Drip irrigation project targeting food security

first_imgPhoto credit: Norman Grindley Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppKingston, Jamaica, December 25, 2016 – Government is moving to safeguard Jamaica’s food security against the impact of climate change through the Rural Economic Development Initiative (REDI) drip irrigation project.   Agricultural Specialist with the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), which implements REDI, Vincent Thompson, tells JIS News that the project is an “aggressive approach” to minimizing the debilitating effects of climate change on agriculture.Mr. Thompson says despite Jamaica not experiencing extreme drought conditions this year, as prevailed in 2015 resulting in hiked food prices due to reduced outputs, the Government is endeavoring to be proactive in safeguarding the nation’s food supply.  This, he adds, due to the unpredictable nature of climate change.  Mr. Thompson reports that phases one and two of the project, undertaken in 2014 and 2015, respectively, have positively impacted nearly 1,160 farmers in 13 communities in St. Catherine, St. Thomas, Trelawny, Manchester and South St. Elizabeth.The farmers were provided with irrigation lines, drip kits, 1,000-gallon water storage tanks and harvesting implements.  They were also exposed to innovative farming techniques, food safety practices, business management, record keeping and marketing strategies.   The beneficiaries, who are members of the National Irrigation Commission (NIC) Limited Water Users Association, were provided with water from NIC pumping stations, such as the facility in New Forest, Manchester, and guided on efficient irrigation methodologies.Phase three will benefit 690 farmers in the South St. Elizabeth communities of Tryall, Red Bank, Ballards Valley, Essex Valley, Flagaman and Top Hill, where the fustigation technique was introduced to increase outputs.  Fertigation is the injection of fertilizers, soil additives and other water-soluble inputs into an irrigation system.  This is then applied directly to the plant root for optimal delivery of nutrients.“The farmers used to apply the fertilizer on the surface of the soil which, often, the nitrogenic factor in the fertilizer is volatilized by sunlight. Now, they are able to apply liquid fertilizer through the drip lines. So now they can reduce the cost of production, because they are better able to utilize fertilizers using fertigation,” he further states.Drip irrigation, Mr. Thompson contends, has significantly increased crop yields where utilized.  “We have found that, overall, our farmers in South St. Elizabeth (in particular) have been able to achieve up to (a) 60 per cent increase,” he says.  “With climate change, no one can predict when we are going to have drought, heavy rainfall or flooding. By providing the farmers with drip irrigation equipment during the dry season, they are better able to plan their production so we don’t have any shortages. (As a result) we (hope to) have a consistent supply of produce (from here, onwards),” he adds.Among the crops grown in St. Elizabeth are tomato, sweet pepper, scallion, thyme, watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew melon, as well as pumpkin, hot pepper, broccoli and cauliflower.  Mr. Thompson points out that a key advantage of drip irrigation is that farmers now have greater control of production.  “We can mitigate the effects of climate change, especially when we are going through a dry spell. We are actually changing the way in which farmers (cultivate),” he says.The drip irrigation project is also being carried out in the agro park communities of Colbeck, St. Catherine; Plantain Garden River, St. Thomas; and Braco, Trelawny, as part of the Government’s Onion Production Project targeting produce for the domestic market.The REDI project is being implemented with World Bank funding support totaling US$15 million, with additional financing of US$2.5 million from the Government and through community contributions.  The project, which started in 2010 and ends in July 2017, aims to improve market access for micro and small-scale rural agricultural producers, as well as tourism product and service providers, through grants to support infrastructural development. Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppcenter_img Related Items:last_img read more

Late Pleistocene evidence that crocodiles preyed on giant tortoises on Aldabra Atoll

first_imgSize comparison of crocodylian and gianttortoiseremains. Credit: Royal Society Open Science (2018). DOI: 10.1098/rsos.171800 Citation: Late Pleistocene evidence that crocodiles preyed on giant tortoises on Aldabra Atoll (2018, January 24) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-01-giant-tortoises-aldabra-atoll-ward.html An international team of researchers has found evidence that suggests the giant tortoises living on the Aldabra Atoll in the Seychelles may have once had to watch out for crocodile attacks. In their paper published in the journal Royal Society Open Science, the group describes fossil evidence they found on the atoll that suggests crocodiles large enough to cause harm may have once feasted on the giant tortoises. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. New study suggests some ancient bite marks from crocs not stone tools Explore furthercenter_img Journal information: Royal Society Open Science More information: Torsten M. Scheyer et al. Trophic interactions between larger crocodylians and giant tortoises on Aldabra Atoll, Western Indian Ocean, during the Late Pleistocene, Royal Society Open Science (2018). DOI: 10.1098/rsos.171800AbstractToday, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Aldabra Atoll is home to about 100 000 giant tortoises, Aldabrachelys gigantea, whose fossil record goes back to the Late Pleistocene. New Late Pleistocene fossils (age ca. 90–125 000 years) from the atoll revealed some appendicular bones and numerous shell fragments of giant tortoises and cranial and postcranial elements of crocodylians. Several tortoise bones show circular holes, pits and scratch marks that are interpreted as bite marks of crocodylians. The presence of a Late Pleistocene crocodylian species, Aldabrachampsus dilophus, has been known for some time, but the recently found crocodylian remains presented herein are distinctly larger than those previously described. This indicates the presence of at least some larger crocodylians, either of the same or of a different species, on the atoll. These larger crocodylians, likely the apex predators in the Aldabra ecosystem at the time, were well capable of inflicting damage on even very large giant tortoises. We thus propose an extinct predator–prey interaction between crocodylians and giant tortoises during the Late Pleistocene, when both groups were living sympatrically on Aldabra, and we discuss scenarios for the crocodylians directly attacking the tortoises or scavenging on recently deceased animals. © 2018 Phys.org Today, the giant tortoises that live on Aldabra Atoll pass their days relatively stress-free due to an absence of predators. Their thick, dome-shaped shells offer them a very secure defense against creatures that might seek to harm them. But their peaceful existence is also thanks to laws that ban humans from harming them, and perhaps events that led to the demise of crocodiles that were big enough to attack them.The researchers report that during a visit to the atoll, they found parts of giant fossilized tortoise shells with large tooth bite marks on them. More importantly, they also found a jawbone that had once belonged to a large ancient crocodilian—one that was bigger than those represented by previously found fossils. Testing showed that both fossils were from a time period approximately 90,000 to 125,000 years ago—putting them in the late Pleistocene. The size of the fossilized jawbone, the team concluded, suggested that the crocodile would have been larger than the others that had lived on the atoll, but smaller than modern Nile or saltwater crocodiles. They further estimated by examining the jawbone that the crocodile would have been approximately 11.5 feet long—big enough to tear limbs or a head from an exposed tortoise. The tortoise would have weighed approximately 550 pounds.The researchers suggest that the bite marks on the tortoise shell indicate one of two possible scenarios. In the first, the croc had hidden itself beneath the water and then pounced when it saw the tortoise stretch its neck out to get a drink of water. The other possibility was that the tortoise died from another cause and the crocodile left marks as it attempted to get at the remains inside the shell.last_img read more