Audible Darwin

It is easy to forget sometimes that The Origin of Species actually starts with a lengthy discussion of genetic diversity in crops, ornamentals, livestock and pets, although of course Darwin doesn’t call it that. He calls it “variation under domestication,” and you can now hear his seminal words, by downloading 24 hours’ worth of audio files from here. There’s a also a link to an e-text of the book.

Improved agriculture in the Sahel

The Drylands Coordination Group recently launched a new web page that offers an entry point into a whole swathe of ways in which agriculture in the Sahel can be improved. Diversification is prominent among them, and the Group says the page will be updated regularly. You can subscribe, by email, but there does not seem to be a RSS feed.

Rice stories

The BBC World Service is broadcasting a series of four programmes on the rice cultures of Asia, called Rice Bowl Tales. Starts 28 February, but if you miss it, it seems like the series has already aired on Radio National, and if you follow the link I’ve just given, you should be able to listen online or download audio files.

Impact study with impact

Eldis Agriculture points to a report of a study: Does enhancing information flow to farmers increase rural incomes? Bottom line, it does. At least in the specific Nigerian case studied. Farmers who had taken part in an information project knew more about improved farm practices, had higher incomes, and suffered fewer sick days, although the last difference was not statistically significant. Track down the full report from Eldis.