MSFC to begin project on tuna resources

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The Marine Sciences and Fisheries Centre (MSFC) will take up a new project from next month to understand the status of tuna resources in Omani waters. An amount of RO231,500 has been approved by the Agriculture and Fisheries Development Fund for the project, which will run till August 2014.

Dr Lubna al Kharusi, director, MSFC, said, "Strategies for the management of tuna fisheries will be formulated on the basis of data obtained from the project. Regional cooperation is needed for the management of longtail tuna (T. tonggol) which is a migratory species shared with neighbouring countries. The findings from the project will help in fine-tuning policies between countries."

Kharusi said the main objectives of the project are to identify and assess stocks, study biological characteristics of species of tuna and their population dynamics, and evaluate environmental parameters (water quality). The study also aims at establishing a socio-economic data of tuna fishermen. Coastal tuna like the longtail, kawakawa (Euthynnus affinis), striped bonito (Sarda orientalis) and frigate tuna (Auxis thazard) are substantial to fisheries in Oman; the scale of catch directly influences the socio-economic well-being of fishermen.

The project will focus on a detailed study on these species as there is inadequate information on longtail tuna and almost no study is available on the other three. The predator-prey relationship largely influences tuna resources and hence over-exploitation of prey species limits the abundance of tuna. "A study on the food and feeding habits of the tuna will address this. In view of national priorities and global needs, the project will help generate important information needed for the sustainable development of fisheries," said Kharusi.

The average annual catch of tuna fluctuated between 37,097 tonnes in 1995 and 14,833tonnes in 1999. The contribution of tuna to the total fish haul of the country ranged from 26.5 per cent in 1995 to 11.23 per cent in 2002.

Project reveals effective grass weed control

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The most effective blackgrass control programmes in winter oilseed rape contain either propyzamide or carbetamide in a sequence-based approach, according to the results of an HGCA-funded project on autumn grass weed control.

"In terms of weed control, they are both extremely important chemicals," says Ron Stobart of NIAB TAG, who is conducting the research in conjunction with SAC. "Applied post-emergence, in November time, they give very good results."

Of equally good news for growers, especially those using wheat/rape rotations, is that neither of these herbicides is affected by resistance, he points out. "However, both are under scrutiny for being present in water supplies. So their use is not without challenges."

Rate and timing have been shown to influence their performance, notes Mr Stobart. "Using a reduced rate at a conducive time can be just as effective as a higher rate at a less favourable time. But more work is needed to pin this down further."

One possible solution to the pollution risk is to make use of pre-emergence residual herbicides, to support grass weed control, he suggests.

"There are some older products, such as Avadex, Devrinol and Butisan, which can all be used as part of a programme.

"They give useful, rather than good, control. But they mean that it might be possible to follow them up with a graminicide, rather than having to use either propyzamide or carbetamide every time."

Stuart Hill, technical and development manager at MAUK, believes that there’s scope to reduce the amount of active ingredient being applied by using sequences of carbetamide and propyzamide.

"Using a sequence of carbetamide followed by propyzamide allows you to use less carbetamide, while getting very good blackgrass control" he points out. "The first application is made in mid October, at the 2.5kg rate, followed by the propyzamide at the full rate of 2.1 litres/ha in November."

A maximum gap of four weeks between the two applications is important, he adds. "The carbetamide sensitises the blackgrass, ready for the propyzamide to work well."

Making the first application in drier conditions in October isn’t an issue, believes Mr Hill. "Carbetamide is more mobile in the dry, so it should be used first. Also, applying a lower dose helps to restrict any leaching."

The cost of such an approach is around £65/ha, he calculates. "It’s no more than having to use a graminicide, such as Laser or Aramo alongside one of the baseline herbicides, and it avoids the use of active ingredients with known resistance."

The next stage is to investigate whether the rate of propyzamide can be reduced, while maintaining blackgrass control. "There’s more work to be done. And of course soil conditions make a huge difference to the success of these chemicals."

An alternative approach for growers to consider is to mix carbetamide and propyzamide, he suggests. "This is relevant if you’ve missed the sequence, for any reason. Again, it gives effective blackgrass control."

In this situation, he recommends using 3kg/ha of Crawler and 1.25 litres/ha of Cohort.

"Timing is the key to success. For a mixture, you need to use the traditional timing of soil temperatures at 8C and declining, which is usually mid November."


Getting optimum performance from Kerb in oilseed rape depends on the use of shallow cultivations to a depth of 5cm, says Stuart Jackson of Dow AgroSciences.

Trials conducted by the company over the last two years have confirmed the importance of cultivations in getting the high levels of blackgrass control required and reducing the seed burden for following crops.

"Control becomes much more variable where ploughing is used," he reports. "Our trials showed just 40-50% control in a ploughing regime, compared with 90-99% with shallow tillage. In both situations, the higher level of control came from using the 2.1 litres/ha rate."

This is because Kerb sits in the top couple of inches of soil, he explains. "So any blackgrass coming up from depth, as it can do after ploughing, comes through the Kerb unscathed. The rooting depth of the blackgrass has a bearing."

However, ploughing does initially reduce the blackgrass population, he acknowledges. "You start with lower blackgrass numbers, but you end up with more, due to control differences."

Seeing a carpet of blackgrass emerge following shallow cultivations can be unnerving, he admits. "But using Kerb correctly in this situation allows the oilseed rape to be a cleaning crop."

Mr Jackson’s advice for the coming season is to use shallow cultivations, time the application correctly and use the higher rate.

"The idea with shallow cultivations to a depth of two inches is to just create enough tilth for the seed," he advises.

"You then need to wait until soils are moist and there’s been a fall in temperatures, which is usually mid November. Finally, you need to apply it at the 2.1 litres/ha rate."

Switzerland finances open use project

images (3) The Swiss Government will unite 11.231 million USD to a second phase of a Program on Public Services Provision Improvement in Agriculture and Rural Development (PS-ARD) in northern Hoa Binh and Cao Bang provinces.

An agreement to a outcome was sealed in Hanoi on Jul 5 by member of a dual provinces and a Swiss Government.

The second proviso of a programme has been deployed in 2010 and will last through 2015 during an investment collateral of 14.169 million USD.

The programme is dictated to raise community turn ability building in making socio-economic growth skeleton and improved fit and effective decentralized open use smoothness systems and processes in agriculture and farming development./.

Agriculture in Vietnam gets a boost with new public-private sector project

tải xuống (3) Twelve global companies have joined with the Government of Vietnam to launch a public-private task force to advance sustainable agricultural growth in the country. Developed through discussions of the Forum’s New Vision for Agriculture Initiative, the task force will take an innovative approach to improve food security and agricultural sustainability nationwide.
As the first of its kind in Vietnam, the task force will work to coordinate and leverage public and private sector investments in agriculture to increase high-quality production while benefiting farmers. The task force will operate both on a strategic level, exchanging best practice and addressing policy issues and on an operational level, working to scale effective initiatives by combining public and private sector capacities.

"Government and business share the same goal: we both want to see strong and sustainable growth in Vietnam’s agriculture sector," said Cao Duc Phat, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development. "We have identified a number of ways in which we can work together more effectively towards that goal."

"Growing Asian demand for food means we must increase both production and quality to meet that growth while operating within the constraints of climate change . If companies combine efforts with the government and each other, we can operate more effectively along the full value chain," said Frans Muller, Member of the Management Board of METRO Group and Co-Chair of the World Economic Forum on East Asia.

The task force will work to develop an initial action plan in the coming six months for presentation at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2011 in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland. The group’s activities will likely include:
• Undertaking research to identify high leverage opportunities and exchanging best practices
• Undertaking a policy dialogue to build support across key stakeholders and industries
• Fast-tracking and scaling implementation of select initiatives to achieve rapid progress on several “quick wins”

Participating companies include Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), Bunge, Cargill, Dupont, METRO Group, Monsanto, Nestlé, PepsiCo, Swiss Re, Syngenta, Unilever and Yara International.

The World Economic Forum’s New Vision for Agriculture facilitates partnership-building and action among key stakeholders including business, government, civil society, international organizations and academia. It claims to promote models of agricultural growth that contribute to food security, environmental sustainability and economic opportunity.

The programme for the 19th World Economic Forum on East Asia will explore the many facets of the region’s rising economic influence such as how high-growth economies can improve their competitiveness through developing innovation-driven, green economies. At the same time, the discussions will consider to what extent ongoing regional integration will serve as the basis for Asian leaders to assume a greater leadership role in global cooperation.

Rash farming decisions lead to high losses


A project to grow high-yield cashew trees in new economic zones in the Central Highland province of Dak Lak has resulted in the loss of hundreds of billions of dong.
The project, which started in 2002, cost the Government an estimated VND220 billion (US$10.5 million), according to agricultural experts.
Le Thanh Hai, chairman of the People’s Committee of Ia R’ve Commune, said that the weather and soil in the area were unsuitable for growing high-yield cashew trees.
The trees normally blossom and produce fruit between November and December, a time when the area is in the peak of its dry season.
Experts from the Central Highlands Agro-Forestry Scientific and Technical Institute agreed. They said they had warned project managers that conditions were not conducive for the successful cultivation of cashew trees, but their words had fallen on deaf ears.
As a result, many families in the area are struggling to make ends meet.
"We have to endure many difficulties," said Pham Van Hoang, a resident from R’ve Commune.
Hoang and his family have spent years tending to the cashew trees, but their efforts have been in vain.
With the 7ha of land allotted to them, the family could only harvest a maximum of 120 kilogrammes of cashew nuts, even in their most productive year.
Because of the poor harvest, Hoang and his wife resorted to other activities to support their family of four.
To make matters worse, a decision was made in 2008 to cut down the mature cashew trees to grow acacia trees for paper production instead.
According to local people, although the cashew harvest was small, they survived by cultivating short-term crops.
But now, the acacia trees make it impossible to grow cashew trees, denying locals from a major source of income.
In addition, wages are low, at just VND4-5 million $190-240) per hectare per year, and the profit share is unfair, at just 20 per cent.
Only a few households in the new economic zone have been granted their own land, which, given the harsh climate, is not enough to ensure economic stability.
But even those who have their own land struggle, because the plots are far away from their homes.
Hai said that Ia R’ve Commune had asked authorities to allocate each household at least two hectares for production, but the request remained unanswered.