NAFA Success Stories

Insect Pest Control // Plant Breeding // Livestock // Soil and Water // Food and Environment

Insect Pest Control

Sterilized Anopheles arabiensis males compete with wild males in locating and participating in mating swarms in Sudan. The application of the sterile insect technique (SIT) relies on the sterile males being able to mate with wild females after they are released. A study, recently published on the 12th December 2014 in Malaria Journal, by the Insect Pest Control Laboratory of the FAO/IAEA Agriculture & Biotechnology Laboratories in Austria in collaboration with the Tropical Medicine Research Institute, Sudan, demonstrated that irradiated Anopheles arabiensis males were able to locate and participate in mating swarms at a distance of up to 200 m within two hours of their release. Results also suggested that irradiated males may be able to initiate swarms, and point to the inclusion of a pre-release period as a means to increase their mating competitiveness. This observation crucially suggests that sterile males are able to participate and compete in courtship behaviour in the main mating arena observed in northern Sudan, the site along the Nile of a proposed pilot SIT programme against this vector of malaria, an encouraging indication of quality and performance of mass reared and irradiated male mosquitoes. Full Story »

Four devastating fruit flies pests are one and the same species. What difference could it possibly make if a bunch of scientists decided that what were once thought of as four different species of fruit fly actually belong to the same single species? Plenty, if the fruit flies in question are major plant pests, which these ones are. Full Story »

Four in one – new discovery on pest fruit flies. Four of the world's most destructive agricultural pests are actually one and the same fruit fly, according to the results of a global interdisciplinary research effort, involving close to 50 researchers from 20 countries, that was coordinated by FAO and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Full Story »

One STEP Ahead: New Industrial Irradiator Inaugurated in Ethiopia. A wet panoramic irradiator has been recently inaugurated in the tsetse mass rearing facility of Kality in Ethiopia. This installation is a major milestone that will enable the Southern Rift Valley Tsetse Eradication Project to increase the rearing capacity of the insectary. It will mainly be used for the decontamination of the blood to feed the flies and for the sterilization of males to be released. Full Story »

Tsetse Fly Genome Breakthrough Brings Hope for African Farmers. Tsetse flies are the sole cyclical vectors of African trypanosomes to humans and animals in sub-Saharan Africa. The decoding of the genome of the tsetse fly Glossina morsitans is a major scientific achievement, it unravels the biological potential of this species and opens the door, in combination with the Sterile Insect Technique, for a more effective control of the pest and the disease. Full Story »

X-rays Can be Used to Sterilize Mosquitoes. New high dose self-contained X ray systems offer a practical alternative to isotopic sources for sterilizing insects for programmes using the Sterile Insect Technique. This alternative is used for mosquitoes sterilization ... Full Story »

How the FAO and IAEA are assisting the Government of Senegal in its efforts to eradicate tsetse from the Niayes area. In 2006, the Government of Senegal embarked on a project with the ultimate aim to create a sustainable G. p. gambiensis free area in the Niayes. The project has received technical and financial support from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) since its inception and has also benefited from the support of the USA (through its Peaceful Uses Initiative (PUI)), and France (through the deployment of a CIRAD staff member on site in Senegal). Full Story »

Senegal nears first victory in war on tsetse fly. A campaign against the tsetse fly, a pest that transmits a disease that devastates livestock, in the Niayes area near the capital Dakar has radically reduced the fly population and is paving the way for complete eradication. Full Story »

Updated Mediterranean Fruit Fly Global Distribution Map. This updated map provides information on the distribution of the Mediterranean fruit fly, (Ceratitis capitata), throughout the world. Full Story »

The FAO/IAEA Tutorial DVD on Using Open Source GIS Techniques in Insect Pest Control Programmes. Area-wide insect pest control programmes rely on updated geospatial data for efficiently conducting and evaluating baseline data surveys and progress monitoring. Soft- and hardware available as geographic information system (GIS) packages are applied to analyse and understand these data for planning and implementing optimised pest intervention strategies. Full Story »

Glossina pallidipes tsetse colony in the Ethiopian Kality facility without salivary gland hypertrophy. Since 1999 salivary gland hypertrophy has been a major challenge to mass rear Glossina pallidipes tsetse flies from Ethiopia. Over the last eight years the Joint FAO/IAEA Division has conducted pioneering research to develop an effective salivary gland hypertrophy management strategy. The virus management package was transferred to the Kality mass rearing facility in Ethiopia, where it has been successfully implemented since 2012. Full Story »

Suppressing Tsetse Flies to Improve Lives. The Southern Rift Valley Tsetse Eradication Project (STEP) has made significant progress in recent years in suppressing tsetse flies in an area of 25,000 km2 in Ethiopia. With the support of the FAO/IAEA Joint Division, sterile males of the species Glossina fuscipes reared in the Kality insectary are being released weekly from aircraft in the Deme Basin. Full Story » - Slideshow

Pacific Coastal Area in Southwestern Guatemala Declared Mediterranean Fruit Fly Free Area. The Mediterranean fruit fly was eradicated from 107 360 hectares (1 073 km2) located in the southwestern border with Mexico which include the departments of San Marcos, Retalhuleu, Suchitepequez and Quetzaltenango. The pest was eradicated using sterile males of the Vienna-7 genetic sexing strain developed at the FAO/IAEA Agriculture and Biotechnology Laboratory, and produced in the world's largest insect mass rearing facility at El Pino, Guatemala. This achievement will allow the export of fresh fruit and vegetables grown in the region.
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The FAO/IAEA Spreadsheet for Designing and Operation of Insect Mass Rearing Facilities, has been recently released. The sterile insect technique has in many countries become an important control tactic for integration in area-wide integrated pest management programmes against fruit flies of economic importance. An important prerequisite of these programmes is the availability of adequate numbers of sterile male flies that are produced in large mass-rearing facilities. Full Story »

Better Fruit For Neretva Valley. Farmers in Croatia are using nuclear technology to tackle the Mediterranean fruit fly, a common pest that poses a serious threat to the country's lucrative fruit industry. With the support of the IAEA and the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Croatia is implementing the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT). Full Story »

Technical leaflet released in three languages on the discrimination between two invasive Bactrocera fruit fly pests. During the 2nd International TEAM Meeting (Tepthritid Workers of Europe, Africa and the Middle East) in Kolymbari, Crete, Greece (see page 128 of the abstract book at, Salah, Abdelgader and Villiers reported that in July 2011, the invasive fruit fly pest Bactrocera zonata was recorded for the first time in Sudan from traps in three locations in Wad Medani, Gezira, Sudan. As this is a region where another methyl eugenol responding fruit fly pest already exists (B. invadens) and to help Sudan and other African countries to discriminate among these two invasive pest species, a technical leaflet in Arabic, English and French was prepared to help with differentiation between specimen of B. invadens and B. zonata. It was prepared by Marc De Meyer (Royal Museum for Central Africa, Belgium) and Ian White (Natural History Museum, UK) and has been distributed electronically to the African participants of the TEAM meeting.

Joining Forces in the Fight Against Dengue Fever. The Islamic Republic of Pakistan is currently taking the initiative for a sustained cooperation with the IAEA to promote the contribution of nuclear science and technology for the management of vector-borne diseases - in particular dengue fever. Therefore a workshop with international experts was held at the IAEA to discuss the integrated control of Aedes aegypti mosquito, the carrier of the dengue virus. Full Story »

Battling Bugs - IAEA Pest Eradication Work Boosts Guatemalan Produce Exports. The IAEA, in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), helped deploy sterile insect technology (SIT), a nuclear application, to assist in curbing Guatemala's fruit fly population, thereby providing a host of new jobs and at least doubling, over four years, export earnings from non-traditional agricultural export crops of tomatoes, ... Read More »

Los Huistas Region in Northwestern Guatemala Declared Mediterranean Fruit Fly Free Area. The Mediterranean fruit fly was eradicated from Los Huistas region, Guatemala. This 220 000 hectares (2 200 km2) area is located in the northwestern border with Mexico. The pest was eradicated using sterile males of the Vienna-7 genetic sexing strain developed at the FAO/IAEA Agriculture and Biotechnology Laboratories, and produced in the world's largest insect mass rearing facility at El Pino, Guatemala. This achievement will allow the export of fresh fruit and vegetables grown in the region. Full Story »

Costa Rica exports "gourmet" tomato to the international market based on a successful technical cooperation projects supported by the IAEA and FAO. Costa Rica has now joined Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras as Member States that have build their success as exporters of vegetables to lucrative markets around FAO/IAEA pest control cooperation projects. Full Story »

Review of the Ethiopian Tsetse Eradication Project STEP. An IAEA delegation, headed by Deputy Director General Mr. Werner Burkart, discussed with Ethiopian partners in Addis Ababa, 20 - 23 July 2010, the status of the IAEA- and FAO-supported Southern rift valley Tsetse Eradication Project (STEP). The project intends to expand the tsetse suppression operations to some 25 000 km² in the next 1-2 years. It is anticipated that, once developed for large scale application in Ethiopia, the sterile insect technique (SIT) will complement the area-wide and integrated pest management efforts". Full Story »

Significant damage was avoided to the ecosystem based on prickly pear in Mexico thanks to the eradication of Cactus Moth outbreaks from Caribbean islands of Mexico. The cactus moth (Cactoblastis cactorum) is a great threat to important Opuntia crops of Mexico. Opuntia cacti have a great economic, environmental and cultural significance to the people of Mexico. Full Story »

Eradication of Cactus Moth Outbreaks from Isla Contoy, Mexico
The Mexican Government has officially announced that the Cactus Moth Cactoblastis cactorum, a serious threat to all prickly pear cactus species, has been eradicated from the island of Contoy, in the Mexican Caribbean. Full Story »

Balkan States Consider Sterile Insect Technique Against Mediterranean Fruit Fly
Fruit farmers in Southern Europe have been struggling for decades in a losing battle against the Mediterranean fruit fly, or Medfly, which is one of the world´s most destructive farm pests, since it lays its eggs in fruit and vegetables. Full Story »

Eradication of Cactus Moth Outbreaks from Caribbean islands of Mexico
The Mexican Government has officially announced that the Cactus Moth Cactoblastis cactorum, a serious threat to all prickly pear cactus species, has been eradicated from the island of Mujeres and island of Contoy, in the Mexican Caribbean, two years after the pest was first detected. Full Story »

No Love for Deadly Mosquitoes
In steamy sites ranging from Sudan to Tahiti, Mozambique to the United States, researchers are studying the sex life of the male mosquito - in order to halt reproduction.Why? Mosquitoes can be deadly carriers of disease, including malaria and yellow fever. Full Story »

Screw Worm Outbreak in Yemen
An outbreak of the insidious ´screw worm´ fly in Yemen, is threatening livelihoods, in a country where rearing livestock is a traditional way of life. In recent weeks, a Ministerial delegation was at the IAEA in Vienna, Austria, to turn to the international community for emergency assistance to fight the deadly pest. Full Story »

Tacna and Moquegua Regions in Southern Peru Declared Fruit Fly Free Areas
The Animal and Plant Health Service (SENASA) of Peru, a decentralized public institution of the Ministry of Agriculture, has informed that Peru, after more than 20 years of dedicated efforts has achieved the eradication of very destructive horticultural fruit fly pests. Full Story »

The Middle East's Fruitful Valley
[...] Scientists, politicians, and farmers from Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority are winning a long and largely invisible fight against the odds. Their common foe: the Mediterranean fruit fly, or Medfly, one of the world's most destructive agricultural pests. Full Story »

Sterile Insect Technique Success in the Middle East Attracts International Media Attention
Under IAEA Technical Cooperation projects in Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian Authority, with additional extrabudgetary support from USAID's Middle East Regional Cooperation (MERC) funds, FAO/IAEA technology was transferred for area-wide Mediterranean fruit fly control, including the use of the environment-friendly Sterile Insect Technique (SIT). Full Story »

Educational Resources for Agricultural Insect Pest Control - The ABC´s of S-I-T
A technology known simply as SIT has played an instrumental role over the past four decades in helping countries to protect their agricultural economies by controlling pests that threaten harvests. Today, more and more countries are interested in applying SIT, the sterile insect technique, as part of their food, health and animal protection campaigns. Full Story »

Science, Sex, Superflies - The Sterile Insect Technique (SIT)
A spin-off of nuclear science and technology has changed the dynamics of a complex mating game. Along the way, it has spawned success stories - some small, some large - from Asia to Africa to the Americas during the IAEA´s first half century. Full Story »

World´s Second Biggest Sterile Insect Mass Production Facility Opens in Valencia for Medfly Suppression
Spain´s citrus fruit stands to become more competitive in international markets, thanks to expanded use of a pest control technology rooted in applications of nuclear science. A new pest-control facility - Europe´s first such large-scale plant - opened in Valencia in late April that experts say will cut the use of pesticides and protect citrus fruit from the destructive Mediterranean fruit fly (Medfly). Full Story »

California´s Terminator
Californians have been battling the Medfly since Ronald Reagan governed the golden state. The invasive pest is among the worst threats to the state´s multi-billion dollar fruit and agricultural industry. Full Story »

Chile´s Leading Edge - South America´s Top Fruit Exporter Shows the Way
"The success we´ve had against fruit flies is the driving force for our fruit and vegetable industry. It shows the value of international cooperation and our bi-national control efforts with Peru and collaboration with Argentina and other neighbours," [...]. Full Story »

Argentina Poised for Growth in Export Markets - IAEA & FAO Help Country Meet Fruit Trade Goal
Argentina is poised to expand its export markets for apples, pears and other fruit from the agricultural fields of Patagonia, citing the IAEA and UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) for helping the country achieve the goal. Full Story »

Fruit Flies Fall and Markets Grow - Nicaragua, South Africa Among Latest Countries Citing FAO/IAEA Support
In the Americas and South Africa, science is on a roll and fruit fly pests are dropping like... well... they´re dropping like flies. The results are higher quality products, reduced insecticide use, and more profitable markets, especially to big consumers like the United States. Full Story »

Campaign Launched to Eliminate Tsetse Fly, which has Turned Much of Africa into a Green Desert
A new campaign to control the deadly tsetse fly in Africa, parasitic carrier of sleeping sickness, has been launched by the Organization of African Unity (OAU). Full Story »

A Programme for the Eradication of the New World Screwworm from North Africa - The New Screwworm Fly in Libya: A Review of its Introduction and Eradication
The two documents provide details on the planning and results of the New World Screwworm eradication programme in North Africa. The New World screwworm fly, Cochliomyia hominivorax (Coquerel) became established in the Old World for the first time during 1988, in the Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya. Full Story »

Defeating the Medfly
In December 1995, Chile's long battle with the Mediterranean fruit fly was officially declared over, marking a major victory for the country's farming community. Full Story »

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Plant Breeding

World Wide Success in Mutation Breeding for Food Security. This year, the Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture is celebrating its 50th Anniversary. On the occasion of this milestone of the Joint FAO/IAEA Division, Achievement and Outstanding Achievement Awards were initiated to honor and appreciate the successes of Member States in plant mutation breeding ... Read More »

Induction, rapid fixation and retention of mutations in vegetatively propagated banana. A team of the Plant Breeding and Genetics Laboratory at the IAEA Laboratories Seibersdorf has investigated the nature and inheritance of mutations that have been induced in shoot apical meristems of banana. They found out that genotypically heterogeneous stem cells resulting from mutagenic treatment are rapidly sorted to fix a single genotype in the meristem. The results among others will be useful to speed up the process of mutation breeding in vegetatively propagated crops. The story has been published in the Plant Biotechnology Journal and also was chosen for the journal cover. Read More »

Responding to the Transboundary Threat of Wheat Black Stem Rust (Ug99). Mutation activities target rust diseases with emphasis on Ug99 to contribute to an eventually broadened gene base for rust resistance. Mutant lines that have resistance to Ug99, once selected, will effectively counter the threat to global wheat and barley production, the menace of Ug99. Read More »

Improved barley varieties - Feeding people from the equator to the arctic. The weather conditions in the high Peruvian Andes, with their propensity for severe storms that bring with them high winds and hail, are not exactly hospitable for growing grains. But thanks to the work done by the Peru’s national agricultural research system together with the FAO/IAEA’s Plant Breeding and Genetics subprogram, barley varieties now exist that can be planted 3 000–5 000 metres up those mountains. These hearty grain improved varieties have become a lifeline for people who live at those altitudes, providing dependable as well as nutritious yields and now accounting for 90 per cent of the barley produced in Peru. Read More »

Successful Mutation Breeding Programmes in Vietnam. From the lab to the farmerVietnam is a developing agricultural country having 73.5% of its population living in the rural area. Crop production plays an important role in national food security and the rural development of Vietnam. Nuclear techniques have been applied in food and agriculture for improving national food security since the 1970’s. With continuous assistance in technology adaptation and transfer and capacity building from the Joint FAO/IAEA Programme (NAFA/AGE) through Agency’s CRPs and national and regional TCPs, great achievements have been made in mutation breeding for crop improvement by the use of nuclear techniques and related biotechniques. Read More »

Rice Mutation Breeding in China. Recent studies on Asian wild rice and land races of cultivars indicate that South Asia is most likely the main centre of origin of cultivated rice. Differentiation of the indica (hsien) rice would have occurred in South Asia, and that of the japonica (keng) rice in South-eastern and Eastern Asia. Full Story »

Transforming the Crop Production Landscape in Bangladesh: A High Yielding, Early Maturing Rice Mutant Variety is beating the Monga Food Insecurity Phenomenon. As in most tropical and sub-tropical regions, in Bangladesh, there is a season called Monga (October and early November) during which crops are still maturing in the field but grain stock is dangerously limited in the monsoon season. Full Story »

From the Lab to the Farm. Rice mutation breeding has never been so rewarding in Viet Nam. Farmers from the Mekong Delta to the highlands have been benefiting from higher yields and better market prices thanks to the high quality of the mutant varieties. In highland areas, farmers began stopping deforestation since they can now produce enough food on their land. Full Story »

Protecting Wheat Harvests from Destruction. Scientists are accelerating research into new varieties of wheat to identify those resistant to an aggressive fungus that is destroying harvests in African and Middle Eastern countries. An FAO/IAEA technical meeting brought together experts from 26 countries on a global plan against the disease, known as "stem rust", or Ug99. Full Story »

Flowers Blooming - A follow-up of a previous TCP in Thailand, THA/5/045. The IAEA had been working with Kasetsart University in Thailand on building capacities for plant mutation breeding through several TCPs. The most recent one, Radiation induced mutation for bean and chrysanthemum (THA/5/045), was completed in 2001. With the capacities built on these projects, the Gamma Irradiation Service and Nuclear Technology Research Center was established and is now providing services for scientists in Thailand. Full Story »

Improvement of Drought Tolerance in Chickpea through Induced Mutations. Under the umbrella of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC), with the support of Technical Cooperation Projects (TCPs) and research networks (Coordinated Research Projects, CRPs) and hosted by the Nuclear Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) in Peshawar (NWFP and FATA Provinces), excellent work is being accomplished in terms of crop breeding, particularly in mutation breeding for sustainable increase in food security. Full Story »

Tanzania: Enhancing Crop Productivity through Radiation Technology. Two mutant rice varieties, resistant to the rice yellow mottle virus (RYMV) were successfully released for cultivation in the inland of Tanzania and in the island of Zanzibar. They quickly gained farmer acceptance due to their high yield and quality characters. Full Story »

Juicy Tomatoes from Dry Cuban Soil. Having in mind the need to grow tomatoes under low water input conditions, not only to save this valuable liquid, but also to diversify production in drought-affected areas, a Cuban tomato breeding programme using nuclear techniques has produced varieties that are being adopted by the farmers and have made possible the increase of tomato production in several areas of Cuba with low input of water and fertilizers. Full Story »

Blossoming Ideas Creating Stronger Economies
In Thailand, a flower is more than an ornament; it is the country's symbol and the main source of income for thousands of families. With the help of nuclear technology to bring new colours and shapes to ornamental flowers, Prof. Siranut Lamseejan, at the Kasetsart University, Bangkok, has made a dream come true. Full Story »

High Quality Mutant Rice Varieties Widely Grown in Viet Nam
Mutant rice variety VND95-20 with high quality and tolerance to salinity became the key rice variety for export in 2005 ( 28% of the one million ha export rice area in the Mekong Delta). Full Story »

Indian Groundnut
Under IAEA/RCA Project RAS/5/40, in India, the total mutant series of TAG groundnut varieties (in the last 10 years, 10 varieties) has increasing success. TAG24 is the most popular, TAG38 the most recent mutant groundnut variety (2006). 45% of breeders' seeds are TAG varieties, mostly TAG24. Full Story »

Hardy Crops in Harsh Environments
One of the success stories in the use of induced mutations by a national agricultural research system in collaboration with the Agency's Plant Breeding and Genetics programme: Peru. Full Story »

Saving the Source of Chocolate: Ghana Targets Killer Virus
[...] This growing season (in late 2005) has gone well, with healthy harvests and no signs of the "swollen shoot" disease that has wreaked havoc on Ghana´s cocoa farmers for decades. Full Story »

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The Animal Production and Health Laboratory: 30 years of committed support to IAEA and FAO Member States. The Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture is 50 years old this year. The Animal Production and Health Section, which was established in 1964 at the inception of the Joint FAO/IAEA Division, was further enhanced in 1984 with the creation of an associated Animal Production and Health Laboratory. A summary of the work of the Animal Production and Health Laboratory is briefly described. Read More »

The Joint FAO-IAEA Division is supporting Member States to combat H7N9 avian influenza - a new avian influenza virus concern for Humans. Avian Influenza, also known as “Avian Flu” or “Bird Flu” is caused by a virus that has a reservoir in wild birds. Usually, wild birds are resistant to the disease but do carry and secrete the virus, transmitting it to domesticated birds (chicken, duck, and turkey) that are susceptible and can become sick and die. Read More »

GLOBAL RINDERPEST ERADICATION: The IAEA contribution. Countries suffering from the ravages of rinderpest, a highly contagious viral disease of cattle, buffalo, yak and several wildlife species, were officially recognised as disease free by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) in May 2011 and FAO in June 2011 when they declared that rinderpest was eradicated world-wide. Read More »

Rinderpest Freedom Celebration. Rinderpest, also known as cattle plague, is a highly contagious viral disease of cattle, buffalo, yak and several wildlife species, and has caused immense livestock losses throughout history. IAEA in collaboration with FAO, OIE and other partners supported its Member States for more than 25 years to control and eradicate the disease. Read More »

On the trail of avian influenza: using nuclear technology to support early warning and surveillance. Following the first occurrence of highly pathogenic avian influenza (AI) in the human population in 1997, the migratory pathways of wild birds have become a topic of growing interest. Using nuclear technology – specifically, stable isotopes analyses – it is possible to trace the origin of individual birds and to identify their migration patterns during a specific period. Read More »

Development of feeding strategies for improved meat and milk production on smallholder dairy farms in Zambia. Livestock rearing is one of the leading farming activities practiced by rural communities in Zambia. The animals kept include cattle, goats, sheep, pigs and various species of poultry of which chickens are the most common. Read More »

The Joint FAO-IAEA Division is supporting Member States to combat H7N9 avian influenza - a new avian influenza virus concern for Humans. Avian Influenza, also known as “Avian Flu” or “Bird Flu” is caused by a virus that has a reservoir in wild birds. Usually, wild birds are resistant to the disease but do carry and secrete the virus, transmitting it to domesticated birds (chicken, duck, and turkey) that are susceptible and can become sick and die. Read More »

On the trail of avian influenza: using nuclear technology to support early warning and surveillance. Following the first occurrence of highly pathogenic avian influenza (AI) in the human population in 1997, the migratory pathways of wild birds have become a topic of growing interest. Using nuclear technology - specifically, stable isotopes analyses - it is possible to trace the origin of individual birds and to identify their migration patterns during a specific period. Full Story »

Development of feeding strategies for improved meat and milk production on smallholder dairy farms in Zambia. Livestock rearing is one of the leading farming activities practiced by rural communities in Zambia. The animals kept include cattle, goats, sheep, pigs and various species of poultry of which chickens are the most common. Full Story »

Genetic characterization of indigenous cattle breeds in Zambia - which way forward?. Zambia is endowed with a variety of indigenous livestock species that not only provide meat, milk and eggs to meet household protein needs, but are also used for a wide range of economic activities. In recent years, however, the country has been losing many of these indigenous livestock breeds as a result of farmers' preference for exotic breeds that are perceived to be more productive. Full Story »

IAEA scientists develop molecular tools for better understanding of the epidemiology of Capripoxviruses. Transboundary animal diseases (TADs) represent the most important threats to livestock production worldwide. The efficient control of these diseases currently relies primarily on enabling strategies to limit their spread. Full Story ».

Highlights of 2010. The application of early, rapid and sensitive nuclear and nuclear related diagnostic tests to assist in the control transboundary animal diseases (TADs) has been a long-standing component of the Subprogramme's activities to reduce the impact such diseases have on livestock productivity in Member States (MS). Full Story ».

Construction of a goat (Capra hircus) whole-genome radiation hybrid panel. The goat (Caprine hircus) is an important agricultural species worldwide with centuries of phenotypic observations, trait selection, and breed differentiation. However, the understanding of the goat at the genomic level lags behind other livestock species, such as cattle, pig, chicken, and sheep. Full Story ».

The Artificial Insemination Centre in Cameroon - A success story. One of the main constraints for AI in some African countries such as Cameroon is the availability and cost of liquid nitrogen for transporting semen, especially in rural areas, a key element to preserve semen for prolonged periods. The Bambui Cattle Centre overcame this by developing a chilled semen processing methodology using egg-yolk and coconut water in which sperm can survive for up to seven days. Full Story ».

Genetic characterization of indigenous chicken breeds in search for unique properties of immune-related genes. At first sight the diversity within domestic chicken is extensive, which should provide an excellent base for breeding animals that are well adapted to a variety of local environmental conditions. However, the industrialization and globalization of chicken production in the 20th century adversely affected the distribution of chicken genetic resources worldwide, practically limiting the breed composition to commercial stocks of broilers and egg-type, laying hens. Full Story »

IAEA helps to improve the productivity of cattle, camels and yaks in Mongolia through better nutrition and reproductive management. The livestock sector is the main pillar of the economy in Mongolia which, in addition to providing export products, provides food, clothing and shelter. The livestock sector employs 30 percent of Mongolians and is a core survival strategy for nomadic families that rely entirely on pastureland livestock herding. Full Story »

The Agency supports portable diagnostic devices to enhance "at-source" control of transboundary animal diseases. Molecular genetic testing plays a vital role in safeguarding public health - from diagnosing disease to monitoring for pathogens with pandemic potential; from detecting potential bioterrorism threats to safeguarding the food supply via crop and farm animal surveillance. Full Story »

Sheep HapMap. A HapMap project in small ruminants (sheep and goats) is extremely important for IAEA developing Member States to enhance the ability of scientists to use genomics for improving productivity and other characteristics influenced by genetics, including adaptability and disease resistance. Full Story »

The Agency is assisting Member States to reduce the amount of methane produced by ruminant livestock. Increasing methane concentrations in the atmosphere have been identified as the second largest contributor to global warming after carbon dioxide. Thus, methane was included in the Kyoto Protocol with 1990 chosen as the base year for future decisions concerning the impact of mitigation strategies. Full Story »

Water Resources and Livestock: An increasing constraint. Water is essential for life. More than half of all potable water is from rivers and lakes and more than one-sixth of the Earth's population rely on glaciers and seasonal snowfall for their water supply. However, the increase in surface temperatures is causing profound alterations in the hydrological cycle, particularly in regions where water supply is currently dominated by melting snow or ice. Full Story »

Climate Change and the Expansion of Animal and Zoonotic Diseases - What is the Agency's Contribution?. Globalization and climate change have had an unprecedented worldwide impact on emerging and re-emerging animal diseases and zoonoses. Climate change is disrupting natural ecosystems by providing more suitable environments for infectious diseases allowing disease-causing bacteria, viruses, and fungi to move into new areas where they may harm wild life and domestic species, as well as humans. Full Story »

With IAEA support, Latin America controls liver fluke (Fasciola hepatica) in livestock and humans. Although the countries of Latin America are geographically and culturally diverse, they have a major problem in common, one that affects the health of both its peoples and its animals. From the Patagonian steppe to the tropics of the Caribbean, from the endless flatland of the Pampas to the remote highlands of the Andes, there occurs the ever present common liver fluke: Fasciola hepatica. Full Story »

Deadly cattle plague, once the bane of farmers, on its deathbed. Arguably, rinderpest in the most dreaded cattle disease because of its epidemic history that caused massive depopulations of livestock and wildlife on three continents and because it has been responsible for several famines and the loss of draught animal power in agricultural communities of the last three centuries. The Agency, in collaboration with a global effort, contributed towards the successful eradication campaign. Full Story »

Community-based Dairy Veterinary Services in Bangladesh. Bangladesh has taken advantage of results from previous research conducted through IAEA CRP and TCP to develop a self-sustaining Community-based Dairy Veterinary Service. Full Story »

IAEA's support to animal health services in Yemen (1995 - 2009)
Since Yemen became a Member State of the IAEA in 1995, collaboration between Yemen and the Agency through national and regional TCP in the field of animal health has allowed the national veterinary services to tremendously build capacity and modernize their disease diagnostic facilities, build new level 2 and high security laboratories and to improve quality control, quality assurance and laboratory management practices. Full Story »

A successful history of cooperation between IAEA and Angola
Since its admission as an IAEA Member State of in 1990, the Republic of Angola achieved a definitive peace in 2002, which allowed the establishment of a country programme framework, taking in account the sectors of Education, Health and Agriculture as priority for industry and economic development. Full Story »

The Global Rinderpest Eradication Programme
June 2009 | Status report on progress made to date in eradication of rinderpest: highlighting success story and action required till global declaration in 2010. [pdf] Full Story »

Bovine Genome Provides Clues to Evolution, Better Beef and Milk
After 6 years of work by more than 300 researchers from 25 countries and $53 million in funding, the cow genome has arrived. Sequencing of the bovine genome provides new information about mammalian evolution as well as cattle-specific biology and points the way to research that could result in more sustainable food production in a world challenged by global population growth. Full Story »

IAEA's support helps Eritrea to controlling Brucellosis and Tuberculosis in Cattle
The IAEA started to support the veterinary services of Eritrea in the late 1990s when the country requested help with their rinderpest eradication programme. The IAEA provided technical assistance in the setting-up of a diagnostic laboratory and the training of staff ... Full Story »

Avian Influenza, Migratory Birds and Stable Isotopes
Over 100 species of wild migratory birds, particularly ducks, swans, geese and various wading birds, harbour avian influenza (AI) viruses. Infections are transmitted amongst the wild birds by shedding of the virus and contamination of water. Full Story »

Adapting Molecular Diagnostics to Field Conditions
Enhancing food security by providing effective control of infectious diseases in livestock requires major investment in developing diagnostic technologies of sufficient sensitivity and precision to enable veterinary authorities to accurately identify animal carriers of disease and to carry out appropriate measures for containing an outbreak. Full Story »

Irradiated Vaccines and the Control of Animal Diseases
Animals in general possess a basic defence against pathogens known as innate immunity. This comprises two parts, humoral, referring to substances found in the body fluids such as tears, mucus, and blood that can prevent the development of pathogens so that they can be eliminated from the body and the second, cellular, where cells called phagocytes ingest pathogens. Full Story »

The Use of Nuclear Technologies to Fight Problem Diseases - the re-emergence of irradiated vaccines
The concept of vaccination is a sound one for the prevention of animal disease; fundamentally, it is designed to mimic the development of naturally acquired immunity by inoculation of non pathogenic, highly immunogenic organisms. Full Story »

The Tracing of Animal Migration with Stable Isotopes
To understand the ecology of migratory animals it is important to link geographic regions used by individuals including breeding, wintering, and intermediate stopover sites. Previous conventional approaches used to track animal movements have relied on extrinsic markers (eg tags, radio tracking) and typically the subsequent recovery of individuals. Full Story »

Water Efficiency of Animal Protein Production
The livestock sector is the fastest growing agricultural sector and has been predicted to continue growing at these rates for the foreseeable future. Livestock production has been shown to be economically important and is related to increasing incomes in poor rural areas. Full Story »

Belching Ruminants, a minor player in atmospheric methane
Since 1999 atmospheric methane concentrations have leveled off while the world population of ruminants has increased at an accelerated rate. Prior to 1999, world ruminant populations were increasing at the rate of 9.15 million head/year but since 1999 this rate has increased to 16.96 million head/year. Full Story »

The Second Embryo Transfer Goat Kid "Peradeniya Kumari -2" Born in Sri Lanka
The Embryo Biotechnology research team of the University of Peradeniya have produced a second goat kid through Embryo Transfer technology. Research team leader Dr. Basil Alexander said "the initial experiments on embryo production and transfer in Sri Lanka have resulted in great success". Full Story »

IAEA Counterparts Produce a Calf via Embryo Transfer for the first time ever in Sri Lanka
A team of veterinary researchers and IAEA counterparts at the University of Peradeniya in Sri Lanka have successfully produced a calf through embryo transplant technology. This historic event marks the first time in Sri Lanka when such technology has been successfully applied. Full Story »

Neighbours Helping Neighbours: Kenya Hosts Fellow from Tanzania
The IAEA, through TC project URT5025 based at the National Artificial Insemination Cooperation (NAIC) at Usa River Arusha, United Republic of Tanzania, granted Ms. Mary A. Shio a two month fellowship in Kenya hosted by the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI), Lanet Research Center. Full Story »

IAEA tackles Bird Flu diagnosis
The First Research Coordination Meeting (RCM) for the Coordinated Research Project (CRP) on "The early and rapid diagnosis of transboundary animal diseases such as avian influenza" was held at the IAEA, Vienna, 19 to 23 March 2007. The RCM was attended by more than 25 participants, as it brought together Research Contract and Agreement holders as well as observers. Full Story » [pdf]

Zambia, Botswana and Zimbabwe unite to battle CBPP
Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia (CBPP) has been a problem in the Kazungula district of Zambia since an outbreak in 1997 and has caused concern in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC). Full Story »

Goat Genetic Resources in Bangladesh
Goats have been reared in Bangladesh from the time of human settlement in this part of the earth. They stand second in number among the ruminant species. There are approximately 18 million goats at present in the country. Full Story »

Technology Transfer: Use of Urea Molasses Multinutrient Blocks in over 50 Countries
Livestock production in developing countries is largely dependent on fibrous feeds - mainly crop residues and low quality pasture - that are deficient in nitrogen, readily fermentable energy, minerals and vitamins. Full Story »

Holistic Approach gives Farmers better Profit
Shortcomings in animal nutrition, health, and reproduction and breeding have all been identified as constraints to optimal productivity of livestock systems in developing countries. Full Story »

Past and Present Contributions of Joint FAO/IAEA Division to Eradication of Rinderpest
Rinderpest is an important killer disease of cattle. Since there is a vaccine that gives a life long protection and can be produced easily and cheaply, there is a good chance that the disease can be completely wiped out from the world. In other words - the disease can be eradicated. Full Story »

Newcastle Disease Control in Chicken Improves the Welfare of Rural Households in Africa
An FAO/IAEA funded five year coordinated research project (CRP) was initiated in 1998 to study back yard poultry production in 12 African countries and then to suggest and initiate appropriate intervention strategies that are economically viable. Full Story »

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Soil and Water

FAO/IAEA Proceedings of the International Symposium on “Managing Soils for Food Security and Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation” soon to be published: The papers for the proceedings have been edited, reviewed, formatted and are soon to be published in Q3-Q4 2014; these papers cover a wide range of topics. Read More »

Recent gathering on land and water management for climate-smart agriculture at the 2014 European Geosciences Union (EGU) General Assembly. Read More »

Success stories in Climate-Smart Management Practices: Biosaline agriculture and biofertilizer for improving crop productivity in salt- affected soils and for reducing the use of inorganic fertilizer and greenhouse gas emission (GHG) in agriculture in Member States. Read More »

Climate Smart Agriculture. With the help of nuclear techniques, the IAEA helps countries “keep the soil alive” and adapt to the devastating effects of climate change. Read More »

Video - More Food With Better Soil - Using Isotope Techniques To Improve Soil Quality. Using Isotope Techniques To Improve Soil Quality. See Video »

Soil Isn’t Just Dirt. Conservation agriculture and nuclear science are two of the tools being used to improve food security by making soil more fertile. Read More »

Nuclear Techniques for Agricultural Water Management. Both crop and livestock production depends on the management of irrigation water and the soil on which crops or livestock are farmed. Find out more on what IAEA is helping Member States to improve water management in crop and livestock farming systems. Read More »

New development - eLearning course for increasing more crops per drop!. The eLearning course on "Soil Water Measurement for Better Crop Production and Improving Water Use Efficiency" has just been launched to help farm advisors, land users and policy-makers with practical ways to improve water use in both rainfed and irrigated agriculture. This course is available free-of-charge and covers a range of topics, from basic to advanced levels relating to soil water measuring techniques, irrigation scheduling and methods of improving water use efficiency. To register »

Improving land use and soil conservation in Tajikistan. Soil erosion and land degradation are a major threat to soil and water resources in Tajikistan, where only a small fraction of the land is suitable for agriculture. To ensure sustainable agricultural production, effective soil conservation and efficient land use are vital. A study of soil erosion rates under varying conditions has been conducted to assess the extent of the problem. Read More »

Increasing crop production and addressing soil degradation in Mali. Soil erosion and inappropriate farming activities have caused severe soil degradation and nutrient mining in Mali. Both soil degradation and nutrient mining impose high costs on farmers, as they have to purchase expensive, imported fertilizers to increase the performance of crops in these degraded soils. Read More »

Road to recovery: Protecting Chilean agriculture and environment
Wine production in Chile currently accounts for about 11.4% of the Gross National Product and is an important component of Chilean national economy. About 32,500 hectares are planted with vineyards in the VIth Region, south of Santiago. Full Story »

Turning Adversity into Opportunity: Farmers reaping the benefits from year-round production of income generating crops in Coastal Saline Lands of Bangladesh
Rice is the major crop grown in the coastal areas of Bangladesh. Soil and water salinity is a major threat to crop productivity in these coastal areas. Full Story »

Coping with soil and water salinity for crop production in Algeria: A continuing effort of integrated land-water management approach
In Algeria desertification is putting extreme stress on irrigated agriculture due to the fast rate of soil and water salinization, resulting in the drastic reduction of arable land with productive agricultural potential. Full Story »

Adaptation to Climate Change with Improved Agricultural Water Management
As the water available for agriculture becomes limiting due to population growth, competition from other water users, drought and water quality degradation, it is important to ensure that every drop of water (either from rainfall and irrigation) counts for crop water use. Full Story »

Extracting Fertilizer from a Clear Blue Sky
Nitrogen fixation in cereals has been a dream of scientists and farmers for a long time. If rice, wheat and maize are able to fix all of their nitrogen from the atmosphere in the same manner as soybean, it would have major financial and environmental benefits for the agricultural community. Full Story »

Food security and sustainable agriculture: The answer is in the Soil-Tajikistan
For more than 50 years the Soil Science Research Institute (Academy of Science) has been actively involved in efforts to combat soil erosion and land degradation in Tajikistan. Full Story »

Improving Agricultural Water Management for Crop Productivity in Africa
Agriculture is the largest consumer of water; accounting for over 70% of the world's freshwater diversion. However, only a part of this agricultural water diverted is effectively used in the production of food or other agricultural commodities and the remaining does not reach the crop/plants ... Full Story »

Soil Management and Conservation for Sustainable Agriculture and Environment
Nuclear techniques provide essential and value added information and technology for defining and alleviating constraints to intensify and diversify farming systems while ensuring the sustainable use and management of land and water resources ... Full Story »

Technologies and Practices for Sustainable Use and Management of Water in Agriculture
With increasing water shortages in many parts of the world, the SWMCN Subprogramme aims at developing isotope based methodologies to measure and improve crop water productivity (more crops per drop) Full Story »

Integrated Soil-plant Approaches to Increase Crop Productivity in Harsh Environments
The impacts of increased droughts, salinity and nutrient deficiencies are serious threat to the production of the major world food crops (wheat, rice and maize). Degraded and marginal lands (harsh environments) are the results of ... Full Story »

Promoting Sustainable Intensification of Agricultural Dryland Production and Combating Desertification in the Sahel
Four West African Sahel countries (Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Senegal) and two East African countries (Kenya and Tanzania) joined efforts in a cooperative venture under the IAEA regional TC project RAF/5/048 to combate desertification in dryland agriculture. Full Story »

Saving Millions of Tons of Agricultural Topsoil in China and Enhancing Livelihoods and Water Quality
China is one of the countries suffering from the most serious soil erosion in the world. IAEA-funded projects conducted in the Loess Plateau (Nianzhuang watershed), Northern China (Fengning site) and North Eastern China (Baiquan site). Full Story »

Sustainable Land Use and Water Management on Reducing Soil Erosion & Improving Soil and Water Quality
The applications of nuclear techniques have significantly achieved social and economical benefits when soil erosion is reduced, as observed in the recently completed regional project RAS5039 in East Asia and the Pacific region on developing sustainable land and water management strategies using fallout radionuclides for reducing soil erosion and improving soil and water quality. Full Story »

More Crop per Drop and Better Environment
The Nigde-Nevsehir Region in Turkey accounts for more than 1/3 of Turkey's potato production (1.2 million tons). Sprinkler and basin irrigation systems have been used for potato growing in the past in this light-textured soil region. Full Story »

Combating Desertification in Agricultural Drylands
Agricultural dry lands constitute approximately 42% of the total arable land in Zimbabwe. However, large proportions of these dry lands are subject to various degrees of land degradation, which reduces the social and biological potential of the land and increases the effects of desertification. Full Story »

Chile´s Blueberries Bloom
The next time you bite into a juicy blueberry, chances are it comes from Chile, the world's third biggest producer. It might even be grown using IAEA "know-how" that is helping Chile´s farmers use less water and fertilizer, stop soil degradation and boost harvests. Full Story »

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Food and Environment

Just the Right Amount: Using Dosimetry to Measure Absorbed Radiation . Photo Essay: Modern life just wouldn’t be the same without firm and ripe imported fruits, frozen pizza or überclean medical tools. All thanks to dosimetry! View Photo Essay »

A Laboratory Success Story – Colombian Pesticide Residues Analysis Laboratory. The Pesticide Residues Analysis Laboratory (LARP) of the Chemistry Department at Universidad Nacional de Colombia obtains international recognition and addresses agrochemical misuse in Colombia. Read More »

Sampling Procedures to Detect Mycotoxins in Agricultural Commodities. Adherence to regulatory limits for mycotoxins in agricultural commodities is important to safeguard consumers and to permit trade in affected commodities across international borders. Reliable estimates of mycotoxin concentrations are required to implement regulatory decisions on the suitability of lots of produce for consumption or trade. Read More »

Fumonisins: From Technical Cooperation to International Standards. Fumonisins, along with aflatoxins, are the major mycotoxins of international health concern. They are unique among the mycotoxins in being almost exclusively contaminants of maize, particularly when grown in warmer regions. Maize is a major human dietary staple that has been in the diet of Nigeria and the African region for centuries. Full Story »

Agrochemicals Unit Selected Country Achievements in 2005 and 2006
The training and methodologies provided by the Agrochemicals Unit have been put to good use in many countries. The "train the trainers" approach taken for the workshops and training courses organised by the Unit has also had considerable impact on awareness-building and expansion of the knowledge-base in Member States. Full Story 2005 », Full Story 2006 »

Food Irradiation: A Powerful Nuclear Tool for Food Safety
Consumer demand for safe, wholesome and nutritious foods is increasing on a worldwide scale. This demand, together with ever increasing global trade in foodstuffs, brings with it a number of related concerns: the possible contamination of foods by harmful micro-organisms; the need to protect crops from insect pests; and the need to support international trade and economic development. Full Story » [pdf]

The Role of eLearning in Supporting Analytical Laboratories
The Centro de Investigación en Contaminación Ambiental, Universidad de Costa Rica (CICA-UCR), is among other tasks responsible for the analysis of pesticide residues and a range of environmental contaminants and is accredited under ISO 17025-2005. Full Story » [pdf]

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