South Africa’s first mobile agri-lab

first_img11 September 2013 South Africa’s first mobile agricultural laboratory, one of the most technologically advanced in the world, will be a major boost for the country’s emerging farmers, enabling them to have their water, soil and animals tested on their doorstep. The Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda) spent R3-million on the development of the laboratory, which was recently launched by non-governmental organisation Mobile Agri Skills Development and Training (MASTD) at the Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport outside Nelspruit. “The benefits of the lab are numerous and include bringing conformity assessment support closer to emerging farmers, giving them access to a testing facility that will help them in their farm planning and crop production,” Seda spokesperson Beverley Kgame said this week. Project manager Kevin Gambaran said the lab, with its cutting edge-range of equipment, “is definitely the most advanced agricultural laboratory in the country, and we are very proud to launch it after years of hard work”. In addition to laboratory facilities, the 20-metre Scania truck unit hosts a training facility with high-tech electronic equipment and a comprehensive one-stop support centre for small, medium and micro enterprises within the agriculture industry. Two high-definition television screens on the outside of the truck relay what is going on inside, and all laboratory equipment, barring the air-conditioners, are run with solar power. “There is an interactive training room on board and a top-of-the-range computer where research and analysis can be furthered,” Gambaran said. MASTD chairman Mathews Phosa said the laboratory would “strengthen MASTD’s hand in accelerating the growth of emerging farmers into commercial producers and beyond”. The truck adds to a fleet of MASTD vehicles which visit projects and deliver seedlings and mechanisation to farmers across the country. MASTD managing director Lynette Bezuidenhout, who leads a team of 30 full-time professionals at the NGO, said the lab would also be used for educational purposes. “The plan is also to support rural schools by taking the laboratory unit to them and demonstrating experiments by using the television screens, making students aware of basic agri-science and showing that agriculture is a worthwhile profession.” Bezuidenhout said more than 300 people were involved in the construction of the laboratory, which was hand-created and custom-made. Phosa, the former premier of Mpumalanga province, said that such developments were vital for South Africa’s economy given the dwindling number of commercial farmers in the country. “Many African and East European countries continue to lure farmers with extremely lucrative contracts. More worrying is the fact that the average age of our commercial farmers is 62. It is clear that the future of food production and rural job creation lies with South Africa’s 2.5-million emerging farmers.” Phosa added that since MASTD’s inception in 2005, the organisation had made significant inroads in uplifting emerging farmers through its business incubation system. “Last year alone, MASTD was instrumental in establishing 286 new SMMEs, creating more than 400 jobs,” Phosa, adding that the goal would be to establish laboratories in all nine provinces. Source: SAnews.gov.zalast_img read more

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Brand South Africa Plays its Part for education

first_imgBrand South Africa is awarding bursaries to two students from the Lekoa Shandu Secondary School in Sharpeville to further their studies in marketing and communications at the North West University.The students are Thandeka Dlamini and Palesa Mphache and were amongst the Class of 2013 top performers at the school.Brand South Africa CEO Miller Matola says “Brand South Africa is delighted to play its part in supporting the further education of two students who have played their part to qualify for further education opportunities.“We congratulate them on their outstanding matric results and wish them well as they enter another phase of their lives – tertiary education.“We look forward to their contribution to our country and its development once they have completed their studies.“We urge the Class of 2014 to remain committed to preparing for their final examinations at the end of the year so that they too can access further education and training opportunities,” concludes Matola.last_img read more

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Crop insurance options for producers facing delayed harvest

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) said producers with Federal crop insurance that are experiencing a delay in harvesting their crop and potentially have a loss should contact their Approved Insurance Provider (AIP) to file a Notice of Loss and request more time to harvest. The late maturing crop coupled with extremely wet and wintery conditions this fall have extended harvest for producers across the Midwest.Brian Frieden, Director of RMA’s Springfield Regional Office, reminds producers who have federal crop insurance coverage and are experiencing delays in harvesting their crop to contact their crop insurance agent to file a Notice of Loss and request more time to harvest.Producers must file a Notice of Loss and request more time to harvest before the end of the insurance period, so that Federal crop insurance claims are settled based on the amount of harvested production. For producers in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio, the end of the insurance period for corn and soybeans is Dec. 10.AIPs may allow additional time to harvest, on a case-by-case basis, when all of these conditions are met:The producer gives timely notice of loss to his or her crop insurance agent.The AIP determines and documents that the delay in harvest was due to an insured cause of loss.The producer demonstrates that harvest was not possible due to insured causes, such as wet conditions preventing access to the field with equipment or that harvesting under such conditions would damage equipment.The delay in harvest was not because the producer did not have sufficient equipment or manpower to harvest the crop by the end of the insurance period.When an AIP authorizes additional time to harvest:The end of the insurance period is not extended. Rather, the producer is granted additional time to attempt to harvest the crop to settle any loss based on harvested production.Any additional damage to the insured crop during the extension period is covered provided it is due to an insurable cause of loss like excessive moisture.The producer’s crop insurance policy will cover loss of quality (as specified in the crop provisions), reduced yields, and revenue losses if revenue coverage was chosen.The cost of drying the harvested crop is not covered.More information on requesting assistance due to delayed harvest is available on RMA’s website.Crop insurance is sold and delivered solely through private crop insurance agents. A list of crop insurance agents is available at all USDA Service Centers and on the RMA website.last_img read more

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Mumbles Lighthouse Island GC2A4TB GEOCACHE OF THE WEEK – May 7, 2012

first_imgShare with your Friends:More Mumbles Lighthouse IslandTracking down this geocache requires tracking the tides off the U.K. coast. The traditional geocache is located on an island. Mumbles Lighthouse Island (GC2A4TB) is only accessible by foot during low tide. A sturdy lighthouse has crowned the island for more than two hundred years.Geocachers unlock the history of Mumbles lighthouse island as they search for the difficulty 1, terrain 3 cache. According to the cache page, “[The lighthouse] was designed to alert passing ships of the dangerous Mixon Sands and Cherry Stone Rock – two massive undersea sand banks that have caused the destruction of countless ships and taken the lives of hundreds of seamen over the centuries.”The small plastic container was hidden on the island by golden pig in 2010.  Since then, more than 300 geocachers have logged “Found it” for “Mumble Lighthouse Island.” It’s earned more than 100 Favorite Points.Hiking across the tidal flats toward the cacheThose who log the cache say, “The tide was right so off we went. Loved exploring out here, can see why this had so many favourite points and about to have another one. TFTC.”Continue to explore some of the most engaging geocaches around the globe. Check out all the Geocaches of the Week on the Latitude 47 blog or view the Bookmark List on Geocaching.com.If you’ d like to nominate a Geocache of the Week, send an email with your name, comments, the name of the geocache, and the GC code to [email protected] Lighthouse Island SharePrint Related”Ile aux Nattes – Lighthouse” GEOCACHE OF THE WEEK – November 1, 2010November 1, 2010In “Trackable Items”The End of the World [Sagres] GC12CRJ – GEOCACHE OF THE WEEK – September 6, 2011September 6, 2011In “Geocache of the Week”GeoTour Azores (GT6F)November 13, 2018In “GeoTours”last_img read more

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Police probe Pulwama boy’s death as family blames forces

first_imgThe police have started an inquiry into the death of a minor boy from Pulwama, who allegedly committed suicide hours after his “brief detention and beating” by the Army in the wake of a grenade blast in the area.“It’s a case of suicide; we have started an inquest proceeding,” said Superintendent of Police, Pulwama, Chandan Kohli. “The matter was taken up with the Army after the family’s allegations. However, the Army has denied any such incident,” he added.The victim, Yawar Ahmad Bhat, who the family said was just 15 and a Class 10 student, “apparently consumed rat poison” on the evening of September 17 at his home in Chandgam area.“Yawar was picked up by the Army during the day when he was on the way to Pulwama town,” said the victim’s uncle Gulzar Ahmad Bhat. “His identity card was also snatched. The previous night there was a grenade attack on the security forces in Pulwama’s Tahab area. Yawar consumed poison on Tuesday evening and breathed his last on September 19,” he added.“He was weak at heart,” said the victim’s cousin Rayees Ahmad Bhat. “He was fearful that he would have to visit the Army camp again for his identity card,” Mr. Bhat claimed. “In fact, when we shifted him to the District Police Hospital, Pulwama, the doctors enquired if he has any history of physical trauma, as his kidneys were also damaged,” he added.An Army spokesman asserted that the family’s allegations were “completely baseless”. “The boy was neither detained nor tortured in any manner.”last_img read more

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