Local solutions for animal health

first_imgMinister of science and technology Derek Hanekom said South Africa is not close to exploiting the full potential of its livestock. Maintaining South Africa’s animal health status is important if the agricultural sector is to sustain its ability to export. Numerous indigenous and exotic diseases which commonly attack livestock in South Africa can only be controlled through vaccination. Disease control strategies in the pork industry, particularly for diseases such as African swine fever, are important for the sector’s economic success. (Images: Wilma den Hartigh)       MEDIA CONTACTS • Lizette Stokes   Jenni Newman Public Relations  +27 11 506 7350 RELATED ARTICLES • Tanzania’s ‘butterfly effect’ • Paying it forward with goat farming • SA farming skills are sought-after • New centre to enhance food securityWilma den HartighSouth Africa’s livestock sector is to receive a significant boost with the launch of the Tshwane Animal Health Cluster, an initiative of the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) to develop local solutions for animal diseases. The initiative will bring together the best minds, skills and expertise in the field of animal health in the Gauteng province to develop new products and services for South Africa’s livestock industry. The participating institutions include the Agricultural Research Council, National Research Foundation, University of Pretoria, Onderstepoort Biological Products and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. The new project aims to revitalise animal vaccine manufacturing to address diseases of strategic and economic importance in South Africa, find solutions to animal production diseases through technology and innovation, and contribute towards developing skills and expertise in the animal health field.Solutions for disease outbreaks The cluster is good news for the livestock industry’s fight against outbreaks such as foot and mouth disease (FMD), a contagious viral infection that affects cloven hoofed animals, and the African horse sickness virus. Every year, such epidemics cost the industry millions of rands in lost revenue and production, affecting the livelihoods of both commercial and small scale farmers. “Through the establishment of the animal health cluster, we declare our unequivocal intention to make the area of animal vaccine development a global leader on behalf of our nation,” said TIA’s CEO Simphiwe Duma. The TIA is a project of the Department of Science and Technology, which supports technological innovation across all sectors of the economy. Its ultimate goal is to use South Africa’s science and technology base to develop new industries, create sustainable jobs and help diversify the economy from commodity exports towards knowledge-based industries equipped to address modern global challenges.A proactive response to disease management Speaking at the launch, Duma explained that maintaining South Africa’s animal health status is important if the agricultural sector is to sustain its ability to export and prevent the loss of human and animal life. Duma said South Africa is currently in the grip of possibly the biggest FMD outbreak yet, and all exports of cloven hoofed animals and their products which have not been treated to deactivate the virus have been suspended, following the outbreak in northern KwaZulu-Natal. An outbreak of avian influenza recently resulted in the termination of ostrich exports, while African horse sickness is having a devastating impact on the horse industry. This is why the health cluster is so important, as it will create an enabling environment for the development and commercialisation of safe, affordable and effective animal health products for the livestock industry.Creating a thriving livestock sector In his official address, minister of science and technology Derek Hanekom said South Africa is not close to exploiting the full potential of its livestock. “We have to develop a greater appreciation for the role of livestock in the country,” Hanekom said, adding that collaboration between the participating organisations is critical for animal health and a successful agricultural industry. “The agricultural sector is underappreciated in South Africa, but the value of the sector can never be underrated. It provides employment and food security,” he said. “Supporting livestock and animal health is critical and the role of productive animals in South Africa is important.”Animal health and the economy According to Duma the market potential for the animal health industry is estimated between R5-billion (US$580-million) and R6-billion ($696-million), and there is also great value in vaccines. “South Africa has been developing veterinary vaccines for over 100 years, especially in the area of insect-borne diseases,” he said. The first vaccine for rinderpest played an important role in eradicating the disease in Africa. Caiphus Ramoroka, head of the TIA’s agri-biotech sector, explained that the development of the rinderpest vaccine – with the help of veterinarian professionals through global partnerships – demonstrates the value of scientific collaboration. According to the South African Animal Health Association, the country’s animal health market generated revenues of R1.63-billion ($190-million) in 2009, at an average treatment coverage rate of about 35%, and vaccines contributed R440-million ($51-million). “Evidently, animal health is an unsung contributor to our country’s economy and wellbeing,” he said.New generation vaccines During a panel discussion on animal health at the event, Prof Robert Bragg, from the faculty of natural and agricultural sciences at the University of the Free State, spoke about new possibilities in vaccine development. “Advances in vaccine development is the new frontier,” Bragg said. “Vaccination is the prime disease control method but all the easy vaccines have been made, this is why we need to look at a new generation of vaccines.” He believes that South Africa’s research community should also consider the use of nanotechnology, which can play a vital role in increasing the potency of drugs. “This is a very interesting time to be involved in science. Technology is developing at an exponential rate,” he says. However, he warns that one of biggest challenges is implementation. “Technology promises much, but this is all on paper. Technology has to prove itself.”Technology must be accessible and relevant Dr Johan van Rensburg, group GM for Afrivet, said developing technology such as new vaccines and drugs that are accessible to all farmers should be a priority for researchers. He explained that South Africa is in a unique position as the country’s livestock population is in the hands of both small scale and commercial farmers. This poses a challenge in terms of access to new technology, particularly for the small scale sector. “Small scale farmers are major players and can benefit from such technology, but it is important that they also receive training in how to apply high technology vaccines,” Van Rensburg says. He emphasised the importance of finding animal health remedies suitable for South African conditions. “For example, we need to develop something that can lie in the sun,” he explained. The commercial livestock sector also needs a greater focus on developing technologies focused on improving production. “Bringing fantastic technology to the market, training farmers and enabling access to technology can help the livestock sector in South Africa to thrive.”last_img read more

Fighting fire with motherly instincts

first_imgFor Buyiselwa Ngqawani, being a female firefighter is similar to being a mother. “I don’t see myself only as a woman firefighter, but as a mother. Being caring, sharing and protective is what we are as mothers.“When we are fighting fires, we are caring and protecting our community and the environment,” says Ngqawani, who is Working on Fire’s regional manager of the Western Cape Peninsula region.South Africa annually celebrates Women’s Month in August, with 9 August being Women’s Day. This year’s theme for the month is “women moving South Africa forward.”Ngqawani explains why she is passionate about her career in celebration of Women’s Month.The beginningNgqawani started off as a firefighter in July 2005. “There was a recruitment. I went for it, did the training and passed. I was 19 years old then.”She says training to be a qualified firefighter took 25 days. Ngqawani, who grew up in a small community called Kwanokuthula in the southern Cape, started working in Plettenberg Bay. She is now one of 31% women who are part of the Working on Fire programme. “I never thought of being a firefighter. The Working on Fire programme is more than that. You do things like help the community [for instance spreading awareness of preventing fires.] It has always been my passion to help the community.”She became a media liaison and communications officer in the Eastern Cape in 2011. In 2013, she was appointed as a fire awareness training officer in the Western Cape before being taking up the regional manager post where she oversees about 100 firefighters.WCRegional Manager Buyiselwa Ngqawani assists Crew Leaders in improving thedrilling skills of the Mamre Team pic.twitter.com/pBic8OOZkb—Working on Fire (@wo_fire) May 13, 2016Staying motivatedNgqawani says getting to know her firefighters is important. “You have to equip them with skills and keep them motivated. Mine and their purpose is to serve. I like seeing them grow.”Having fought major fires such as the one on Table Mountain National Park in March 2015, is she ever scared when facing raging flames? “Not at all.” In fact, her motherly instincts kick in, says the mother of one boy.The best part of her job is educating communities, especially schools, with information on how to prevent fires. Between 2011 and 2015, Working on Fire gave fire safety workshops and information sessions to 3 312 communities and 4 466 schools.More about Working on FireIn 2003, Working on Fire employed 852 firefighters. Today, that number has grown to 5 000.Linton Rensburg, national communications officer of Working on Fire, says their 5 000 men and women are stationed at 200 bases throughout the country. “Working on Fire is part of the Expanded Public Works Programme of the government and falls within the Department of Environmental Affairs.”He says recruitment drives are advertised when they need more firefighters. “We train people across the country and they are deployed to fire hotspot areas. Our teams are based in both rural and urban centres.”Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website?See Using SouthAfrica.info materiallast_img read more

USDA announces $30 million available to develop new food and ag products

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA is making $30 million available to farmers, ranchers and food entrepreneurs to develop new product lines. Funding will be made available through the Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program.“Farmers and ranchers are creative people who, with a little help, can put that creativity to work and improve the bottom line for their operations,” Vilsack said. “Value-Added Producer Grants enable them to develop new product lines to grow their businesses and expand their contributions to our nation’s economy. This support is especially important for beginning farmers, military veterans engaging in farming and smaller farm operations participating in the local and regional food system.”More information on how to apply is on page 26528 of the May 8 Federal Register. The deadline to submit paper applications is July 7. Electronic applications submitted through grants.gov are due July 2.VAPG grants can be used to develop new product lines from raw agricultural products or additional uses for already developed product lines. Military veterans, socially disadvantaged, and beginning farmers and ranchers; operators of small- and medium-sized family farms and ranches; farmer and rancher cooperatives; and applicants that propose mid-tier value chain projects are given special priority in applying for VAPGs. Additional priority is given to group applicants who seek funding for projects that “best contribute” to creating or increasing marketing opportunities for these type of operators.Since 2009, USDA has awarded 853 Value-Added Producer Grants totaling $104.5 million. Approximately 19 percent of the grants and 13 percent of total funding has been awarded to beginning farmers and ranchers. During the 2013-2014 funding cycle, nearly half of VAPG awards went to farmers and ranchers developing products for the local food sector. Value-Added Producer Grants are a key element of the USDA’s Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Initiative, which coordinates the Department’s work on local and regional food systems. Secretary Vilsack has identified local and regional food systems as one of the four pillars of rural economic development.last_img read more

6 Ways to Implement AR/VR into Your Business Today

first_imgAugmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) crazes didn’t die out with Pokémon GO. This dynamic-duo is alive, well, and benefiting businesses. AR and VR technologies are living up to and surpassing expectations in terms of creating riveting user experiences.Using this technology has a unique way of increasing brand engagement, and generating new ways to interact with services and products. If your company hasn’t yet experimented with AR or VR technologies, explore the following innovations. The answer to improving your numbers this year may be to implement AR/VR into your business today. Provide a More Immersive User Experience Why mail out hundreds of sample products when your customers can test them on your website using AR and VR technologies for a fraction of the cost?You could potentially build an AR or VR system that lets customers “use” your products in a virtual environment — helping them through the buyer journey. This saves you and your company the exorbitant investment in test products or samples. You will be interested in how much your “true” clients and customers want to help you and give you information. Innovative brands are using AR and VR technologies to give customers trial runs in the following industries:Retail (e.g., trying out makeup products, clothing, shoes, new furniture, etc.).Automotive (e.g., test-driving vehicles).Realty (e.g., showing potential buyers around a property without leaving the office).Construction (e.g., letting customers see home improvement renovations before breaking ground).Video gaming (e.g., introducing products to new audiences).Tourism (e.g., providing virtual traveling experiences that save money).Hospitality (e.g., showing guests the inside of a hotel before booking).Software proof of concept examples.Hiring local, global and freelancers.Education (e.g., almost any education can be adaptive to AR/VR).The possibilities for AR/VR technology for free trials and product testing are endless. Creating a virtual trial experience can save a company time and money, as well as increase the odds of a customer completing a sale. Rather than answering customer questions about a product with simple words, use augmented or virtual reality to show the customer what the item, service, or experience would be like for them personally.Customers can develop stronger bonds with the product or service in the virtual environment, increasing the odds of making a purchase. Related Posts Go ahead and be the company that goes above and beyond in an age that emphasizes engaging, immersive user experiences (UX). Implement AR or VR technologies into your company or website to give unforgettable UX users will talk about with their friends and family. Something as simple as giving a virtual tour of your establishment in 3D can be enough to increase clicks and decrease bounce rates. Generate a buzz and get people talking about your brand with exciting immersive UX.If you partner with the right developer for your website’s AR or VR elements, you could create personalized UX based on the user’s previous shopping habits. For example, your e-commerce store could offer an augmented reality changing room experience, recommending different clothing items the user can “try on” virtually, based on previous purchases. You can take related products and suggestions to the next level with AR and VR technologies. Tags:#AR#Augmented Reality#marketing#Proof of Concept#sales#virtual reality#VR Stephen Moyers Break the Mold and Stand Out from the Competition Help Yourself and Others Using AR and VR Technologies A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… AR and VR provide excellent opportunities not only to increase company profitability but to genuinely improve the user experience. It’s a win-win technology for everyone involved. Your company can provide engaging UX, bring people together, improve employee training, and increase customer happiness with immersive technology — all while boosting your brand’s reputation and recognition in your niche.Creative brands are utilizing AR and VR to provide more engaging user experiences, let customers try out new products, expand employee training programs, and much more. You, too, can use AR and VR technologies in affordable and realistic ways and enjoy a measurable change on your bottom line. Explore all the ways augmented and virtual reality technologies may be able to boost your business. AI: How it’s Impacting Surveillance Data Storage Millennials (those born between 1980 and 2000) are the largest generation in American history. They are the most important consumer type to most businesses, with an estimated spending power of around $10 trillion over their lifetimes. Millennials are also unique in terms of what they respond to when it comes to branding and advertisements. They are the first “digitally native” generation and keen on companies that keep this in mind.One of the fastest ways to get to the hearts of millennial shoppers is by offering a modern e-commerce experience. Millennials love technology, and they value experiences and excitement. Combine all three of these wish-list items by immersing visitors in an AR or VR shopping experience.Attract and impress a younger audience by implementing AR and VR user experiences on your website. Just make sure your technology works and doesn’t have any kinks; millennials are quick to bounce if the tech doesn’t function the way it should. Have a place on your site for your millennials to “do a quick fix” for you — and they will — for free. A millennial is more likely to help you than any other sector of the population. Ask — provide a way — they’ll help you.Millennials also appreciate authenticity. Don’t do your company the disservice of implementing just any off-the-shelf AR/VR experience. Make it unique to your brand. Customize your own alternate-reality feature to make it brand-specific.An example (especially for the millennial): Support a cause such as environmental sustainability, then show customers the rainforest you’re saving or the recycled-material apparel you create through enchanting AR and VR experiences. Let your authenticity and uniqueness shine in your AR or VR tech. Attract a Millennial Audience China and America want the AI Prize Title: Who … Stephen Moyers is an out of the heart writer voicing out his take on various topics of social media, web design, mobile apps, digital marketing, entrepreneurship, startups and much more in the cutting edge digital world. When he is not writing, he can be found traveling outdoors with his camera. You can follow Stephen on Twitter @StephenMoyers. The emphasis on personalization has grown in business as brands discover the benefits of tailoring the user experience to achieve greater engagement. Yet personalization isn’t only valuable in the consumer sector — it’s also making waves in-house. Personalizing the employee experience can garner amazing results, especially when it comes to worker hiring, training, and retention. AR and VR offer exciting new ways to provide personalized learning experiences to your employees, potentially boosting productivity and cutting HR costs.AR and VR make it possible for companies to develop personalized training programs that can enhance learner engagement. Employees can have more fun while they learn and get a “feel” for the concepts they will be implementing in the job. Putting the worker in a virtual environment can generate immediate engagement, increasing the odds of employees remembering and implementing what they learned later.AR/VR in the workplace isn’t just an idea – Walmart, Verizon, and JetBlue are already using STRIVR tech to change the way they train employees. STRIVR uses simulators to put employees in realistic environments, where they can test their abilities to handle work-related situations.Employers can then grade their efforts and make changes or suggestions to apply to similar real-life situations in the future. If your company could benefit from better employee training or retention, consider an immersive AR or VR program to do the trick. Your augmented- or virtual-reality technology doesn’t have to be especially complex or sophisticated. Something as simple as building your own AR/VR app can be enough to set your brand apart from competitors. Gaining a competitive edge is all about doing something other brands aren’t doing. AR and VR are still relatively new enough that the chances are high your competitors have yet to fully take advantage of these technologies. Beat them to the punch by adopting AR/VR sooner rather than later.Get creative with your AR or VR technologies. Have your team — or an outsourced provider — create a fun and immersive game for your customers to play. Request that customers submit their email addresses to access the game, helping you build your contact list for campaigns.This is a simple example of how you can use AR and VR at your company to stand out from competitors and as a marketing tool. The creative possibilities are endless when you start brainstorming ways to have fun with AR and VR. Create Personalized Employee Learning Systems Revolutionize Product Testing and Free Trials How a Modern Gaming Engine Can Supercharge Your…last_img read more

D’Angelo Russell delivers in OT to lift Nets past Cavaliers

first_imgDon’t miss out on the latest news and information. ‘We are too hospitable,’ says Sotto amid SEA Games woes Pascal Siakam scores career-best 44 as Raptors beat Wizards ‘We are too hospitable,’ says Sotto amid SEA Games woes Harris scored 25 points and Carroll had 18 as the Nets improved to 30-29 — above .500 at the All-Star break for the first time since 2012-13.The teams were playing their final game before the break, likely a good thing after going 63 minutes in a contest that saw 23 lead changes.Clarkson, playing a career-high 47 minutes, was 16 of 34 from the field and made 7 of 17 3-point attempts.“We tried to leave everything on the floor trying to get a win knowing we’ve got these days off,” he said. “We didn’t expect to go to three overtimes. But I’m in shape. I’ll go all day.”Collin Sexton had 24 points and Marquese Chriss added 23 for Cleveland.Russell made two free throws with 16 seconds remaining to break a 116-all tie in the first overtime, but Sexton drove the lane and scored to tie the game with 2.8 seconds left.Cavaliers forward Kevin Love sat out to get additional rest following foot surgery. Brooklyn dressed nine players because of several injuries.Chriss, Larry Nance Jr, David Nwaba and Ante Zizic fouled out for Cleveland, which played its first overtime game of the season.The Cavaliers (12-46) were trying to win consecutive games for the third time this season. Cleveland has the third-worst record in the league.TIP-INS MOST READ Oil plant explodes in Pampanga town US judge bars Trump’s health insurance rule for immigrants Nets: Host Portland on Thursday, Feb. 21.Cavaliers: Host Phoenix on Thursday, Feb. 21.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next LATEST STORIES Russell’s big finish wouldn’t have been possible if Carroll hadn’t shocked everyone with his buzzer-beating shot.The fact the play wasn’t even designed for Carroll made the result even more improbable.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine ‍football chiefSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption charges“It was for Joe (Harris) or Allen (Crabbe),” he said. “It was a broken play. I saw an opening and I took it.”Cleveland seemed to have sealed the win when Jordan Clarkson, who scored a career-high 42 points, made a go-ahead jumper in the final minute to put the Cavaliers ahead and added two free throws for a 128-125 lead.center_img Oil plant explodes in Pampanga town Brooklyn called timeout and Carroll was double-teamed in the corner after taking the inbounds pass. He took a couple of dribbles to his left and put up the shot. Carroll fell to the floor and was mobbed by his teammates, who stormed off the bench.Russell, who is headed to play in his first All-Star game, had two points in the first half and scored Brooklyn’s first 11 points in third overtime, including two 3-pointers.Russell’s teammates pulled him aside at halftime with a clear message.“They kept pushing me,” he said. “They weren’t letting me get down. I made sure I got the ball.”Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said: “He was really strong in the second half and all the overtimes, but that’s the sign of an All-Star.”ADVERTISEMENT Grace Poe files bill to protect govt teachers from malicious accusations Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Brooklyn Nets’ D’Angelo Russell (1) drives to the basket against Cleveland Cavaliers’ Jordan Clarkson (8) in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)CLEVELAND — DeMarre Carroll saved the day for the Brooklyn Nets, and D’Angelo Russell took advantage of the extra opportunity.Russell scored 14 of his 36 points in the third overtime after Carroll’s desperation 3-pointer in the second OT tied the game, and the Nets outlasted the Cleveland Cavaliers 148-139 on Wednesday night.ADVERTISEMENT SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Nets: G Spencer Dinwiddle (torn ligaments in right thumb) F Treveon Graham (personal reasons), F Rodions Kurucs (sprained left elbow), F Jared Dudley (strained left hamstring) and G Dzanan Musa (G-League assignment) are out.Cavaliers: F Cedi Osman and C Ante Zizic returned to the starting lineup. Osman (sprained right ankle) missed four games and Zizic (sore lower back) didn’t play Monday. … F Tristan Thompson (sore left foot) is expected to return sometime after the break. He has missed the last 13 games.LOOKING AHEADLove plans to increase his playing time following the All-Star break. The Cavaliers resume play against Phoenix on Feb. 21.“I don’t know minutes-wise what it’s going to be like, but a good progression after that because I will be fully prepared to go,” Love said.“He’s in a really good place right now both physically and mentally,” Cavaliers coach Larry Drew said.STREAK SNAPPERThe Nets, who had lost two straight and five of six, are sixth in the Eastern Conference.“That was one of those weird games before the break,” Atkinson said. “It would have been tough with a loss, but this really keeps our morale up.”UP NEXT View commentslast_img read more