JAAST Table of Content: September - 2015, 3(6)

Review Articles

Chidi Oguamanam.     pp. 77 - 80




In accordance with global trend, Nigeria and the rest of Africa are gradually embracing the genetically modified organisms. As well, Nigeria is coming to terms with the reality and ubiquity of applications of agro-biotechnology, including its prospects both for economic advancement and for diverse associated risks. Hitherto, majority of farmers in Nigeria were organic farmers by default, a status that is now undergoing rapid transition to conventional farming not only as a result of agro-biotechnology but also as a result of recent remarkable improvements over access to agro-chemical inputs. As Nigeria embraces agro-biotechnology and transitions into conventional agriculture, organic farming status will assume a new importance as a niche. To embrace the challenge and leverage on the opportunities of Nigeria’s agricultural transition, organic farming stakeholders would need to actively penetrate the presently fluid legal regulatory space to secure organic-farming friendly policy in the country.

Keywords:  Organic Farming, Biosafety, Conventional Agriculture, Agriculture Biotechnology, Farmers, Nigeria, Africa.

Research Articles

Belay Zerga.     pp. 81 - 94

Degradation of Rangelands and Rehabilitation efforts in Ethiopia: The case of Afar rangelands



The Afar Region covers 10% of the total area of the country and 29% of the pastoral lowlands. Though most of the Region is arid and semi-arid, it is able to support the population of the Afar pastoralists mainly due to the presence of Awash River which is the life-belt of the Afar people and their livestock population. Afar is increasingly drought prone. The production system of the Afar region is dominated by pastoralism (90%) from which agro-pastoralism (10%) is now emerging following some permanent and temporary rivers on which small scale irrigation is developed. The altitude of the region ranges from 120m below sea level to 1500m above sea level. Temperatures vary from 20oC in higher elevations to 48oC in lower elevations. Rainfall is bi-modal throughout the region with a mean annual rainfall below 500 mm in the semi-arid western escarpments and decreasing to 150 mm in the arid zones to the east. About 14.8% of the total land area of the region is covered by grassland; 31.5 % shrubland, 1.7% woodland and 0.11% forest land. The main feed resources used for livestock feeding in the region are natural pastures (herbaceous vegetation composed mainly of grasses and forbs and browses (shrubs, tree leaves, and pods). A rapid reduction in woodland from 8.35% to 0.28% and grassland from 7.75% to 0.91% cover in the landscape took place between 1972 and 2007. The increase in bush land and cultivated land cover was large during the time period 1986-2007 compared to the earlier time period 1972-1986, whereas both time periods saw similar declines in woodland and grassland. Generally, heavy and light grazing pressure reduced the species diversity. The most considerable change affecting the livelihoods of the pastoral communities is the decline in rangeland productivity. Currently, prosopis juliflora (mesquite) is a main regional issue for its thorny, weedy and invasive nature. In the Middle Awash area, more than 30,000 ha of grasslands, rangelands, water points and crop lands are estimated to be occupied by mesquite. These invaded resources are the key supporting units for livestock keeping, which in turn are the main stay for Afar people in that fragile ecosystem. The dense, impermeable thickets formed by the invasion reduce grass availability and stocking density. The invasion is also affecting multipurpose indigenous trees in the valley. The invasion leads to shrinkage of the rangelands and grasslands and will therefore threaten sustained existence of the pastoral system in the area (like seasonal herd mobility, herd composition, mutual helping institutions and others)., mesquite invasion is also affecting plant species diversity in the Middle Awash area. There is less diversity and fewer plant species under the mesquite’s canopy than under indigenous Acacia species. Besides, the invasion is making paths to water points and grazing areas inaccessible and acts as a shelter to predators near to settlement camps in the area. All these factors contribute to increased pressure on the remaining pasture and raise the Afar pastoralists’ vulnerability to the recurrent moisture stress the area experiences.

Keywords:  Afar region, rangeland degradation, over grazing, bush encroachment, prosopis juliflora, rehabilitation.

1Babajide, S.E., 2Makinde, O.J*., 3Ibe, E.A., 2Ajibade, A.J., 4Chukwudebe, E.P., 4Babatunde, K.O., 4Zaccheaus, O. S..     pp. 95 - 99




A sixteen week trial was carried out to evaluate the laying performance and egg quality characteristics of Japanese quails (Coturnix coturnix japonica) fed diets supplemented with ascorbic acid (AA) and α- tocopherol (To). Five diets were formulated with diet 1 (control) containing 0%AA and 0%To. AA and To were included at two levels each in diets 2, 3, 4 and 5 respectively (200, 300mg/kgAA, 15 and 30mg/kgTo). A total of 150 Japanese quails (point of lay) of six-weeks old were allotted to five dietary treatment groups of 30 quail birds each with three replicates of 10 birds per pen in a Completely Randomized Design. The diets were formulated to be isonitrogenous (22%CP). The birds were raised in cages under high ambient temperatures of 32.9 to 36.1°C for sixteen weeks. Water and feed were offered ad libitum. The effects of treatments on laying performance and egg quality parameters were found to be insignificant (P>0.05). Daily feed intake and cost per dozen egg were greater (P<0.05) for quails fed 300mg/kgAA than those fed other dietary groups but % egg production was not affected (P>0.05). Results of the present study indicate that quails appeared to exhibit some level of natural resistance to heat stress and therefore, dietary supplementation of quail diets with either AA and To was not necessary and not economically advantageous.

Keywords:  Ascorbic acid, egg quality, α-tocopherol, laying performance, Quails.