UGA in Haiti

first_imgThe goal of the project, Clinton said, is to “empower farmers to meet the nutritional needs of people.” The rural Acceso depot in Tierra Muscady is one of 35 planned throughout Haiti’s central plateau and northern regions. It functions as a site for training; point of sales for seed and other inputs; storage; and distribution for the community’s peanut farmers. For more information on the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Peanut and Mycotoxin, see http://pmil.caes.uga.edu/. Tierra Muscady, Haiti – Peanut research and supply channels in Haiti were boosted recently through an initiative partnership developed by former U.S. President Bill Clinton and philanthropist Frank Giustra, who spent June 29 touring peanut research projects in Haiti with representatives from the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Peanuts are an important source of food in countries like Haiti, where demand for the legume continues to grow. UGA is leading peanut research and training efforts in the country through its Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Peanut and Mycotoxin. The Acceso depots—there are currently five—will supply peanuts primarily to regional buyers that include Meds & Food for Kids and Partners in Health, which are both manufacturers of peanut-based nutrition supplements for children. Among those participating in the launch were Bryan Sobel and Dorvil Weldenson of Meds & Food for Kids, an in-country partner of PMIL. “The farmers in Haiti are willing and able to work, and this enterprise will enable them to become competitive players in a potentially thriving market,” said Mark Gunton, CEO of the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership, in a release. “A market-driven approach to poverty alleviation such as this empowers these farmers to earn a reliable source of income and provide for their families.” The new Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership is using technical advice and training in peanut production provided by PMIL scientists, particularly Tim Brenneman and Bob Kemerait of the UGA plant pathology department. “We are working to improve the production, quality and marketability of peanuts as a crop,” said Hoisington, who is also a senior research scientist in the UGA crop and soil sciences department. “We do this by developing high-yielding varieties of mold resistant peanuts and then training smallholder farmers on best practices for producing and marketing healthy crops.” During the visit, Clinton participated in the depot launch, toured a peanut farm and storage facility and sat in on a training session for farmers. Scientists with the partnership also evaluated improved peanut varieties, many of which were bred by UGA crop scientists and made available for farmers to grow and sell in markets through the Acceso depots. UGA staff on hand for the tour were Dave Hoisington, the lab’s director; Jamie Rhoads, incoming assistant director; and Christy Fricks, communications specialist. Known as PMIL, the innovation lab is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development and is part of the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative called Feed the Future. With a focus on smallholder farmers, particularly women, Feed the Future supports partner countries in developing their agriculture sectors to spur economic growth and trade that increase incomes and reduce hunger, poverty and undernutrition. For more information, see www.feedthefuture.gov. PMIL is continuing to test peanut varieties for performance in Haiti and working to solve existing production problems and providing further training so that farmers can supply the needed peanuts to the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership. The lab’s work is contributing directly to the new Acceso Peanut Enterprise Corp. that was launched by the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership, an initiative of the Clinton Foundation. The supply chain enterprise is designed to improve the livelihoods of more than 12,000 smallholder peanut farmers. The Acceso project supports some of the main goals of PMIL and Feed the Future: scaling up local agriculture, increasing food safety and improving nutrition. last_img read more

External Frames Live!

first_imgIn a previous column, I covered two major companies, Kelty and JanSport, who will introduce retro-style, external-frame backpacks in 2011. The article pitched external-frame packs as throwbacks—bulky, exposed and skeletal products that were left behind two decades ago by anyone serious about carrying loads in the great outdoors.But the external-frame lives on, and it’s not just for the retro crowd. A new entry in the category, High Sierra’s External Frame pack series, include the classic exposed-frame look but with modern touches including hydration-reservoir sleeves and eco-minded PVC-free construction.One pack in the High Sierra line, the Foxhound 50, has a top-load main compartment, contoured straps, and a mesh panel to let air flow between your back and the pack load. There is a removable media pocket on the front to store a GPS unit or an iPhone. It costs $110.High Sierra is hardly the only company in the external game. In addition to their retro lines, Kelty and JanSport sell modern external-frame models. Other companies that sell externals include ALPS Mountaineering, Mountainsmith, Coleman, Texsport, Cabela’s, and Outdoor Products.ALPS, a small company in rural Missouri, offers two external models. The Red Rock, a 2,000-cubic-inch model, costs $89.99.Outdoor Products has a couple packs in the category, including the bargain Dragonfly External Frame Youth Pack. It costs as little as $39.99 on web retailers like Campmor.com and features a plastic-composite frame.Coleman’s Bozeman X 60 has water repellency and a slick, modern look with silicone-treated nylon in a diamond rip-stop pattern. It costs about $150. There is an adjustable torso pin-and-ring system for positioning the frame and pack on your back.The Scout model from Mountainsmith, made for youth, costs $109 and is marketed as offering a “supportive external frame that provides a comfortable backpacking experience for kids.” Its frame is made with 6061 aluminum and it has a “sleeping bag sling,” which looks like a small hammock hanging on the bottom of the pack.Why go external? Cheaper price is a good place to start. To be sure, you can find deals on internal-frame packs. But at retail, external-frame packs are often cheaper than comparably-sized internals.For hot weather, externals can be a good option. With a frame propping the load away from your back, air flow is increased.Some backpackers claim externals offer better support with heavy loads. The packs can sit high and tower up behind your head, offering a higher center of gravity for the load.One thing is for sure: As a backpacker, with an external-frame pack you will stand out. The exposed-frame look is one of a bygone era in the backpacking world. Could these special packs make a comeback? Seems a few big companies are betting externals can.—Stephen Regenold is founder and editor of www.gearjunkie.com.last_img read more