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In pictures

Using photos to tell stories about people and bananas
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Published on 17 Dec 2013
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  When the founders of EARTH University bought the land on which to build a campus, the property included a commercial banana farm. At the time – the late 1980s – the reputation of banana plantations regarding worker conditions and environmental stewardship was at a low point. The university was advised to get rid of the farm, but decided to keep it to show that it was possible to produce a more ecologically friendly banana in Costa Rica’s humid Caribbean lowlands and still be economically viable. Over the next 25 years, faculty, staff and students have experimented with various approaches to reduce chemi­cal use and improve soil fertility that were implemented whenever possible. In 2007, the farm was only breaking even when the US grocery store Whole Foods Market started buying its bananas, paying above market price for the certified fruit. The profits from the sales of EARTH bananas help support the scholarship fund and university operations. The university is also impacting the banana industry around the world as alumni take what they learned about sustainable agriculture and business management back to their home countries. Further reading: Article on EARTH University's sustainable banana farming

 

Published on 05 July 2013
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  Sophie Spillemaeckers and Ludovic Schweitzer, the environmentally conscious founders of Concrete Dreams, spent a month in Rwanda and the South Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) shooting videos on marketing, nutritional and crop management issues thanks to a grant from the Flemish Interuniversity Council to KU Leuven. The videos are part of a multilingual series of training videos for Africa produced for CIALCA, a partnership of three CGIAR centres trying to improve the lives of the region’s smallholder farmers. The videos are available for download from Concrete Dream's Africa training page, along with an earlier series of CIALCA videos remastered by Concrete Dreams. They are also accessible for viewing on the CIALCA YouTube channel. (Photos by Concrete Dreams)
Published on 27 Mar. 2013
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  The area encompassing Sulawesi, the Maluku Islands and the Lesser Sunda Islands forms a triangle strategically located at the intersection of the geographic distribution of Musa acuminata subspecies whose genetic signature has been found in many cultivated bananas. Its unresolved role in the domestication of bananas and the fact that it has been little explored made it a top priority destination for exploration and collecting for the MusaNet network coordinated by Bioversity International. The plan to pay a visit to the triangle became reality when Bioversity funded two missions as part of the CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas.  The core collecting team was made up of scientists from the Indonesian Tropical Fruit Research Institute (ITFRI) - banana taxonomist and breeder Edison Hs and plant pathologist Riska Jumjunidang – and Jeff Daniells, banana taxonomist and principal horticulturist at the Queensland’s Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry in Australia. ITFRI banana taxonomist Fitriana Nasution accompanied the group during the first mission in October 2012, while Agus Sutanto, the curator of the ITFRI collection in Solok on the island of Sumatra, joined the second one in February-March 2013. Staff from the local offices of the Assessment Institute for Agricultural Technology (AIAT) also joined the group as it travelled through the region.



 

 

 

Published on 17 Dec 2012
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  In Vanuatu, an archipelago of islands located west of Fiji and east of the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific Ocean, the national dish is a hearty pudding called laplap. It is made from grated vegetables, such as cassava, taro or yam, or from cooking bananas that are unique to the Pacific region. This photo essay shows the traditional way of making laplap using an earth oven, and a shorter version called simboro. (Photos by Anne Vezina)

 

 

Published on 23 July 2012
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  For the first ever ProMusa photo contest, a panel of four judges selected the 10 best photos among the more than 300 received. These include two winning entries, one in the Close up category, for photos taken with a macro lens or a microcospe, and another in the Big picture category, for any other type of photo showing a banana-related situation. The photos were evaluated on their quality and artistic merit. The photos are available for download at Musarama.

 

 

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