Abstract: Ethiopia has been highly affected by drought and climate-related hazards, and millions of people have been left without sustenance every year. To increase productivity and diversify the livelihood scenarios as an option, small-scale irrigation (SSI) schemes have been introduced.This study assessed the impact of SSI in achieving household livelihood improvement and the major challenges of SSI practices in the Gubalafto district. Questionnaires, interviews, focus group discussions, and participant observation data collection tools were used. Proportionally, a total of 374 respondents were included.The collected data was analyzed by descriptive statistics. The application of SSI improved the annual income of irrigator households from 1978.12 to 10,099 Ethiopian Birr (ETB) (1 USD ≈ 20 ETB) before and after using irrigation with a standard deviation of 1534.32 compared to non-irrigators who have an annual average income of 3146.75 ETB with a standard deviation of 1838, respectively. It proved that 32.1% of irrigators increased their frequency of production due to irrigation. Shortage of water, access to improved seeds, marketing, and increment of farm input costs have been hindering SSI practices. Awareness campaigns for non-irrigators and adequate supervision for the irrigators by development agents (DAs) and district officials are important to improve the livelihood of farmers.
Abstract: Selection and breeding of genotypes with improved drought/heat tolerance become key issues in the course of global change with predicted increased frequency of droughts or heat waves. Several morphological and physiological plant traits must be considered. Rooting depth, root branching, nutrient acquisition, mycorrhization, nodulation in legumes and the release of nutrients, assimilates or phytohormones to the shoot are relevant in root systems. Xylem embolism and its repair after a drought, development of axillary buds and solute channeling via xylem (acropetal) and phloem (basipetal and acropetal) are key processes in the stem. The photosynthetically active biomass depends on leaf expansion and senescence. Cuticle thickness and properties, epicuticular waxes, stomatal regulation including responses to phytohormones, stomatal plugs and mesophyll resistance are involved in optimizing leaf water relations. Aquaporins, dehydrins, enzymes involved in the metabolism of compatible solutes (e.g., proline) and Rubisco activase are examples for proteins involved in heat or drought susceptibility. Assimilate redistribution from leaves to maturing fruits via the phloem influences yield quantity and quality. Proteomic analyses allow a deeper insight into the network of stress responses and may serve as a basis to identify suitable genotypes, although improved stress tolerance will have its price (often lowered productivity under optimal conditions).
Abstract: Phosphorus (P) is an essential element, and the majority of animal feed phosphate is derived from phosphate rock that is a non-renewable resource. Current global P reserves may be depleted in 50–100 years. This poses the challenge of securing future P supply for the global animal feed industries. Currently, nutritionists formulate diets with substantial safety margins to guarantee that animals do not become P deficient. Excessive dietary P concentrations increase, not only the cost of diets, but also P excretion and pollution of the environment. We contend that understanding P bioavailability is central to the sustainable use of this mineral in animal agriculture. Poultry accounts for approximately 50% of animal feed phosphate consumption worldwide and for this reason we use the meat chicken or broiler as a case study to explore the nuances of P bioavailability. We conclude that, to tackle the challenge of dietary P bioavailability, cooperative research on a global scale is needed to standardise measurement procedures in order to produce a robust and reliable database which can be used by nutritionists to formulate diets to meet the bird’s P requirements precisely. Achievement of this goal will assist endeavours to sustain the global supply of phosphorus.
Abstract: In this study, responses of rice under drought stress correlating with changes in chemical compositions were examined. Among 20 studied rice cultivars, Q8 was the most tolerant, whereas Q2 was the most susceptible to drought. Total phenols, total flavonoids, and antioxidant activities, and their accumulation in water deficit conditions were proportional to drought resistance levels of rice. In detail, total phenols and total flavonoids in Q8 (65.3 mg gallic acid equivalent (GAE) and 37.8 mg rutin equivalent (RE) were significantly higher than Q2 (33.9 mg GAE/g and 27.4 mg RE/g, respectively) in both control and drought stress groups. Similarly, the antioxidant activities including DPPH radical scavenging, β-carotene bleaching, and lipid peroxidation inhibition in Q8 were also higher than in Q2, and markedly increased in drought stress. In general, contents of individual phenolic acids in Q8 were higher than Q2, and they were significantly increased in drought stress to much greater extents than in Q2. However, p-hydroxybenzoic acid was found uniquely in Q8 cultivars. In addition, only vanillic acid was found in water deficit stress in both drought resistant and susceptible rice, suggesting that this phenolic acid, together with p-hydroxybenzoic acid, may play a key role in drought-tolerance mechanisms of rice. The use of vanillic acid and p-hyroxybenzoic acid, and their derivatives, may be useful to protect rice production against water shortage stress.
Abstract: The success of precision agriculture relies largely on our ability to identify how the plants’ growth limiting factors vary in time and space. In the field, several stress factors may occur simultaneously, and it is thus crucial to be able to identify the key limitation, in order to decide upon the correct contra-action, e.g., herbicide application. We performed a pot experiment, in which spring wheat was exposed to water shortage, nitrogen deficiency, weed competition (Sinapis alba L.) and fungal infection (Blumeria graminis f. sp. tritici) in a complete, factorial design. A range of sensor measurements were taken every third day from the two-leaf stage until booting of the wheat (BBCH 12 to 40). Already during the first 10 days after stress induction (DAS), both fluorescence measurements and spectral vegetation indices were able to differentiate between non-stressed and stressed wheat plants exposed to water shortage, weed competition or fungal infection. This meant that water shortage and fungal infection could be detected prior to visible symptoms. Nitrogen shortage was detected on the 11–20 DAS. Differentiation of more than one stress factors with the same index was difficult.
Abstract: Research has proven that, at a national scale in Cameroon, arable crop production is either declining or stagnant. In the face of these trends, governments, local and international organizations, communities and peasant farmers have developed adaptation options to sustain arable production and reduce poverty. Given this general context, and based on population perceptions and four study sites in the Southwest region of Cameroon, this study aims at verifying current trends in arable production and farmers’ adaptation options based on their indigenous knowledge. These analyses are based on the administration of 200 questionnaires and two focus group discussions (FGDs). The data were analysed using SPSS version 20 in which frequencies, percentages and means were calculated. In addition, the chi-squared statistical test of goodness of fit was calculated and the stated hypothesis was validated accordingly. The FGDs were analysed through verbatim transcriptions and with the aid of the context analysis software, Wordstat 7. The results show that current yields (2010–2014) in all the study sites are declining due to deforestation, poor governance, inadequate access to farm inputs such as fertilizers, increased economic opportunities elsewhere and a breakdown of cultural practices, while 10 years (2000–2010) previously, they had been increasing. It has also been found that the main adaptation options/coping mechanisms reported by the respondents in order of highest frquencies are: expansion of farm size, help from relatives and dependents that live on the farm, supplemental occupations or livelihood diversification and usage of organic fertilizers. From the chi-squared test, the alternate hypothesis that, “there is some difference between population proportions for different adaptation options or coping mechanisms” is validated.