Organic seed to grow Klein Karoo

first_img30 December 2005New legislation will require organic farmers to use only organically produced seed to grow crops and feed livestock, but no one in South Africa produces 100% organic seed. Now empowerment company Diverse International has taken the gap in the market and set up a community seed production project in the Klein Karoo, an area hit hard by poverty and unemployment. The project, known as the Klein Karoo Organic Initiative (KKOI), will improve the lives of the people of Zoar, a tiny village between Ladismith and Calitzdorp in the Western Cape. Chairperson Liz Eglington says the project, run from the farm Amalienstein, will create jobs and alleviate poverty by producing and marketing organically produced fruit and vegetables.Most of the world’s organic producers use non-organic seed in their operations. But pending South African legislation will soon restrict fruit, vegetable, herb and cereal producers to using only certified organic seed if they wish to maintain their certified organic status. Even the feed used in organic animal production will have to be produced from organic seed.Unfortunately, there is no organic seed available in South Africa. Empowerment group Diverse International identified this shortage as a market opportunity and launched the National Organic Seed Project.The group has spent over four years planning the project and has established partnerships and relationships with various government departments, seed companies, overseas buyers and funding organisations to support the project. They lacked only the farmers to grow the seed.Zoar is ideally situated for organic seed production, given the Klein Karoo’s dry climate. The mountains that separate the valleys help prevent contamination from neighbouring non-organic farms.Klein Karoo ideal for organicsOnly a few places in the world are suitable for organic seed production. The Klein Karoo, with its dry climate, is one such place and is already one of the country’s largest seed-producing regions.It is also ideally situated for organic production because several mountain ranges separate the land, helping prevent agrichemical contamination and cross-pollination from neighbouring non-organic farms.Diverse International approached the KKOI to spearhead the project because they were already involved in organic production in the area.Eglington believes the project will do more than benefit commercial farmers – it will transform the entire Klein Karoo.“Many small-scale farmers in the Klein Karoo are struggling to survive, never mind remain sustainable, and most lack access to markets,” she says. “But farmers can be empowered through the production of organic seed. Organic seed can even be produced in people’s backyards and then sold to a central marketing agent.”The first step in realising this dream is to set up a training centre to teach farmers organic seed production techniques. Initially, Eglington and her KKOI colleagues wanted to buy a farm from which to provide the training. But they found this was too expensive, and it would be better to conduct the training on an existing farm. After thorough analysis and research, Amalienstein was identified as the most suitable project site.Amalienstein is owned by the South African government, and was made available to the Zoar community under the Land Redistribution for Agricultural Development programme. Unfortunately, the 7 000ha farm currently runs at a substantial loss. Of the 5 000 people living in the community, fewer than 30% are employed on the farm.“There isn’t any work here,” says Hendrik January, chairperson of the Zoar Community Trust. “A handful of people are employed at Amalienstein and on other farms in the area. The rest of the people depend on seasonal and piece work.”Small-scale farmers are organic farmersAmalienstein is ideal for the National Seed Project as it already has the required infrastructure and the storage facilities. Existing enterprises on the farm, such as the dairy and small-scale farming projects, will continue, but as organic projects.James Jacobs, a Zoar Community Trust member, says most small-scale farmers are already farming organically because they cannot afford agrichemicals. For most of these farmers the switch to organic farming will be natural.“The organic seed initiative will have many spinoffs for the community,” Jacobs says. It will not alleviate poverty – it will eradicate it.”Eglington believes the project will create many job opportunities, and not only in agricultural production.“Our vision is to turn the entire Zoar community into an organic village,” she says. “First we want to set up the organic training centre. To do this we will need trainers and administrative staff. Compost, compost teas, organic sprays, pesticides, repellants and fertilisers will be made from material sourced from Amalienstein. This will create job opportunities in the making and marketing of these products.”The farm will produce organic seed and seedlings for international and local markets, while vegetables and fruit, and other byproducts of seed production, will be sold or consumed locally. The production of value-added organic products, such as herbal and medicinal plants, essential oils, soaps and even cosmetics, is also planned. This will again provide production as well as marketing and processing opportunities.Community ownershipEglington emphasises that KKOI and Diverse International don’t want to take over Amalienstein.“We need a training centre and Diverse International needs seed. But we want the community to take ownership of the project and benefit from it. We will supply expertise and support as long as the community needs it.”As Amalienstein is owned by the government, KKOI will require approval before it starts anything new on the farm. Eglington has met with Western Cape agriculture MEC Cobus Dowry and says he’s willing to look at the feasibility document of using Amalienstein for the seed project. She says Dowry wants the entire Zoar community to buy into the project before approving it.Kannaland district mayor Magdalene Barry is optimistic the project will take off.“Zoar is sitting on a goldmine,” she says. “All the community leaders have bought into the dream. Now we only need the community to vote and commit to the project – and that will be easy since the benefits of the project are very transparent and people have been suffering under poverty for a long time.”This article was originally published in Farmer’s Weekly, South Africa’s premier national agricultural magazine, and is reproduced on with kind permission.last_img read more

Shippers setting sail via Internet of (Floating) Things

first_imgNo place on land or sea is safe from being connected. And now it seems the marine industry is at last diving into Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) with both feet.RCR Wireless News reports shipping companies are increasingly harnessing the data produced by their vessels.However, technology giant Ericsson says the marine industry lags behind alternative modes of commercial transport in its deployment of this connected communications and information technology. This is despite the fact that around 80% of global trade by volume is transported by ships compared to other transportation modes.Though ships have routinely used data collecting sensors for some time, Ericsson feels that the industry has been slow to take full advantage of the technology’s benefits until now.But shipping companies are increasingly looking to make up lost ground, or nautical miles in this case. They are increasing connectivity aboard ships to allow the sharing of insights in real time and using the data to optimize shipping ecosystems.“There may be no direct commercial gain to increasing crew connectivity on board,” maritime executive Douglas Watson said to RCR. “But executives tell us they get far more information back about their vessels than they ever got before establishing reliable contact with crew. When the crew has better access to communication, they exchange more operational info about the state of the vessel, adding more data to what’s gathered from sensors to inform operational decision making.”One area where IIoT is having a significant impact on shipping is to track the state vessels to optimize marine maintenance and repairs.And keeping commercial vessels in ship-shape condition is crucial to the bottom line of shipping firms. It is estimated that having an offshore supply vessel offline for repairs can cost between $58,000 and $116,000 per day, with a five-week dry docking operation costing nearly $3 million.Ericsson has ideas for shippersOne IIoT platform used by shipping companies is Ericsson’s Maritime ICT Cloud solution. The platform connects bridge communications with embedded sensors that monitor the status of the ship engines and hull to allow vessel owners to address repair problems early on.This follows news that the world’s largest shipping container firm, Maersk Line, has brought two thirds of its vessels online in a partnership with Ericsson.Not only does IIoT at sea allow ships to be tracked, but also can provide the status and temperature of cargo containers on board. This allows the crew to look into any storage malfunctions that could cause cargo to spoil.As well real-time cargo tracking technology allows various stakeholders in a supply chain to monitor goods in their journey from production warehouses to the final customers. 5 Industries Destined for Technological Disruption Donal Power Tags:#Ericsson#IIoT#Industrial Internet of Things#Internet of Things#IoT#shipping The Ultimate Checklist on Ways to Prevent IoT D…center_img IT Trends of the Future That Are Worth Paying A… Related Posts How IoT Will Transform Cold Chain Logistics For…last_img read more

Meet the old and haggard Big B of Shamitabh

first_imgSuperstar Amitabh Bachchan has gone grey and haggard for R Balki’s Shamitabh.He was spotted sporting grey, dis-shelved hair and long, thick beard at Mumbai Lokhandwala Gardens last week during a shoot of the film.Amitabh Bachchan shhoting for Shamitabh. Pic courtesy: TwitterSome time ago the actor had tweeted, “An arduous sitting for Balki’s (Balakrishnan) look test with the lovely Dominie from L.A. that did my prosthetic make-up for ‘Paa’,” Amitabh posted on Twitter.”It took time to be accomplished – the make-up I mean. It’s 3:30 am! What? Off to bed,” he further posted.Amitabh has earlier worked with R Balki in Cheeni Kum and Paa where he sported distinct looks. A pony tail in Cheeni Kum and prosthetic make-up in Paa.The film also features Raanjhanaa star Dhanush and southern star Kamal Haasan’s younger daughter Akshara.last_img read more

Customers Should Bear Sulphur Cap Costs to Save Industry

first_imgzoomImage Courtesy: Stolt -Nielsen Stolt-Nielsen’s CEO, Niels Stolt-Nielsen, believes the costs stemming from the industry’s switch to compliant fuels as of January 2020, should be met by customers.Namely, as of January 1st, 2020, all ships will have to consume low sulfur fuel with a sulfur content of 0.5%, down from 3.5% today, if not fitted with scrubbers.Belgium’s shipowner plans to meet the new regulations by fueling its ships with marine gas oil (MGO) or other type of new fuels are under development by the oil companies.“Ships can fit in scrubbers, but realistically, as it stands today, around 5% of the global fleet has announced or has installed scrubbers. So a very small part of it,” Stolt-Nielsen said in a conference call on Thursday, October 4.“For us, if you take the current spread between MGO, and high-sulfur fuel oils (HSFO), based on our fuel consumption, if we have an additional USD 300 per tonne cost, our total cost per year is USD 150 million. So it is clear that unless we are able to pass that cost onto our customers, we will be going out of business very quickly. The industry will be going out of business very quickly.”Stolt-Nielsen explained the move was necessary taking into account that the majority of the industry is losing money.Container liners have already announced their plans to levy sulphur cap surcharges as of next year, a move which was not welcomed by shippers.For the third quarter of 2018, the company reported a net profit attributable to shareholders of USD 3 million, after a USD 12.9 million negative impact resulting from a change in the accounting for the company’s investment in Avance Gas Holdings Limited. Revenue for the quarter stood  at USD 543.1 million. Net profit was down when compared with a net profit of USD 9.5 million in the second quarter of 2018.Net profit for the first nine months was USD 51.3 million, with revenue of USD 1.6 billion, up from USD 49.2 million, and revenue of USD 1.5 billion in the same period last year.last_img read more

DUSU polls ABVP bags 3 posts NSUI 1

first_imgNew Delhi: The RSS-affiliated ABVP on Friday won three posts, including that of the president, in the Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) polls, while the Congress-backed NSUI bagged the secretary’s post. Celebrations broke out outside the counting centre in Kingsway Camp with supporters dancing to ‘dhol’ beats and rose petals being showered on the winners. The winners wearing garlands then proceeded to the varsity’s Arts Faculty, from where they will take out a victory march. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderAkshit Dahiya of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) defeated National Students Union of India (NSUI)’s Chetna Tyagi for the president’s post by a margin of over 19,000 votes, the highest ever, the student outfit claimed. “Our presidential candidate has won by a margin of over 19,000 votes, the highest ever margin in recent times. We have won on three posts. We intend to start ‘Mission Sahasi 2.0’ to empower women,” Monika Chaudhary, National Media Convenor, ABVP said. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchingsIn 2014, Ashish Mathur of ABVP had won the post of Joint Secretary by a margin of over 11,800 votes, the party said. The posts of vice president and joint secretary were won by ABVP’s Pradeep Tanwar and Shivangi Kharwal by a margin of 8,574 and 2,914 votes, respectively. NSUI bagged the secretary’s post with its candidate Ashish Lamba, who is also celebrating his 24th birthday on Friday, defeating ABVP’s Yogit Rathi by a margin of 2,053 votes. “ABVP fielded Yogit Rathi who was college president of Ramjas College when the violence took place in 2017. The students have given a clear mandate against violence,” NSUI’s Delhi president Akshay Lakra said.last_img read more