Grow dragonfruit in the drylands



How to Grow Dragon Fruit (Hylocereus undatus)

Learn how to grow dragon fruit, it’s one of the most strange looking subtropical fruit you’d like to grow in your garden. Growing dragon fruit is fairly easy both outdoors or in the pot.


How to Plant and Grow Dragon Fruit

Dragon fruit plant is actually a climbing cactus and needs support to climb on, usually as the plant becomes mature it forms aerial roots from the branches and find something to climb. So, it is best if you’re growing dragonfruit, find something to support your plant.

Dragon fruit is a sub tropical plant, it loves heat and sun but it’s better to plant it in a spot that remains dry and receives only partial sun.

If you’re living in more temperate climate or if you’re an urban gardener and don’t have much space, grow dragon fruit in pot, it’s fairly easy to grow and adapts itself well in containers. In pot you can move and overwinter it to save from frost as pitaya plant can survive only short period of freezing temperature (below 28 F is detrimental) and frost.

Read the full article: Balcony Garden Web

Beans to beat drought


Photo credit: Ciat

This community in Ethiopia built the community hall with money from white beans.

“White gold” beans to beat drought in Ethiopia


New drought-resilient white beans – most commonly used to make baked beans – will be deployed to Ethiopia, as erratic weather threatens national production and farmers’ incomes.

New bean varieties help farmers stay ahead of threats, including those posed by climate change. -
New bean varieties help farmers stay ahead of threats, including those posed by climate change. –×200.jpg

Severe drought in Ethiopia, Africa’s largest exporter of the bean used to make baked beans, could hit production for millions who cultivate and rely on income from the bean. The drought – the worst to hit the country’s bean-producing areas in 10 years, researchers report – has cut yields by 30 percent.

Low rainfall at the height of the bean season in the Rift Valley can also reduce bean quality. Combined with other factors influencing the world price – the beans are exported mostly to Europe for canning –farmers are expected to less income and prices have already fallen.

Transformed from a neglected staple into a cash crop, with exports worth more than US$90 million, the grain provides income for around three million smallholder farmers in Ethiopia who rely on white bean sales – known locally as “white gold”- to buy food and cover other costs like school fees. Thousands more are employed in postharvest processing of the beans for export.

Read the full story: CIAT Blog

Has the reforestation effort done little to abate China’s great yellow dust storms ?

China’s Reforestation Programs:
Big Success or Just an Illusion?

China has undertaken ambitious reforestation initiatives that have increased its forest cover dramatically in the last decade. But scientists are now raising questions about just how effective these grand projects will turn out to be.

 Jon R. Luoma, a contributing editor at Audubon, has written about environmental and science topics for The New York Times, and for such magazines as National Geographic and Discover -

Jon R. Luoma, a contributing editor at Audubon, has written about environmental and science topics for The New York Times, and for such magazines as National Geographic and Discover –

by jon r. luoma


In China, major environmental degradation caused by deforestation was apparent even 2,000 years ago, when the great waterway once simply called “The River” was visibly transformed. Tree-felling all along the river’s banks wiped out root systems that held erosion in check, allowing tons of sediments to spread their stains into what has been known ever since as the Yellow River.

In the years after World War II, with its population booming and a massive drive to industrialize in full swing, China became an epicenter of world deforestation, clearing land wholesale for purposes that ranged from growing more food to fueling furnaces for smelting steel. More recently, however, the nation appeared to be reversing that trend, largely with massive campaigns to plant trees. In the first decade of the new millennium, China annually increased its forest cover by 11,500 square miles, an area the size of Massachusetts, according to a 2011 report from the United Nations.

But scientists and conservation groups are beginning to voice concerns about the long-term viability of significant aspects of China’s reforestation push. Of greatest concern is the planting of large swaths of non-native tree species, many of which perish because their water needs are too great for the arid regions in which they are planted. China also is cultivating large monoculture plantations that harbor little biodiversity.

Some international conservation groups, working with Chinese partners, have launched small-scale reforestation and grassland projects using native species, but it remains to be seen whether these ventures can help usher in a new era of more ecologically sound reforestation in China.

Read the full article: Environment 360

Can we grow carob trees in the drylands ?

Photo credit: Balcony Garden Web


How to Grow Carob Tree | Care and Growing Carob

Carob tree with edible pods that are used as cocoa powder substitute -
Carob tree with edible pods that are used as cocoa powder substitute –

Learn how to grow carob tree. Growing carob tree is easy, it’s also grown as ornamental plant in the gardens.

Growing Carob is durable evergreen tree native to the Mediterranean. It has bright, green beautiful foliage, cluster of small flowers and edible pods that are used as cocoa powder substitute.

Carob pods contain about 8% protein, vitamins A and B and about one-third of calories than chocolate.



It is resistant to drought. However, watering must be provided during dry seasons, especially if the tree is grown for its fruit.

Read the full article: Balcony Garden Web


Wet cassava peels into high quality animal feed ingredients


Technical innovations for small-scale producers and households to process wet cassava peels into high quality animal feed ingredients and aflasafe™ substrate


Nigeria, the world’s largest producer of cassava, harvests 54 million metric tonnes (Mt) of cassava tubers annually. More than 95% of cassava used in Nigeria requires peeling, which generates up to 14 million MT of peels annually. Most of it is wasted due especially to challenges related to drying. With traditional techniques, sun drying is practically impossible during the wet season, and takes three days in the dry season to reduce moisture content of fresh peels from about 70% to 20% or less, to achieve a marketable state.

RTB has funded cross-continental, multi-centre and multi-disciplinary research work to improve cassava-processing systems, developing models to downscale and transfer the efficiencies of large starch driers to small scale, especially for Africa.

In West Africa, RTB collaborated with the CRPs Livestock and Fish (led by the International Livestock Research Institute, ILRI) and Integrated Systems for the Humid Tropics (led by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, IITA) to develop innovative processing and drying of cassava peels for animal feed, potentially removing up to 14 million t of peels from the waste stream in Nigeria alone, and adding value to the feed value chain.

Ongoing work is showing great potential and has so far dramatically reduced cassava peels moisture content to 12–15% within six sunshine hours using only equipment in current use by small-scale processors and households. The considerably shorter processing time and use of freshly peeled/discarded materials is resulting in high quality cassava peels products (pellets and mash) that are appealing to the livestock and fish feed milling industry as a versatile and new energy source, low in aflatoxin contamination.

Read the full story: CGIAR-RTB


Drought resistance in common beans

Photo credit: CIAT Blog

Grouping new bean lines as water savers or water spenders to facilitate targeting


New common bean genotypes to confront drought

by acarvajal

Drought affects 60% of the bean-producing regions, and is responsible for total crop failure in the worst-case scenario. But this fight is not lost as demonstrated by 13 new bean genotypes developed by scientists of CIAT’s Bean Program using interspecific crosses. The work was done in close collaboration with the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB), with the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and CGIAR Research Program on Grain Legumes.

This output resulted from several years of work aimed at achieving a better understanding of the physiological basis of improved drought resistance in common bean. A major lesson learned from this work is that no single morpho-physiological trait stands out for its unique and dominant contribution to drought resistance in common beans.

50 Million Climate Refugees Within A Decade

Photo credit: Int. Business Times

Pictured: Farmers prepare to plant grass to stabilise sand dunes at the edge of the Mu Us Desert in Lingwu, northwest China’s Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region October 19, 2007. Reuters/Stringer

Land Degradation, Desertification Might Create 50 Million Climate Refugees Within A Decade


Desertification — climate change-triggered degradation of land ecosystems — might, in a decade, create 50 million refugees, the Economics of Land Degradation (ELD), a global initiative led by 30 different research groups, warned in a new study published Tuesday. The study, backed by the United Nations, also found that $6.3 trillion to $10.6 trillion worth of resources — equivalent to up to 17 percent of the world’s GDP — were lost annually due to land degradation.

“Our lands are no longer able to keep up with the pressures placed on its limited resources. Increasing misuse and demands for its goods are resulting in rapidly intensifying desertification and land degradation globally — an issue of growing importance for all people and at all scales,” the report, titled “The Value of Land,” said.

Globally, 2.6 billion people depend directly on agriculture. According to the report, soil degradation — exacerbated by deforestation and pollution — drought and desertification affect approximately 52 percent of arable land. Over the next 25 years, this might reduce global food production by up to 12 percent, raising global food prices by as much as 30 percent.

However, the authors added, “the economics of land degradation is about a lot more than agriculture.”

Desertification also threatens water availability and quality — a phenomenon that is believed to have played a key role in pushing Syria toward a brutal, protracted civil war that has cost nearly 300,000 lives. According to a previous study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, an unprecedented drought in Syria between 2007 and 2010 triggered an exodus of nearly 1.5 million farmers to cities in search of food and work — a “contributing factor” that eventually led to the civil war.

Read the full story: International Business Times