Wetenschap - 27 augustus 1998

English Summary

English Summary

English Summary
  • The Ministry of Agriculture wants to cut the education budget of Wageningen Agricultural University (WAU) by fifteen million guilders. The WAU receives more money for education than other Dutch universities, the Ministry claims, because the number of Dutch students in Wageningen has dropped severely over the past years. The Ministry doesn't want to comment on the cutback, because the budget for the coming years will be presented on Prinsjesdag, the 15th of September. The University is annoyed by the planned cutback and claims that it isn't overfinanced, given the budget system of the Ministry of Education
  • The new Minister of Agriculture who was appointed this summer, is Hayo Apotheker. He was mayor of the city of Leeuwarden, is inexperienced in the field of agriculture and not well known in Wageningen. Agricultural sociologist Jan Douwe van der Ploeg of the WAU happens to know Apotheker and is quite satisfied with his appointment. He is a good manager. As member of the democratic party (D66), which is not strongly involved in agriculture, Apotheker can withdraw from the traditional agricultural policies and maybe provide a breakthrough. Besides, he can stimulate local rural development, because his party is strongly in favour of decentralisation.
  • Plants that are resistant to moulds recognise these moulds through certain proteins in the moulds. When the mould is able to survive without the proteins, the plants are no longer resistant. In order to find plant genes with a strong resistance to moulds, plant phytopathologists from the WAU are searching for the weak spot of the mould Cladosporium: a protein it cannot do without. Through this research project the phytopathologists hope to find strong resistance genes in plants against the potato disease Phytophthora, which is causing a lot of damage to Dutch agriculture
  • WAU student Pauline Mulder had the time of her life during her practical work in Ethiopia. The fifth-year student of Development Studies went there for three months to study the development of chicken production in a development programme of Double Harvest, but became manager of the programme after five weeks and stayed there for fourteen months. She developed a new chicken breeding farm, restored cooperation between the local government, the farmers and the project, raised money for the programme from the Dutch government and helped her housekeeper to start a cafeteria. She was irritated by the begging culture of the Ethiopians - Thank you, God bless you, please give me money. I tried to give all the resources in the programme real value, I didn't want to create a dream world where everything is for free. But she is quite positive about her experience, and development work in general: A lot of money was wasted, but part of it does find its way to the right people.

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