Wetenschap - 29 mei 1997

English Summary

English Summary

English Summary
  • The WAU has a test farm in one of the Dutch polders where scientists study farming systems that combine crops and cattle. By feeding straw to the cattle, expanding the crop rotation system and using very limited amounts of fertilizer, the integrated farm has managed to increase the on-farm utilization of the nitrogen compounds, without inflicting damage on the environment. The ecological farm scores worse on the use of nitrogen, as it is trying to develop a self-supporting farming system, totally free from reliance on external inputs like fertilizer, pesticides, straw, fodder and artificial insemination. This farming system is not popular with the personnel working on the test farms, as it is radically different from the system used on the test farm until two years ago
  • The bio-availability of nutrients in food products was the main item on the agenda at the congress held by the Vlag graduate school in Wageningen. Scientists already knew that spinach and carrots contain a lot of vitamin A, but they have now discovered that the molecules are locked up in complex proteins, which are hard to digest. Companies want to add vitamin A and iron to food products, but scientist Noel Solomons from Guatemala is pessimistic. The group that most needs these products, the malnourished poor in developing countries, is too poor to buy them. Solomons argues that the poor man's food, grains and beans, contains a lot of fibres and phytates, the main binders of nutrients in food. Improved extension services to change eating habits would be a more effective strategy, says Solomons
  • Raphael Musampa, who is working on a thesis about the economics of sugar at the WAU Department of Agricultural Economy, has been asked to become the new ambassador of the Democratic Republic of Congo to the Netherlands. 54-year old Musampa, whose son Kiki is a famous soccer player for Ajax, fled from Zaire in 1978 because of his political activities. He is the representative of Tshisekedi's UDPS in the Netherlands, but he is willing to give the new leader Laurent Kabila the benefit of the doubt. Kabila cannot organise elections immediately, says Musampa. The treasury is empty and the population needs to learn what free elections mean. He is critical of the make-up of Kabila's government and will only accept the job when democracy becomes possible. I accept neither violation of human rights nor dictatorship, he declares decisively

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