Tag Archives: Colombia

Sustainable Farming in Latin America

Sustainable Farming in Latin America

Coffee farms that use sustainable farming techniques are becoming habitats for various species of wildlife. Using tags on the endangered species like the Columbian night Monkey, has shown that they come out of the trees at night and feed on the edges of coffee farms.

All in all the researchers found 12 species living in the coffee fields.

Sustainable Farming in Latin America Preserves Wildlife Habitat

Latin American farms that grow coffee and bananas in an environmentally sustainable manner are serving as biological corridors and even habitat for various species of wildlife, according to a new report by the Rainforest Alliance.

The study, presented in Costa Rica, found that a range of wild species are living on Rainforest Alliance Certified coffee farms, including the vulnerable Colombian night monkey.

The organization’s communications manager for Latin America, Milagro Espinoza, told Efe that practically all of the region’s RA-certified coffee farms are inhabited by wildlife.

The RA also has documented cases of wild species living on banana farms in Costa Rica.

“The standards of the Sustainable Agriculture Network, the tool used in the Rainforest Alliance certification process, include the protection of wild areas as part of their guidelines,” she said.

“That measure has led the coffee farms to become a refuge option or corridor for birds that have been seeing their nesting or migration areas disappear,” Espinoza said.

Colombia is a special case because of the presence in that country of the Colombian night monkey.

“It’s rare to spot night monkeys because they are nocturnal and live in trees,” Deanna Newsom, a senior evaluation and research analyst for the Rainforest Alliance, said.

“By placing tags with a radio signal on a group of Colombian night monkeys, we discovered that they spend almost as much time feeding at the coffee farms under dense shade as in the rainforest,” she added.

Researchers found 12 different species living on coffee farms in Colombia, including the kinkajou, or honey bear; bushy-tailed olingo; and the South American coati.

To obtain the Rainforest Alliance Certified seal, farmers must comply with a set a standards that protect the environment and promote the rights and wellbeing of workers, their families and their communities.

 

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Fungi Reduce Need for Fertilizer in Agriculture

Fungi in Agriculture

This is a great article about using beneficial soil fungi to reduce fertilizer in agriculture.

Although from 2011, the idea to reduce the use of traditional fertilizers is still in its infancy. The use of beneficial Fungi in agriculture is becoming more and more popular.

Although this article mainly covers mycorrhizal fungi, the principle of using beneficial soil fungi remains the same.

Custom Biologicals manufactures and distributes a wide variety of microbial products for fungi in agricultureuse in agriculture including Custom GP, Custom B5, Biota Max and our latest – Biota Green, probiotic for golf courses.

Contact Custom Biologicals for information about how to use fungi to reduce the need for fertilizer in agriculture.

 Fungi in Agriculture

Fungi Reduce Need for Fertilizer in Agriculture

May 26, 2011 — The next agricultural revolution may be sparked by fungi, helping to greatly increase food-production for the growing needs of the planet without the need for massive amounts of fertilizers according to research presented May 23 at the 111th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in New Orleans.

“The United Nations conservatively estimates that by the year 2050 the global human population is expected to reach over 9 billion. Feeding such a population represents an unprecedented challenge since this goes greatly beyond current global food production capacity,” says Ian Sanders of the University of Lusanne, Switzerland, speaking in a session entitled “How Microbes Can Help Feed the World.”

Sanders studies mycorrhizal fungi, a type of fungus that live in symbiosis with plant roots. When plants make symbioses with these fungi they tend to grow larger because the fungi acquire the essential nutrient phosphate for the plant. Phosphate is a key component of the fertilizers that fueled the Green Revolution in middle of the 20th century that made it possible then for agriculture to keep up with the growing global population.

“In most tropical soils plants have enormous difficulty in obtaining phosphate and so farmers have to spend a huge amount of money on phosphate fertilizer. Farmers have to add much more fertilizer than in temperate regions and a very large amount of the cost to produce food is the cost of phosphate,” says Sanders.

Phosphate reserves are being rapidly depleted. Increasing demand for the nutrient is driving up prices and some countries are now stockpiling phosphate to feed their populations in the future, according to Sanders.

While mycorrhizal fungi typically only grow on the roots of plants, recent biotechnological breakthroughs now allow scientists to produce massive quantities of the fungus that can be suspended in high concentrations in a gel for easy transportation.

Sanders and his colleagues are currently testing the effectiveness of this gel on crops in the country of Colombia where they have discovered that with the gel they can produce the same yield of potato crop with less than half the amount of phosphate fertilizers.

“While our applied research is focused on Colombia it could be applied in many other tropical regions of the world,” says Sanders.

 

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