Curriculum Learning Space

  Agricultural Sciences  


Bio-security:  is a relatively new term, a contraction of the phrase ‘biological security’. It is a strategic and integrated approach that encompasses the policy and regulatory frameworks (including instruments and activities) that analyse and manage risks in the sectors of food safety, animal life and health, and plant life and health, including associated environmental risk. 

Biological farming: is farming in harmony with nature (is working with nature to maximize nature’s power in producing a crop). It is a holistic and sustainable farming system that improves soil health, which in turn improves plant and livestock health. It results in a reduced use of inorganic fertilizers and pesticides. 

Bt or Bacillus thuringiensis: a soil bacterium that makes proteins which are toxic to insects such as maize stalk-borer and bollworm etc. and form a major component of the microbial pesticide industry. 

A co-operative: is an autonomous, association of persons united voluntarily to meet their social, economic and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprise. 

Conservation tillage: is an umbrella classification for several crop production systems such as no-till, zero tillage, ridge-till, mulch-till, reduce-till, minimum-till, stale seedbed, direct seeding and other names. 

Conventional farming: is the established way of farming that 90% of commercial farmers have followed for the past 50 years. It is synonymous with NPK fertilizing practices. The emphasis is on inorganic fertilizers and chemical substances, including harmful pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers to increase crop yields for maximum yields and profits. Conventional farming is not sustainable as crop yields and soil fertility decline over a period. 

Emerging Farmer:  the term is commonly applied both to farmers who are emerging in terms of scale and to farmers who are emerging in terms of lack of skills. Farmers who are emerging in terms of scale battle with problems such as access to markets, quality inputs and finance. 

Fertigation: is a process in which fertilization is done in conjunction with irrigation. It is fast becoming an acceptable method of applying fertilizers to a crop. It is also possible to utilize these techniques for the application of plant protection products. 

Genetic modification: modern techniques used to alter the genetic material of living cells or organisms in order to make them capable of producing new substances or performing new functions. 

Marker assisted selection: the use of molecular markers to follow the inheritance of genes and increase the response to selection in a population. Molecular markers provide a view of what genes are present in a plant, regardless of influence of the environment (phenotype). Normally selection is based upon phenotype. T

he Kyoto Protocol:  was adopted at a Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC in Kyoto, Japan, in December 1997. the Conference resulted in a consensus decision to adopt a protocol under which industrialized countries will reduce their combined greenhouse emissions by at least 5% compared to 1990 levels, in the period 2008 -2012 (this time period is known as ‘first commitment period’). This legally binding commitment promises to produce a historical reversal of the upward trend in emissions that started in these countries some 150 years ago. (more information on the Kyoto Protocol can be found on its official website Kyoto Protocol and on the UNFCCC Climate Change Information Kit Kyoto Protocol Fact Sheet – visit 

Hydroponics: the term hydroponics when translated directly, hydroponics means plant working (growing) in water. The word ‘hydroponics’ is derived from two Greek words: ‘hydro’ – meaning water; and ‘ponos’ – meaning labour.A modern definition of hydroponics: A system where plants are grown in a growing media or substrate other than natural soil. All the nutrients are dissolved in the irrigation water and supplied at a regular basis to plants/crops. It is the cultivation of plants/crops in nutrient-rich solution rather than in soil. 

Tissue culture: is the cultivation of plant cells, tissues or organs on specially formulated nutrient media under sterile conditions. Under appropriate conditions, a whole plant can be regenerated from a single cell, permitting the rapid production of many uniform plants. 

Transgenic organism: an organism in which a foreign gene ( a transgene) is incorporated into its genome. The transgene is present in both somatic and germ cells, is expressed in one or more tissues and is inherited by offspring in a Mendelian fashion.