Archive for February, 2016

Dudutech MD to Speak at the GFIA Summit 2016

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The GFIA Summit (Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture), will be held in Abu Dhabi between the 16th – 17th of February, 2016. This is one of the most important global events in the agricultural industry’s calendar, where stakeholders meet to discuss and unveil the latest innovations in the industry.

What’s even more exciting is that, Dudutech’s Managing Director, Mr. Tom Mason will be a guest speaker at the conference. Drawing from the success of Dudutech, he will be speaking about innovations in agriculture.

As the leading biopesticide producer in Africa, Dudutech has overseen the research and development of innovative methods to combat pests and at the same time, reduce the effects of artificial pest control methods.

Built on the friendly slogan of ‘By growers for growers’, Dudutech’s approach to finding pest management solutions for farmers is unparalleled. This is because, while most of the newcomers in the industry push for company-profits-minded solutions, Dudutech develops its products with the farmer in mind. From the large scale rose flower producers, to the kitchen garden organic enthusiast who wants to lead a healthy life free from the disease causing residues of chemically treated products on the shelves. Both of these people, and the many in between, are considered during Dudutech’s production.

Dudutech goes further than developing products to providing a range of biological farming services. They are; certified trainings, scouting and monitoring, trials and laboratory services. These are essential for the implementation of a low residue, low socio-environmental footprint, fully holistic cost natural Integrated Crop Management Program.

In a recent interview by a leading national newspaper, Tom Mason summarises what Dudutech represents in a powerful statement, “It’s a holistic approach to farming where one utilises the full spectrum of environmentally safe farming products and technologies to their full potential.”

Read the full interview by The Star here.

Agricultural policies in Africa could be harming the poorest

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Agricultural policies aimed at alleviating poverty in Africa could be making things worse, according to research by the University of East Anglia (UEA).

Published this month in the journal World Development, the study finds that so-called ‘green revolution’ policies in Rwanda – claimed by the government, international donors and organisations such as the International Monetary Fund to be successful for the economy and in alleviating poverty – may be having very negative impacts on the poorest.

One of the major strategies to reduce poverty in sub-Saharan Africa is through policies to increase and modernise agricultural production. Up to 90 per cent of people in some African countries are smallholder farmers reliant on agriculture, for whom agricultural innovation, such as using new seed varieties and cultivation techniques, holds potential benefit but also great risk.

In the 1960s and 70s policies supporting new seeds for marketable crops, sold at guaranteed prices, helped many farmers and transformed economies in Asian countries. These became known as “green revolutions”. The new wave of green revolution policies in sub-Saharan Africa is supported by multinational companies and western donors, and is impacting the lives of tens, even hundreds of millions of smallholder farmers, according to the study’s lead author Dr Neil Dawson.

The study reveals that only a relatively wealthy minority have been able to keep to enforced modernisation because the poorest farmers cannot afford the risk of taking out credit for the approved inputs, such as seeds and fertilizers. Their fears of harvesting nothing from new crops and the potential for the government to seize and reallocate their land means many choose to sell up instead.

The findings tie in with recent debates about strategies to feed the world in the face of growing populations, for example the influence of wealthy donors such as the Gates Foundation, initiative’s such as the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition in pushing agricultural modernisation in Africa. There have also been debates about small versus large farms being best to combat hunger in Africa, while struggles to maintain local control over land and food production, for example among the Oromo people in Ethiopia, have been highlighted.

Dr Dawson, a senior research associate in UEA’s School of International Development, said: “Similar results are emerging from other experiments in Africa. Agricultural development certainly has the potential to help these people, but instead these policies appear to be exacerbating landlessness and inequality for poorer rural inhabitants.

“Many of these policies have been hailed as transformative development successes, yet that success is often claimed on the basis of weak evidence through inadequate impact assessments. And conditions facing African countries today are very different from those past successes in Asia some 40 years ago.

“Such policies may increase aggregate production of exportable crops, yet for many of the poorest smallholders they strip them of their main productive resource, land. This study details how these imposed changes disrupt subsistence practices, exacerbate poverty, impair local systems of trade and knowledge, and threaten land ownership. It is startling that the impacts of policies with such far-reaching impacts for such poor people are, in general, so inadequately assessed.”

The research looked in-depth at Rwanda’s agricultural policies and the changes impacting the wellbeing of rural inhabitants in eight villages in the country’s mountainous west. Here chronic poverty is common and people depend on the food they are able to grow on their small plots.

Farmers traditionally cultivated up to 60 different types of crops, planting and harvesting in overlapping cycles to prevent shortages and hunger. However, due to high population density in Rwanda’s hills, agricultural policies have been imposed which force farmers to modernise with new seed varieties and chemical fertilisers, to specialise in single crops and part with “archaic” agricultural practices.

Dr Dawson and his UEA co-authors Dr Adrian Martin and Prof Thomas Sikor recommend that not only should green revolution policies be subject to much broader and more rigorous impact assessments, but that mitigation for poverty-exacerbating impacts should be specifically incorporated into such policies. In Rwanda, that means encouraging land access for the poorest and supporting traditional practices during a gradual and voluntary modernisation.

Find the full report here:

Organic Control of Aphids

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There’s a similarity that’s found in aphids, scale, mealybug and whiteflies. It is that they are are all sap-suckers. What’s more? They all release a sweet, sticky liquid that oozes from them as they suck juice from the plants. When this solution lands on the plant, sooty mould takes hold. This ashen-looking fungus does not infect plants, but it blocks the process of photosynthesis. This results in leaf drops and ugly sooty foliage on plant stems, leaves and fruits.

Although common in roses, aphids also attack vegetables such as beans, peas, melons, cucumbers and tomatoes, among others. In addition to sucking, they can also transmit other diseases from plant to plant. Their activities can result in curling and distortion in young foliage, yellowing of leaves and stunted growth in plants.

These soft-bodied insects are about 25mm long and usually wingless and pear-shaped. Depending on the climatic zone, host or species, they can be black, green, grey or milky-cream. They have mouths designed to suck juices from plants.

Aphids’ life cycle is a little different as females give birth to young live and can do so without mating. This they do at a very high rate.

Organic Control

Moist cloth

If you are handling a small area, you can simply use a moist cloth to wipe aphids from plants. This can be time consuming but the results are instant. Do this for two or three days while monitoring the results.

Hose spray

Spray affected plants with a strong jet of water from a hose. Return after a couple of days and see if aphids have left your plants alone. You can then wipe away the soaked aphids or prune the plants.

Attract beneficial insects

This can be done by planting companion plants that attract predators such as ladybirds that can wipe out aphids. Or, easily get organic bio-controls and reduce the time and resources required to attract them to your plants.

Leave ants alone

There is a misconception among many farmers that ants bring aphids to plants. This is not true. In fact, aphids land there first then ants get attracted by the honeydew. That being said, ants are important predators and decomposers in the farm and often drag aphids away.

Do not over-fertilise

Feeding aphid-infested nitrogen-rich fertilisers only increases the aphids’ feed and result in them multiplying.


Weed out your ornamental garden or patch frequently to keep aphids away


Prune shoots that have been infested by aphids and throw them away.

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