Category Archives: fruits and vegetables

A Barrier Net Instead of Pesticides or Greenhouses Proves Successful in Africa for Growing Vegetables

In Kenya and Tanzania, farm producers are turning to a physical barrier to keep bugs out instead of using chemicals. Called Eco-Friendly Nets or Agronets, they can save growers 90 percent in pesticide costs and allow the farm to be classified as organic.

The nets are used for growing tomatoes, cabbages, kales, spinach, capsicum, and other vegetables.

They cost much less than constructing a greenhouse, and just may produce healthier crops than a greenhouse. Farmers using them have drastically increased their output of tomatoes since they help create a micro-climate which increases the heat and lessens the time required for maturity, in addition to restricting pests.

The nets are affordable for many of the small scale farmers.

AgroNet is a family of clear netting products developed by A to Z Textile Mills based in Arusha for use in horticulture—vegetables, fruit and ornamentals.


Sources:

http://www.freshplaza.com/article/124804/Kenya-Forget-greenhouses,-Agronet-technology-is-the-in-thing

http://www.freshplaza.com/article/124716/Tanzanian-vegetable-growers-use-netting-technology-to-control-pests

Largest LED Vegetable Growing Factory in the World Opened in Japan in 2014

After the Great Earthquake that Japan experienced in 2011, it has repurposed a Sony Corporation semiconductor factory located in the northeast region’s Miyagi Prefecture and turned it into the world’s largest indoor farm illuminated by LEDs. General Electric reports that they developed the LED fixtures which emit light at wavelengths optimal for plant growth used in the indoor farm.

Another company involved in the project, Mirai Co., based in Tokyo, runs vegetable growing factories. This new growing indoor plant operation is on about 2,300 square meters of land and is able to produce 10,000 heads of lettuce plus other vegetables per day. The produce will be sold to local supermarkets.

The hope is to build more factories similar to this one in other parts of Japan. The LED lights reduce electricity consumption by 40 percent as compared to fluorescent lighting and can use spectrum specific light for optimal growing of the vegetables.

The combined venture further intends to export produce to other nations as well as export the entire growing factory set ups and technology. They have already received requests to do so.


For further information see: http://www.gelighting.com/LightingWeb/apac/news-and-media/press-room/press-releases/2014/Japan%20Case.jsp

Sweet Potatoes are Gaining as Regular Potatoes are Losing Ground

U.S. sweet potato use per capita has increased significantly during the last decade and was estimated at nearly 7 pounds in 2012, up almost 50 percent over 2002 levels. People recognize the health benefits of fiber and many nutrients contained in sweet potatoes and, of course, sweet potato fries have become extremely popular.

According to the Univ. of Kentucky, “sweet potatoes gained some popularity as a ‘lower-carb potato’ in the early 2000’s, and high antioxidant levels in sweet potato skins and other health benefits contributed to consumption staying strong after the low-carb diet craze. Sweet potato consumption is highest among Americans over 60, and sweet potatoes may have special appeal to aging, health-conscious baby boomers.”


source: North Carolina Sweet Potatoes

U.S. Sweet Potato per capita consumption has been rising nicely:
4.2 pounds in 2000
5.2 pounds in 2009
6.3 pounds in 2010
7 pounds in 2012

As a comparison, American’s eat about 50 pounds per year of all types of potatoes, including processed and fresh baked.

Do you know where your sweet potatoes come from?

North Carolina has been the number one sweet producing state since 1971. According to NC Sweet Potatoes, “Its hot, moist climate and rich, fertile soil are ideal for cultivating sweet potatoes, averaging at nearly 50% of the U.S. supply. According to the USDA, North Carolina harvested nearly 50,000 acres of sweet potatoes in 2010, the same amount produced by California, Louisiana and Mississippi combined – also top producing states.”

Sweet potatoes were formerly thought of as a poor man’s food, but now are realized to be a nutrient lovers food. I like to put cubed sweet potatoes in Indian cooking dishes with other vegetables such as cauliflower over rice, or, in pasta.

One lady is even reported to have done a sweet potato diet. She claims to have lost 90 pounds while eating one sweet potato per day topped with cinnamon, along with other healthy foods.


References:

1. http://www.uky.edu/Ag/CDBREC/introsheets/sweetintro.pdf

2. http://www.thepacker.com/fruit-vegetable-news/foodservice/Sweet-potato-consumption-on-the-rise-228037231.html

3. http://www.ncsweetpotatoes.com/sweet-potato-industry/

4. http://online.wsj.com/articles/the-humble-potato-falls-from-grace-1407867055