Oral presentations 2016

Milk + Sun + Development = cooler, healthier milk? Local, solar-powered milk cooling

Problem: In Kenia, small scale milk producers (1-10 liters) carry in the morning their milk to cooperative-milk-collection stations, and they do so typically by bycicle. As the microbial activity without cooling stays high, the quality of the milk decreases during transportation. To prevent the degration of milk quality and allow further transportation, GIZ, University of Hohenheim and INCARDA developed a 600 watt, solar-powered milk cooling system.

Solar-powered milk cooling

How does it work: The solar-powered energy is stored, transferred to a refrigerator and then used to produce ice. The ice then is put into a special designed milk container without having direct contact with the milk. By that, it cools down the milk through additional isolation to around 20 degrees over a long period.

"Being a Woman Farmer is Like Being Cursed"

The opening oral presentation in the gender section this afternoon, Tuesday 20th, offered a bold statement: “being a woman farmer is like being cursed”. As a woman, and a farmer (albeit in a developed country), this topic especially intrigued me.

The main message from this session was that women in the global south are often inadvertently overburdened by work and life tasks as a result of well-intended gender equality policies. I think this rings true for women worldwide, in different ways.

Gender Presentation

A commenter from the audience recalled seeing women being given toasters and other small appliances as Mother’s Day and birthday gifts. And while these appliances made domestic life easier, it created more pressure and expectations for women to become gastronomical chefs. It seems that so many well-intended inventions and “advancements” have the unwanted result of making women’s lives more difficult.

Urban agriculture for more resilience in food security

Do you know the image of Fidel Castro "smoking" a carrot with the caption „organic by default“? This is pretty much the case of Cuban urban farming practices. When the Soviet block collapsed, farmers were forced to turn to sustainable practices due to a lack of external energy-intensive inputs. At the same time, cities had a need for locally produced food. Today, the city of Havana produces 80 percent of its fruit and vegetable demand within the town borders!

The following picture shows a project by Marta Lopéz Cifuentes, student at BOKU, which is displayed in the registration area.

urban agriculture project

Today, several events at the Tropentag covered the topic of urban agriculture as a means of enhancing food security (and maybe food sovereignty, too). Cuba is a showcase of urban agriculture, since it has relied on it for several decades already. The government has supported urban agriculture in order to become more independent from imports while farmers appreciated their independence from the state. Surprisingly, despite these two contradictory objectives, policies helped urban producers get access to land, markets and extension services, as the research of Friedrich Leitgeb showed.

Crop Biotic stresses oral presentation session: bio-control of pests and diseases

As a young crop scientist, I found it would worth being part of the attendants in the crop biotic stresses oral presentations this morning, Tuesday 20th. And I do not regret it. Most of the projects were from East-African Universities in collaboration with European or South-Americans Universities. They embraced applied research dealing with production, formulation and application as well as efficacy testing under field conditions, as well as basic research focusing on bio-control mechanisms studying molecular interactions between the BCAs and their prey.

Ah, how modern is to say that biological control with beneficial microorganisms (BCAs) can be used to fight plant diseases! Biological control indeed plays an important role, now and even more in the future, as many pesticides are being faced out and organic and Integrated Pest Management (IPM) production is encouraging aiming at improving sustainable plant production.

One of the young scientists, the Ph.D. student Mary Musyoki from Hohenheim University, Germany, gave a wonderful presentation on bio-control using Fusarium Oxysporum f.sp. Strigae-its impact on beneficial indigenous prokaryotes in a maize rhizosphere. “We experienced the success of bio-control agent in a greenhouse lab and we had to release it into the fields to evaluate further”, Musyoki said. However, she mentioned also that risk assessment analysis of having it as a biological control agent in soil ecosystem is vital, it's been proved and it’s now ready for registration.
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