Closing the nutrient loops in (peri-) urban farming systems through composting – AgTraIn Thesis defense

Our AgTraIn colleague Abebe Nigussie will defend his thesis Closing the nutrient loops in (peri-)urban farming systems through composting on Tuesday January 24, 2017 at 13.30 CET in Wageningen. The thesis defense can be viewed online via wur tv:

“Organic amendments (i.e., crop residues, manure and compost) maintain or increase soil organic matter contents and thereby contribute to enhanced fertiliser use efficiency. Despite the benefits of organic amendments, many smallholder farmers do not retain crop residues and manure on their farmlands. Hence, large amounts of nutrients and carbon are exported from agricultural lands to nearby markets and/or urban areas. At the same time, a large amount of biodegradable waste is produced in cities, and its management has become a major concern in developing countries – where waste management is hardly existing.

My thesis is motivated by the lack of scientific evidence on (i) the socio-economic perspectives of urban-waste composting, (ii) low-cost technologies that improve the agronomic value of urban-waste compost, while reducing losses to the environment and mitigating climate change by reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. To address these issues, I conducted both socio-economic studies and composting experiments both in laboratory reactors and under field conditions

AgTraIn was a great opportunity for me to meet other PhD candidates from different disciplines and broaden my expertise. I therefore would like to acknowledge all the AgTraIn family (the passionate, intelligent and industrious PhD candidates and graduates for your constructive discussions and inspiration. I learned a lot from you guys.” 

Thank you, Abebe. Congratulations on your success, you made us all proud!  :)

List of publications

Courses in Wageningen 2017, Centre for Development Innovation (CDI)

Wageningen UR Centre for Development Innovation (CDI) offers the following courses with fellowship opportunity in 2017:  

The wide range of courses Wageningen UR Centre for Development Innovation (CDI) will help you to develop the capacities, leadership qualities needed to be creative, adaptive and responsive to the dynamics of a rapidly changing world. More information about how to apply and fellowships can be found here: 

Register at EMA -Erasmus Mundus Association!

If you have not heard about EMA - Erasmus Mundus Association yet, take a couple of minutes to check the website, register yourself, and take benefit from a professional network exclusive of Erasmus Mundus students and graduates!  

Thesis defence of Andnet Bayleyegn: Très honorable!

Last 9th of October of 2015, our colleague Andnet Bayleyegn graduated after defending with great distinction (très honorable) his thesis in Montpellier, France.

During three years Andnet developed his PhD project between Montpellier Supagro (France) and University of Catania (Italy) in collaboration with the international centre of insect physiology and ecology (icipe), Nairobi, Kenya and the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD). He conducted a research work based on
the behavior, ecology & control of legume flower thrips, megalurothrips sjostedti (trybom) in cowpeas (vigna unguiculata l. walp)  towards the development of an integrated pest management  program in Kenya, with the aim of finding alternative pest management strategy which has less effect on people, livestock and the environment. The research leaded to the identification repellent plant extracts which can be used for pest management strategy in legume cropping system.

Andnet published relevant papers during this period contributing to the generation of knowledge about integrated pest management:

Repellency of Plant Extracts against the Legume Flower Thrips Megalurothrips sjostedti (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) which investigates how plant extracts can be used as a repellent for specific types of pest in legume cropping system.

Farmers knowledge and perception of grain legume pest and their management in the eastern province of Kenya which investigates how farmers identify important grain legume pests and how they are controlling them, the cultural practices practiced by the farmer and other challenges which influence production of grain legumes.

Ecological Niche Modeling to Predict effect of Climate Change on the geographic distribution of the Cowpea pest legume flower Thrips (Megalurothrips sjostedti) (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) In Africa” Climate, especially temperature has a strong and direct effect on insect development, reproduction, survival and colonization success of insect species. In a climate change scenario, techniques developed to detect areas of climatic favorability. Those models used in species distribution models are considered to represent useful approach for detecting suitable areas of colonization and establishment of a species. Thus, he investigates present and future potential distribution of the legume flower thrips and its favorable host crop cowpea in Africa.

Toxic and behavioral effects of 16 compounds against Megalurothrips sjostedti larvae (Thysanoptera: Thripidae)The larval stage causes more direct feeding damage on epidermal and sub-epidermal plant tissues, causing destruction of buds, flowers and malformations of pods. Sixteen constituents of different plant extracts were tested for their effect on the feeding activity, toxicity and behavioral effects on the second instar larvae of legume flower thrips, Megalurothrips sjostedti (Thysanoptera: Thripidae).

After finishing his defence Andnet said “I am extremely happy to have successfully completed my Study! Being a father of Triplets at the last year of my study was a very difficult moment on handling academics and family matter. I Thank the Almighty God for his Blessings! Special Thanks to my supervisors for their outstanding supervision, follow-up and constructive criticism during my study period. I thank friends and families for their unreserved support until the final point”. 

For Andnet, his participation in the Agtrain programme have changed his life: “The Agtrain program helped me a lot that provided me a world class academic knowledge and experience with an opportunity of meeting scholars across the globe and sharing experience. The programme also enriched my social skill and had a great place in my life with unforgettable moments and experience. Thanks Agtrain”.

Andnet Bayleyegn ABTEW