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Peru and U.S. have symbiotic asparagus relationship

Peru is one of the larger producers of asparagus in the world and the United States is the largest consumer. The two countries need each other.

The Peruvian Asparagus Importers Association revealed that in 2013, Peruvian growers sent 403 million pounds of asparagus to the United States. That represented almost 50 percent of U.S. asparagus and about two-thirds of Peru’s exports.

While Peru does have growing markets for its product in Europe,Priscilla-LlerasPriscilla Lleras Asia and other countries, none can move product like it can be moved in the United States.

“We are the main market for Peruvian asparagus,” said Paul Auerbach, president of Maurice A. Auerbach Inc., based in Secaucus, NJ, speaking of the U.S. market in general. “Europe can move a few pallets but no one can take 10,000 cases and move it like we can.”

Priscilla Lleras, coordinator for PAIA, said that recent “survey results conclude that U.S. shoppers are adding asparagus to their carts more than in the past making asparagus the number three ‘most popular’ item that consumers say they are now buying.

As such, the PAIA’s 2014/2015 Category Management Plan Outline for Fresh Peruvian Asparagus specifically includes statistics relating to market summaries, trends, nutritional facts and consumer positioning. The plan provides fresh-market asparagus consumption key demographics and suggestions regarding displays, as well as promotional/advertising ideas that offer retailers with creative fresh strategies to increase sales of Peruvian asparagus.

“The Category Management Plan Outline for Fresh Peruvian Asparagus is a resource tool that industry and retailers will use to sell more asparagus,” said Lleras. “The plan contains statistics, trends and strategies that will equip retailers and the industry at large with the most updated information in the category. The plan also contains the necessary summary information of the health benefits, value and convenience of fresh Peruvian asparagus that should make Peruvian asparagus a staple for every U.S. household.”

The plan is available to retailers and others from any member of the Peruvian Asparagus Importer’s Association or by contacting Lleras at prestige@1scom.net.

For the current season, Walter Yager, CEO Alpine Fresh is PAIA’s East Coast co-chair, while Brian Miller, president of Gourmet Trading Co. is West Coast co-chair.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Researching an endangered relationship: Bee species and their search for the flowering plants

The timing has been beautifully choreographed by nature. Rising spring temperatures prompt many bee species to begin their search for the flowering plants they depend on for food — and which they propagate through pollination. But what would happen if this vital, mutually beneficial relationship goes out of synch due to climate change? That’s what Assistant Professor of Biology Daniel Bunker and PhD candidate Caroline DeVan intend to determine with the help of a $ 150,000 grant from the National Science Foundation.

According to Bunker and DeVan, the consequences could be dire if this relationship unravels as a result of global climate change, consequences that include poor crop pollination and lower yields. In one troubling scenario, the pollinating bees may respond strongly to climate warming and emerge earlier in the growing season, while their preferred flowers respond less strongly and emerge later. Such a mismatch in timing could severely impact both bees and plants, and the productivity of many agricultural crops.

A local outdoor laboratory

DeVan became interested in climate change and the ecological role of bees after majoring in environmental studies and ecology at the University of Tennessee. “I find bees really interesting, and there are a lot of good questions that haven’t been asked,” she says. Pursuing her PhD in biology at NJIT has given her the opportunity to ask some critical questions and to work with Bunker, who is also very much interested in researching the ecological interdependence between plants and other organisms.

Looking at areas relatively close to NJIT that might be suitable as research sites, DeVan found that Morristown National Historical Park at Jockey Hollow has a substantial bee community — including cavity-nesting bees that forage among various flowering trees as well the “understory” plants beneath the trees. Unlike social bee species, such as honey bees, cavity-nesting bees lead solitary lives in the wild, pollinating many types of flowering trees as they search for food. In some parts of the country, orchard owners provide a hospitable nesting environment to encourage pollinating visits to almond, apple, cherry and other types of fruit trees.

The Morristown site also is appealing because it is a temperate forest, with a comparatively narrow window of time when the bees emerge in the spring and the trees leaf out. In addition, Morristown is part of the Northeast Temperate Network (NETN) established by the U.S. National Park Service to monitor ecological conditions in 12 parks located in seven northeastern states as well as six more states traversed by the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. Working at a NETN site enables DeVan and Bunker to integrate their data into the network’s larger ecological picture.

“We realized that Morristown could give us a really nice model system for looking at how bees and plants might respond differently to the effects of climate change,” Bunker says. He explains that the primary experimental focus is on the bees since their activity is influenced mainly by temperature, whereas plants respond to changes in the length of the day, the photoperiod, along with temperature. And the cavity-nesting bees at Morristown are especially sensitive to spring temperature changes.

Out and about early

To enlist the Morristown bees in their work, the researchers place nesting boxes they have built near 28 NETN forest-monitoring plots in the park. Adult bees create the nests. The nests have several cells with an egg in each one that metamorphosizes — like butterflies do — through the summer. By fall they are adults in their cocoons, where they overwinter. The initial phase of the program that Bunker and DeVan have initiated with the help of other NJIT colleagues and students involves waking the bees from winter dormancy earlier than usual during the spring by gently warming the boxes.

At this point, the researchers are still fine-tuning their experimental techniques, which include affixing micro-tags to the backs of the bees while they are still dormant in their cocoons. A video camera placed at each nest will allow building a database of the bees’ response to manipulated changes in their natural schedule, and how their well-being might be affected by corresponding disruptions caused by climate change.

The tags on the bees, a special variant of the widely used Quick Response “QR” code, will make it possible to monitor individual bees using computer-assisted image recognition, which is being developed under the lead of Associate Professor of Biology Gareth Russell. Physical examination of pollen in the nests also is expected to yield information about the food sources the bees visit, and analysis of the ratio of females to males to provide indications about how temperature variation may affect reproduction.

Agricultural impact

This effort could help to answer key questions about the possible impact of climate change on agriculture. At large and foraging for food before their normal sources are available, bees may not be able to adapt. DeVan emphasizes that this could devastate the cycle of plant pollination and reproduction. Or bees may adapt by feeding on different plants that flower earlier. While this could be a positive sign that bees are adaptable, it also may mean they are feeding on less nutritious plants, which could have a deleterious impact on bee populations.

For the solitary cavity-nesting bees, starting to forage earlier because they are out of synch with the flowering of their food sources could keep them away from their nests for longer periods. This, too, presents a potential threat. It may give flies, wasps and other predators greater opportunities to attack undefended eggs and larvae. As a result, it may be necessary to devise new strategies for protecting and managing these vital pollinators.

The data that Bunker and DeVan anticipate collecting over the next few years could confirm a disturbing possibility — that the critical relationship between temperature-sensitive bees and the plants they pollinate is in danger. Yet they may find that pollinators such as the bees at Morristown can adapt in ways that do not seriously undermine their role in pollination, and by implication in agricultural production. Whatever the research reveals, it will shed additional light on the relationship between bees and plants — and on one of the most important connections that humans have with nature.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Researching an endangered relationship: Bee species and their search for the flowering plants

The timing has been beautifully choreographed by nature. Rising spring temperatures prompt many bee species to begin their search for the flowering plants they depend on for food — and which they propagate through pollination. But what would happen if this vital, mutually beneficial relationship goes out of synch due to climate change? That’s what Assistant Professor of Biology Daniel Bunker and PhD candidate Caroline DeVan intend to determine with the help of a $ 150,000 grant from the National Science Foundation.

According to Bunker and DeVan, the consequences could be dire if this relationship unravels as a result of global climate change, consequences that include poor crop pollination and lower yields. In one troubling scenario, the pollinating bees may respond strongly to climate warming and emerge earlier in the growing season, while their preferred flowers respond less strongly and emerge later. Such a mismatch in timing could severely impact both bees and plants, and the productivity of many agricultural crops.

A local outdoor laboratory

DeVan became interested in climate change and the ecological role of bees after majoring in environmental studies and ecology at the University of Tennessee. “I find bees really interesting, and there are a lot of good questions that haven’t been asked,” she says. Pursuing her PhD in biology at NJIT has given her the opportunity to ask some critical questions and to work with Bunker, who is also very much interested in researching the ecological interdependence between plants and other organisms.

Looking at areas relatively close to NJIT that might be suitable as research sites, DeVan found that Morristown National Historical Park at Jockey Hollow has a substantial bee community — including cavity-nesting bees that forage among various flowering trees as well the “understory” plants beneath the trees. Unlike social bee species, such as honey bees, cavity-nesting bees lead solitary lives in the wild, pollinating many types of flowering trees as they search for food. In some parts of the country, orchard owners provide a hospitable nesting environment to encourage pollinating visits to almond, apple, cherry and other types of fruit trees.

The Morristown site also is appealing because it is a temperate forest, with a comparatively narrow window of time when the bees emerge in the spring and the trees leaf out. In addition, Morristown is part of the Northeast Temperate Network (NETN) established by the U.S. National Park Service to monitor ecological conditions in 12 parks located in seven northeastern states as well as six more states traversed by the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. Working at a NETN site enables DeVan and Bunker to integrate their data into the network’s larger ecological picture.

“We realized that Morristown could give us a really nice model system for looking at how bees and plants might respond differently to the effects of climate change,” Bunker says. He explains that the primary experimental focus is on the bees since their activity is influenced mainly by temperature, whereas plants respond to changes in the length of the day, the photoperiod, along with temperature. And the cavity-nesting bees at Morristown are especially sensitive to spring temperature changes.

Out and about early

To enlist the Morristown bees in their work, the researchers place nesting boxes they have built near 28 NETN forest-monitoring plots in the park. Adult bees create the nests. The nests have several cells with an egg in each one that metamorphosizes — like butterflies do — through the summer. By fall they are adults in their cocoons, where they overwinter. The initial phase of the program that Bunker and DeVan have initiated with the help of other NJIT colleagues and students involves waking the bees from winter dormancy earlier than usual during the spring by gently warming the boxes.

At this point, the researchers are still fine-tuning their experimental techniques, which include affixing micro-tags to the backs of the bees while they are still dormant in their cocoons. A video camera placed at each nest will allow building a database of the bees’ response to manipulated changes in their natural schedule, and how their well-being might be affected by corresponding disruptions caused by climate change.

The tags on the bees, a special variant of the widely used Quick Response “QR” code, will make it possible to monitor individual bees using computer-assisted image recognition, which is being developed under the lead of Associate Professor of Biology Gareth Russell. Physical examination of pollen in the nests also is expected to yield information about the food sources the bees visit, and analysis of the ratio of females to males to provide indications about how temperature variation may affect reproduction.

Agricultural impact

This effort could help to answer key questions about the possible impact of climate change on agriculture. At large and foraging for food before their normal sources are available, bees may not be able to adapt. DeVan emphasizes that this could devastate the cycle of plant pollination and reproduction. Or bees may adapt by feeding on different plants that flower earlier. While this could be a positive sign that bees are adaptable, it also may mean they are feeding on less nutritious plants, which could have a deleterious impact on bee populations.

For the solitary cavity-nesting bees, starting to forage earlier because they are out of synch with the flowering of their food sources could keep them away from their nests for longer periods. This, too, presents a potential threat. It may give flies, wasps and other predators greater opportunities to attack undefended eggs and larvae. As a result, it may be necessary to devise new strategies for protecting and managing these vital pollinators.

The data that Bunker and DeVan anticipate collecting over the next few years could confirm a disturbing possibility — that the critical relationship between temperature-sensitive bees and the plants they pollinate is in danger. Yet they may find that pollinators such as the bees at Morristown can adapt in ways that do not seriously undermine their role in pollination, and by implication in agricultural production. Whatever the research reveals, it will shed additional light on the relationship between bees and plants — and on one of the most important connections that humans have with nature.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Chile wants same relationship with Norway and Switzerland that South Africa has with Britain

Chile wants same relationship with Norway and Switzerland that South Africa has with Britain

Chile is already working on entry to Norway and Switzerland. A study by the Chilean government describes the possibilities that apples and berries have in Switzerland and Norway. The Chilean government backs exporters to become the leading apple and stonefruit supplier in these countries, just like South Africa is in the UK.

The agreement between Chile and the four EFTA countries (Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Liechtenstein) opens new possibilities to become a leading supplier of fruits.

Chilean exporters believe that these markets are virgins in the consumption of these fruits in summer and winter, and understand that they have room to develop.

The tariff reductions between Chile and EFTA countries allow the South American country to be more competitive in the market of fruit and agricultural products, in general.

Apples, with exports above 5.5million Euro, rank fourth in the Top Ten products that Chile exports to these destinations. Ranking fifth, but about to be outranked by other products, are fresh grapes with 3.6 million Euro.

Among the Top Ten, with sales below the two million Euro but slowly increasing their presence, are raspberries and fresh oranges.

Chile has already analysed both markets and knows that Norway has much more potential for the export of apples while Switzerland has a better potential for the export of raspberries and berries. The Chilean government has already submitted this information to exporters and, in 2015, will begin to design specific actions for Norway and Switzerland.

Source: fyh

Publication date: 1/22/2014


FreshPlaza.com

Relationship between landscape simplification and insecticide use explored

Sep. 5, 2013 — A new UCSB study that analyzed U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Census of Agriculture data spanning two decades (1987-2007) shows that the statistical magnitude, existence, and direction of the relationship between landscape simplification — a term used for the conversion of natural habitat to cropland — and insecticide use varies enormously year to year.

While there was a positive relationship in 2007 — more simplified landscapes received more insecticides — it is absent or reversed in all previous years. The findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS).

The author, Ashley E. Larsen, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology, built on an earlier study published in PNAS by extending the temporal dimension of that analysis. That study found a strong positive relationship between landscape simplification and insecticide use when examining 2007 data for seven midwestern states. Larsen’s results also showed 2007 was positive, with increased land area in cropland leading to increased cropland treated with insecticides. But in 2002 and 1997, there was no statistically significant relationship; 1992 was negative (increased cropland but decreased insecticides); and 1987 was generally negative, but sometimes null depending on the model specification used.

According to Larsen, the increase in agricultural production over the past four to five decades has corresponded to massive changes in land use often resulting in large scale monocultures separated by small fragments of natural land. Ecological theory suggests that these simplified landscapes should have more insect pest problems due to the lack of natural enemies and the increased size and connectivity of crop-food resources.

“There is a debate currently in ecology about what the most efficient land use policy for agricultural production is,” said Larsen. “Some think that complex landscapes are better, that they have minimal effect on the environment, in which case we’d need to grow over a larger area. Others think that we should grow in a concentrated area and preserve what isn’t in agricultural production. This land sparing-land sharing debate is getting a lot of attention. My study results don’t support either land sharing or land sparing. They just show that we don’t really understand how either of those policies will affect insecticide use.”

Larsen used USDA county-level data for 1987, 1992, 1997, 2002, and 2007 as well as from the National Agricultural Statistics Service Cropland Data Layer for 2007 for the same seven Midwestern states as the earlier PNAS analysis — covering more than 600 counties in Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. She performed a single-year cross-sectional analysis for each year followed by a fixed effects analysis for all years together. She then compared fixed effects models with year, county, and year- and county-fixed effects. County-fixed effects control for unobserved effects, such as the soil quality unique to each county, and year effects control for year shocks, such as droughts shared by all counties in the study region.

With just county-fixed effects, the analysis showed a strong negative relationship between landscape simplification and insecticide use. When year-fixed effects were included, that relationship dropped to null. Including both year- and county-fixed effects, the relationship remained null and similar to the year-only model, indicating that year effects are very important.

“It would be very difficult to inform policy questions, such as land sparing or land sharing in terms of insecticide use, if the relationship between landscape simplification and insecticide use flip flops year to year,” concluded Larsen. “These varied results make it hard to say a complex landscape is better or a simplified landscape is better. My next step would be to try to unlock what’s behind that variation.”

ScienceDaily: Agriculture and Food News