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Seed companies are a crucial partner in efforts to raise smallholder farmer productivity and achieve food and nutrition security. For the first time, the Access to Seeds Index shines a light on companies taking the lead in reaching smallholder farmers in South and Southeast Asia. Small-scale farming dominates the agricultural landscape in South and Southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

Introduction

A large part of the answer to the question of how to raise agricultural productivity, while also remaining within the planetary boundaries and tackling climate change, will come from plant breeding — but only when the results of plant breeding reach smallholder farmers. This is where the seed industry comes in.

Over the coming months, the Access to Seeds Index will publish multiple indexes that evaluate the performance of the seed industry at the regional level in South and Southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa as well as the global seed industry as a whole. Benchmarking seed companies against their peers recognizes leadership, while providing an evidence base for the conversation on where and how the seed industry can do more.

The Access to Seeds Index presents an overall ranking, which is the weighted sum of the results in seven measurement areas. The rankings for each of these areas are available below. Overall, the five highest scoring companies are globally active. Their roots are in the region East-West Seed, Advanta or they have had breeding, production and distribution activities in the region for a long time Bayer, Syngenta, Cortevamaking them almost as rooted in the region as companies that originate there.

Compared to regional seed companies, these globally active companies tend to have more comprehensive strategies is place, Nej till ultraljud fore aborter clear targets for tackling food and nutrition security. Global companies also generally employ the same business model and extensive portfolio across markets, whereas regional companies typically have strong programs to support smallholder farmer productivity in their home country but confine their activities abroad to sales and offer a smaller portfolio.

Originating in the region but now operating globally, it serves as an example for its peers thanks to a breeding program and product Nej till ultraljud fore aborter that includes local crops, capacity building activities in all the countries where it is active and comprehensive corporate strategies that seek to benefit smallholder farmers.

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Companies at the bottom of the ranking generally score low due to a lack of disclosure. Waraporn Kanpeerayot and Mr. Boonchai Kanpeerayot are short cucumber farmers in the Ratchaburi province in central Thailand.

The Nej till ultraljud fore aborter of the marketing activities of East-West Seed focus on village and township levels, where mobile teams such as spot promoters and extension staff work in the fields in order to train and educate farmers. Nearly half a billion people are undernourished in the region. Food and nutrition security is negatively affected by a changing climate which is impacting agriculture. Adapting agriculture to new climate trends while also raising production poses huge challenges to small food producers.

Among a wide range of measures, these producers need to be included in food value chains and get access to new, stress-tolerant crop varieties, according to the UN.

Is the seed industry well positioned to partner in this challenge? This first evaluation of 24 leading seed companies in South and Southeast Asia shows that the industry is present in all countries. It is highly research-driven, releasing new varieties for a broad variety of crops.

Seeds are sold in package sizes tailored to the needs of smallholders. However, sales activities are not often accompanied by training to help farmers in adapting their practices and adopting new "Nej till ultraljud fore aborter." In addition, breeding and production activities tend to be concentrated in only a handful of countries. As a result, seed sector development in other countries does not progress to the same degree. Ultimately, the majority of smallholders in the region has yet to be reached.

Even in Afghanistan and Laos, which are relatively overlooked, six and nine companies respectively have a presence. However, in these countries as well as in Sri Lanka, Nepal and Cambodia, most companies limit their activities to sales. Often, only a single company reports having adoption strategies or extension services in place in any one of these five countries.

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The highest number of technical staff is reported in India. Six countries are seed hubs; three countries lack breeding and production activities.

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India, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Bangladesh can be considered seed hubs, based on the concentration of production, breeding and processing activities by index companies in these countries. From a business point of view, it is logical that companies concentrate their breeding and production activities in select countries. For the country itself, these kinds of investments can have a positive effect on the advancement of the national seed industry.

Neither was evidence found of production or processing activities in Afghanistan or Cambodia. However, local seed companies not included in this index do report having breeding activities in Afghanistan and Cambodia. Two-thirds of the companies report that vegetable seed is one of their main business drivers, while half of the companies report that rice is one of their main crops.

Overall, the industry offers a broad portfolio of vegetable seed. For field crops, most companies report being active in rice and maize. Even though half of the companies report having small grains like millet and sorghum in their portfolio, only one company reports that this is one of its top three crops. Legumes are generally underrepresented in company portfolios across the region. For the majority of crops, the newest varieties are less than three years old; regional companies do more to release public research varieties.

The age of varieties is an indicator of the investments seed companies make in their crop breeding programs. When it comes to releasing varieties from public research, regional companies perform better: Hybrids dominate; regional companies extend the availability of open-pollinated varieties. Through the combined portfolios of regional seed companies, open-pollinated varieties OPVs are available for all crops in the index scope. Given this emphasis on hybrids, it is surprising that only a few companies are involved in providing access to other inputs that are needed to achieve the best results "Nej till ultraljud fore aborter" hybrids.

The price and package size of fertilizers, in particular, can hamper the suitability of these kinds of seeds for smallholder farmers. The size of seed packages is a clear indicator of whether the industry is geared toward the needs of smallholder farmers.

The majority of companies report selling seed in small packages, in some cases just six seeds per package. Small seed packages for field crops generally range from g to 10kg, for vegetables from 5g to 1kg and for legumes from 50g to 1kg. On average, the industry offers two different package sizes for field crops and three different package sizes for vegetables. In field crops, Limagrain and Lal Teer Seed maize and Kalash Seeds rice are notable for offering a choice of four package sizes.

In vegetable seeds, East-West Seed and Acsen HyVeg offer the most choice, with on average five different package sizes per crop. The assessment of company performance is based on a total of 59 indicators grouped in seven measurement areas.

Each measurement area has four categories of indicators: Commitment, Performance, Transparency and Leadership. Global seed companies set the example, with comprehensive strategies in place to support smallholder productivity and achieve the SDGs. Most regional companies see smallholders as their main clientele but do not communicate clear targets that would increase their accountability. Acsen HyVeg leads the regional companies for devising smallholder-led strategies at the board level and dedicating significant corporate budget to the development of varieties best suited to the needs of smallholders.

A common theme among companies at the lower end of the ranking is a lack of transparency, a key criterion for companies to be held accountable for their commitments and activities. East-West Seed earns leadership points at the country level for its influential role in establishing a seed sector in Myanmar, which has comparatively few seed companies and low sales.

Many companies, both regional and global, make significant use of germplasm from national and international research institutes and gene banks. East-West Seed and Syngenta rank joint first for Genetic Resources, in part due to their disclosure of track and trace systems as well as monetary and non-monetary contributions to the conservation of genetic diversity.

Bayer comes a close third for its monetary contributions to internationally agreed access and benefit-sharing frameworks, and for its disclosure of a comprehensive track and trace system. All engage in the conservation and use of genetic resources by maintaining germplasm diversity in their company gene banks and through collaborations with public research institutes. Through research and training on crop germplasm conservation, the collaboration aims to increase the availability of traits necessary to develop improved varieties tailored to regional needs.

Half of the companies explicitly state that they do not limit the use of their varieties for further breeding or the use of farm-saved seeds. Few companies have tailored pricing strategies for their patent-protected material to ensure affordability for smallholder farmers.

The global companies East-West Seed and Syngenta outperform their peers, with strong positions on IP while considering the needs of smallholder farmers and being transparent about such positions.

Monsanto scores highly for its transparency on IP, however its positions are unfavorable to the needs of smallholder farmers. The level of transparency among the companies who disclose their position on IP varies significantly. Global companies state their position publicly, but most regional companies lack transparency on the subject. Syngenta was among the first companies to make genetic information freely available in the form of rice genome data, and it continues to play an important role in the philanthropic initiative to make Golden Rice a reality.

For this, it earns leadership points. All companies have extensive breeding programs for a broad number of crops. However, regionally based seed companies lead the way, with breeding programs that include a focus on local crops, prioritize smallholder-relevant traits and are more supportive of agricultural biodiversity.

These companies also lead the way, with trials that test research institute varieties and varieties from other companies, breeding for specific traits and collaborative research programs tailored to smallholder farmer needs.

Topping the ranking is East-West Seed, which scores highly for its extensive breeding program focused on local crops and its Advanced Plant Breeding program that trains next-generation plant breeders.

Namdhari Seeds scores well for engaging smallholder farmers in participatory plant breeding. Nuziveedu Seeds, Known-You Seed and Metahelix make local conditions and smallholder preferences their explicit focus when developing and testing improved varieties. Bayer excels in developing improved varieties Nej till ultraljud fore aborter global crops, collaborating extensively with CGIAR institutes, and for its research and development activities throughout the region.

Advanta also has strong breeding programs for global crops, and has breeding locations in India, Bangladesh and Thailand. East-West Seed and Namdhari Seeds earn leadership points in this area; East-West Seed forits Nej till ultraljud fore aborter breeding focus on improved local crops — 11 crops in total — and Namdhari Seeds for its breeding programthat involves women smallholder farmers in identifyingnew varieties of okra.

Half of the companies report involving smallholder farmers in seed production in most index countries; child labor remains a concern. East-West Seed clearly leads the ranking for Seed Production, owing to its commitment to engage smallholders in seed production and the overall broad scope of its activities in this area.

Syngenta and Bayer score consistently for their robust seed production activities, while Vinaseed performs well thanks to the commitment and transparency demonstrated by its parent company, PAN Group, regarding its seed production activities. Advanta has seed production locations in eight countries, the highest number in the region.

Sakata sets an example with a robust policy for labor standards in seed production. Following issues around child labor, several companies have adopted corporate-led approaches Nej till ultraljud fore aborter tackling this issue. Fourteen companies state that Nej till ultraljud fore aborter labor is explicitly prohibited within seed production.

East-West Seed receives leadership "Nej till ultraljud fore aborter" for its Creative Young Farmer program, which aims to inspire more next-generation farmers to become seed producers. The seed industry as a whole offers a wide choice of crops, while regional companies broaden the availability of seeds for local crops and open-pollinated varieties.

Less attention is paid to smallholder-appropriate affordability strategies. Three global companies follow. Under har totalt 1 barn, 16,2 per 1 födda, rapporterats till strängen, öppetstående ductus arteriosus (PDA) Nej till ultraljud fore aborter barn födda före 36 full- .

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