Hana Khanh's picture

Value Chains are Valuable

Value chains is the hot topic currently in agricultural economics. As a result, not surprisingly, many people came to the poster session, although it was organized very late in the afternoon of the second day, just before the biggest event of the conference, the "Gala dinner’’.


This year, there were up to 15 posters registered, and they had only one hour to present their work. I felt very positive as I learned about the many attempts to find the bottlenecks in the value chains of tropical and sub-tropical products in developing countries, perhaps leading to new suggestions and solutions for farmers. While Sham UI Haq and Yee Mon Aung worked on rice and pulses in Myanmar, Hazal Akcakara from the University of Bonn, evaluated the impact of sustainability certification on palm oil.

Terraces, Tenure and Tea

After the interesting and inspiring first day at Tropentag 2017, people dragged themselves out of their beds to the AULA at the University of Bonn for today's morning poster session about land use and land use changes. Andreas Brueckert, head of the department of Organic Plant Production at the University of Kassel, guided us charmingly through the jungle of posters. Personal eye- and ear-catchers for me were the presentations on how the future of tea in Malawi depends on the changing climate, tenure influences land conservation, and sustainable land management works in the fragile political context of Northern Afghanistan.

As the presenter did not show up, Andreas, who was well-prepared quickly took over and concisely explained the study. He spiced it up with facts he already knew from his own research, like one major obstacle for planting trees in the socio-ecological context is the change in ownership. The one who plants the tree automatically owns it. Therefore, land tenure hinders the implementation of land conservation methods, slowing afforestation in communal land.

Christian, demonstrated another threat, not to trees but to tea. During an intensive modelling study he and his colleagues investigated the impact of climate change to tea production in Malawi. Whereas just few areas can sustain their production with incremental adaptation, large areas are at risk. As tea is an important crop for agriculture in Malawi, this outcome poses a big challenge for both farmers and researchers, as resilient varieties are needed.

"Nutrition & Food Security are Our Topics"

I talked to Mr Siegfried Harrer of the Federal Office for Agriculture and Food (BLE) – an office that is subordinate to the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) with German Federal Minister for Food and Agriculture Schmidt. BMEL is one of the donors of Tropentag 2015. Harrer said that BMEL is spending 8.5 million Euros on 8 different science projects this year. The main interest of BLE being at Tropentag is to get in contact with other organizations and researchers. They organize workshops for local farmers around the world. Furthermore they have upcoming possibilities for young scientists from developing countries to get grants. DAY3.4

Earthworms and yam beans: feeding fish in the future

Aquaculture is the world’s fastest growing food production industry, with farms supplying around half of the global fish supply. But to satisfy our soaring appetite for aquatic food, we first have to be able to feed the fish and shellfish. This isn’t such an easy task, as conventional feeds are becoming less sustainable and available. It’s no wonder then that the “Animal feeding and nutrition” Thematic Session was unofficially re-named “the fish and aquaculture” session, as all three presenters shined a spotlight on innovative aquaculture feed sources that are nutritious, but that can also address the challenges and demands of intensified fish and prawn farming. So what’s on the plate? Farmed Nile Tilapia, Cairo, Egypt. Photo by Samuel Stacey, 2012. (Continue...)

Göttigen and Kassel Universities Collaborate to host the Tropentag Conference 2012

Collaborating, Promoting, Discussing and being always relevant is key for the success of our institutions. This is a trait well portrayed by the Universities of Göttigen and Kassel.

The Tropentag conference this year has been organized by the Universities of Göttigen and Kassel that are currently cooperating in green areas of research. This cooperation between the 2 universities started in 2005 with synergies that extend to shared professorships and a joint Masters’ Programme on Sustainable International Agriculture that focuses on 3 key areas of agriculture: international organic agriculture, tropical agriculture and agribusiness and rural development economies. The joint research focuses on agroecological problems and the resilience of food production systems which is the theme of the tropentag this year.

Where was your bread last night?

Agriculture science for most people has this name of being bad, of being about pollution, about large-scale, about the destruction of the environment. That is not necessary. We need more science and not less. And we need good science. But there is something we must do. It's not enough to say "Let's get more bold science into agriculture." We ourselves must go back, and think about our own food chain. We need to think differently about our science as a whole. Every meal we eat contains ingredients from all across the world. Everything makes us so privileged, that we can eat this food, that we don't struggle every day. And that, evolutionarily-speaking, is unique. We've never had that before. This is why it's time for agricutural scientists to stand for responsible agriculture and food consumption, as they are crucial to world stability. Enjoy the talk of Louise Fresco, a powerful thinker and sustainability advisor, on feeding the whole world. She says environmentally sound mass production will feed the world, yet leaving a role for small scalers and traditional methods.

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
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