A New Push for Renewable Energy in Belize

Central America is an economically and ecologically diverse region with growing energy needs and unique vulnerabilities to climate change. Boosting investment in renewable energy is a key way that the region can protect its ecologically sensitive areas while achieving reliable access to clean energy for its population. In Central America, the top four renewable energy sources are geothermal, hydroelectricity, biomass, and wind. The relative importance of each renewable resource is different for each country depending on the geographical and geological situation. The Worldwatch Institute has recently begun work aimed at creating a favorable policy and investment environment for renewable energy in Central America.

Globally, the electricity sector is one of largest and fastest-growing consumers of energy.  It is therefore important

The BELCOGEN bagasse plant in Orange Walk, Belize.

The BELCOGEN bagasse plant in Orange Walk, Belize. Photo Credit: Belize News

to consider the role of state and private utility companies in transitioning Central America to renewable energy sources. One of these companies, BELCOGEN, a subsidiary of state owned Belize Electricity Ltd (BEL), has received enormous amounts of attention and praise due to its recent investment in a 31.5 megawatt (MW) biomass power plant fueled by bagasse. BEL invested US$63 million to create BELCOGEN and the bagasse project. The price tag has officially made the deal the largest private investment ever made in Belize. Originally, the project was scheduled to be completed in 2007 and the investment was much lower; however, the necessary investment grew as the scheduled date of completion was postponed, and the project was finally completed in 2009. The plant runs on a combination of 92 percent bagasse and 8 percent heavy fuel oil. BELCOGEN is contractually obligated to sell at least 106 gigawatt-hours (GWh) to BEL for the first year of operation, making the company the source of at least 20 percent of Belize’s national energy demand. The rest of the energy produced (up to 44GWh) will be sold to Belize Sugar Industries Limited (BSI).

Electricity from biomass is produced through combustion of the biomass product. The heat from the combustion process is used to produce steam which powers a generating turbine. Bagasse is a type of biomass and is produced as a byproduct of the process of extracting the juice from sugarcane. Bagasse power plants are typically connected directly to a sugar factory. The BELCOGEN project is connected to the Tower Hill Sugar Plant. This allows for the seamless processing of sugar from sugarcane and the subsequent storage of “wet bagasse.” Wet bagasse is the initial product after sugar has been extracted. It is stored prior to use for electricity generation because moisture in the fibrous material can damage the energy production potential of the power plant. Once enough moisture has evaporated, the material is called “dry bagasse”. At this point, the power plant can either use the bagasse directly to create steam, or the dry bagasse can be used to create charcoal. Bagasse charcoal is made by placing dry bagasse in a kiln where it is further processed using a method of high temperatures and low oxygen. The low oxygen environment ensures that the bagasse does not combust and the high temperatures drive off any other unwanted particles. Bagasse charcoal can be sold for individual household use.

Typically, bagasse power plants emit many types of greenhouse gases and particulate matter, primarily due to incomplete combustion if there is still excessive moisture content in the bagasse and a lack of adequate operational control. However, the BELCOGEN plant operates through complete combustion and recent high standards, set by the World Bank and incorporated into the construction of the plant, will result in lower emissions. These standards include electrostatic precipitators to pull particulate matter from the exhaust; instead of smoke being produced, the plant’s singular chimney will emit a clear haze.

In addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the plant is proving to be a boon for the domestic economy.  Belize currently imports a large share of the electricity for its national grid as well as all of its fossil fuels from neighboring Mexico, a significant drain on national financial resources. With less money leaving the country, Belize can invest more domestically and spur sustainable development within its borders. Decreased dependence on fossil fuels will also provide some relief from the price fluctuations of oil on the global market. These fluctuations make it increasingly difficult for the nation to move towards more renewable energy. Major investments in renewable energy, like the BELCOGEN bagasse plant, are essential for transitioning Central America to more clean and local sources of energy.

Go to Source

Changing the Way We Eat: Bringing the Backyard to the Bronx

On January 21st, TEDxManhattan featured a series of speakers with backgrounds in food and farming who shared their knowledge and expertise with thousands of audience members watching either in-person at the event or virtually from around the world.

Today, Nourishing the Planet highlights a TEDxManhattan talk by Kerry McLean, who discusses the advantages of the New York City Green Cart program.

In her talk, “Green Carts: Bringing the Backyard to the Bronx,” McLean describes the Green Cart program, a fleet of vending carts that sell only fruits and vegetables all over the city. Residents in some areas of New York City lack access to fresh and affordable produce, but the Green Cart program brings fruits and vegetables right into their neighborhoods, making healthy eating more affordable and accessible.

Click here to watch McLean’s talk and those by other TEDxManhattan 2012 speakers. For more information about the New York City Green Cart program, click here.

To purchase State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet please click HERE. And to watch the one minute book trailer, click HERE.



Go to Source

More Governments Show Interest in New Economic Yardsticks

“It’s the economy, stupid,” Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign advisors famously declared. Today, more governments might add nuance: “It’s about well-being.” Prosperity, to be sure, but prosperity with a purpose. Recently, China and the United Kingdom were added to the growing list of governments interested in redefining the very purpose of economies. After adopting and then [Read More…]

Five Urban Garden Programs that are Reaching Inmates and At-Risk Populations

By Emily Gilbert 

In 2008, the Pew Center on the States reported that Vermont, Michigan, Oregon, Connecticut, and Delaware spent more on prisons than higher education, and the ratio of prison to education spending was increasing.  Prisons receive billions of dollars each year in government funding, yet national recidivism rates continue to hover at around 66 percent. Following the economic recession, budgets have been slashed, forcing penitentiaries and post-release programs to cut spending.  Considered non-essential and expensive, garden programs are often the first to be cut, yet they have proven to be successful in not only reducing recidivism rates and improving rehabilitation, but also providing fresh healthy food to inmates and surrounding communities.

Two inmates working in the Sandusky County Jail Garden. (Photo credit: The Toledo Blade)

Today, Nourishing the Planet presents five innovative programs around the country that are proof of what gardening programs can accomplish.

1. Sandusky County Jail Gardening Program: Started in 2009, the 11,706 square-foot Sandusky County Jail garden in Ohio originally began as a way to cut costs and still provide food for the inmates.  It soon became obvious, however, that beyond its economic benefit, inmates were provided with a program that taught them valuable life lessons and career-building skills.

“They really learn a skill out of this,” program coordinator Jim Seaman said. “It gives them a sense of something that they have accomplished. Now they are starting to get a chance to taste their hard work.”

Sandusky County Jail Garden in Action: Sheriff Kyle Overmyer estimates that the program has saved his department more than US$25,000 in 2009.  Because the jail’s 1.5-acre garden sometimes produces more than the jail can use, he said the sheriff’s office donated about 375 pounds of produce to local food pantries and soup kitchens in 2010.  Producing pumpkins, raspberries, and other fruits and vegetables, the program has also raised hundreds of broiler chickens, all of which are consumed on site. “We raised 100 broilers last year [2010] and had 600 pounds of meat after.”

Further success can be seen in the lowered recidivism rate among inmates who participate in the program.  According to Seaman, compared to the general Sandusky County Jail inmate population that has a recidivism rate of 40 percent, only 18 percent of inmates who participate in the garden program are rearrested.

2. Roots to Re-entry: Launched in 2006, the Roots to Re-Entry program is a partnership between the Pennsylvania Horticulture Society, the City of Philadelphia, and other private institutions around the city.  The garden is tended by roughly two dozen inmates for several hours during the week, providing seedlings and organic produce for community gardeners, local food pantries, and soup kitchens.

“We produce thousands and thousands of pounds of food for donation,” says Sharat Somashekara, city gardens coordinator for the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, which helped establish the program through its Philadelphia Green program. “Our whole garden is managed organically,” he adds. “We build the soil, we compost, we cover crop—we even make our own cayenne pepper spray [a natural pesticide].”  The program gives inmates a chance to develop new skills, gain hands-on landscaping experience, and pursue meaningful employment upon their release.

Roots to Re-Entry participants receive 14 to 16 weeks of training, beginning with behavioral workshops at the prison provided by the Mayor’s Office of Re-integration Services for Ex-Offenders (RISE). Bartram’s Garden, an organization partner, provide inmates hands-on training to build practical skills and knowledge in the horticulture and gardening fields. This includes lessons on tools and equipment use, maintenance, safe practices, plant identification, and turf management. 

Roots to Re-entry in Action: The Roots to Re-entry is unique in its level of integration with other environmental initiatives across the city.  Besides teaching inmates job skills, the program has distributed 47,000 pounds of organic produce to needy families. Inmates have raised thousands of seedlings that are distributed to 42 community gardens participating in the Philadelphia Horticultural Society’s City Harvest program. The resulting produce is donated to local food pantries operated by a local nonprofit called SHARE, which gives the produce to low-income residents along with the Health Promotion Council, an organization that holds nutrition education classes for vulnerable and at-risk populations.

“It’s a beautiful thing to plant something and see it grow,” said inmate Larry Brand. “It makes me feel like I’m giving back for some of the things I did wrong.”

3. The Greenhouse Project: Started in 1996 by the Horticultural Society of New York (HSNY), the Greenhouse Project is a garden program designed to rehabilitate convicts in Rykers Island. With a greenhouse, a classroom and over two and a half acres of landscaped and productive gardens designed and built by inmates, participants receive applied skills, including woodworking and building planters, and job counseling from the program. Each year about 125 inmates participate in the program.  Once released, HSNY offers 9-12 month paid internships as part of the Green Team, where individuals maintain gardens at public libraries and in other spaces throughout the city, earning $7 to $10 an hour.

“People are less likely to go back to prison if they come out of it with an education,” says James Jiler, director of the program. “I want them to go home with a skill, and find a purpose in life that is better than making license plates, and learning how to care for the earth is a huge therapeutic benefit that people need.”

The Greenhouse Project in Action: The recidivism rate for graduates of the program is 5 to 10 percent, compared to 65 percent for the general inmate population. Some Greenhouse Project alumni find permanent jobs with landscaping companies, receiving salaries as high as $30,000 per year.

The Green Team has been an active organization in New York City bringing gardens to public schools all over the city.  In 2009, the Green Team helped put a garden at the Walt Whitman Library in Brooklyn.

4. Insight Garden Program: Developed in 2003, and in collaboration with San Quentin State Prison, the Insight Garden Program (IGP) provides rehabilitation to self-selected prisoners through organic gardening. Inmates learn valuable life skills, including responsibility, discipline, mindfulness, and how to effectively work in a group-setting.

The IGP’s classes include course curricula and hands-on experience in a 1,200-square foot organic flower garden in San Quentin’s prison yard. Inmates learn about landscaping and gardening, developing practical skills in planting, irrigation, propagation, budgeting, and design. By working in an organic flower garden, participants develop an awareness of their impact on their social and natural environment.

Insight Garden Program in Action: A 2004 thesis written by a student from Pepperdine University found that the prison garden program was beneficial in several key ways, including providing focused activity, a sense of refuge, stress reduction, and a safe, neutral territory in an otherwise divisive prison yard.

Currently, Planting Justice teaches a course on urban permaculture and organic food production to the 30 men enrolled in the IGP course, involving inmates in the planning, design, implementation, and maintenance of their native plant and flower garden. In 2010, Planting Justice hired a former convict and participant in the garden.

5. The Garden Project: In 1982, while working at the San Francisco County Jail as an inmate counselor, Catherine Sneed and Sheriff Michael Hennessey began the Horticulture Project as a way to teach life lessons and skills to inmates through organic vegetable gardening. Recognizing the need for a program to help former offenders confront challenges and difficulties post-release, Catherine Sneed began The Garden Project in 1992 with a mission to provide job training and support to ex-inmates through counseling and assistance in continuing education. Since its inception, the Garden Project has become a flagship program for successful post-release rehabilitation and fostering positive relations with the communities from which convicts come.

Former inmates are employed at The Garden Project’s 12-acre organic farm, which includes a number of environmental maintenance and urban restoration projects. In addition to its career-building and counseling programs, the Project also helps their employees attain their GED and attend courses at local community colleges. Food grown at the farm is donated to local food banks, helping seniors and families in local communities.

The Garden Project in Action: By 2002, the Garden Project had employed more than 4,300 ex-prisoners and served thousands of incarcerated men and women, teaching them essential job and life skills and providing literacy courses and computer training. According to San Francisco County Sheriff Mike Hennessy,

“The Garden Project is a tremendously effective crime-prevention program. It not only helps individuals rebuild their lives, but recidivism studies we’ve conducted also show that while 55 percent of our prisoners are rearrested within a year, those who go through the Garden Project have a recidivism rate of 24 percent, and that’s after two years.”

The Garden Project has expanded its assistance programs outside U.S. borders. Since 2008, the Garden Project has helped local gardening programs in rural India by coordinating seed donations.

Emily Gilbert is a research intern with the Nourishing the Planet project.

To purchase State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet please click HERE. And to watch the one minute book trailer, click HERE.

Go to Source

LE CINQUIEME « E »: l’Energie deviendra-t-elle une priorité présidentielle en Haïti?

This is the translation of a previous post, “The Fifth “E”: Is Energy Becoming a Presidential Priority in Haiti”. To read the original in English, please click here 

Aux quatre priorités que le président Martelly a identifiées pour son mandat, éducation, emploi, environnement, état de droit, qui composent les quatre « E », s’est ajoutée une cinquième priorité, l’énergie. Lors des ateliers sur l’énergie organisés par Dr. René Jean-Jumeau, Secrétaire d’Etat à l’Energie le 27-28 septembre, le Président a insisté sur l’impact désastreux des usages actuels de l’énergie sur la couverture végétale, et la nécessité d’une transition vers des sources d’énergie plus propres. Il a conclu : « nous avons besoin d’électricité pour développer l’industrie dont Haïti a besoin, nous avons besoin d’électricité dans nos campagnes, afin que s’estompent des soirs des ténèbres sans lune. » Le premier ministre Garry Conille a également repris ces priorités lors de son discours de politique générale.

La semaine de l'Energie s'est deroulee les 6-12 novembre dans les Caraibes.

Du 7 au 11 novembre, la Semaine de l’Energie s’est tenue au Parc Historique de la Canne à Sucre et à la faculté des Sciences de l’UEH, pour la première fois en Haïti. Pendant 5 jours, étudiants, personnel académique, entrepreneurs, hommes d’affaires, acteurs de la coopération internationale, ainsi que les hauts responsables du gouvernement ont discuté de l’énergie sous tous ses angles, et de son rôle essentiel dans la reconstruction et le développement d’Haïti. Cette exposition, ouverte à tous, a montré les technologies disponibles en Haïti pour substituer le charbon de bois, et améliorer l’efficience des réchauds utilisés actuellement, augmenter de manière signifiante l’électrification du pays, et développer les ressources renouvelables.

Les défis liés au secteur de l’énergie en Haïti sont multiples : l’exploitation abusive de la biomasse traditionnelle, le faible taux d’électrification, et la grande dépendance vis à vis du pétrole importé qui se traduit par un prix très élevé pour l’approvisionnement en énergie. Ces trois problèmes qui se traduisent par une « pauvreté énergétique » se font sentir tous les jours sur le bien-être de la population, et ont des impacts directs sur le développement économique et social en Haïti.

La source d’énergie dominante en Haïti est le charbon de bois, qui constitue actuellement 75% de la consommation finale d’énergie nationale, et c’est souvent la seule source d’énergie pour les populations rurales. L’usage intensif de charbon a été désastreux pour la couverture végétale en Haïti. Près de 70% des dix millions d’Haïtiens vivent sans avoir accès à l’électricité, ce qui a donné lieu au commentaire du Président  « en termes d’énergie, Haïti est encore au Moyen Âge. »  Près de 63 pourcents de la génération d’électricité est dépendante d’huiles diesel importées, principalement du Venezuela, maintenues à coût bas par des subventions onéreuses pour le budget national. Or un rapport récent de la Banque Mondiale (rédigé par le cabinet d’études Nexant) a conclu que pour Haïti, le pétrole importé est à long terme la ressource fossile la plus onéreuse pour Haïti, avec un prix de 22.45 dollars américains par giga joule (GJ) pour 2014-2028, même après le gas naturel et le charbon.

Or il existe une variété d’options plus propres, économes et locales en Haïti. Les recherches de l’Institut Worldwatch, confirment les résultats de rapports par le gouvernement Haïtien (UGSE), et d’autres études de la Banque Mondiale. L’institut Worldwatch est actuellement en train de réaliser des études du potentiel éolien et solaire pour Haïti. Les résultats préliminaires montrent que les ressources éoliennes d’Haïti sont excellentes dans le Nord-Ouest, le Sud-Ouest et la région au Nord-Est de Port au Prince. En terme d’insolation, Haïti a un potentiel largement supérieur à la moyenne mondiale. Or, le développement des technologies solaires permet l’installation de structures de production décentralisées, qui peuvent fournir du courant pour des micro réseaux, et éviter les problèmes liés à l’interconnexion avec le réseau central.

Le bien être de la population Haïtienne et le développement économique de la nation dépendent fortement de la réussite d’une réforme en profondeur de l’approvisionnement en énergie, d’un approvisionnement fiable d’électricité à coûts modérés et de la façon d’utiliser les ressources. Pour pouvoir mieux gérer les risques économiques, ainsi que les fluctuations du tarif de l’électricité liés à la grande dépendance au pétrole, le gouvernement haïtien doit diversifier les sources et les types de ressources utilisées pour la génération de l’électricité. Pour développer ces ressources renouvelables, c’est le rôle du gouvernement de créer un environnement légal et politique qui soit propice au développement de ces ressources. L’expérience acquise internationalement montre que la mise en place de politiques de soutien à la production d’énergies renouvelables a été essentielle dans les pays qui ont réussi à développer un grand marché pour ces technologies. La récente nomination du Docteur René Jean Jumeau marque un développement positif qui ouvre la voie à un renforcement des capacités et des moyens sur les questions liées à l’énergie dans le pays. Nous avons identifié les domaines suivants où la nouvelle administration peut faire des progrès rapidement dans les prochains mois :

  • Plutôt que de planifier expansion de l’approvisionnement au moindre coût (« least cost supply expansion »), les agences de planification en Europe et aux Etats Unis ont utilisé une méthode appellée integrated resources planning, qui intègre un éventail large d’options technologiques, et d’externalité dans le calcul des coûts (IRP) Il s’agit de considérer toutes les options énergétiques disponibles, et de planifier le mix énergétique du pays en prenant en compte les mesures d’efficience énergétique, les solutions décentralisées, et les coûts environnementaux et sociaux.
  • Identifier les réformes nécessaires : certains points du cadre législatif qui régule le secteur de l’énergie et particulièrement le sous-secteur électrique sont une barrière à l’exploitation de ces nouvelles ressources renouvelables. Par exemple, pour profiter du grand potentiel qu’ont les bâtiments à produire de l’électricité à partir de panneaux photovoltaïques, il est nécessaire de permettre aux producteurs décentralisés d’injecter le surplus de leur électricité produite dans le réseau, ce qui n’est pas possible actuellement car EDH a le monopole sur la vente d’électricité. Certaines réformes légales sont également nécessaires pour baisser le prix de l’équipement des énergies renouvelables, en levant les taxes sur importation de l’équipement.
  • Engager le dialogue avec les banques et le secteur privé : tout comme on évalue les barrières légales, un travail en profondeur sur les barrières financières permettra aux décideurs de mieux prendre en compte les besoins du secteur privé, et de pouvoir choisir les politiques d’incitations appropriées, de manière à pouvoir mieux évaluer besoins, et les difficultés du secteur privé à entrer dans le marché des énergies renouvelables.
  • Créer un bureau pour l’électrification rurale: presque la totalité de la population rurale Haïtienne n’a pas accès à l’électricité. Mais ils ont accès à des ressources primaires comme la bagasse, le son de riz, les bio-carburants, les déchets organiques des animaux, qui pourraient toutes contribuer de manière décentralisée au mix énergétique du pays, si seulement les paysans avaient un marché auquel revendre leur production d’énergie. Certains pays comme la Thaïlande ou la Tanzanie ont développé un programme de coût de rachat garanti pour des micro-projets qui a permis aux campagnes de produire de l’électricité localement, à coûts bas.
  • Eduquer : investir dans une nouvelle génération de scientifiques, de techniciens, et d’hommes politiques bien informés des questions énergétiques contribuera à renforcer les capacités locales Haïtiennes sur ces thématiques essentielles.

 Par Xing Fu-Bertaux, Institut Worldwatch

L’Institut Worldwatch, un centre de recherches spécialisé depuis trente six ans dans la prospective et le conseil pour le développement des énergies renouvelables, a été invité à parler de la manière dont les énergies renouvelables peuvent contribuer au développement en Haïti, et des politiques nécessaires pour exploiter ces ressources abondantes et nouvelles. Pour plus d’informations sur le travail de l’Institut, et avoir accès à plus d’informations sur le potentiel des énergies renouvelables en Haïti, contactez caribbean@worldwatch.org

Go to Source

Giant Swamp Taro: Untapped Potential in the Pacific

By Isaac Hopkins

Giant swamp taro (Cyrtosperma chamissonis) is a native plant of the Philippines that has dozens of varieties thriving on most of the tropical islands in the Pacific. Giant swamp taro is grown and harvested in small patches for its underground tubers, called corms.

Giant swamp taro grows large in the warm, wet tropics of the Pacific. Islanders cultivate some swamp taro, but could grow more. (Photo credit: Global Crop Diversity Trust)

Swamp taro corms are prepared in several ways, from roasting to grating to baking the corm whole. The corm should be eaten or preserved within two days of harvesting, and properly managed gardens can produce them year-round. The young leaves of giant swamp taro are sometimes eaten by islanders as a vegetable, and the stalks produce fiber used in weaving.

Giant swamp taro is more abundant on Pacific atolls than its better-known cousin, the taro (Colocasia esculenta), but it is much less commercially available. Its traditional cultivation is labor intensive and dependent upon a consistently saturated environment, which makes it practical to grow only in small, marshy plots.

Swamp taro is vulnerable to pests and highly perishable, making it not commercially viable. But Atoll farmers often grow giant swamp taro as part of complex polycultures, in the shade of larger trees. This helps the plants grow faster and healthier, and also helps minimize pests and diseases, which often damage swamp taro monocultures.

Researchers consider the potential of giant swamp taro to be largely untapped, partly because it is not often studied by researchers and techniques for improving the plant’s cultivation have not been developed. While the viability of export is very limited, the giant swamp taro may play a key role in feeding the inhabitants of dozens of Pacific islands.

Do you know of programs or institutions that are helping to tap the potential of plants that, like giant swamp taro? Tell us in the comments!

Isaac Hopkins is a research intern with the Nourishing the Planet project.

To read about other indigenous vegetables, see: Soursop: Many Names, Many FlavorsPomme du Sahel: Hardy, Yet DeliciousOkra: Southern Charm and Resilient on the Farm, and Horned Melon: Fruit, Vegetable, Decoration.

To purchase State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet please click HERE. And to watch the one minute book trailer, click HERE.

Go to Source

Canadian Research Center Helps Fund Projects Addressing Global Food Security

By Graham Salinger

In many developing countries, poor people spend more than half their income on food, but many of them are not getting enough nutrients to stay healthy. The International Development Research Center (IDRC) is working to change that problem. Founded by an act of Canadian Parliament in 1970, IDRC works with research institutions and universities to advance the well being of some of the world’s most vulnerable people. IDRC has provided CA$2.8 billion in grants since its founding with a focus on agricultural programs that increase food security in the developing world and grow local rural and urban economies. Research funded by IDRC is helping find ways to help small-scale farmers deal with shocks to food prices and utilize technologies to enhance agricultural productivity.

A woman and dairy goat in Kibosho, Tanzania. (Photo credit: Erwin Kinsey, LEISA Magazine)

In 2011, IDRC funded long term agricultural projects to help farmers deal with economic pressures and increased threats posed by climate change. In Kenya, IDRC funding has allowed researchers at McGill University and the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute to identify and develop appropriate and durable farming techniques for dryland agriculture while increasing access to markets for Kenyan farmers.

In the Dodoma and Morogoro regions of Tanzania, IDRC is funding research that will help increase goat milk and meat production. The research, conducted by the University of Alberta and The Sokoine University of Agriculture, will test and analyze improved cassava and sweet potato varieties as part of a feeding strategy for dairy goats and efforts to strengthen food production. This research highlights the importance of livestock production in the region.  Goats rank second to cattle in the contribution of livestock to income and human nutrition, and 90 percent of rural households in Tanzania keep livestock.

In Burkina Faso , IDCR is helping five research institutions collaborate on strategies  to improve crop yield in the Sahel, a dry area covering the southern edge of the Sahara desert that stretches from Senegal’s Atlantic coast to the Ethiopian highlands. The researchers hope to implement microdose fertilization techniques which involve using small  amounts of fertilizer when planting or after the plants have grown. Coupled with technologies used to harvest water, microdose techniques have been shown to increase soil fertility and improve crop yield. Researchers hope to use microcredit loans to increase farmers’ access to these technologies.

Each year IDCR also gives a fellowship to masters and doctoral-level students, as well as recent graduates to do agricultural research focused on nutrition and food science in the developing world.

What are your thoughts on funded development programs? How can we do more to support effective and sustainable agriculture in the developing world?  

Graham Salinger is a research intern with the Nourishing the Planet project.

To read more about other development programs, see: Agricultural Innovation: Creating a Second Green RevolutionIncreasing Credit for Women & Girls: Women’s World Banking, and TransFarm Africa’s Initiative to Tap into Agricultural Potential.

To purchase State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet please click HERE. And to watch the one minute book trailer, click HERE.

Go to Source