The North Coast Section postseason format for football will remain intact after no motion was made to reduce the bracket size from 16 teams to eight at a special executive committee meeting on Friday afternoon.The 12-member committee held a teleconference to discuss a proposal that would extend the regular season one week to account for make-up games for teams unable to play due to the North Bay fires. NCS commissioner of athletics Gil Lemmon said he was surprised no motion was made, but he …
The Partner Farmer AgriHUB programme gives small-scale farmers help with developing their land, subsidises seed and seedling purchases and helps with selling produce.AgriHUB mentors help to train small scale farmers, but success is dependent on the effort they put in on their own plots. (Image: Partner Farmer AgriHUBS, Facebook)Sulaiman PhilipA drought in the US, the world’s biggest maize producer, affects food prices across the world. In a globalised agricultural economy, extreme weather conditions that destroy crops on one part of the planet cause food prices to spike in others, as supply drops.And as climate change activists warn of rising temperatures and increasing droughts and heat waves, securing reliable food supply is becoming more important.South Africa is a net importer of agricultural products so the price fluctuations on a bag of maize meal are due to weather conditions in the US maize belts.A pilot project in Umbumbulu, KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), funded in part by the eThekwini Municipality, is designed to reduce dependence on imported agricultural produce by helping small-scale farmers build commercially viable agri-businesses. The non-governmental organisation Newlands Mashu Community Development Centre developed and implements its Partner Farmer AgriHUB programme gives farmers help with developing their land, subsidises seed and seedling purchases and helps with selling produce.Subsistence to commercial farmingPaula Osborn, Partner Farmer project manager, joined the programme about eight months after it kicked off in September 2010.“The project is based on the open share principle. Anyone can become involved. We started with 50 small farmers. After the first few harvests we identify the most productive who we can help develop into commercial farmers. Developing from a subsistence farmer to one able to provide produce for your family and the market is dependent on your own efforts. The programme is designed to give farmers the tools to do that.”The community benefits from the harvest by buying fresh and healthy produce at lower rates. As the project has grown, farmers have been able to create jobs in a region where unemployment is entrenched.Theresa Mabhida, one of the 467 farmers in the Umbumbulu project, farms in Etsheni near Port Shepstone. “This project is doing away with unemployment and our healthy projects are curbing sickness,” she says. “My sense of self-worth is high. I wake up every day knowing I have something to do for myself and my community.”The farmers in the programme are trained to use organic methods to produce crops for local consumption. Soils managed with organic methods have better water-holding capacity and infiltration rates. They also produce higher yields during both droughts and an excess of rain.“The mentors we have at each project were trained at the Durban Botanic Gardens Permaculture Centre. They are trained in holistic, ecologically balanced permaculture farming methods.”The harvest includes vegetables such as spinach, beetroot, red onions, potatoes and avocado. In a good month Osborn estimates the farmers in Umbumbulu can harvest up to 10 tons of fresh produce based on the sales of seedlings and seeds supplied to farmers. Most of the harvest is sold to neighbours or used by the family, but one to two tons of that produce is sold to local restaurants and health food shops in KZN. What is not sold is packaged into “veggie boxes” that are sold to local schools, which sell them to students’ parents.‘This is real food’The farmers earn incomes through sales in their local communities and by selling excess to Partner Farmers, who pay close to retail prices. Schools earn an income as well. For Osborn there are two benefits to the system. “People are realising that saving is income. By purchasing local produce at reduced prices they are building wealth in the community. Second, parents tell us that kids who never eat vegetables are now chewing on fresh spinach leaves. Their bodies are telling them that these fresh organic vegetables are real food.”The programme’s success would be boosted if the yields could be accurately predicted. Ten tons of food is produced from 5 000 to 10 000 seedlings, but what is specifically available at harvest time is difficult to gauge. Mentors’ visits to the fields give an idea of the haul, but recording is manual, time-consuming and error-prone. The programme managers are developing a smartphone app to instantly record what has been planted and what is likely to be available at harvest.“If each farmer had a cell phone, and that is our hope, we could generate predictive reports that would allow us to sell the harvest before it left the field,” says Osborn.She believes that the programme in Umbumbulu will run at least until 2016 before the organisation feels comfortable handing the management, production, warehousing and distribution over to a farmers’ cooperative, while still providing mentorship where needed. Future programmes will run on average for just five years before handover.“Umbumbulu was the pilot; with the know-how and experience gained we can avoid mistakes made in the new projects we run.”Long-term fundingThe top-down funding system favoured by government and corporations does not work in agriculture, says Osborn. Agricultural projects need long-term funding, which does not fit in with government or business funding cycles. The Umbumbulu project, for example, will need funding for at least six years before Partner Farmers can hand the project over to the local community.“In Umbumbulu we would get municipal funding for six months because that fitted into their funding cycle, then no funding for three before funds were released again.”Now, with National Lottery funding and a five-year corporate sponsorship deal in place, Partner Farmers is able to fund day-to-day operations while the eThekwini municipality funds infrastructure development around two new projects.“Over the period of the project in Umbumbulu, and in our newer projects, we have demonstrated how the model works.”Including Umbumbulu (South Basin) there are three new projects to help small-scale KZN farmers; the Sterkspruit AgriHUB in Hammersdale-Shongweni in the outer west, and the Hambanathi-Greylands AgriHUB in in the north.As Osborn points out, “You start by building resilient self-sustaining communities. From there, you build a nation that can recover effectively from any setbacks.”Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Last Thursday I received reports of, and confirmed through pictures, stripe rust in southern Ohio. Reports coming in today suggest that the disease has since spread and may even be increasing in severity. This is very early for Ohio and is a cause for concern, especially since this disease develops best and spreads quickly under cool, rainy conditions, similar to what we have had over the last few weeks and will likely continue to have this week. Developing this early (before heading) on a susceptible variety under favorable weather, this disease has the potential to cause substantial yield loss.Reports and pictures coming in today also indicate that rust is developing on barley. This has led to questions about rust spreading from wheat to barley and vice versa. Both crops can be affected by leaf rust, stripe rust, and stem rust, but the fungi are different. In other words, the leaf rust pathogen does not cause stripe rust and the stripe rust pathogen does not cause stem rust. In addition, the wheat rust fungi generally do not jump from wheat to barley or vice versa. Each crop has its own specialized and specific set of rust fungi. For instance, wheat leaf and stripe rust are caused by Puccinia triticina and Puccinia striiformis f. sp. tritici, respectively, “strains” that are specific for wheat, whereas leaf and stripe rust of barley are caused by Puccinia hordei and Puccinia striiformis f. sp. hordei, respectively, “strains” specific for barley.However, regardless of the rust disease and the crop, the important thing to note is that they can all be managed with the same set of fungicides, but applications have to be well-timed in order to be effective against any of these diseases — oncesymptoms are seen, the earlier, the better in most cases. Please refer to the updated factsheet # PLPATH-CER-12 for more on rusts diseases of wheat (http://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/plpath-cer-12) and click on the link below for a comparative look at different rust diseases of wheat and barley:https://www.ars.usda.gov/SP2UserFiles/ad_hoc/36400500Cerealrusts/Rust_Diseases_National.pdf
The Uttar Pradesh government has submitted a proposal to the Centre to encourage foreign airlines to operate at the proposed Jewar airport. The State’s suggestion is to allow foreign carriers to fly to the airport, likely to be ready by 2023, without the need for India to revise its bilateral agreements with different countries to increase the total number of flights permitted for different ports of call in the country.The Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority (YEIDA) informed potential bidders about this proposal late Thursday evening in its reply to queries raised about the tender on operation, management and development of Noida International Airport Limited. It has also made public its revised request for proposal-cum-request for quotation and concession agreement.In response to a query by an interested bidder on allowing international carriers to fly to Jewar airport for a period of three years without revising bilateral agreements, the YEIDA said, “Authority is awaiting a response from MoCA (Ministry of Civil Aviation).”Centre to take callAccording to the minutes of the meeting with the MoCA on August 16, the Centre is examining the issue: “MoCA will separately examine the issue of bilaterals and will provide clarity on whether the bilateral rights under Delhi (IGI Airport) will extend to the new airport or it should be considered as a separate port of call.”Though the reply from YEIDA to the bidders comes after a delay of almost one month, officials say that the deadline for submitting bids on October 30 will remain unchanged. The timeline for opening technical and financial bids on November 6 and November 29 will also be unaffected.Shailendra Kumar Bhatia, nodal officer for Jewar, told The Hindu that as many as 20 players have bought the bid document so far, including domestic and international airport developers. Nearly 70% land (1,400 hectares) has been acquired by the YEIDA. The authority has also entered into an MoU with Wildlife Institute of India for environment impact assessment. A team of scientists has already conducted an inspection earlier this month to draw a plan for conservation of flora and fauna in the area. It is expected to submit its report by October 30.On the instructions of the Uttar Pradesh Cabinet, the YEIDA will also explore whether the airport can have 4-6 runways instead of two proposed now.In order to ensure Jewar airport is connected to the National Capital Region, state-owned infrastructure company RITES has been tasked with conducting a study which is expected to be submitted by October 15, Mr. Bhatia said. Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, too, has submitted its report for metro connectivity for the airport, which is being examined by the Uttar Pradesh government and Noida Metro Rail Corporation.