rss_2.0Agricultura Tropica et Subtropica FeedSciendo RSS Feed for Agricultura Tropica et Subtropica Tropica et Subtropica 's Cover determining adoption of bean quality improvement practices by cocoa farmers in Cross River State, Nigeria<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Persistent drop in quality of Nigerian cocoa exported to the international communities portends a grave danger to the economy of the country. This study investigates factors determining adoption of bean quality improvement practices by cocoa farmers in Cross River State, Nigeria. Using a two-stage random sampling technique to select 336 farmers from communities with high production, data were collected with a structured questionnaire and subjected to factor analysis and descriptive statistical procedures. The data revealed that majority of the respondents (66.1%) were male with mean age of 48 years, 78.6% were formally educated whereas 31.0% had a quarterly contact with extension agents. Most of the respondents (98.2%) had high perception on practices considered as being adequate for improving the quality of cocoa beans. There was a positive and significant relationship between perception on cocoa bean quality and adoption of bean quality improvement practices (r = 0.142 and <italic>p</italic> = 0.001) at one percent level of significance. Factor analysis showed that socioeconomic, production, technological and institutional factors with Eigenvalues of 3.312, 2.403, 1.862 and 1.055, respectively, accounted for the quality of cocoa beans. However, educational level of farmers (0.867), cost of inputs (−0.724), relative advantage of the practice (0.683) and contact with extension agents (0.703) exert greater influence on farmers’ capacity to produce quality cocoa beans. The identified variables should therefore be considered when disseminating improved practices to cocoa farmers for increased adoption.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-03-30T00:00:00.000+00:00Identification and characterisation of single nucleotide polymorphisms in interferon regulatory factor-5 gene of Nigerian local chickens<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The interferon regulatory factor gene family encodes transcription factors with multiple biological functions, which include reproduction, cell differentiation and immunity. Interferon regulatory factor-5 (IRF-5) gene is involved in immune defence against virus, stress response, activation of type I interferon genes, cell differentiation and growth. This experiment was conducted to identify and characterise single nucleotide polymorphisms in exons 3, 4, 5 and 7 of IRF-5 gene in Nigerian local chickens. Exons 3, 4, 5 and 7 of IRF-5 gene were amplified and sequenced. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) present in exons 3, 4, 5 and 7 of IRF-5 gene were identified and analysed using Clustal W, DnaSp and SNAP<sup>2</sup> software packages. Four SNPs, rs317511101, rs312902332, rs315149141 and rs739389464, were identified in exon 3 of IRF-5 gene in all the three genotypes. Exon 4 of the gene was conserved while three of the SNPs (rs736423928, 170C&gt;T and rs740736761) identified in exon 7 were shared among the three genotypes. Linkage disequilibrium of 1.00 existed between rs317511101 and rs315149141 polymorphisms identified in exon 3 of normal feathered and frizzle feathered chickens. Mutation rs740736761 identified in exon 7 had the highest polymorphism information content obtainable for any biallelic marker. Most of the SNPs identified in exons 3, 5 and 7 were synonymous and singletons which could not be used for association study. The study concluded that only haplotypes in exons 3 and 7 of IRF-5 gene can be used in marker-assisted selection when improving Nigerian local chickens.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-03-30T00:00:00.000+00:00Well-being of rural households around Ikere-Gorge dam in Oyo State, Nigeria<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The study investigated the well-being of rural households around Ikere-Gorge dam operated in South-western Nigeria. Ninety rural households were sampled in four communities, using a multistage sampling procedure. Data were analysed using frequency counts, percentages, means and Pearson Product Moment Correlation (at α<sub>0.05</sub>). Majority of the household heads were males (84.4%), married (86.7%), Christians (56.7%), had no or primary education (74.5%) with average age of 42.28 ± 7.63 years. Marginalization by government (91.1%), elite capture of support services (90.0%) and lack of extension services (83.3%) were rated major constraints to livelihood by majority. The dam served benefits such as availability of water for domestic use (x¯ = 2.83), improved socioeconomic development (x¯ = 2.56), and recreational and tourism services (x¯ = 2.42). Both quality of life (x¯ = 1.73) and health (x¯ = 1.88) indicators of well-being were generally low. Constraint to livelihood had a significant relationship (r = −0.323) with respondents’ overall well-being. The study concluded that households around dams are faced with multi-dimensional challenges at varying degrees, with negative implications for livelihood and well-being of rural households.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-03-30T00:00:00.000+00:00Assessing technology-based learning: a case of “ use for agricultural subjects in senior secondary schools of Osun State, Nigeria<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The study assessed using an e-learning device, ‘<italic>Opon-Imo</italic>’ for agricultural subjects among secondary school students and teachers in Osun State, Nigeria. It determined the teachers’ and students’ extent of use of ‘<italic>Opon-Imo</italic>’ for agricultural subjects, ascertained their perception towards its value as a learning/teaching aid, and the challenges faced with its use. A multi-stage sampling technique was employed to select 150 students and corresponding 12 teachers instructing them on the agricultural subject(s) to give a total of 162 respondents sampled. Data were collected with a validated questionnaire and analysed using descriptive statistics. The results revealed that students occasionally used ‘<italic>Opon-Imo</italic>’ as reference material to seek answers to assignments (x̄= 3.1 ± 0.9) just as the teachers often utilised the modules as a reference point while explaining class notes to the students (x̄= 3.5 ± 0.8). (Most (58%) of the students were indifferent about the values of ‘<italic>Opon-Imo</italic>’ as a learning aid for agricultural subjects, whereas most of the teachers (58.3%) had a favourable disposition towards it for their teaching activities. As a challenge, teachers noted students’ misuse of the device for entertainment purposes instead of use as a learning aid (x̄= 3.16). It was concluded that teachers validly used ‘<italic>Opon-Imo</italic>’ to a greater extent for agricultural educational purposes and were more positively inclined to its educative usefulness than the students. As such, effective measures have to be developed to make the students aware of the value of this learning aid for their career in agriculture.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-08-18T00:00:00.000+00:00Dietary supplementation of Vitamin E and selenium on performance and oxidative stability of meat of broiler chickens in a hot climate<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>With the increase in consumers’ concern for safe food, it is highly imperative for livestock farmers to adopt feeding practices that enhance good health and high-quality products. A 49-day trial was conducted to ascertain effect of vitamin E and selenium (VE + Se) on performance, haematological indices and oxidative stability of chicken meat. A total of 150 Ross 7-day-old chicks were weighed and allotted to five treatments comprising dietary levels of 0 mg VE + 0 mg SE (Control), 100 mg VE + 0.05 mg Se, 200 mg VE + 0.1 mg Se, 300 mg VE + 0.15 mg Se and 400 mg VE + 0.2 mg Se per kg of feed in a completely randomised design. Feed and water were provided <italic>ad libitum</italic>. The data collected on performance, haematological indices and oxidative stability of meat were subjected to a one-way analysis of variance in a completely randomised design. Performance indices were significantly (<italic>p</italic> &lt; 0.05) influenced by VE + Se supplementation. Mean daily live-weight gain (48.68 g /bird /day) was highest (<italic>p</italic> &lt; 0.05) in the 400 mg VE + 0.2 mg group. The mean daily feed intake (g /bird / day) was highest in birds fed the diet containing 200 mg VE + 0.1 mg. The least or best feed conversion ratio (FCR) was observed in the group fed 400 mg VE + 0.2 mg SE. Glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) increased as the level of VE + Se increased with the highest activity in 400 mg VE + 0.2 mg Se group. The highest packed cell volume, haemoglobin and red blood cell values were observed in birds fed the diet containing 400 mg VE + 0.20 mg Se. In conclusion, to ensure good performance of the chickens and improved oxidative stability of chicken meat in hot climate, feeding broilers VE + SE at 400 mg VE + 0.2 mg Se is recommended.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-03-30T00:00:00.000+00:00Agronomic response of soybeans ( (L.) Merrill) to organic soil and foliar fertilisation in a forest savanna transitory location<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Organic soybean is presently less than 0.1% of total world production partly because of inappropriate fertiliser regime on degraded tropical soils. Therefore, two field trials were carried out during the late cropping seasons (June – November) of 2017 and 2018 to evaluate the agronomic performance of three soybean varieties: TGx 1448-2E, TGx 1835-10E and TGx 1989-9F as affected by foliar organic fertilisers: Arati Baja, Arati Nawoz, DI Grow, and soil applied organic fertiliser (Aleshinloye Grade B), and the control. The experimental design was Randomised Complete Block Design in a 3 × 5 factorial arrangement with three replications. Data were collected on yield attributes and seed yield of soybeans. Significant varietal difference (<italic>P</italic> &lt; 0.05) in both years was recorded for number and weight of pods and seeds per plant, 100 seed weight, harvest index, and grain yield, except number of seeds per plant in 2018. Fertiliser × Variety interaction effect significantly (<italic>P</italic> &lt; 0.05) affected above-ground plant weight and pod weight per plant in both years. On average, application of organic fertilisers resulted in grain yield (1.30–2.28 t/ha) comparable with Nigeria’s (0.97 t/ha) and Africa’s (1.37 t/ha) but lower than the world’s (2.85 t/ha) average values. The three foliar fertilisers and soil applied organic fertiliser enhanced seed yield of soybeans and are therefore recommended for soybean cultivation in the tropics.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-06-20T00:00:00.000+00:00Drivers of agricultural productivity: Evidence from transforming economies<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This study empirically investigates the drivers of agricultural productivity in transforming economy. The study used a 35-year period (1980–2014) panel data sourced from World Development Indicators, Penn World Table, United States Department of Agriculture and Statistics on Public Expenditure for Economic Development. Data used for the study include Agricultural Productivity (AP), Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Government Agricultural Expenditure (EXP), Agricultural Trade Barrier (ATB), Consumer Price Index (CPI), Farm Machinery (MACH), Fertiliser (FERT), Human Capital (HCAP) and Irrigation (IRRG). Data were analysed using Impulse Response Function, Levin-Lin-Chu unit root test, Johansen-Fisher Panel Cointegration test and Panel Least Squares regression technique. Impulse Response Function revealed that <italic>ln</italic> (GDP)reacted negatively to a shock from <italic>ln</italic> (Agricultural Productivity). Levin-Lin-Chu unit root test revealed that the variables were stationary either at level or at first difference. The result of the Johansen-Fisher panel cointegration test showed that for every case at 5 percent level of significance, we reject null hypothesis of no cointegration. Panel Least Squares revealed that Agricultural Trade Barrier (<italic>α</italic> = 0.0531, <italic>p</italic> &lt; 0.05), Human Capital (<italic>α</italic> = 1.2409, <italic>p</italic> &lt; 0.01) and Irrigation (<italic>α</italic> = 0.0771, <italic>p</italic> &lt; 0.01) increased Agricultural Productivity. However, Fertilizer (<italic>α</italic> = −0.0730, <italic>p</italic> &lt; 0.01) decreased Agricultural Productivity. This study therefore concluded that Agricultural Productivity will grow in transforming economy with trade restriction on imported agricultural tradable commodities, increased investment in human capital and expansion in irrigation application. The study therefore recommends measures that will protect domestic agriculture, capacity building of the farmers and improved irrigation infrastructure that will enhance small scale farmers for all-season cropping.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-03-30T00:00:00.000+00:00Examination of sexual dimorphism in New-Zealand White × Californian rabbits by morphological traits<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Rabbits provide a cheap source of high quality animal protein and thus have the potential to bridge the shortage of animal protein in developing countries. Data were collected on 174 New Zealand × California cross-bred rabbits (87 males and 87 females) for this study, to quantify the morphological characteristics and to determine the morphological parameters that contribute to body conformation using Principal Component Analysis (PCA). Data were collected on live body weight (LBW), body length (BDL), ear length (EAL), tail length (TAL), rump length (RUL), heart girth (HAG) and abdominal circumference (ADC). Data collected were analysed using the procedures of the PAST® 3.21 statistical package. Mean live body weight (± SE) for the females (0.980 ± 0.02 kg) and males (0.790 ± 0.02 kg) was recorded. There were positive and highly significant (<italic>p</italic> &lt; 0.01) correlation coefficients between live body weight and the linear body measurements. One principal component was extracted, accounting for 64.8% of the total variances in morphological indicators measured in the New Zealand × California rabbits. The extracted principal component in this study could be used as aid in selection programme. The results obtained revealed the occurrence of sexual dimorphism, where female rabbits recorded significantly (<italic>p</italic> &lt; 0.05) higher values than males in all the traits measured. This information suggests that use of rabbit for meat production should skew towards raising female rabbits.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-04-18T00:00:00.000+00:00Effects of access to livelihood capitals on adoption of European Union (EU) approved pesticides among cocoa producing households in Osun State, Nigeria<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Cocoa producing households’ access to livelihood capitals would help them to adopt EU approved pesticides successfully. However, no empirical studies have addressed these issues. This study therefore investigated the effects of access to livelihood capitals on adoption of EU approved pesticides among cocoa producing households. A multi stage sampling procedure was employed to select 120 cocoa producing households for thestudy. The obtained data were analysed using descriptive statistics, multivariate probit regression and double hurdle regression model. The majority of cocoa producing households (92%) have access to natural capital, followed by physical capital (67.5%), social capital (62.5%), financial capital (58%), whereas only afew (50.8%) have access to human capital. Multivariate probit estimates showed that age (<italic>p</italic> &lt; 0.05), gender <italic>(p</italic> &lt; 0.05), farm size (<italic>p</italic> &lt; 0.05), years of education (<italic>p</italic> &lt; 0.01), farming experience (<italic>p</italic> &lt; 0.01), household size (<italic>p</italic> &lt; 0.01) and membership in cooperative society (<italic>p</italic> &lt; 0.01) significantly influenced cocoa producing households’ access to livelihood capitals. The majority of cocoa producing households (81%) adopt approved pesticides. The first hurdle estimates showed that gender (<italic>p</italic> &lt; 0.01), education (<italic>p</italic> &lt; 0.05), membership in acooperative society (<italic>p</italic> &lt; 0.05) and access to some livelihood capitals such as human (<italic>p</italic> &lt; 0.01), physical (<italic>p</italic> &lt; 0.05) and financial (<italic>p</italic> &lt; 0.01) capitals significantly influence theprobability of adoption of EU approved pesticides. In thesecond hurdle, gender (<italic>p</italic> &lt; 0.1), farm size (<italic>p</italic> &lt; 0.01), household size (<italic>p</italic> &lt; 0.01), membership in acooperative society (<italic>p</italic> &lt; 0.01)and access to some livelihood capitals such as human (<italic>p</italic> &lt; 0.05), physical (<italic>p</italic> &lt; 0.01) and social (<italic>p</italic> &lt; 0.01) capitals are significant in determining theintensity of adopting EU approved pesticides. The study concluded that access to livelihood capitals has potentials of accelerating adoption of EU approved pesticides. Other factors include gender, education, farm size and membership in acooperative society. Therefore, this study suggests that government policy on uptake of EU approved pesticides should pay more attention on cocoa producing households’ access to all these factors. Most importantly, policy package to encourage access to livelihood capitals must be strongly advocated.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-04-27T00:00:00.000+00:00Perceived effectiveness of adaptation strategies to climate change among rice farmers in Jigawa State, Nigeria: Implication for rice production<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This study assessed rice farmers’ perceived effectiveness of adaptation strategies to climate change in Jigawa State, Nigeria. Multi-stage sampling procedure was used to select 183 respondents from whom data were collected using questionnaires. Data were summarised using descriptive statistics, Chi-square, and Pearson Correlation. Majority of the respondents were males (98%), married (90%) and had formal education (66.1%) with a mean age of 41 years. On the overall, more than half (56.3%) of the respondents perceived the effectiveness level of adaptation strategies to climate change to be low, whereas 43.7% perceived it to be high. Insufficient farm credit, high cost of raw materials, inadequate capital, high cost of labour, limited access to land and inadequate information on weather were the main constraints to adaptation to climate change. The inferential analysis revealed that years of farming experience (r = 0.172, p = 0.020), membership of cooperative (<italic>χ</italic><sup>2</sup> = 4.207, p = 0.047) and level of education (<italic>χ</italic><sup>2</sup> = 9.570, p = 0.023) and extension contact (<italic>χ</italic><sup>2</sup> = 14.270, p = 0.000) were significantly associated with respondents’ perceived effectiveness of adaptation strategies to climate change. Efforts should be made to sensitise farmers on the efficacy, appropriateness and applicability of adaptation strategies to foster favourable perception that will trigger positive attitude and subsequent adoption of the strategies where applicable. Government should implement policies that support farmers’ access to credit facilities that is intended to help enhance farmers’ capacity to build resilience. Farmers should be encouraged to take up membership of farm base associations so as to enjoy the benefits therein.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-08-18T00:00:00.000+00:00Chemical characterisation and assessment of two mushroom stalks as prebiotics for (Burchell, 1822)<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The potentials of mushroom stalks as supplements in aqua-feeds have been grossly underutilised. Stalk meals of two <italic>Pleurotus</italic> species were analysed for proximate composition, fibre fractions, mineral and phytochemical constituents. <italic>In vitro</italic> digestibility and fermentability were assessed using caecal digesta from <italic>Clarias gariepinus</italic> (n = 108; weight: 138 ± 10.8 g). Stalks of <italic>Pleurotus pulmonarius</italic> and <italic>Pleurotus ostreatus</italic> were air-dried at ambient room temperature and milled. <italic>Pleurotus ostreatus</italic> contained higher (<italic>P</italic> &lt; 0.05) moisture, crude protein, ether extract and crude fibre than <italic>P. pulmonarius</italic> stalks which had higher (<italic>P</italic> &lt; 0.05) nitrogen-free extract. <italic>Pleurotus ostreatus</italic> had higher (<italic>P</italic> &lt; 0.05) neutral detergent fibre, acid detergent fibre, acid detergent lignin and cellulose but lower (<italic>P</italic> &gt; 0.05) hemicellulose than <italic>P. pulmonarius</italic>. Except in manganese and iron content, <italic>P. ostreatus</italic> contained higher (<italic>P</italic> &lt; 0.05) sodium, calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, copper and zinc than <italic>P. pulmonarius</italic>. Both stalks contained flavonoids, phlobatannin, terpenoid, cardiac glycosides, steroids and antraquinone. Substrate loss was higher (<italic>P</italic> &lt; 0.05) in <italic>P. pulmonarius</italic> (0.20 g) than <italic>P. ostreatus</italic> (0.15 g). Maximum rate of gas production was more (<italic>P</italic> &lt; 0.05) for <italic>P. pulmonarius</italic> (0.16 mL/h) at 4.96 hours compared to 0.04 mL/h at 6.04 hours for <italic>P. ostreatus</italic>. Both stalk meals were partially resistant to <italic>in vitro</italic> digestibility and were fermentable. Hence, they possess favourable prebiotics characteristics and can be used as supplement in aqua feed.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-07-20T00:00:00.000+00:00Genetic diversity in Bambara groundnut { (L.) Verdc.}<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Bambara groundnut is a grain legume with enormous morphological variability. In order to genetically establish the variation that exists in this crop, an assessment of genetic diversity was therefore carried out with 20 accessions of Bambara groundnut collected from International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) Ibadan. The design of the experiment was randomised complete block design with three replications. Results from analysis of variance (ANOVA), and principal component analysis (PCA) showed outstanding genetic diversity among the collections. The first four principal components accounted for 91.89% of the total variability. Cluster analysis and the dendrogram discretely grouped the accessions into four genetically distinct groups. One accession TVSU 353 singly formed a group in cluster analysis and dendrogram, which implies that TVSU 353 was genetically distinct from the rest of the accessions. Morphological characters assessed provided a useful measure of genetic differences among Bambara groundnut accessions, which can facilitate identification and selection of potential breeding lines for crop improvement as well as germplasm conservation.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-05-24T00:00:00.000+00:00Genotypic evaluation of cowpea germplasm for salinity tolerance at germination and during seedling growth<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Soil salinity represents a major constraint limiting crop production in arid and semi-arid countries. The effect of salinity induced by sodium chloride (NaCl) at five levels (0, 50, 100, 150 and 200 mM) was investigated on four germination traits and thirteen seedling growth characteristics in twenty cowpea [<italic>Vigna unguiculata</italic> (L.) Walp.] genotypes (ET11, KEB-CP004, KEB-CP006, KEB-CP009, KEB-CP 010, KEB-CP020, KEB-CP033, KEB-CP038, KEB-CP039, KEB-CP045, KEB-CP051, KEB-CP054, KEB-CP057, KEB-CP060, KEB-CP067, KEB-CP068, KEB-CP118, MTA22, NO74 and NO1036). The germination tests were carried out on Petri dishes in the laboratory while seedling growth experiments continued in plastic pots in the greenhouse, both setting up using a randomised complete block design with three replications. Genotypic responses were significant for all germination traits (<italic>p</italic> &lt; 0.001). Germination percentage, germination rate index, and coefficient of velocity of germination were all decreased by salt stress. However, the mean germination time increased with increasing saline conditions. Significant differences were found between genotypes for most growth attributes. Growth rate (centimeter increased in height per week) decreased significantly with increasing salinity, starting at 100 mM NaCl (24.20% reduction, 2.66 cm / week) with maximum reduction (38.58%) corresponding to 2.16 cm/week observed at 200 mM NaCl, compared to control (3.51 cm/week growth rate). Also, significant decline in shoot weights, number of functional leaves and dry matter production were observed under salinity. Salinity also reduced water content in shoot and root and did not affect root weights. Under salinity, significant correlations were found between all germination variables (<italic>p</italic> &lt; 0.001). Growth rate was significantly associated with ten out of the twelve other seedling growth traits. Also, the dry matter production under salinity was significantly associated with all other seedling growth characteristics with the exception of root water content. Given the effect of salt stress, cowpea genotypes, namely NO1036, KEB-CP004, KEB-CP038 and KEB-CP051, were the most tolerant while KEB-CP068 and ET11 were the most sensitive ones. The results confirm substantial genetic variation in salt stress tolerance among the studied genotypes. The most tolerant genotypes should be further explored in genetic improvement programs and should be promoted for culture in regions affected by salinity.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-05-20T00:00:00.000+00:00Regional disparities in the socioeconomic development of Uzbekistan<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p> The regional disparities in the socioeconomic development are observed in all countries of the world and are given by objective and subjective reasons. This article provides an overview of a study of regional backwardness in the Republic of Uzbekistan; it also identifi es common features among lagging regions and possible reasons for this state. Uzbekistan is divided into 14 regions. By means of the statistical analysis of socioeconomic indicators and empiric study, 5 regions were found to belong into a group of regions with low level of socioeconomic development: Autonomic Republic of Karakalpakstan, Khorezm, Namangan, Syrdarya and Surkhandarya. Even though the absolute elimination of regional disparities is not possible, if they continue to be ignored, they could undermine the socioeconomic and political situation in the country.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2012-10-24T00:00:00.000+00:00Sweet Sorghum (sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench) Bioenergy Value – Importance for Portugal<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>Sweet Sorghum (<italic>Sorghum bicolor </italic>(L.) Moench) is an annual herbaceous species used for centuries in a multitude of countries, especially in Africa (Sub-Saharan Africa), but also in the Americas and Asia, mainly for its grain and fi brous remainders, these used as animal fodder or as a combustible. Already for some decades the non-structural sugars from Sorghum stalks became of interest for the ethanol production business either for industrial, beverage or fuel uses. The species is particularly interesting because of its characteristic low energy, chemicals and water inputs. In addition, this is achieved with a very interesting performance in terms of Greenhouse Effect Gases (GEG) emission mitigation. This paper discusses the Sweet Sorghum production under climatic/soil conditions in Portugal and its possible use in a combined bio-energy production plant. Results from experimental fi eld trials ran in Portugal (Province of Beira Interior) for two years showed yields up to 90 tonnes of fresh biomass per hectare at very low inputs. They confi rm that this crop cultivation is technically feasible and economically effective for the above region and can become a cash crop. The technical aspects of the Sweet Sorghum growing processes and profi table use are especially discussed. These include the ethanol production, co-generation of heat and power as well as biogas generation. The interest in some valuable co-products use is raised, too. Advantages of integrating these processes are also analyzed.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2012-10-24T00:00:00.000+00:00Gender Dimensions of Poverty among Rural Farm Households in Delta State, Nigeria<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p> This study was carried out to estimate the level of poverty gap between female and male headed farm families in Delta state, Nigeria. Simple random sampling technique was used to select 210 respondents in 27 communities from a list of farm families drawn with assistance of extension offi cers covering the area. The study was conducted in 2010. Various methods were employed in analyzing the data, including descriptive statistical tools and inferential statistics such as <italic>t-</italic>test and ordinary least square regression analysis. Results of the study indicate that the farmers were characteristically smallholders with about 66% of males and 86% of female household heads having not more than 1.50 hectares of farm land. On the poverty levels of the households, it was found that the core poverty and moderate poverty lines for male, female and all households were N4078, N2217 and N3376 and N8146, N5435 and N6752 respectively. This implies that poverty was wide spread among the farm households especially the female headed ones. A test analysis to determine the effect of selected socioeconomic characteristics of the household heads on their levels of poverty indicates that four variables were signifi cantly related to the household poverty levels, namely level of formal education, family size, farm size and household monthly income (<italic>P </italic>≤ 0.05). A number of recommendations were made including the need for family planning among the rural households so that they produce only the number of children they can take care of to guarantee them minimum acceptable standard of living.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2012-10-24T00:00:00.000+00:00Comparative advantage of selected agriculture products in Iran: a revealed comparative advantage assessment<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p> The paper is an examination of Balassa’s ‘revealed comparative advantage’ (RCA). The results of researches show that when using the RCA, it should always be attuned in such a way, that it becomes symmetric.This paper consists of three major parts i.e. theory, analytical tool and case studies of comparative advantage. First we evaluate the theory and various empirical measures. Then this analytical tool is applied to analyze exported product. The results indicate that Iran had not comparative advantage in export of walnut, almond hazelnut, apple, orange. To increase competitiveness, we suggest several policy recommendations such as increasing agricultural productivity, promoting the development of indigenous technological capabilities, and reducing the cost of doing business. The conclusion is based on a theoretical discussion of the properties of the measure, and on convincing empirical evidence, according to the Balassa index.The index for 2007 shows that Iran does not have a comparative advantage in export of walnut, almond hazelnut, apple and orange and reduced its market share in these products.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2012-10-24T00:00:00.000+00:00Efficacy of audible sound waves in Inflicting Tissue Damage and Mortality in Tribolium castaneum (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae) Larvae<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p> Physical control methods are preferred in post-harvest management of insect pests because chemical intervention is extremely hazardous. Use of audible sound waves in insect pest intervention is a novel idea which has not been popular hitherto. An attempt has been made in this study, to understand the mechanical impact of sine sound waves on red fl our beetle, <italic>Tribolium</italic><italic>castaneum </italic>(Herbst), a common secondary pest of fl our and other stored products. Last instar <italic>T. castaneum </italic>larvae (n = 50 and number of replicates = 4) were bombarded with 12 different frequencies of sine sound waves (900 to 2 000 Hz) by placing them directly on a matted polymer surface facilitating maximum sound absorption. The LD50 value of sine sound waves for the larvae was 665.14 and the LD90 1339.43 Hz. The dorsal pronotum of adult beetles, developing from bombarded larvae were studied using scanning electron microscope (SEM) to look for mechanical damage of the dorsal cuticle. The setae were lost or damaged, the epicuticle was obliterated and the sockets became obscure. The results of the study would throw light on the applications of sound waves in the interventional management of stored products pests.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2012-10-24T00:00:00.000+00:00Isolation and characterization of Cronobacter spp. from environmental and food resources<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p><italic>Cronobacter </italic>spp. (formerly <italic>Enterobacter sakazakii</italic>) has been isolated from a wide range of environmental and several food sources. <italic>Cronobacter </italic>spp. is an opportunistic pathogen causing serious infection in infants, particularly neonates. The aim of this study was to isolate and characterize <italic>Cronobacter </italic>spp. from food sources (infant food, herbs and spices and vegetables) and from environmental sources as dust from vacuum cleaners. Isolation of <italic>Cronobacter </italic>spp. was performed on selective chromogenic agars, fi rstly using commercial ESIA agar and thereafter on Kim and Rhee-KR agar described in the literature. Phenotypic characteristics were obtained by commercial miniaturized biochemical ENTEROTEST 24 kits and the fi nal confi rmation of isolated strains was performed by molecular techniques (PCR, PCR - DGGE analysis, and 16S rDNA sequencing). Altogether, 99 samples were analyzed (47 samples of foods and 52 samples of dust). In total, 43 isolates of presumptive <italic>Cronobacter </italic>spp. were initially identifi ed, however, only 22 isolates (51%) were identifi ed as <italic>Cronobacter </italic>spp. with high identity scores (75-99%). The occurrence of presumptive cronobacters in environmental samples was signifi cantly higher than in samples of food (18 out of 52 vs. 4 out of 47; P = 0.003). No cronobacters were found in 17 samples of infant food, 3 isolates originated from herbs and spices, 1 isolate from spinach and 18 isolates from samples of dust (households, restaurants, dormitory rooms). It can be concluded that <italic>Cronobacter </italic>spp. is a ubiquitous pathogen contaminating food and environment. <italic>Cronobacter </italic>spp. could be well identifi ed by means of ENTERO24 test kits with high probability. Both phenotypic and genotypic methodology could be used for identifi cation of <italic>Cronobacter </italic>spp. and they can be combined for reliable identifi cation.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2012-10-24T00:00:00.000+00:00Parasite Fauna of Ostriches, Emus and Rheas<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p> In most parts of the world ratite farming (i.e. farming of ostriches, emus and rheas) is a new fi eld of livestock production. These birds are livestock with broad utilisation of their products. Both wild and captive ostriches, emus and rheas may be infested with their own specifi c parasites as well as with external and internal parasites of other birds and animals. <italic>Eimeria </italic>spp. (protozoa), <italic>Houttuynia struthionis </italic>(cestoda) and <italic>Libyostrongylus douglassii </italic>(nematoda) belong to parasites causing the most serious economic losses in ratites in the world. As farming of these big birds is still in the beginning, many years of research and development are necessary to reach levels of medical and technological progress that is nowadays practised in poultry industry.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2012-10-24T00:00:00.000+00:00en-us-1