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Tropentag Conference Dinner

Over a glass of wine and around a table is where bonds are usually established and ideas are born. The Canteen of the University of Zurich hosted the conference dinner of Tropentag 2010. After a full day of intensive discussions on the future of agriculture, food and nutrition, climate change and natural resources participants were able to enjoy a relaxing moment of interacting and networking. Yet another typical “Mensa-Food”: queues of people with trays on hand, three menus of Swiss beef with vegetables, a mushroom curry over couscous and an Asian Wok, all-year-round-salad and 3-CHF-beer marked this Tropentag’s culinary gathering. Food is what links us in Agricultural Sciences. The food we eat, how we eat it and where we source it from has an apparent effect on the ecosystems, the economies and culture somewhere in the world. A future challenge in combating world hunger, promoting food and nutrition security and food justice is to uphold some basic ethical principles of sustainability and implement them into science, education, agriculture, politics, industry, society as well as into our own eating habits. Whether it is in our personal lives or in our university canteens. Or is it something that can be forgotten over a glass of Calvados on the banks of Limmat? Tropentag 2010 - Conference dinner

Oral Presentations IV: Rice Research

SUSANNE UFER: The Impact of Rice and Maize Price Volatility on Farm Households’ Income and Consumption in Northern Vietnam Since world food prices were fluctuating massively between 2006 and 2009, there was the concern that the income of farmers’ households in developing countries would decrease highly. According to a study conducted in Northern Vietnam, there was only a moderate impact of rice and maize price changes on the net income in rural areas. TIMOTHY J. KRUPNIK: Adaptive On-farm Evaluation of Resource Conserving Rice Cultivation Practices in the Middle Senegal River Valley Because of sub-optimal rice production in Sahelia, three quarters of the rice consumed in the country is imported. According to this, it is very important, to re-define the rice cropping system to increase the productivity of Sahelian rice farmers. Research has shown that farmers appreciate new cropping systems, but the best results were achieved by combining different systems like the Adapted System of Rice Intensification (ASRI) as well as the recommended management practices with the farmers’ former cropping practices. A side note to Rice Research: Ubud Rice Farmer

Oral Presentations III: Mixed Cropping, Agroforestry, and Biofuels

This is a sample of some of the great mixed cropping, agroforestry and biofuels oral presentations at Tropentag Strategies to Use Biofuel Value Chain Potential in Sub-saharan Africa to Respond to Global Change Enhancing Low-productivity Farming in Tanzania and Linking to SMEs – Stefan Sieber Some of the most significant global drivers stem from energy demands. This study examined new strategies to improve value chains and biofuel potential in order to provide communities in Sub-Saharan Africa with multiple energy services. The study took place in Tanzania, however global applications of the findings was one of the overall objectives. One way to improve energy demands in developing countries is though linking small scale farmers with small- to medium-scale enterprises. This research project worked with stakeholders in order to develop feasible strategies to maximize profit. The output from this collaborative effort was the development of global scenarios (applications in other countries), biomass production, consumption patterns, as well as a participatory biomass value chain. The objective of the research was to conduct a sustainability impact analysis and an information system for policy/decision support.

Oral Presentations III: Water Management across the globe

Population worldwide is growing, which results in an increasing demand of irrigation and drinking water. During this early morning session solutions for some water management problems in developing countries were discussed. In East-Africa for instance, due to population growth, people are forced to extend agriculture from the high lands into wetlands, where the soil water availability is not constant. Beate Böhme presented that in inland valley wetlands the soil water availability is not very variable and thus very suitable for year-round production. Two other ways to ensure water availability for agriculture in the future are water storage and the use of un-treated wastewater for irrigation. Dr. Irit Eguavoen explained that water storage may be a good option in sub-Saharan Africa regarding climate change, but that the socio-economic impacts for the farmers are large and should taken into account. Phillip Weckenbrock did research in Pakistan to see if the negative image of the use of wastewater for irrigation is justified. He found that the use of wastewater is a very good option for farmers; the wastewater is cheaper to obtain than groundwater and using wastewater results in higher profits. Then Nilhari Neupane and Sisay Demeku Derib presented some local solutions to water scarcity. In Nepal modeling proved that water bargaining by the local population increases the benefits all around. In Ethiopia…

Oral Presentation II: Market Development

Bernhard Brümmer of Georg-August-Universität Göttingen opened the second-set of parallel oral presentations with a focus on market development. There were 4 oral presentations instead of the planned 6 covering rural market development-related topics within developing countries. Berhanu Gebremedhin: Crop-Livestock Interactions in Smallholders´ Market Participation in Ethiopia In this paper, he specifies that interdependence exists on both households´ net market positions (e.g. Net Buyer or Net Seller) for crops and livestock. He also showed that, crop purchases are financed by livestock (vice-versa) and excess income emanating from crop sale is converted into livestock asset. Additionally, he said that policies and strategies should pay attention to the simultaneous production and marketing of both crop and livestock commodities. Christina Handschuch: Adoption of food safety and quality standards among Chilean raspberry producers – Do smallholder benefit? Meike Wollni substitutes, and discuss their findings that small-scale farmers has a low likelihood of opting for certification whilst certified farmers would obtain better product quality having a positive relationship to their net household incomes. Also, it was suggested to extend support to small-scale farmers in implementation process, collective sharing of compliance costs, and access to information. Mildred Garcia: Third party socio-environmental certifications: A new perspective for small-scale coffee producers in Honduras?

Decentralization? Participation? Collective markets? Dealing the dilemma of rural institutions and markets

How can we enhance the capacity of smallholder producers to capture benefits from the national and international markets? How can we ensure sustainable management of natural resources? Does decentralization help to fight poverty? These are the major question posed in the morning session ‘rural development’ on 16 September. ‘If we had many gold we would change it to rice, whatever the price it would be’ a testimony of the presentation of ‘Maria Schwab hints on the necessity to consider multiple livelihoods options seriously under market vulnerability and shocks in Cambodia . 'Institutional factors such as land size matters for smallholder to get the benefit of the producers group. Since smallholders do not have required land size to increase the production, collective marketing approach may not work for the benefit to their livelihoods'- are major conclusions of the presentation of Elisabeth Fischer taking the Banana Market in Kenya as a case.//// Village bylaws, a local institutions in Trygary, Ehiopia, enhanced collective action of the users by driving towards common goals in the management of exlosures and resolving conflicts using monetary sanctions. This presentation of Mastewall Yami, highlights that this type of local institutional mechanisms is constrained by high social capital in villages closer to market and district town and resulted in the negligence among users in exposing free riders indicating that high social capital does not always enhance communal resources. ///

Oral Presentations II: Communication and extension services

OLUYEDE C. AJAYI: What has Path Dependence got to do with Smallholder Farmers' Decision to Adopt Agricultural Technologies? Lessons from Côte d'Ivoire As the farmers' technology choices are not only determined on geographic and soil characteristics, but also on historical interventions and policies, old habits of the farmers can not just be changed by new technologies. It's important to compare standard practices like the pesticide use in the cotton sector of Côte d'Ivoire with new options: not only the potential of new technologies should be faced, but also incentives to change. ATAHARUL HUQ CHOWDHURY: Learning through Moving Pictures: Farmer-to-Farmer Video to Stimulate Farmers' Innovations about Botanical and Alternative Pest Management Practices in Bangladesh Tropentag 2010 - Oral Session II Atarahul Huq Chowdhury, BOKU Vienna (www.cdr.boku.ac), presents his research on learning through videos in Bangladesh

It is time to think how we can put development into practice

´Tropentag is a perfect place where we meet great diversity of people, scientific presentation and ideas', according to the opinion of Michael Hauser, who represents Agrinatura and BOKU. Agrinatura (http://www.agrinatura.eu/) supports the Tropentag through student grant since it promotes research for development. He is of the opinion that Tropentag is a knowledge intensive event, and it is time to think about how we can put this knowledge into practice for improvement of the livelihoods of millions of poor. He remarks that by innovating ideas of the Student reporter, this year Tropentag enables spreading the message to the researchers, practitioners and development professionals across the geographical boundaries. Watch his conclusive comments and remarks.
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