A Practical Guide to Green Products and Services

By goGreen | May 20, 2012

A new report published May 14 by the European Commission's in-house science service, the Joint Research Centre (JRC), provides key information for policy makers and business managers on how to assess the environmental impacts of products and services. It helps to pave the way towards a resource-efficient Europe and aims to help design more sustainable products, which are indispensable in a world of 7 billion people and limited resources.

The increasing world population and the way in which we produce and consume goods are placing unprecedented pressures on our environment. We need to engage in more sustainable production and consumption patterns if we are to address the resulting challenges, in particular climate change and the depletion of natural resources.

Life Cycle Thinking is key to making substantial improvements in the environmental performance of goods and services. This concept looks at the environmental impact of production, distribution and consumption activities from cradle to grave, quantifying the environmental impact of products from the extraction of natural resources to product recycling or waste disposal.

The International Reference Life Cycle Data System (ILCD) was developed to provide guidance for greater consistency and quality assurance of Life Cycle Assessments. This new JRC report provides useful information that will help public administrations to use the ILCD as a technical reference for environment related policies, supporting them also for issuing tenders for service contracts. It supports business managers in developing greener, more efficient products and technologies by implementing Life Cycle Thinking in a structured and coherent manner. Finally, it helps policy makers and business actors to improve their environmental image and save money by implementing robust Life Cycle Assessments that will increase stakeholders' confidence and resource efficiency, and promote more environmentally friendly supply chains.

Background

Life Cycle Thinking (LCT) helps to assess the sustainability of supply chains, use, and end-of-life management options for goods and services. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a structured scientific method, internationally standardised according to ISO 14040 and 14044 that facilitates the implementation of LCT.

This scientific method quantifies the resources consumed, emissions, and related environmental, health and resource depletion issues that are associated with any specific good or service. Some of the topics it addresses include climate change, summer smog, ecotoxicity, human cancer effects, material and energy resource depletion. It also quantifies functional performance in order to allow for direct comparisons with alternative options. Finally, it captures the full life cycle of the system, from the extraction of resources, through production, use, and recycling, up to the disposal of remaining waste.

Applications of LCA include ecolabelling, ecodesign, environmental and carbon footprinting, green procurement and waste management. It addresses strategic questions on the environmental impact of and potential improvements in the use of natural resources. It is used to steer the development of technology families (e.g. fuel cells) and to quantify the environmental performance of production sites and companies. Increasingly, this assessment is also employed to evaluate the environmental impact of policy options.

The 2011 Communication on a resource-efficient Europe, a flagship initiative under the Europe 2020 Strategy, takes these developments to the next stage, as it promotes taking a life-cycle approach to reducing the environmental impacts of resource use in the EU. This flagship initiative re-iterates the importance of using a consistent analytical approach.

SOURCE: ScienceDaily

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Tiny Amounts of Alcohol Dramatically Extend a Worm's Life, but Why?

By goGreen | May 20, 2012

Minuscule amounts of ethanol, the type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages, can more than double the life span of a tiny worm known as Caenorhabditis elegans, which is used frequently as a model in aging studies, UCLA biochemists report. The scientists said they find their discovery difficult to explain.

“This finding floored us — it's shocking,” said Steven Clarke, a UCLA professor of chemistry and biochemistry and the senior author of the study, published Jan. 18 in the online journal PLoS ONE, a publication of the Public Library of Science.

In humans, alcohol consumption is generally harmful, Clarke said, and if the worms are given much higher concentrations of ethanol, they experience harmful neurological effects and die, other research has shown.

“We used far lower levels, where it may be beneficial,” said Clarke, who studies the biochemistry of aging.

The worms, which grow from an egg to an adult in just a few days, are found throughout the world in soil, where they eat bacteria. Clarke's research team — Paola Castro, Shilpi Khare and Brian Young — studied thousands of these worms during the first hours of their lives, while they were still in a larval stage. The worms normally live for about 15 days and can survive with nothing to eat for roughly 10 to 12 days.

“Our finding is that tiny amounts of ethanol can make them survive 20 to 40 days,” Clarke said.

Initially, Clarke's laboratory intended to test the effect of cholesterol on the worms. “Cholesterol is crucial for humans,” Clarke said. “We need it in our membranes, but it can be dangerous in our bloodstream.”

The scientists fed the worms cholesterol, and the worms lived longer, apparently due to the cholesterol. They had dissolved the cholesterol in ethanol, often used as a solvent, which they diluted 1,000-fold.

“It's just a solvent, but it turns out the solvent was having the longevity effect,” Clarke said. “The cholesterol did nothing. We found that not only does ethanol work at a 1-to-1,000 dilution, it works at a 1-to-20,000 dilution. That tiny bit shouldn't have made any difference, but it turns out it can be so beneficial.”

How little ethanol is that?

“The concentrations correspond to a tablespoon of ethanol in a bathtub full of water or the alcohol in one beer diluted into a hundred gallons of water,” Clarke said.

Why would such little ethanol have such an effect on longevity?

“We don't know all the answers,” Clarke acknowledged. “It's possible there is a trivial explanation, but I don't think that's the case. We know that if we increase the ethanol concentration, they do not live longer. This extremely low level is the maximum that is beneficial for them.”

The scientists found that when they raised the ethanol level by a factor of 80, it did not increase the life span of the worms.

The research raises, but does not answer, the question of whether tiny amounts of ethanol can be helpful for human health. Whether this mechanism has something in common with findings that moderate alcohol consumption in humans may have a cardiovascular health benefit is unknown, but Clarke said the possibilities are intriguing.

In follow-up research, Clarke's laboratory is trying to identify the mechanism that extends the worms' life span.

About half the genes in the worms have human counterparts, Clarke said, so if the researchers can identify a gene that extends the life of the worm, that may have implications for human aging.

“It is important for other scientists to know that such a low concentration of the widely used solvent ethanol can have such a big effect in C. elegans,” said lead author Paola Castro, who conducted the research as an undergraduate in Clarke's laboratory before earning a bachelor's degree in biochemistry from UCLA in 2010 and joining the Ph.D. program in bioengineering at UC Santa Cruz. “What is even more interesting is the fact that the worms are in a stressed developmental stage. At high magnifications under the microscope, it was amazing to see how the worms given a little ethanol looked significantly more robust than worms not given ethanol.”

“While the physiological effects of high alcohol consumption have been established to be detrimental in humans, current research shows that low to moderate alcohol consumption, equivalent to one or two glasses of wine or beer a day, results in a reduction in cardiovascular disease and increased longevity,” said co-author Shilpi Khare, a former Ph.D. student in UCLA's biochemistry and molecular biology program who is now a postdoctoral fellow at the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation in San Diego. “While these benefits are fascinating, our understanding of the underlying biochemistry involved in these processes remains in its infancy.

“We show that very low doses of ethanol can be a worm 'lifesaver' under starvation stress conditions,” Khare added. “While the mechanism of action is still not clearly understood, our evidence indicates that these 1 millimeter-long roundworms could be utilizing ethanol directly as a precursor for biosynthesis of high-energy metabolic intermediates or indirectly as a signal to extend life span. These findings could potentially aid researchers in determining how human physiology is altered to induce cardio-protective and other beneficial effects in response to low alcohol consumption.”

Clarke's laboratory identified the first protein-repair enzyme in the early 1980s, and his research has shown that repairing proteins is important to cells. In the current study, the biochemists reported that life span is significantly reduced under stress conditions in larval worms that lack this repair enzyme. (More than 150 enzymes are involved in repairing DNA damage, and about a dozen protein-repair enzymes have been identified.)

“Our molecules live for only weeks or months,” Clarke said. “If we want to live long lives, we have to outlive our molecules. The way we do that is with enzymes that repair our DNA — and with proteins, a combination of replacement and repair.”

Researcher Brian Young, now an M.D./Ph.D. student at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, is a co-author on the research.

The research was federally funded by the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of General Medical Sciences.

SOURCE: ScienceDaily

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Medicinal Plant: Duranta

By goGreen | May 19, 2012


Family: Verbenaceae

Scientific Name: Duranta repens Linn.

Common Names:


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Medicinal Plant: Dayap(Lime)

By goGreen | May 19, 2012

Family: Rutaceae

Scientific Name: Citrus aurantifolia (Christm.)

Common Name: Lime(eng.)

Botany
Small tree or shrub, 2-4 meters high, smooth throughout, branching with slender, solitary, sharp spines 1 cm or less. Leaves are oblong-ovate to elliptic-ovate, 4-6 cm long. Petioles are 1-1.5 cm long. Racemes are short, bearing few flowers, white and fragrant. Petals are 4, oblong, 10-12 mm long. The fruit is almost spherical, 3-5 cm in diameter, yellow, thin-skinned, 10-celled or more.


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How To Protect Fruit Tree From Birds

By goGreen | May 18, 2012

When it comes to pests, one of the pests you really want to protect fruit tree from is birds. Birds can do so much damage to fruit trees, especially once the fruit ripens. There are plenty of things you can do to protect fruit tree from birds and the damage they can cause. By providing fruit tree bird protection to your fruit trees, you will harvest more fruit.

How to Keep Birds Off Your Fruit Trees

If you want to know how to keep birds off your fruit trees, you need to realize there are various forms of fruit tree pest control. You can trap the birds. You can use bird netting for fruit trees to keep the birds from getting at the ripening fruit. You can use chemical repellants to keep the birds and other pests away from your fruit trees.

Fruit tree pest control is best done before the fruit ripens. Understanding how to keep birds off your trees is not so difficult. Trapping the birds, especially blackbirds and starlings, can be done when they first show up for the season and up to about 30 days before the fruit ripens. All you do is bait a trap with water and any sort of food that would be attractive to the birds. This is a good form of fruit tree bird protection because once you capture the birds, you can release them. Check with local laws in your area before killing and birds as most birds are considered protected animals and it is illegal to kill them.

When it comes to bird netting for fruit trees, you want to use about 5/8 inch netting. This can prevent the birds from even reaching the fruits as they ripen. Wire can help you keep the netting away from the fruits so you don’t damage them while providing fruit tree pest control.

Chemical repellants are useful in fruit tree pest control, often helping to protect fruit tree from birds and other pests. Methyl anthranilate is one chemical that can be used. It will have to be repeated if you find that bird damage is continuing. Hinder is another chemical pest control that can be used. Simply dilute it 20:1 with water and apply it every three to ten days. Also, make sure to reapply after a heavy rain. Electronic fruit tree bird protection is also available. These electronic devices will keep the birds away by emitting a sound that frightens them.

As you can see, there are many different ways to provide fruit tree bird protection. The purpose of growing your fruit trees is to harvest the fruit. Sometimes sharing the fruit with the birds is inevitable, but you don’t want them to get all the fruits of your labor.

SOURCE: Gardening Know How

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Providing A Garden Snake Habitat

By goGreen | May 18, 2012

They may seem scary at first, but most of the time finding a snake in a garden is a good thing. In fact, providing a garden snake habitat is a great way to keep many rodents and insect pests to a minimum in the landscape. Keep reading to learn more about how to attract snakes to your garden and take advantage of what they can offer.

Significance of Garden Snakes

For some people, the thought of attracting snakes to the garden would seem absurd, but for die-hard gardeners with a slug, snail or small mammal problem, they are the perfect solution. Garden snakes, also known as garter snakes, can, in fact, be a gardener’s best friend.

Garter snakes are harmless to humans and love to bask in the warm sun in and around garden areas. Unfortunately, many people kill these garden snakes before they realize just how beneficial they can be. The broad diet of a garter snake can effectively keep annoying and crop destroying pests out of your garden all season long.

Black snakes may also be beneficial in the garden. The significance of garden snakes like these can be found in their diet of small rodents, which commonly feast on garden bulbs, and will also take care of poisonous snakes, such as copperheads, which can pose a big threat to people.

Many smaller, lesser known snakes can also be of use in the garden. There’s no need to employ expensive or time-consuming efforts to keep your garden safe when you have a snake around.

How to Attract Snakes

Attracting snakes to the garden is easy. If you value the presence of a snake in a garden, you can be sure to attract and retain your very own garden bouncer by providing a garden snake habitat. First and foremost, snakes need a place to hide. You can easily provide sufficient shelter using an old piece of plywood, an old stump or a piece of metal roofing panel. Virtually anything that provides a “safe place” for the snake works well.

Snakes, like all animals, need a source of fresh water. Ground level birdbaths or a small, shallow fountain will do the trick as long as the water is clean and accessible.

Remember, however, to reduce the chance of accidentally killing your snake friend with the mower or weed eater by walking around before you mow. Your garden friend should retreat to its hiding place when it hears you coming.

Attracting Snakes Means No Chemicals

Eliminating the use of any harmful chemicals in the garden is crucial if you want to attract and keep snakes in your garden. Going organic is not only better for you and the environment but also for your garden snake friend.

Harsh fertilizers and herbicides will harm snakes and eliminate their food source. Although changing to organic measures such as using well-aged manure, companion planting, crop rotation and other non-toxic gardening techniques may take some time, it is well worth the effort for everyone.

SOURCE: Gardening Know How

They may seem scary at first, but most of the time finding a snake in a garden is a good thing. In fact, providing a garden snake habitat is a great way to keep many rodents and insect pests to a minimum in the landscape. Keep reading to learn more about how to attract snakes to your garden and take advantage of what they can offer.

Significance of Garden Snakes

For some people, the thought of attracting snakes to the garden would seem absurd, but for die-hard gardeners with a slug, snail or small mammal problem, they are the perfect solution. Garden snakes, also known as garter snakes, can, in fact, be a gardener’s best friend.

Garter snakes are harmless to humans and love to bask in the warm sun in and around garden areas. Unfortunately, many people kill these garden snakes before they realize just how beneficial they can be. The broad diet of a garter snake can effectively keep annoying and crop destroying pests out of your garden all season long.

Black snakes may also be beneficial in the garden. The significance of garden snakes like these can be found in their diet of small rodents, which commonly feast on garden bulbs, and will also take care of poisonous snakes, such as copperheads, which can pose a big threat to people.

Many smaller, lesser known snakes can also be of use in the garden. There’s no need to employ expensive or time-consuming efforts to keep your garden safe when you have a snake around.

How to Attract Snakes

Attracting snakes to the garden is easy. If you value the presence of a snake in a garden, you can be sure to attract and retain your very own garden bouncer by providing a garden snake habitat. First and foremost, snakes need a place to hide. You can easily provide sufficient shelter using an old piece of plywood, an old stump or a piece of metal roofing panel. Virtually anything that provides a “safe place” for the snake works well.

Snakes, like all animals, need a source of fresh water. Ground level birdbaths or a small, shallow fountain will do the trick as long as the water is clean and accessible.

Remember, however, to reduce the chance of accidentally killing your snake friend with the mower or weed eater by walking around before you mow. Your garden friend should retreat to its hiding place when it hears you coming.

Attracting Snakes Means No Chemicals

Eliminating the use of any harmful chemicals in the garden is crucial if you want to attract and keep snakes in your garden. Going organic is not only better for you and the environment but also for your garden snake friend.

Harsh fertilizers and herbicides will harm snakes and eliminate their food source. Although changing to organic measures such as using well-aged manure, companion planting, crop rotation and other non-toxic gardening techniques may take some time, it is well worth the effort for everyone.

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Cacao industry gets a lift in R&D

By goGreen | May 17, 2012

Now that the coffee industry in the country has been revived, the local cacao industry is waiting for the much needed boost for it to become competitive in the local and international markets for cacao's famous by-product-cocoa.

According to the cacao industry situationer posted by the High-Value Commercial Crops (HVCC) Program of the Department of Agriculture (DA), the industry took off in the 1980s particularly in Mindanao, as more investments were poured on commercial farms and on grinding facilities before cacao production dwindled in the 1990s.

In order to renew the interest of farmers and stakeholders in planting cacao, the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) hosted a consultation meeting with the private sector and DA units concerned in crop research and development (R&D). The meeting was held on 8 August 2008 to discuss the status of the cacao industry in the country and explore possible areas of collaboration.

At the meeting, Jenny Remoquillo of DA GMA-HVCC Program said that cacao is now part of the commodities prioritized by HVCC because of its market potential and the thrust of the program to shift to other commodities that will help start new industries.

The meeting was highlighted by the presentation of Josephine Ramos, field operations manager, Cocoa Foundation Philippines, Inc. (CocoaPhil), on the proposed strategic action plan on the Philippines Cacao Roadmap.

“The plan is to intercrop at least 50 million cacao trees with coconut, thereby producing at least 100,000 metric tons of export-quality cacao beans. If this happens, a P60,000 to P80,000 additional annual income per hectare can be gained from cacao harvest. This is definitely a big opportunity for families in rural areas,” said Ms. Ramos.

To realize this goal, CocoaPhil is seeking to collaborate with DA to empower the farmers to plunge into cacao farming by making good quality planting materials accessible to them as well giving them assistance to learn proper crop management up to postharvest to ensure that our cacao would meet the quality standards required by the market. Moreover, market linkage and applicable credit schemes are seen as critical in establishing the industry where small farmers would benefit from.

“We also need to establish the Philippine National Standard for this crop and complement a continuous R&D for the package of technology and varietal development. I'm glad that we had this meeting at DA-BAR as we can now design a comprehensive R&D program for cacao,” said Ramos.

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The research managers and representatives from DA's Regional Integrated Agricultural Research Centers (RIARCs) and Agricultural Experiment Stations presented in the meeting giving brief status reports on the cacao production in their respective areas such as in Southern Mindanao, MIMAROPA (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan), Central Visayas, Northern Mindanao, and Southern Tagalog.

The biggest cacao-producing area in the country is Southern Mindanao, particularly Davao, followed by CALABARZON (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon), particularly Quezon and Cavite.

Recognizing the potential of the industry's growth in the region, BAR is funding its Integrated RD&E Program for Cacao from 2008 to 2012, implemented by the Southern Mindanao Integrated Agricultural Research Center (SMIARC). Cooperating agencies from different sectors in this project includes the University of Southern Mindanao (USM), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), University of Southern Eastern Philippines (USEP), provincial local government units (PLGUs), and CocoaPhil and its partner organization, Agricultural Cooperative Development International and Volunteers in Overseas Cooperative Assistance (ACDI/VOCA).

According to Ramos, the Criollo is the most sought-after and expensive variety of cacao because of its quality and rarity. The variety, which can be found only in Ecuador and the Philippines, is also known as “porcelana cacao” because of its seed's white color. Criollo is now rarely found in the country because it is highly susceptible to pests and diseases.

“I believe that if we could establish a strong R&D program and develop our standards, we could proliferate this variety and cash in from this definite competitive advantage,” said Ramos.

BAR Director Nicomedes P. Eleazar expressed the bureau's enthusiasm to support the revival of the cacao industry in the country. He said that he will seek the involvement of other concerned agencies from the different stakeholders of the bureau to integrate all R&D efforts for cacao. “We could also look into the opportunity of growing cacao organically as this will appeal to the market better and look for ways to use the wastage from its postharvest to maximize our gains from the crop,” said Director Eleazar

SOURCE: Bar Online

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Shrimp growing touted as farm income booster

By goGreen | May 17, 2012

LAUREL, Del. (AP)–Tilapia taught Tom Handwerker a lesson.

The fish was once popular in the Lower Shore's aquaculture market, though growers lost some interest in tilapia when they found it was difficult to sell, said Handwerker, an agriculture professor at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.

Initially, farmers were given one primary broker to peddle the fish, he said. A price war broke out, which eventually hurt the growers.

“We taught them all how to grow it, but not how to market it,” Handwerker said.

Now, seafood is again being promoted as a way for farmers on the Delmarva Peninsula to diversify their income, and Handwerker hopes to learn from those mistakes in his newest venture, “Just Shrimp.”

As company president, Handwerker explained his aquaculture plan for farmers in an introductory meeting with Delaware and U.S. Department of Agriculture officials and potential investors.

Handwerker said the selection of shrimp came down to what product was most viable.

“In the United States alone, shrimp imports represent 80 percent of the seafood sales,” he said.

After three years and a grant from the USDA, Handwerker opened his operation at a farm on the outskirts of Laurel.

At the farm, Handwerker said the company will develop the shrimp in a nursery and then ship them to a Sussex County farm production site.

Under the supervision of contracted farmers and Just Shrimp, he said company staff will harvest the product when it matures after a four-month cycle.

Once Handwerker introduces the system to Sussex farmers in May, he hopes to have 10 sites helping him create between 350,000 to 500,000 pounds of shrimp a year.

“We hope to control the market everywhere within a four-hour distance,” he said.

Handwerker said the contract growers would have to supply the site, capital for a facility and pay operating costs.

Despite the projected upside, Handwerker stressed the aquaculture business is not meant to replace Sussex County's traditional farming staples of poultry and soybeans.

“This is not in competition,” he said. “We're looking at the capacity of blending.”

Marlene Elliot, Delaware/Maryland director of USDA Rural Development, said growing shrimp is another way for farmers to supplement their income.

“It's important we provide Delaware farmers with every opportunity,” she said.

Rep. Michael Castle, R-DE, was encouraged by Handwerker's plan.

“It could be tremendous,” he said of the potential impact. “All of us have our fingers crossed.”

With some development and with lessons learned from tilapia, Handwerker hopes now to establish seafood growing as a strong option for farmers.

“We want to be on the map just like poultry,” he said.

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300 tons tomatoes per hectare!

By goGreen | May 16, 2012

MANILA, Philippines — How can vegetable farmers in a desert produce 300 tons of tomatoes in one year per hectare? They don’t have fertile soil and they have only little water, yet the Israeli farmers in Arava , the southernmost part of the Negev desert in Israel, are producing just that.

The amazing feat is the result of technology developed through sustained innovative research and development program, plus an active extension service that keeps the farmers abreast of the latest develop-ments in farming.

The Arava area is sparsely populated. There are only about 600 families in eight settlements consisting of about 3,000 people. Yet, they are able to produce about 150,000 tons of vegetables a year in greenhouses. Most of the vegetables are exported to Europe and elsewhere, accounting for about 60 percent of the total vegetable export of Israel.

Each family usually cultivates five hectares for growing vegetables and other crops like melons, flowers and ornamental plants. One of the first settlers in 1959 is 74-year-old Amnon Navon of the Ein Yahav settlement. He was not even 18 when he arrived in Arava with practically no facilities for farming in the desert. Yet he and other settlers persisted, eventually helped by the government through the initiative of no less than the then Prime Minister Ben Gurion.

Amnon loves desert farming. He has greenhouses on five hectares where he produces mostly peppers and tomatoes. Cultivation is mechanized. He has three tractors to cultivate the soil.

There are only eight workers taking care of the five-hectare farm. These include Amnon himself, his wife Ora and a daughter, and five Thai workers. The Thai workers, he said, are hardworking and uncomplaining. But of course, they are adequately compensated with 22 Shekels per hour. That’s about US$50 per day or $1,500 per month, something they could never dream of receiving in their native country.

Amnon simply concentrates in producing his vegetables. His harvests are marketed by a cooperative. He considers his operation very simple. All he does is produce a good crop which he delivers to the cooperative that markets the vegetables locally and abroad.

Right in Ein Yahav, there is a big packing house that takes care of processing the harvest in the settlement. This is the Gilad Desert Produce Packing House managed by Eyal Sahar. This facility processes anywhere between 60 and 70 tons each day. The one day that they did not operate was when the Thai workers had a holiday in observance of Father’s Day, a holiday for the Thais. The packing house has at least 25 Thai workers.

Fertigation is the key to bumper harvests with very little water in the desert area. This is the use of drippers where water is delivered drop by drop including the appropriate fertilizer in the root zone.

Israel is considered the pioneer in drip irrigation. The biggest drip irrigation company in the world is the Netafim, followed by Jain Irrigation Systems in India, which incidentally has recently acquired another company in Israel, now known as NaandanJain.

In fertigation, the exact amount of water and fertilizer is supplied to the plants. This has several advantages. One is that there is economy in the use of water and fertilizer. Fertigated crops are earlier-maturing. The har-vest is higher, and is of better quality. Fruits are usually sweeter.

Genetics is also very important. Plant breeders in Israel are continually developing new varieties that suit the growing conditions in Israel. These include crops that are not only high-yielding but are also resistant to pests and diseases, tolerant to drought conditions and the like.

Crops are not the only products grown in the Arava area. Fish culture is also flourishing. One example is the Ginat Fish Company that specializes in producing aquarium fish for export. The company produces some 2 million guppies a year which are exported mostly to Europe.

Guppy is a cheap species that comes in many variations. One guppy usually sells for one Euro in Europe. The Ginat family has chosen this cheap fish for their own good reasons. Being cheap, it is one of the favorites of parents who want to give their children something to get busy with. If the fish dies, the parent can readily buy a replacement.

Aquarium fish breeding does not require as much water as the vegetable crops because it is just confined in a small area.

What is also very important in Israel’s success in agriculture is the very active extension service provided by the government. The extension service of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, from the early days, has been responsible in training inexperienced farmers, most of them new immigrants, so that they could produce crops with their limited resources.

The extension service has formed work teams around the country that conduct training, resulting in the pro-fessional advancement of agriculture in very competitive market conditions. The extension service serves public and private interests. There are 14 professional departments, specializing in the various branches of agricultural production. These are complemented by departments which provide professional support such as crop protection, field service for irrigation and fertilization, farm management and production economics, and mechanization and technology.

Production and extension are not the only major players in the agricultural industry in Israel. The Israel Export and International Cooperation Institute is also doing a big contribution to the progress of Israeli agriculture.

This is a non-profit organization founded in 1958 as the Israeli Export Institute by the government and the private sector. The Institute is responsible for the promotion of all kinds of Israel’s exports.

Foreign visitors will witness many of the new developments in agriculture in Israel if they will visit Agritech 2012, the international agricultural exhibition that will be held on May 15-17 in Tel Aviv.

 

SOURCE: Manila Bulletin

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Why Grass-Fed Poultry is Best

By goGreen | May 15, 2012

Poultry raised on open grass, instead of in overcrowded lots, are high in beneficial fats and other factors that lower cholesterol and greatly reduce degenerative disease In the consumer! Eating large proportions of living green plants, while foraging for insects and seeds and myriad other natural commodities that science hasn’t identified yet, and with minimal need for medication, grass-fed animals create more vibrant health than other poultry. Moreover, the meat and eggs are incredibly tasty compared to general market chicken.

Why Raise Poultry on Pasture?

1. Better Food.
Substantial increases in nutritional value of pasture poultry, particularly in Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Vitamin A, and a significant decrease in total fat,

2. More Satisfying Flavor.
Poultry raised on pasture, in fresh air and sunshine, taste superior to confinement raised poultry. Naturally raised poultry has a firmer texture and more satisfying “gamey taste”.

3. Lower Cost Entry.
Small-scale and limited resource farmers can start a profitable farm enterprise for a fraction of the cost of conventional, integrator-controlled poultry housing.

4. Fertility and Pasture Management.
Moving poultry across the pasture is a way to spread manure and fertility without using excessive equipment or labor.

5. Multi-Cropping.
Poultry can be used to scavenge crop residue, and hog down weeds and grasses in multi-crop fields being used for horticulture and floriculture.

What Methods are Used to Raise Poultry on Pasture?

1. Day Ranging. The poultry are sheltered at night from predators and weather, and allowed to graze in the
daytime.

2. Free-Range, has been practiced for a century or more. This method fell out of favor in the 1960?s due to disease and predator inroads, and was mostly replaced by commercial confinement poultry production, Free range generally means a fenced pasture surrounding the barn or poultry shelter.

3. Pasture Pens/Chicken Tractors are bottomless pens that hold chickens, and are moved daily or as needed to give the poultry fresh pasture. It is the most commonly used pasture poultry method at present. A typical pen is 10-x12-x2-feet, and holds 80 broilers. About 2/3 of the top is roofed; the rest of the top and sides are covered with poultry wire.

 

SOURCE: Entrepinoy ATBP

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