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Advances in Agriculture publishes research on the cultivation of soil and crops, and the rearing of livestock. Its focus is on new methods and technologies for improving agricultural processes, increasing yield, conservation and breeding.
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Effectiveness of Selected Cold Chain Management Practices to Extend Shelf Life of Mango Fruit
An on-farm study was conducted among smallholder mango farmers in Embu County of Kenya to demonstrate the effectiveness of simple harvest and postharvest handling practices to attain cold chain and extend mango shelf life. The recommended cold chain practices were compared with common farmers' practices. 'Apple', 'Ngowe', 'Kent', and 'Tommy Atkins' harvested at the mature green stage were used in the study. To demonstrate proper cold chain, fruits were harvested before 8 am, transported in crates lined with dampened newspapers, precooled in an evaporative charcoal cooler, and then transferred to a Coolbot™ cold room (10 ± 2°C). To demonstrate common farmers’ practices, fruits were harvested at noon, transported in open crates, and stored at ambient room conditions (25 ± 7°C, 55 ± 15%RH). The air and fruit pulp temperatures were monitored regularly using HUATO® data loggers. During the storage period, a random sample of 3 fruits (per variety) per treatment was taken after every 3 days to evaluate ripening related changes including physiological weight loss, colour, firmness, and total soluble solids. Proper cold chain practices resulted in low fruit pulp temperature (average 11°C) compared to 25°C for fruits handled using common practices by farmers leading to faster ripening as evidenced by lower peel/pulp colour and firmness, higher physiological weight loss, and higher total soluble solids. For example, flesh firmness of fruits under poor cold chain practices decreased from initial 36.6 N, 45.9 N, 66.5 N, and 46.8 N to 3.1 N, 2.4 N, 3.2 N, and 3.1 N for ‘Apple’, ‘Ngowe’, ‘Kent’, and ‘Tommy Atkins’ varieties, respectively, at the end of storage while that of fruits under proper cold chain practices reduced to 2.3 N, 1.5 N, 3.9 N, and 2.9 N, respectively, for the four varieties at the end of storage. Overall, proper cold chain management extended mango shelf life by 18 days. Application of simple harvest and handling practices coupled with simple storage technologies can attain and maintain the cold chain required to preserve quality and extend shelf life. This could increase the marketing and storage periods for later selling and processing, respectively, of mango fruits.
Determinants of Seed Distribution System: The Case of Womberma District, North West Ethiopia
Bread wheat also known as common wheat is one of the most important crops for food security and job opportunities for many smallholders as well as the urban population in Ethiopia. Farmers obtain seed from both formal and informal seed distribution systems. The informal seed sector in the study area is the major supplier of seed for many crops grown in the Womberma district. However, access to the formal seed sector was limited for the farmers. Hence, this study initiated to analyze seed distribution system and determinants of smallholder farmers in selecting seed of bread wheat distribution system in the study areas. The primary data was collected through distributing research questionnaires for the seed distribution systems of bread wheat. The study was based on the data collected from 150 households by using the multistage probability sampling method. The survey result shows that the contribution of public companies for supplying improved bread wheat seed was only 33% whereas 100% of producers confirmed that sources of bread wheat seed were from farm saved and local market which were uncertified leading to production deterioration. In line with these, conducted focus group and key informants confirmed that the major problems of formal seed distribution system were lack of timely supply, price fluctuation, limited quantity, and lack of certified seed suppliers while those of the informal seed distribution system were adulteration, high price, low quality, unable to get the right amount, and lack of timely supply, which concluded that the distribution system was inefficient. The econometrics model was used to analyze determinants of selection in seed distribution system of bread wheat in the study areas. Hence, the result of logit model shows that the level of education, access to credit, household income, extension services, and seed quality significantly and positively influenced farmers’ selection of formal seed distribution system while distance to the nearest seed distribution area influenced negatively the selection of formal seed distribution system in the study areas. Therefore, any concerned bodies should give more attention to establish for farmers formal seed distribution systems of bread wheat seed so as to increase production and productivity of bread wheat in the study areas.
Knowledge on Pesticide Handling Practices and Factors Affecting Adoption of Personal Protective Equipment: A Case of Farmers from Nepal
Globally, the use of pesticide is growing day by day, but the use of PPE in developing countries is still low and farmers are directly exposed to chemicals which have negative health issues. Thus, this study was conducted in different places of Nepal where the use and adoption of chemical pesticide is high. This study aims on assessment of pesticide handling practices and determinants of adoption of PPE where 281 respondents were interviewed by the simple random sampling technique. A binary logit model was used to predict the determinants for adoption of PPE while spraying pesticides. Schooling years, training, reading label, and buying pesticide by name are the determining factors in adoption of PPE at 1% level of significance in the logit model. Still, the pesticide handling practices followed by farmers are not satisfactory and proper protective clothes are not used while spraying pesticides. Thus, to protect from different health issues, training, seminars, and talk discussion should be scheduled regarding safe pesticide handling practices and adoption of PPE. Also, the use of biopesticides should be encouraged as they are most promising and ecofriendly.
Induction of Somatic Embryogenesis and Organogenesis in Zimbabwean Sweet Potato (cv Brondal)
Somatic embryogenesis (SE) and organogenesis are crucial in the development of disease free plants and genetic engineering. An investigation was conducted on the ability of treatments containing a combination of 2,4-D and Kinetin to induce either SE or organogenesis from cultured sweet potato cv Brondal leaves. Ten treatments were evaluated and each treatment had an exclusive combination of 2,4-D (at 0.05, 0.1, 0.2, 0.5 or 1 mg/L) to kinetin (at either 0.1 or 0.5 mg/L). Callus initiation occurred earlier in treatments containing higher hormonal concentrations. The 2,4-D to Kinetin ratio had a highly significant () effect on callus growth and proliferation. Increasing 2,4-D to Kinetin ratio promoted profuse explant callusing while increasing Kinetin to 2,4-D ratio suppressed callusing but encouraged organogenesis, in particular shoot production (treatment containing 0.05 mg/L 2,4-D and 0.5 mg/L Kinetin). Embryogenic calli were formed seven weeks after leaf culture in the treatment containing 0.5 mg/L 2,4-D and 0.1 mg/L Kinetin. The embryogenic calli that developed from this treatment emerged from previously nonembryogenic calli. Plantlets produced via the SE pathway proved to be weak and unviable and died within four weeks of germination. In contrast, plantlets produced under organogenesis were strong, grew vigorously, and could be subcultured several times. This disparity may be accounted for by the fact that the cv Brondal embryos that developed under SE were not exposed to an embryo maturation staged before plantlet germination was initiated. The maturation stage would have assisted embryos to reach physiological maturity and a desired level of desiccation, both being critical elements in embryo to plantlet conversion. In this experiment, cv Brondal regeneration from leaf explants was successfully achieved via organogenesis using 0.05 mg/L 2,4-D and 0.5 mg/L Kinetin, and tentative steps towards development of SE based regeneration protocol were established using 0.5 mg/L 2,4-D and 0.1 mg/L Kinetin.
Biosphere Reserves in the Southwest of Ethiopia
Forests that have a wide ecological gradient, diversity, and significant cover are confined in the southwestern part vis-à-vis other parts of Ethiopia, while the country is fronting biodiversity losses. The intention of this paper is comparative assessment of Majang, Kafa, Sheka, and Yayo biosphere reserves, located in the southwest of Ethiopia, regarding their status of plant diversity, challenges, and efforts of conservation. To this end, an extensive review of different journals, articles, and proceedings was made. Relevance to the objectives of the review was a selection criterion for sources inclusion. Consequently, the review indicates that all the biosphere reserves contained myriad plant biodiversity, specifically the “hotspot” of Afromontane rainforest biodiversity, with some degree of dissimilarities among them. For instance, the values of Shannon index illustrated a decreasing order in plant diversity as Sheka followed by Kafa, Yayo, and Majang biosphere reserve. Besides, out of the top ten documented plant families, the species richest families are Rubiaceae (15) in Yayo, Asteraceae (12) in Kafa, Euphorbiaceae (11) in Majang, and Asteraceae (11) in Sheka biosphere reserve, while the least species found in the families are as follows: Aspleniaceae and Sapindaceae in Majang; Poaceae, Solanaceae, and Araceae in Sheka; Celastraceae and Piperaceae in Kafa; and Fabacae and Solanaceae in Yayo. However, many challenges were encountered in all the biosphere reserves. The driving force behind is commercial coffee-tea plantation, agriculture expansion, overgrazing, firewood, charcoal, and other factors. Hence, to reduce forest conversion and biodiversity loss, the government of Ethiopia is creating conservation mechanism like the establishment of the protected area and biosphere reserve which is controlled and managed by the community and the government.
Determinants Influencing the Adoption of Rice Intensification System among Smallholders in Mwea Irrigation Scheme, Kenya
Rice farming has received considerable attention in developing countries and particularly in Kenya due to its impact on smallholders’ income and food security. Irrigated rice is the largest consumer of water, and its sustainability is threatened by water shortage. This has necessitated the development of alternative irrigation water technologies, such as the system of rice intensification (SRI), which are efficient in water use with improved yields. This study analyzed the determinants of adoption of SRI in the Mwea Irrigation Scheme where stratified sampling was used to obtain 364 smallholder rice farmers. A semistructured questionnaire was used to collect primary data, which was then analyzed using a binary logistic regression model. The results showed that age (−0.3%) was significant but with a negative effect on adoption of SRI. Farm size (2.499%), household size (1.895%), distance from the canal (1.354%), off-farm work (3.953%), access to credit services (8.714%), access to extension services (7.809%), and years in rice farming (0.409%) were found positively and significantly influencing factors to the adoption of SRI. Therefore, this study concludes that smallholders attempt to improve rice productivity through adoption of SRI should give a special priority to all significant factors.