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					QUESTIONNAIRES AND INFORMATION SEARCH REQUESTS Completed questionnaires are still streaming in – we are really excited about this wonderful response! We have started analysing responses of the first 234 questionnaires and can report that 71% of respondents belong to the management/research/teacher/lecturer group plus their intermediaries in the shape of librarians/information workers and that 29% are of the farmer/extension officer group. 209 users are below fifty years of age and 185 respondents are male. Respondents hail from all SADC countries, roughly in proportion to our mailing list – mostly from Zimbabwe and Zambia, Malawi and Namibia, with several from the two Portuguese-speaking members, Angola and Mozambique. Most respondents are English-speaking, but some of the European languages (Portuguese, French, German) and many of the African languages were also named. Respondents are very highly educated – this corresponds to the preponderance of teachers and managers; the majority has 15 years’ or less working experience and they have very many affiliations to a huge variety of institutions. Information we can supply will be used for education/research (45%), policy developing/marketing/economic purposes (28%) and primary production, processing and self-development (27%). All subjects covering agriculture are requested, with sustainable agriculture named most frequently. Photocopies of books and articles are the preferred medium, but there is a great need for pictorial and video information. Many respondents have access to computer facilities (23 questionnaires were returned via e-mail) and some respondents obviously have access to other information providers. 176 respondents wish to communicate via the mails, 39 via fax, 81 via computer and 8 by telephone. Many comments were made – some encouraging, hoping that the service will go ahead and wishing us luck. Quite a few respondents want training or workshops and many also indicated the type of information they need. If anyone wishes


to see the full analysis of the questionnaires, please contact us and we will post it to you. The inclusion of the Information Request Form as a "centrefold" page in the latest Agri-Outreach number has already brought us several search requests and we are very happy about this. Keep the requests rolling in – the more the merrier! Just remember to complete the form before sending it to us and don’t forget to give all the details. Also remember that although we have a lot of information available, we do not know or have in our collection, everything. We may refer you to someone else, i.e. send you an address or name where you may get what you are looking for. We will do the best we can! We are also very happy to note that quite a few of the search requests received are based on articles you have seen in the newsletter and are proud of this evidence that our news snippets are useful to you. This is the best feedback we could get – thank you one and all! PRAIS VISITS ZIMBABWE Cora Ovens writes: "I was invited to attend a workshop on drought mitigation held in Harare 23rd-25th November 1998 and partly sponsored by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung. I really had a wonderful time meeting the nearly 70 delegates from various SADC countries. I learnt an awful lot about the problems of the smallholder farmer, particularly with regard to drought and indigenous plant crops. The wide-ranging, devastating and long-term results of droughts were also brought home to me. My participation in many discussion groups was most interesting and helped me understand the subject. We had a wonderful experience when a local community theatre group performed a sketch comprising song, dance and dialogue, based on the subject of the workshop. This really broke the ice! I met several Zimbabweans on the PRAIS mailing list and


displayed my new poster on the PRAIS service as well as distributing brochures and copies of the newsletter. My mailing list has grown by another 60 members! Again, I had a wonderful week and want to thank all the kindly Zimbabwean friends who helped to make my visit yet another memorable experience! There was some talk of inviting me to visit Malawi this year – so please don’t hold back: I shall be only too happy to visit any of the SADC countries! " MARKETING PRAIS We should like to increase the number of farmers and extension workers as our users (see the questionnaire report above) but realise that it is difficult to reach the grassroots rural population. As a result, we feel it might be helpful to appoint "country representatives" for various regions in each SADC country who could identify extension workers, farmers’ co-operatives and farmers who might distribute our newsletters, information about us and act as channels for information requests. We wonder if this might be a good idea – and if there are any volunteers? We also wonder if we should not design another questionnaire, meant only for our "grassroots" users, i.e. farmers, co-operatives, rural councils, rural women’s groups and extension workers. In this way we could make sure that we can offer a service and material which would be suitable for this group of users. Please let us know if you agree with this idea. Please also help us to reach these groups – let us have names and addresses for our mailing list or offer to distribute information about us to relevant persons and organisations. BUSH ENCROACHMENT IN NAMIBIA The imbalance in nature can manifest itself in various forms and one of the most conspicuous results of such an imbalance is the problem of bush encroachment. Rangeland degradation, in the form of bush encroachment, remains one


of the major structural problems handicapping optimal animal production in Namibia. Probable reasons for bush encroachment put forward have not yet been fully substantiated and generally speaking it may be postulated that the main reasons for unstable bush-grass relationship is basically due to man’s interference with the balance of nature as occurs whenever he exploits the natural vegetation.
The article comes from Spotlight on Agriculture, 1997 (1) September

AFLATOXIN IN GROUNDNUTS Several mycotoxicoses were known to man prior to 1960. However it was only since the outbreak of "Turkey X Disease" in England in that year that mycotoxins were studied intensively. In humans a positive correlation between aflatoxin ingestion and liver cancer incidence has been reported in Kenya, South Africa, Swaziland, Thailand and Uganda. However it could not definitely be concluded that aflatoxin caused liver cancer. Apparently, some tribes in Africa have been familiar with a "sickness"-causing factor, latent in some foodstuffs, long before the manifestation of Turkey X Disease. Even more fascinating is the fact that women in Senegal also had the knowledge of a cure for this problem. The origin of this knowledge and how it was obtained will most probably remain a mystery forever. Nevertheless, reports are available in which African women are said to give children a clay pellet to swallow prior to eating. Lightly judged, this ritual may seem like nothing more than superstition. However, with the information available at present this habit seems much more like a premeditated act, stemming from insight of which the origin is unknown. The question however remains: what knowledge did rural people have to suggest the use of a natural clay to safeguard their food long before the complicated chemistry of phyllosilicates, which are well known for their sorbing characteristics, was understood?
This article appears in Mielies/Maize 1998 (August): 65


WOMEN IN AGRICULTURE An important article on women in the African agricultural sector appears in a recent number of CTA’s Spore. Statistics are given, and land ownership and credit facilities discussed. Some useful addresses of organisation concerned with women farmers are also given. Women’s rural organisations, please note! Human tuberculosis can be caused by the cattle tuberculosis organism
Find the article in Spore 1998 (76): 1-3

TUBERCULOSIS RIFE Human tuberculosis can be caused by the cattle tuberculosis organism, which is widely prevalent in developing countries. Since TB is one of the "opportunistic" diseases associated with HIV, this is very important.
Read more about it in Agricultural News 1998 (19): 7

FERTILISER IN KWAZULU-NATAL The most common fertilisers, containing phosphorus, potassium and nitrogen are discussed and formulas are given for suitable ones to use in the region. There is also a phone number for the Cedara Fertilizer Advisory Service.
Agri-Update 1998/3

SOIL FERTILISER IN KWAZULU-NATAL Apparently acid soils are common in KwaZulu-Natal, which leads to poor crop yields. Liming to prevent this is described, as well as quantities. Apparently liming need only be done very three to five years, once the correct soil balance has been reached.
Read more about it in Agri-Update 1998/2


STADEN WIND PUMP This new pump, since it does not use steel pipes, prevents struggles with rusty equipment. Pipes can be lengthened easily if the water table falls. It works well up to 100 metres depth, and has even given satisfactory results up to 140 metres. Installation is easy and maintenance minimal.
Find this article in a supplement to Die Burger 29 Sept 1998

MARKETING FRESH PRODUCE OVERSEAS An interesting supplement deals with various articles in English and Afrikaans on the fresh produce sector. Export statistics on apples, pears, grapes and stone fruit are given, quality and logistics discussed and port facilities described. How to handle the shipping of perishables to Europe and the trends of vegetable marketing are also given, as well as advice on packaging. This really looks like a practical contribution!
Find it in supplement to Boer/Farmer October 1998

CUTTINGS CORNER The ARC has sent the following cuttings: New vaccine for cattle pneumonia Onderstepoort Biological Products has launched two new vaccines which are cost effective and protects the animal for about six months (Boer/Farmer August 1998) Ducks Housing and management, advantages of duck meat, stocking density and cooking instructions are given in Agricultural News 27/7/1998. For those of you who are interested in raising these birds


Dangers of the "thorn-apple" Datura stramonium, or "malpitte" is a well-known weed in summer grain crops and a very dangerous hallucinogenic poison to boot. Overdoses can produce alarming symptoms in humans and animals, though the former seem to suffer more frequently from adverse effects since thoughtless teenagers have been experimenting with the plant. The Farmer’s Weekly of 4 Sept 1998 gives two useful and exhaustive articles on this plant and its description, distribution, growth and reproduction, legislation, and control. OUR ADDRESS Remember that you can contact PRAIS at Telephone: +27-51-401-2743/2 Fax: +27-51-448-2879 E-mail: Address: P O Box 301 BLOEMFONTEIN 9300 South Africa


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