Figures show that the number of incidences of Lyme disease has doubled in
the last eight years in the Netherlands.
A group of Wageningen researchers seems to have made progress in
understanding the complex cycle of the infectious bacterium involved and
the tick that hosts it. The disease is serious: a quarter of the people
infected have permanent rheumatic and neurological problems. The
researchers believe that the increase in the disease in the Netherlands is
due to the rise in recreation in rural areas and increases in horse riding
and horse ownership. More research is needed but finance has yet to be
found. The Lyme disease researchers are holding a symposium with the aim of
getting the subject on the public health agenda.
Direct contact and cooperation between farmers, even if they live on the
other side of the world.
That is the philosophy behind Stichting Agriterra, an organisation that
supports farmers’ organisations in developing countries by bringing them
into contact with similar organisations in the Netherlands. Following on
from this idea, Agriterra has now started an exchange programme for
students who want to gain work experience in a developing country.
Agriterra puts students in touch with foreign farmers’ organisations where
they can do a work placement or their dissertation study. The students are
supervised by Agriterra or the Dutch partner organisation, and there are
also incentives to do well. Those whose dissertation or report is of high
quality may get their travel partially or fully reimbursed.
Agriterra set up the exchange programme together with Stichting
Uitwisseling (Agency for Agricultural Exchange) that organises work
placements for agricultural students in the Netherlands and abroad.
Agriterra focuses on development work for the agricultural sector, and is
supported by LTO (the Dutch farmers’ organisation) , the Nederlands
Agrarisch Jongeren Contact (Dutch agricultural youth organisation) and
rural women’s organisations. Cees van Rij of Agriterra explains that until
recently development cooperation work was mostly done through governments
or NGOs, but that direct collaboration between member organisations in
north and south is now increasing.