Fighting Coffee Rust: How Small Farmers and Organizations Deal With This Problem

Coffee rust is one of the most leading problems in the coffee industry all over the world. Affected countries struggle in looking for ways to eliminate this devastating problem.

In fact, coffee rust highly affects a country’s industry especially those that mainly depend on their coffee industry. With that being said, the government and huge companies spend millions of dollars to get rid of this problem. In fact, thousands of farmers lose their jobs because of this.

If the government itself and some huge companies are already having a hard time, how much more for those small coffee producers?

Small farmers depend on their coffee crops for their living. So, when signs of coffee rust start to show, they know that they need to find a way to contain this epidemic.

Aside from the government’s continued support, small farmers also get help from co-op organizations. These organizations support the farmers by providing them financial assistance and helping them in looking for solutions.

Oikocredit is a cooperative itself, headquartered in the Netherlands but operating across the world with a focus on social impact investing and capacity building in low-income countries.

It provides loans and equity to mid-stage, revenue-generating cooperatives, fair trade organisations and small-to-medium- sized enterprises operating in financial inclusion, agriculture and renewable energy sectors in Africa, Asia, Latin America and cental and eastern Europe.

Learn more about it here.

The Effects of Heat to Vegetables and Other Crops

Though our crop plants need adequate sunlight, they can only take so much heat. The plant tissues die normally around 115°F. The plant temperature is just usually above air temperature. But in certain conditions, plant temperature can rise to the critical level.

Plants, in general, have three major ways to remove excess heat.
1. Through long wave radiation
2. Through heat convection into the air
3. Through transpiration

If either any of these major ways are interrupted, plant temperature can rise above the normal.

For instance, transpiration can be interrupted by inadequate water, injury, vascular plugging, and stomatal closure. When that happens, the major cooling mechanism of the plant is lost.

Take note that dry soil conditions can also lead to excess plant heating. When the soils are dry, roots produce ABA or Abscisic Acid. This acid is transported to leaves which signals stomatal closure.

How to protect your crops from heat damage:

  1. Overhead watering is the major method to reduce plant heat stress. Always make sure that you have sprinklers set up and you provide adequate water supply.
  2. Misting also helps in improving your plant’s temperature. It helps in lessening water vapor pressure deficit.
  3. You can also increase dissipation and reflection of radiative heat using reflective mulches.
  4. Low density and organic mulches like straw can also be used to conserve moisture and reduce surface radiation.
  5. If you are located in very hot areas, use shade cloth for partial shading. This will help in reducing heat and radiation. 

Newly developed ‘Trojan horse’ molecule might help in fighting crop fungus linked to cancer

A few months ago, researchers from the University of Arizona said that they were able to develop a new method to neutralize a dangerous toxin caused by fungi, that can lead to childhood stunting, cancer, and other health problems. These researchers made a genetically modified, edible maize plant, even when infected with a mold that produces a carcinogenic substance called aflatoxin. ROME – Scientists said on Friday they had developed a new method to neutralize a dangerous fungal toxin affecting crops that can lead to cancer, childhood

Every year, more than 16,000 tons of maize are being thrown because of aflatoxin contamination. In most developed countries, they are able to screen their crops. However, some small farmers do not have the technology to do so. Therefore, people are consuming unknown levels of these dangerous toxins.

This latest research found out that a Trojan Horse molecule can jump onto the fungus and shuts down its aflatoxin production.

In a study published in the journal Science Advances, Schmidt and her team said they had created a genetically engineered maize plant, which produces a “Trojan horse” molecule that jumps onto the fungus and shuts down its aflatoxin production.

Schmidt said the method should be transferable to other crops prone to aflatoxin contamination, like rice, soy and peanuts, as it exploits a naturally occurring biological mechanism known as RNA interference.

For more information, visit this site.

Though the modified corns shouldn’t have side effects, it’s still important to get some testings done.

The Importance of Disinfecting Organic Produce

In the world we live in today, from fast-food to all the chemicals used in creating modern food, we need something organic and natural to live a healthier life. We all know for a fact that we always have to include fruits and leafy greens in our daily diet.

We stick to what’s natural. But how natural is natural? Regardless if we picked our produce from our own backyard or we bought them at the market, it’s important to make sure that our fruits and vegetables are properly disinfected.

Why Do We Need To Disinfect Our Produce?

As much as it’s healthy to eat organic, it’s also important to make sure that what we eat is free from harmful substances. Buying from the market doesn’t really ensure our safety from the chemicals and pesticides used on the produce.

Now, even if we grow our own produce, it doesn’t exactly mean that they are free from pesticides and chemicals. In fact, According to a study conducted in 2002, organically grown food contains up to one-third as much pesticide residue as conventionally grown food  due to drift from conventional farms, as well as contaminated soil. (Food Additives and Contaminants, 2002, vol. 19, no. 5).

Not only that, our produce is not safe from possible fungi contaminants. Some fungi are not visible to the naked eye. The worst part is, some fungi can cause serious diseases such as mycotoxins and aflatoxins.

Mycotoxins are poisonous substances produced by molds found in grain and nut crops. They can also be found on grape juice, apples, celery, and other produce. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations estimates that one fourth of the world’s food crops are affected by mycotoxins.

Meanwhile, Aflatoxin is a cancer-causing poison produced by certain fungi in or on food, especially in field corn and peanuts. Aflatoxins have been associated with different serious diseases like aflatoxicosis in livestock, domestic animals, and humans all over the world.

The prevention of aflatoxin is one of the most challenging toxicology issues of present time.

Therefore, it’s really important to make sure that our produce and the food we eat are safe from those. We need to disinfect them properly and wash them very well before consuming.