A Stunning Alternative!

Pressures on the world’s meat production system is mounting. Issues such as chemical additives, threats to human health, poor food safety and handling, the stress production causes on the environment, the prevalence of ‘factory made meats’ and inhumane treatment of animals as well as a disregard for animal health are all hot topics of today’s world.

Livestock production despite being a major source of livelihood for millions of small farmers has a poor view in the eyes of the world’s watchdogs simply due to the irresponsible action of a few thousand large scale producers. As a result an alternative is now coming to life: Bug meat!



What! Eating insects? Yes this is a thing or rather a re-surging way to be fed. Entomophagy is the practice of eating insects  – including arachnids (tarantulas) and myriapods (centipedes). This is an age old human practice from civilizations of the past.

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To: The Stakeholder in Youth Development

Here’s an update from the Agribusiness Society of the University of the West Indies! Follow them on twitter @abs_uwi , on youtube (absuwi) and on their facebook group

 RE: MEDIA KIT: Grenada Study Tour 2013

 THEME: An Assessment of the Grenada Cocoa Industry: Innovative Practices and Lessons for other Cocoa Producing Islands

 In May of 2013, young professionals in agriculture, the Agribusiness Society of the University of the West Indies undertook its annual Study Tour which seeks to provide the most valuable of learning dimensions; practical exposure. As leaders in agriyouth development, the executive of the Agribusiness Society have embraced the learning by doing method, and have planned and executed this event for the fourth consecutive year. The same will be done for 2014.

Through diligence and hard work, these individuals were able to secure much needed financial support from various sources within and external to the University of the West Indies.

The society wishes to thank Dr. Selby Nichols, Head of the Department of Agricultural Economics and Extension, a steadfast supporter of student development and major contributor these past four year and also heading into 2014.

The video above details the activities of the event.

Reblogged from ICT4Ag Blog

In the Caribbean region, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is prevalent with mobile penetration at a particularly high level. Access to computers, smart phones, tablets and other ICTs is needed in every industry, with the easiest access found in the business, education, tourism, commerce and energy industries. However, with respect to the agricultural sector, ICT support varies considerably across the islands.

Some countries, such as Jamaica make heavy use of ICTs and social media in their various agricultural authorities such as the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA). Conversely in several other islands, ministerial facilities and divisions are on occasions under-resourced and lack appropriate technologies which could improve service and efficiency.

Regardless, there are several examples that can be found, whereby business and research divisions source the necessary equipments to facilitate their needs, particularly along the agri-food value chain.

At the University of the West Indies Field Station in Trinidad and Tobago, livestock researchers have employed microchip technology to assist in research efforts for Agouti production. Agoutis are large mammals belonging to the rodent family. This wild mammal is native to South America and the Caribbean. Along with other animals such as manicou and iguana, it is referred to and consumed locally as ‘wild meat’ meaning that it must be hunted.

Agouti of the Field station’s production system

Agouti of the Field station’s production system

Conversely, research efforts at the agricultural field station have established a production system for the animal similar to that of rabbit production and other small ruminants. The aim is to facilitate a timely value chain that will provide the meat to the public which is in high demand. Although micro chipping animals is not a novel idea, establishment of an entirely new option in meat production is. Using the technology, researchers are able to communicate and record important data such as genealogy, size and growth rate which will then support research activity. Despite this interesting precedent, researchers face issues in acquiring the necessary funding for continued and further investigate work.

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The Thought for Food Summit – Truly Motivating!

TFFChallengeWow! This is all I had to say about the Thought for Food Global Summit! Truly a different experience. Each aspect of the competition leading up to the Summit, held, 20- 22 September in Berlin, was geared towards young people. 97% of the attendees were all under 35 years. Emphasis was placed on idea sharing, thinking outside of the box, starting a movement, networking  and much more all geared the need towards uprooting the status quo (#uprootthestatusquo) as it relates to hunger, obesity, global food systems and food security. Attendees were able to meet with and learn immensely from experts and real world practitioners in agriculture, innovation, entrepreneurship, venture capital, public policy, and food science of the future.

(Click the picture link to the left for the #TFFChallenge Overview)

“Thought For Food inspires new ideas and bold approaches to tackle the world’s food issues. This is a wake up call. The world’s food system needs changing, and business as usual won’t cut it. We need new thinking, inspired solutions and urgent action to make a difference. That’s why we have created Thought for Food.”

In just two days, myself and other team members have learned so much. Our minds have literally been opened in terms of thinking not only about food issues but our personal approach to the situation. Not to mention the sheer number of  dedicated, young people, entrepreneurs, researchers and travelers from all around the world looking to make a difference in one way or other.

Photos by Tobias Jaeger - Thought for Food Challenge Organizing Team and Luke Smith of Lukesmithtv

Photos by Tobias Jaeger – Thought for Food Challenge Organizing Team and Luke Smith of Lukesmithtv

The Power of Ideas in food development.

The Solar Powered Grill – Still being researched. These are conceptual images.

Have you ever had an idea and realized that someone else already came up with that idea? Even worse the other individual has done his research and development and made that idea into a reality, so much to the fact that it looks exactly as you imagined it!

Trust me it’s quite annoying. There goes an opportunity for you to create your own business and to better yourself, professionally. A situation like this happened to a nutrition student and colleague of mine. She indicated to me that she was interested in figuring out how to harness solar energy for cooking with out the use of gas.

It was my unfortunate duty to tell her that this was already being done.  New solar technology developed by  Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) professor David Wilson and his team of students have created a Solar Powered Grill.

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Natural Super Food vs Man Made GM Food

The post for this week is not about any customized technology, or new revolutionary tool or thoughts on future agri techniques. Today we focus on the Chocho bean. A BBC report highlights the bean and its immense benefits:

“Chocho is a  native Ecuadorian bean that to the naked eye does not look special in any way. However researchers claim it is a super food. It contains healthy fats, has high levels of fiber and minerals and is also pollution free. It is believed to surpass Quinoa (this is a grain-like crop grown primarily for its edible seeds) and soya. Not only is it nutritious but also very flavorful. Locals eat this bean every day  as a part of meals.”

The Chocho bean

Assuming the reports of this superfood is true, why is it that it is just being reported about. The bean has been around since the time of the Conquistadors and the Spanish Empire. To clarify this is long before Colonization during the time when trade began to occur between nations of Europe and Asia.

The bean has distinct look and I know I have eaten it before. It is available in the Caribbean. Even more perplexing is this thought; if super foods such as Quinoa, soya and chocho exist why then is there the need for Genetically modified foods.

GM foods are primarily used to enrich food, altering it to give you the best properties or the properties of other foods. It’s meant to make it better and resistant to pests and diseases. If so what about the natural super foods? Weren’t they around all this time? Why is there a need for GM food when there are natural foods that for lack of a better term seem perfect.

They do not require not an once of scientific tampering to ‘make them better‘ Clearly there is something else of material origin to be gained from GM foods at the cost of our health and natural ways of nutrition.  Personally I’m not sure of the scientifically created GM food is the best.

You be the Judge.

To see the report yourself, Click here Do your own research on Chocho and Quinoa as super foods!