Call edition 2012
A new edition of the Prize of the Belgian Development Cooperation has been launched. This call is open until March 31st, 2011. You can read in the regulations whether you comply with the criteria for participation.
Relatively large surfaces of scrubs and low quality pasture form one of the few available 'resources' of developing countries such as Uganda . Small ruminants such as goats are uniquely suitable to convert such plant material to milk and meat, in a mobile and sustainable form of food. Worm infections of these animals, however, form an important barrier for such practice. Deworming using (expensive) drugs offers a theoretical solution to this problem but is practised on a very limited scale only.
John Kabasa's work demonstrates that worm infection of the animals can be controlled in a natural manner, by the tannin content of selectively grazed scrubs. Tannins are naturally ocurring bio-active substances of the plant. In a more general approach, the laureate has shown that the variability in tannin content is related to productivity of the goats, as measured by weight change and number and growth of offspring.
The thorough scientific approach of the study, applying in an exemplary manner the ground rules of statiscally justified experimental schemes and of interpretation of results is remarkable. John Kabasa's professionalism is also reflected in the complete and profound comparison of his results with recent literature. His results also suggest that the effects observed may have nutritional as well as veterinary causes and thus, his work may serve as a good basis for further research. Finally, the greatest merit of the work may be its immediate availability for application in practice. This must allow the Ugandese farmer a better selection of available pasture, a fact associated with all the positive economic and sociological consequences that can be hoped for.
report by Prof. Dr. Daniël Demeyer, Department of animal production, Universiteit Gent, Belgium