Global warming associated with emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) is one of the most important environmental issues because its potential to impact on human life is severe. In this study, we investigated the effect of organic matter applications and water management on the fluxes of GHGs and yields of rice from paddy fields, a major source of anthropogenic CH4 emissions. We found that the treatment effects on fluxes of GHGs differed among the gases and that the treatments affected rice yields. High CH4 fluxes and high rice yields were associated with organic matter amendments. CH4 gas fluxes were high during summer season especially in manure compost plot. Maintaining low water levels resulted in low rice yields and low emissions of CH4. CO2 is sunk into the soil through rice crop during daytime under any water management in this experiment.
Indonesia’s high dependency on rice makes the country prone to food insecurity. To improve food security, the government of Indonesia started a food diversification program in 1974. However, no significant results have yet been achieved, and rice consumption is still high. A possible explanation is that there is still no suitable “vehicle” in which to deliver diverse local carbohydrate sources in an acceptable form that mimics rice. An appropriate vehicle should be widely acceptable, not require changes to local dietary habits or cooking techniques, fit into Indonesian cuisine, and be makeable from a wide range of sources. “Rice analog” (RA) meets the criteria and could be developed as a food diversification vehicle. It offers a novel way of turning diverse local carbohydrate sources into a new staple food, but comprehensive research is required for its successful development. Upstream activities include crop development and cultivation. Downstream activities include process optimization, machinery design, and developing RA with specific functional properties, such as low glycemic index, high fiber content with hypocholesterolemic activity, and chemo-preventive activity. These functional properties can be used to promote RA. We hope to switch Indonesian perceptions so that paddy rice is not seen as the only staple food, and so that consuming non-rice staples will not lower social status. The establishment of a new paradigm will encourage people to consume more diverse carbohydrate sources, not only in the form of RA, but also as other foods.
The Royal Project Foundation was established in 1969 by His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand to develop and improve the economic and living standards of the hill tribe peoples in the north by using cash crops to replace opium cultivation and preserve the forests and environment. Research on strawberries as a replacement crop was begun in 1974. The research outcomes gave the hill tribes and local peoples a source of income from the production of strawberries and daughter plants. Strawberries now offer a source of quick, high-return investment.
The Philippines is predominantly an agricultural country composed of small farms with a mean area of 2.0 ha per farm. Widespread poverty continues to be a big problem in the country and Filipino adults and children continue to be afflicted by various forms of malnutrition, such as underweight, underheight, and wasting. A viable agricultural solution to this problem is the practice of diversified and integrated farming systems (DIFS). For centuries, farming communities have painstakingly developed resilient and bountiful agricultural systems based on biodiversity and on their knowledge of how to work with them in equally complex biophysical and socio-cultural settings. One of the most stable, productive and profitable diversified cropping systems in the Philippines is the coconut-based multi-storey system developed and practiced in Cavite. Other examples are organic farming as practiced by small-scale farmers, the bio-intensive gardening promoted by the International Institute of Rural Reconstruction in Cavite, the sloping agricultural land technology promoted by the Mindanao Baptist Rural Life Center in Davao del Sur, the vegetable-agroforestry systems of the World Agroforestry Center in Bukidnon, and the complex upland food-production systems of different indigenous peoples’ communities all over the country. In all these examples, the message is clear; farmers have provided stability and sustainability of the agricultural production system, and hence, food security through the utilization of functional diversity in their farms and farming systems. Researches have shown that compared with monocultures, polycultures are more productive, utilize natural resources and photosynthetically active radiation more efficiently, resist pests epidemics better, produce more varied and nutritious foods, contribute more to economic stability, social equality, and provide farmers’ direct participation in decision making. Thus, although small-scale tropical farmers have generally been confined to farming in low quality, marginal and fragile soils with little institutional support, their systems provide valuable information for the development of sustainable agricultural production system.
Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide. The Western dietary pattern is an established risk factor for many cancers, particularly for colorectal cancer (CRC). The Western diet is typified by the high consumption of red and processed meats, high fat foods, sugary foods and refined grains, whereas a more prudent diet replaces these foods with whole grains, fruits and vegetables, many of which are rich in dietary bioactives known to reduce cancer risk. Agricultural production of many of the foods common to the Western diet is also estimated to have a high environmental impact. Thus, diet modification to reduce cancer risk by consumption of more fruits and vegetables would also be considered a more environmentally sustainable diet. This review summarizes the impact of dietary bioactives on gastrointestinal health, with a focus on the role of the gut microbiome and intestinal inflammation in colorectal carcinogenesis. Four dietary bioactives with purported anti-cancer activities are discussed, including catechins (green tea), anthocyanins (red/blue berries), proanthocyanidins (cocoa) and isoflavones (soy), with special consideration given to evidence for their interaction with the gut microbiome. The review concludes with a proposed model for investigating the impact of dietary bioactives for prevention of colon cancer that incorporates the Western nutritional pattern and considers the role of human gut microbiota in pre-clinical studies.
Water deficit constitutes a major constraint in crop production generally and rice particularly. Rainfall is the most critical and least predictable among climatic factors, and both the distribution and amount of rainfall during the cropping season are key determinants of crop yields, particularly in areas with less than 2000 mm of annual precipitation such as the Northern Region of Ghana. When torrential rains fall on less porous soils in areas with undulating topography, large amounts of water are lost as runoff from farmlands, resulting in moisture stress at the most critical stages of crop development.Water conservation constitutes one of the greatest challenges to agriculture in developing countries, and simple on-farm water conservation techniques are critical for sustainable agricultural production. To extend the capacities of Agricultural Extension Agents (AEAs) to train farmers in sustainable crop production systems, AEAs were trained in on-farm water harvesting and conservation techniques, and demonstration fields utilizing the on-farm water conservation technique of bunding were established with two rice varieties (Jasmine 85 and Togo Marshall). Field days were organized for farmers and AEAs to observe the use of bunds as a water conservation technique.Mean yield in the treatment plots was 3.51 t/ha as against 2.93 t/ha for control plots (bunding increased paddy yield by 24% in Jasmine 85 and 14% in Togo Marshall). Given the trend of declining annual rainfalls in Ghana, maximizing conservation of runoff rainwater is vital. The prudent utilization of rainwater and conservations practices pays off by maximizing rice production under rainfed conditions. Rainwater harvesting and conservation is therefore emerging as a viable long-term strategy to tackle crop yield losses associated with moisture stress.
Farming can be unattractive to small-scale Zambian producers owing to low yields and profits. The Zambian government and partners have promoted conservation agriculture (CA) for more than 10 years to improve yields. This paper evaluates the potential of CA to improve the yields and profitability of small-scale farmers in Lusaka Province. Although one study found that yield and profit differences between CA and conventional agriculture were key factors in technology adoption, most studies found no significant short-term yield, production cost, or profit differences between CA and conventional agriculture. Mean maize yield under CA increased from 1.57 t/ha in 2009-10 to 1.76 t/ha in 2010-11. Although 56.8% of the small-scale farmers had practiced CA for at least 3 years, their field sizes were smaller than 1 ha. Of the CA farmers, 18.9% wanted to increase yields and profits by increasing the area under CA. In addition, 53.1% of the conventional farmers wanted to do the same by adopting CA. On the basis of the results, I recommend the promotion of CA by building the capacity of farmers and extension workers and by teaching farmers effective business and organizational skills. I also recommend increased mechanization of CA, addressing gender imbalances among farmers, increasing youth participation in CA programs, and improving CA policy in Zambia.
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