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Welcome to this edition of the Agromisa Bulletin!
In this bulletin you can read about the UN's Decade of Action on Nutrtion 2015-2025 in an interview with Dr. Melle Leenstra.
Furthermore Agromisa's publications for the small-scale dairy sector and farm management are summarised to give an insight in our work.

If you have input or suggestions for the ongoing updates of our Agrodok series, or would like to collaborate on this, please feel free to contact us via

To continue our work, your donation to Agromisa is welcome. It helps us to develop and distribute new practical publications to farmers and their organisations and schools in developing countries.

Warm regards,

Action on Nutrition

Interview with Melle Leenstra 

The main aim of the UN’s Decade of Action on Nutrition 2015-2025 is to work with international and national organisations to promote technologies and practices that support sustainable food production and protect the livelihoods of rural households.
The UN advocates a food systems approach which includes taking into account the way the processing, storage, transportation, marketing and retail sectors determine access to healthy food.  
Currently an important part of Dr Melle Leenstra’s work involves coordinating the Ministry of Foreign Affair’s food and nutrition security knowledge agenda. By supporting a Food and Business Knowledge Platform the Ministry wants to ensure that its international development policies are informed by the knowledge being generated by applied research and field experience.

Read more

Further readings

Agromisa’s publications in the Agrodok and AgroSource series can be used in the field, the classroom and for self-tuition. The Agrodok Series consists of practical, easy-to-read publications relevant for farmers, agricultural service providers and development workers. The AgroSource Series are primarily intended for classroom use, but several titles, particularly on farm economics and animal husbandry, can also be used for self-tuition. Both series provide valuable material for those involved in agriculture and animal husbandry in tropical or sub-tropical regions.

The following Agrodok and AgroSource manuals are relevant for those working in the small-scale dairy sector and those concerned with helping farmers develop farm management and entrepreneurial skills. 

Agrodok 36: Preparation of dairy products

The authors emphasise the nutritional importance of milk, especially for young children. They provide information on the differences in nutritional value between cow’s milk and the milk of buffalos, goats, sheep and camels. Milk is an extremely perishable commodity and in addition to showing how it can be handled and preserved the authors describe how it can be transformed into products that have a longer shelf life but are equally nutritious such as cheese, curd, yogurt and butter milk. The value of these products for those who suffer from lactose intolerance is also stressed.

You can order
Agrodok 36: Preparation of dairy products on our website

Agrodok 14: Dairy cattle husbandry: More milk through better management

This well-illustrated Agrodok provides information about the main aspects of dairy farming in the tropics such as feeding, breeding, health care and reproduction. It is intended to help smallholders who are planning to start or want to increase milk production.
The authors show how improved management and the genetic improvement of existing herds can help increase milk production. Keeping dairy cows is labour intensive and cows are expensive and vulnerable animals.
Milk is also a very perishable product. Farmers, therefore, need to be able to rely on a well-organised infrastructure and support service.

You can order Agrodok 14: Dairy cattle husbandry on our website

Agrodok 53: Crop Residues for Animal Feed

Straw has been used for feed for as long as humans have kept animals and grown crops. Straw is still important for many farmers, especially those who have few resources.
The Agrodok “Crop residues for animal feed” is intended for extension workers and farmers who want to know more about the different ways straw can be used to ensure sustainable farming and rural development especially as a feed for ruminants.
You can order Agrodok 53: Crop residues for Animal Feed on our website

Agrodok 27: Establishing and managing waterpoints for village livestock

This Agrodok is intended for extension workers who want to help farming communities establish and manage waterholes for village herds. It describes the main features of a good waterhole, but also emphasizes the need for proper management by the local community.
It describes how good management can be achieved. First community members must agree on the need for a waterhole and how they can work together to organize its funding. After installation arrangements should be made to ensure that the waterpoint is well managed. The role of extension officers in this process is seen as being particularly important.

Agrodok 44:  Ethnoveterinary medicine: a practical approach to the treatment of cattle disease in sub-Saharan Africa

This handbook describes the use of ethnoveterinary medicine and focuses on cattle diseases in East and West Africa. Ethnoveterinary medicine is based on traditional healing practices and is accessible, easy to prepare, low budget and a reflection of indigenous culture.
The techniques described in this manual include the prevention and treatment of disease; the preparation of medical materials; parasite control; fertility enhancement and the treatment of wounds. It also deals with managing poor mothering behaviour. In addition a number of diseases affecting cattle and their specific ethnoveterinary treatments are described. The appendix contains a list of medical plants.

You can order Agrodok 44: Ethnoveterinary medicine on our website

Agrodok 26: Marketing for small-scale producers

This handbook is intended for small-scale entrepreneurs and farm business advisors who want to understand how more can be earned from farm activities.
It explains how the market works and how smallholders, with good planning and organisation, can take advantage of market opportunities. Smallholders who want to market their products have to have the capacity to negotiate with traders and consumers and to do this they need information about supply, demand and market price.
Choosing a product, financing production and the importance of cooperation with other farmers producing similar commodities are also dealt with in this handbook.


The farm as a commercial enterprise in a market economy

This is the first of three AgroSource educational and training manuals dealing with farm economics.  It is an introductory text and the concepts that are introduced are followed by examples and exercises.  In this guide the farmer is seen as owning or renting land and farm buildings, borrowing money if necessary to buy livestock, equipment as well as goods and services. The farmer does this in a specific legal, technical, ecological and infrastructural context.  Therefore they have to be able to understand and deal with these if they are to sustainably improve their livelihoods. The objective of this AgroSource and the manual on Farm Accounting is to increase farmers’ business awareness and entrepreneurial skills.

You can order this AgroSource on our website.


Farm Accounting

This guide to farm accounting should be used with the AgroSource dealing with the farm as a commercial enterprise.  The editor advises those using this publication to adapt the examples and exercises to local circumstances to ensure local farmers know how to measure and record their farm resources and assess the financial consequences of their business transactions.

You can order this AgroSource on our website.


Economic concepts in market-oriented farming

Liberalisation and globalisation worldwide means that those involved in the farming sector must understand how the free markets operate and the underlying economic concepts. This guide is intended for agricultural students who will later work with and help farmers to develop the management skills needed to compete in a free market economy. It stresses, for example, the importance an awareness of consumer demand when farmers plan what and how much they should produce.

You can order this AgroSource on our website.
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