Marine Affairs (MFPLMA) and the Cocoa Research Unit (CRU) of the University of the West Indies (UWI), St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago and conceived and fine-tuned an ambitious project to promote and utilise the latent treasures contained in the vast acreages of relic cacao still remarkably preserved in Trinidad and Tobago.

Maya Nut Could Boost Resilience to Climate Change

DM2009 Winner, Masagni, adopted the Maya Nut Institute's "Healthy Kids, Health Forests Maya Nut School Lunch Program" in Nicaragua's Miskito indigenous communities. For more information on this DM project, click here.

This article was originally published on http://ourworld.unu.edu/, for the original blog post, click here. The Our World 2.0 web magazine shares the ideas and actions of citizens around the world who are transforming our lives for the better.


Photo by Our World 2.0

Global climate models indicate that Central America will experience temperature rise and increasingly dry conditions over the next decades. Precipitation will decrease, causing severe water stress and more frequent and intense drought periods. Pressure on natural resources will grow, as a result of both demographic pressures and climate change, while degradation of ecosystems will further exacerbate water and food scarcity, worsening the living conditions of vulnerable people and communities.

Azolla: A New Paradigm of the Future of Rice

Mariano Montano's picture

My research in Azolla-Anabaena (AA) began in 1980, when I joined the Institute of Chemical and Environmental Sciences at Escuela Superior Politécnica del Litoral (ESPOL) in Guayaquil, Ecuador. After many years of research and testing with various partners, the World Bank’s Development Marketplace funded “Converting Rice Fields into Green Fertilizer Factories” in 2008. I would like to share with you the successes of this project, which has the potential to change the paradigm of rice production in Ecuador.

Rationale

Rice in Ecuador is an essential and primary food for most of the population. The country harvests more than 300,000 hectares involving more than 140,000 families. Therefore it is important that rice is produced cost-effectively and in an environmentally sustainable manner. The production costs of rice depend on the type of seed, fertilizer and phyto-sanitary package used to control weed and insects, costs of labor, land preparation, rental equipment for seeding and harvest, and irrigation. The majority of fertilizers are chemical-based, involving heavy imports and causing environmental problems. More than 40% of the fertilizer applied is released into the environment, as plants cannot utilize 100%. In addition, purchases of imported chemical fertilizers for agriculture account for about 30% of current production costs.

Women Visionaries Driving Vietnam's Green Future

Dr. Ivan Kennedy's picture

In Vietnam, several women with extraordinary vision have been the technological leaders in agricultural innovation. From the laboratory, to the factory, to the farm, women have been the pioneers along every link of the supply chain in this project calledSustaining nitrogen-efficient rice production.”

Under the DM in early March 2011, Agriculture Green Future (AGF), a non-profit organization devoted to promoting sustainable fertilizer, was founded on the research of the only female soil scientists in Vietnam: Phan Thi Cong (pictured).

Professor Nguyen Thanh Hien, BioGro inventor and Dr Phan Thi Cong, project leaderAGF promotes the manufacture and use of BioGro, a microbial bio-fertiliser invented in the 1990s by Professor Nguyen Thanh Hien (also pictured). AGF provides starter cultures and training in quality control to BioGro manufacturers, while promoting the BioGro brand. Phan Thi Cong, who continues to advance the BioGro technology, represents a younger generation positioned to carry this work forward.

Securing Livelihoods through Riverbed Farming

Shiva P. Aryal's picture

In 2008 Development Marketplace competition, Helvetas was among the 22 winners with its proposal on Riverbed Farming for Landless and Land-Poor. The project has now entered its third season of cultivation.

Cultivation is done on large tracks of dry riverbeds in the Tarai region of Nepal, where land poverty is wide-spread and where at least 20 percent of households do not own land. The Nepalese climate allows riverbed farming for a maximum of seven to eight months a year except during monsoon season.

As a part of the project, local farmers are trained as extension agents. They receive technical assistance from the District Agriculture Development Office (DADO) staff and a Helvetas agriculturalist.

Currently 3,000 households in Kailali and Kanchanpur districts are cultivating watermelon, cucumber, pumpkin and other vegetables on about 400 hectares of riverbed land. Through a lease signed between the landless groups and the land owners, (generally the village development committees or community forestry user groups), landless groups cultivate produce and generate a significant income from their harvest.

A Locally Based Model Goes Global

Kirsten Spainhower's picture

Photo Courtesy: Pachamama Coffee CooperativeDevelopment Marketplace winner Pachamama Coffee Cooperative (PCC) was featured in the New York Times not too long ago. Its newest initiative CoffeeCSA.org found its roots in humble beginnings. Springing from the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) movement which began in the 1960’s in Switzerland, consumers receive their produce directly from the farmer through a household subscription paid for in advance. Then on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, the consumer cum subscriber receives a portion of the overall harvest.

CoffeeCSA.org is a platform that allows consumers to pay in advance for a coffee subscription ranging from one month to one year. There consumers have a direct link to farmers who grew their coffee in Ethiopia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru or Guatemala. And the advance subscription provides a more stable income to farmers. It’s a great adaptation of an old model for coffee farmers who often live on only $2 per day.

The World Challenge is Back!

Dougg Jimenez's picture

2 Weeks left to nominate and win US$20,000!

 

The World Challenge LogoFor the 7th consecutive year the World Challenge is searching for grassroots community projects that promote sustainable development through innovation and original thinking. Their mission is simple: to reward small businesses which have found solutions to some of the world's most pressing problems.

If you have what it takes, they would like to hear from you. Please check their website and fill in an application form. You have until the 19th of June, at midnight. Their judging panel will select the best 12 entries to be filmed by BBC World News and featured in a special ad series in Newsweek magazine.

Increasing Profits for Dairy Farmers

Carl Erickson's picture

Three ISAAC Solar Icemakers installed in Kwale District in the Coast of Kenya.The Rural Milk Collection project of DM2006 has been running successfully for two years. The project was to demonstrate the ISAAC Solar icemaker as a method of providing ice and refrigeration to rural farmers. The main findings of the project are that 1) the system is an appropriate technology for rural communities, 2) the village people want more of them, and 3) they are willing to pay for them by sharing profits.

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