Sunday, May 11, 2014

Lâchers des parasitoïdes de la cochenille du papayer

L’Acerophagus Papaya, parasitoïdes qui se nourrit de cochenilles.
L’Acerophagus Papayae, parasitoïde de la cochenille du papayer. Photo:
Les vergers de papayers à travers le pays sont, actuellement, envahis par les ‘white bugs’ [admin note: mealybugs].
Afin de lutter contre ce problème, des parasites [admin note: parasitoïdes] Acerophagus Papaya [admin note: Acerophagus Papayae] ont été relâchés dans différents vergers du pays notamment à Solitude, Brisée-Verdière, Triolet,
Espérance-Trébuchet, Bon-Accueil, Grand-Gaube, entre autres. Dans les vergers d’arbres fruitiers, ces dégâts se manifestent de deux façons, soit par la chute prématurée des boutons floraux, dans le cas d’attaques aux stades de débourrement et prébouton rose, soit par des malformations plus ou moins prononcées des fruits, dans le cas d’attaques du stade bouton rose jusqu’à la chute des pétales.

Le gouvernement a bénéficié de l’aide du National Bureau of Agriculturally Important Insects qui a agréé le transfert de 500 spécimens du parasitoïde élevé en laboratoire à des fins de contrôle biologique classique des ‘white bugs’.

D’ici peu, un plan d’action sera mis en place pour s’attaquer à une nouvelle maladie affectant les bananiers. La solution la plus viable, jusqu’à présent, c’est d’éliminer les plantes qui ont été affectées par des ‘white bugs’ afin qu’ils n’affectent pas les autres fruits et légumes qui se trouvent dans les parages. Le ‘white bug’ a été détecté en premier lieu dans la région d’Albion avant de se répandre à travers le pays, causant des dommages aux papayers.

La fertilité de la femelle des ‘white bugs’ et la durée de métamorphose des larves dépendent largement de la température et de la plante hôte. Une femelle peut pondre jusqu’à 600 oeufs sur une aubergine ! La femelle pond ses oeufs sur la face inférieure de la feuille, ceuxci ne sont pas visibles à l’oeil nu. La larve qui éclot est d’abord très mobile pendant quelques heures pour aller chercher un endroit pour s’installer. Par la suite, elle est immobile jusqu’au stade adulte. Les larves et les adultes nuisent à la plante de la même façon que les pucerons : elles affaiblissent la plante par succion. Les feuilles jaunissent et l’excédent de sucre qu’elles rejettent s’appelle le miellat. Il salit la plante et réduit ses facultés d’assimilation, d’où la prolifération de la fumagine (champignon). 
Source: 01.04.14 Admin note: The article has several mistakes. The main ones are indicated through admin notes in bracket.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Submit your blog now for the YoBloCo Awards!

The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA) and its partners are pleased to announce that submission for the 2nd Edition of the YoBloCo Awards is now open! Launched in October 2013 at the Caribbean Week of agriculture in Guyana, the YoBloCo Awards have attracted the attention of many agriculture bloggers across ACP countries. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

After NEONICOTINOIDS, EU bans another insecticide (FIPRONIL) endangering pollinators

Bees of America, please don’t take this the wrong way, but it might be time to buzz off to Europe.
The European Union will limit the use of yet another bee-endangering insecticide, part of its efforts to protect pollinators from agricultural poisons.
The use of fipronil, a nerve agent produced by German company BASF and widely applied by farmers to kill insect pests, will be outlawed on corn and sunflower seeds and fields across Europe. From Reuters:
The restrictions take effect from Dec. 31 but seeds which have already been treated can be sown until the end of February 2014.
The ban follows similar EU curbs imposed in April on three of the world’s most widely used pesticides, known as neonicotinoids, and reflects growing concern in Europe over a recent plunge in the population of honeybees critical to crop pollination and production.
A scientific assessment from the EU’s food safety watchdog EFSA said in May that fipronil posed an “acute risk to honeybees when used as a seed treatment for maize”.
Fipronil, mainly sold under the Regent brand name in Europe, may still be used on seeds sown in greenhouses, or leeks, shallots, onions and other vegetables that are harvested before they flower, posing a low risk to foraging bees.
The U.K. and the U.S. have both been reluctant to restrict sales of pesticides that pose a threat to bees, but the U.K. is bound by the European Union’s recent bans and restrictions, while the U.S., of course, is not. Beekeepers and environmentalists in the U.S. are currently suing the EPA in an effort to institute similar bans here.From The Guardian:
Bees and other pollinators are essential in the growing of three-quarters of the world’s crops, but have seen serious declines in recent decades due to habitat loss, disease and pesticide use. In Tuesday’s vote, only the UK, Slovakia and the Czech Republic abstained and only Spain — the biggest user of fipronil — and Romania voted against. The UK was also one of eight of the 27 EU member states that unsuccessfully opposed the EC neonicotinoid ban.
“The UK abstained from the vote as there were concerns that the proposals were not based on sound scientific evidence,” said a [spokeswoman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs]. “Fipronil is not used in any authorised pesticide in the UK so this ruling will have little impact [here].”
Paul de Zylva, of Friends of the Earth, welcomed the “leadership” of the European commission but added: “Yet again the UK’s pesticide testing regime has proven to be unfit for purpose. It’s disappointing to see the UK government abstaining from another cut and dried opportunity to protect bees.”
To the bees of America: Bon voyage.

Plant that gives both tomato and potato (TomTato) launched by Thomson & Morgan in UK

A plant which produces both potatoes and tomatoes, described as a “veg plot in a pot”, has been launched in the UK.

The TomTato can grow more than 500 sweet cherry tomatoes while producing white potatoes.
Horticultural mail order company Thompson & Morgan, which is selling the plants for £14.99 each, said the hybrid plants were individually hand-crafted and not a product of genetic engineering.

Grafted potato-tomato plants have already been produced in the UK, but Thompson & Morgan says this is the first time they have been successfully produced commercially.

The company says the tomatoes are far sweeter than those available in supermarkets.
Paul Hansord, horticultural director at the company, said he first had the idea for the plant 15 years ago in the US, when he visited a garden where someone had planted a potato under a tomato as a joke.
He said: "The TomTato has been trialled for several years and the end result is far superior than anything I could have hoped for, trusses full of tomatoes which have a flavour that makes shop tomatoes inedible, as well as, a good hearty crop of potatoes for late in the season.

"It has been very difficult to achieve the TomTato because the tomato stem and the potato stem have to be the same thickness for the graft to work, it is a very highly skilled operation.

"We have seen similar products, however on closer inspection the potato is planted in a pot with a tomato planted in the same pot - our plant is one plant and produces no potato foliage."

The plants can be grown either outside or inside, as long as they are in a large pot or bag.
A similar product, dubbed the "Potato Tom", was launched in garden centres in New Zealand this week.

Source: 27.09.13

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Rajesh Dave : “Sustainable Yogic Agriculture needs positive thinking, pure feelings and mind power”

We have heard and seen many agricultural practices in Mauritius: hydroponics, drip irrigation, green agriculture and bio vegetables. The latest practice is being brought to us by the Brahma Kumaris- It is called Yogic Agriculture.
What is the definition of Yogic Agriculture?
Sustainable Yogic Agriculture refers to agricultural and farming practices which involve bio-organic and natural inputs along with application of positive thinking, pure feelings and mind power.  Thus it involves not only macro energy and materials but also micro energy as well as metaphysical inputs in terms of positive vibrations right from the stage of seed bed preparation, sowing, till harvesting and storage.

Is it a new agricultural concept? When did it start and by whom and what about putting it into practice and in which country?

Yes, it is a new innovative agricultural concept which involves modern farming with traditional knowledge. It started in 2007 by the few farmers who are also the students of Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University at Kolhapur (Maharashtra) India. As these farmers have been integrating meditative practices in their daily lifestyles for many years, the application of mind power for farming was therefore envisaged and eventually implemented with very good results. This farming system has been recognized by Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations Organisation (FAO) and has found a place in business development magazine published after the 2012 Rio Summit on Bio-diversity.

What is the difference between yogic agriculture and bio agriculture?
Yogic Agriculture is a bio agriculture plus approach, which over and above, makes extensive use of positive mind power on seeds, soil, water, microbes, plants, fauna and flora. Scientific studies by agricultural universities (e.x. G.B. Pant University of Agriculture and technology, Uttarakhand, India) have shown improved rate of seed germination, microbial population, plant vigour, nutritional value of crops, shelf life, as a result of the application of yogic vibrations.

Does it have something to do with the protection of the environment? If yes, tell us how does it protect the environment?
Definitely, as explained earlier the yogic agriculture involves the principle of sustainability and preservation of bio diversity which necessarily uses natural and bio inputs along with pure feelings for all the living beings and environment.  Also since local seeds and no chemicals (mostly petroleum based) are used at any stage of the process, the carbon footprint is less.

Today the world is threatened with the invasion of all kinds of insects, not only of grasshoppers. How would farmers manage at keeping pests away from their plantations if ever there is fear of invasion from insects?

As a result of our non judicious application of chemical fertilizers and pesticides the invasions by insects have been found to be more intensive which is because of the ability of living creatures to develop resistance against adversities.  It is advisable to address this issue in a holistic manner like integrated pest management, uses of bio insecticides and bio pesticides along with bio control by crop friendly birds and insects. It has been observed in a research study in S.D North Gujarat Agriculture University, Dantivada that the ecology takes care of the crop protection by itself.  The study came out with a result which asserted the control of insects by natural predators (birds) due to eco friendly yogic farming.

What is the extension of yogic agricultural projects in India and elsewhere?

Presently there are about one thousand farmers located in the state of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Haryana & Andhra Pradesh who have been using yogic farming methods over more than 1500 acres of land.  The capacity building program has been undertaken for representatives of farmers from other countries (Italy, Nepal, Australia, France).

Do you think that such form of agriculture is suitable for Mauritius? If yes when can we expect such produces in our local market?
Definitely yes!  Efforts have already started by Brahma Kumari Centres to sensitise the small farmers namely through AREU, Civil Societies, and the demonstration plots are likely to be identified in association with AREU at various places (Rose Belle, Wooton, Flacq, Goodlands).  However the products can only be expected once the cultivation takes place in the desired acreage.

How can this form of agricultural method help to assure food security in small countries like Mauritius?
Yogic Agriculture involves the principle of sustainability, resource conservation and bio-diversity preservation which enables the exploration of multiple cropping and mixed cropping to a small farmer giving him space to mitigate risks.  Mono crop economy needs to be changed to widely diversified crop economy for ensuring desired food security.

Whenever we produce we always think of market possibilities. Do you think that there is need to educate consumers before starting such production in Mauritius?

Yes.  The market is already sensitised on the advantages of organically grown produces avoiding ill effects of chemicals.  Such products fetch good market price and there is a demand supply gap.  Yogic agriculture is a plus approach and ensures improved nutritional value in agricultural produces (improved protein, energy values and carbohydrates)

What is the impact of food consumption on the Human personality?

 ‘As the food so is the mind’, this principle is reflected through yogic agriculture.  The pure and positive vibrations radiated on the crop results into high nutritional value and easy assimilation of the nutrients. Thus it improves both the health of body and the mind. The grower gets the benefits of low cost, high yield and high quality produces as well as his own character will be built ensuring a better quality of life.