TheFAO Media Centre have issued a press release to confirm that the fertile lowlands that cover one-fifth of Liberia are part of a European Union and FAO-supported plan to cut the nation's dependence on rice imports and improve the livelihood of vulnerable farmer families.
"The Liberian government has prioritized the rehabilitation of swamps, especially those with damaged or abandoned rice fields, noting that lowland farms have the potential to yield up to 80-90 percent more rice than upland ones.
"In using more of our lowlands, not only will we get higher yields, we will also minimize deforestation and soil erosion," said J. Qwelibo Subah, Director-General of Liberia's Central Agricultural Research Institute, underlining the environmental benefit of his government's plan.
"In the swamps, you can grow two, three crops of rice per year, compared to just one per year on upland slopes," said Sheku Kamara, FAO Agricultural Engineer. "With upland rice, instead, you have to move to another area after each harvest. Then you slash and burn to clear brush and trees. Then you move to another area, and you repeat that," Kamara explained". Follow the link to read the full report.
BBC News reports that researchers at Glasgow University have concluded that while one in every four children tested showed signs of tooth decay, the figure rose to 33% among the poorest. The researchers have called for deprived children to be given dental help from birth. Follow the link to read the full article.
Nature reports that unusually low temperatures in part of Bolivia's tropical region has decimated freshwater species, killing an estimated 6 million fish and thousands of alligators, turtles and river dolphins. Follow the link to find out more.
BBC News reports that the sequencing project for the wheat genome is progressing well. Now UK scientists have released draft sequences of the wheat genome, which they think could make a vital contribution to securing global food supplies. The researchers also say their efforts could help British farmers to develop new strains with greater yields. Wheat is regarded as one of the most important crops for human consumption not only in terms of human nutrition, but also in animal nutrition and the production of meat. The results of the study, led by Neil Hall from the University of Liverpool, are available for public use.
BBC News reports that Marine Current Turbines and RWE npower renewables are planning to generate a fifth of the island of Anglesey's electricity needs from a £70m project. If given the go-ahead, seven turbines between the Skerries and Carmel Head would act like an underwater windmill. Follow the link to find out more.
I can't believe it is nearly five years since Hurricane Katrina hit land. Total deaths were around 1800 people - a huge loss and this National Geographic video gives a great account. Nature has such incredible power with the storm waters reaching twelve miles inland in Mississipi.
BBC News reports that farmers in the Philippines will soon be able to receive free text messages with advice on how to grow their rice. This will include help on fertiliser use and crop husbandry. The scheme was set up by the Philippine Department of Agriculture and the International Rice Research Institute. "Rice is the staple crop in the Philippines, as in most of Asia. But one of the key government objectives is to produce even more of it. The Philippines used to export rice, but now it is the world's biggest importer - and the authorities are keen for farmers to do all they can to maximise their output." Follow the link to find out more.
The Guardian reports that more than 100,000 people have been evacuated and at least four killed as the worst floods in a decade inundated the China/North Korea border. Heavy rain in south and west China has caused the loss of nearly 4000 lives in the summer, and now it is the north-eastregion where torrential rains have swelled the Yalu river to dangerous levels. Follow the link to read the full article.