Google+ 2012


Effects of Heat Stress on Milk Production in Cattle

by Yadav Sharma Bajagai

Reduction in milk production is one of the major economic impacts of climatic stress in dairy cattle. Decrease in milk yield due to heat stress is more prominent in Holstein than in Jersey cattle [1]. Decreased synthesis of hepatic glucose and lower non esterified fatty acid (NEFA) level in blood during heat stress [2, 3, 4] causes reduced glucose supply to the mammary glands resulting low lactose synthesis which in turn ensues low milk yield [5]. Reduction in milk yield is further intensified by decrease in feed consumption by the animals to compensate high environmental temperature [5, 6].

Role of Methane in Global Warming

Although the proportion of CH4 in the atmosphere is very low compared to CO2, the relative contribution of CH4 to global warming is high due to the high radiative forcing contributed by this gas. The global atmospheric concentration of methane reached 1774 ppb in 2005 compared to 1732 ppb in the early 1990s and only 715 ppb in the pre-industrial era (figure). This increase in atmospheric concentration of CH4 is responsible for radiative forcing of +0.48 ± 0.05 W m–2 which is second only to that contributed by CO2 due to CH4 having approximately 25 times higher global warming potential (GWP)  compared to CO2. Therefore, reduction in CH4 emission is more effective and probably an easier strategy than reducing CO2 emission.

Figure: Trend in the increase in atmospheric concentration of CH4 over the last 10,000 years and since 1750 (inset) with corresponding radiative forcing. Source: IPPC (2007)

P.S. References available on request.

Major issues about the Safety of Meat in Nepal

by Yadav Sharma Bajagai

Safety of meat sold and consumed in Nepal is a major concern since long and debate about the legislation and its enforcement to assure safe meat to public has been continuing for more than a decade. Recent incidence about import of frozen chicken by International food chain Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) from India once again makes meat safety the issue of widespread public and media interest. Government has suspended the suspected officials and started the investigation. This is out of scope for this article but issues about meat safety and enforcement of legislation has been discussed here. 

Role of Ruminant Animals in Global Climate Change

Ruminant animals are great contributors to the human food chain due to their ability to utilize complex polysaccharides in plant cell walls (cellulose, hemicelluloses and pectin), which are otherwise non digestible to any of the mammalian digestive enzyme and turn these into meat and milk for human consumption. Digestion of these polysaccharides in ruminant diets is attributable to anaerobic biodegradation of these compounds into their respective monomers by microorganisms (bacteria and fungi) present in the forestomach of the animals. In spite of their contribution to the human food chain, ruminant animals are often debated as one of the contributing factors in global climate change due to the emission of CH4 as a byproduct of fermentative digestion of feedstuffs in the forestomach. In addition, production of methane by ruminants causes a significant amount of feed energy loss which could be used for animal growth and production if methane production is prevented.

International Debate on Climate Change: Developed Countries Vs Developing Countries

by Yadav Sharma Bajagai

In 2009, the United Nations climate change conference was held in Copenhagen, Denmark. There was a widespread hope to the world community about the conference that it would bring a significant policy and commitment to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases. But, the conference couldn’t make a consensus decision and thus the accord of the conference was not passed unanimously. The seeds of the debate seem to be sown in Kyoto protocol in which principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities” has been initiated. According to this principle developed and industrialised countries which led the industrial revolution are responsible for most of the greenhouse gases now in the atmosphere and therefore should bear a greater responsibility for combating climate change. As a consequence of this principle in Kyoto protocol some large developing nations such as China and India were exempted from the same emissions-reductions obligations as developed countries. Developing countries want rich countries to take bold action to cut their greenhouse emission but developed countries like USA are seemed to be reluctant as it would affect their economy. Furthermore, the developed nations want the same level of commitment and action from high emitting developing nations like China and India but the developing nations led by China and India still oppose taking on mandatory obligations to reduce their emissions. This debate of ‘who is responsible and who should take action’ distracting the world leader from the real problem. 

Management of Heat Stress in Horse

by Yadav Sharma Bajagai

Any physiological, metabolic, behavioral and performance abnormality in animals due to inability of thermoregulatory mechanism to regulate normal body temperature during high ambient temperature can be referred to as heat stress. Heat stress is not only the concern of only tropical region but also a matter of major apprehension in sub-tropical and temperate regions too as frequent spells of high ambient temperature and gradual rise in global atmospheric temperature is being experienced in many of the temperate regions of the world due to global climate change.

Heat stress is one of the greatest climatic challenges faced by horses affecting animal health and welfare in the area of the world where ambient temperature often exceeds upper critical temperature. 

Principle of management of heat stress during hot weather is to hasten the heat loss and avoid the heat gain as far as possible.

Socioeconomic factors affecting the scenario of the first influenza (swine flu) pandemic of 21st century

by Yadav Sharma Bajagai

During March-April 2009, a new episode of highly contagious respiratory infection (influenza) was emerged from Mexico which was found to be caused by a novel strain of the influenza virus H1N1 believed to be originated from swine and thus widely called as swine flu. The disease soon spread widely across many countries through human to human transmission and World Health Organization (WHO) declared that as first influenza pandemic of 21st century with pandemic alert phase 6 on 11 June 2009. The disease has been declared to move into post-pandemic phase on 10 August 2010. It was estimated that more than 200 million people were affected worldwide from this pandemic influenza causing death of more than 17000 people . Children, young adults and pregnant women were particularly susceptible to the disease.

After its first appearance in Mexico and California during March and early April 2009, the influenza was reported by 208 countries till the end of 2009. The number of countries increased to 214 till April 2010. Although the spread of disease was more gradual in Northern hemisphere spreading from USA to Spain, England, Japan and Germany, the disease spread quickly in Southern hemisphere affecting most of the countries. The countries affected by the disease and death of people due to the pandemic are depicted in figure 1.


Figure 1: Countries affected by 2009 pandemic influenza and cumulative death of the people. Source: WHO.

Aid Dependency in Africa: An Example of 'Shifting the Burden' System Archetype

by Yadav Sharma Bajagai

Development aid or assistance is the major financial source in developing countries after rich countries made an agreement in 1970 to donate 0.7% of their gross national income annually as official international development assistance. However, it is widely criticized that these development aids have more negative impacts than benefits in overall socioeconomic developments of poorer nations. The development aid in Africa and its long term impact has been described here as an example of ‘shifting the burden’ system archetype. 

Figure: Causal Loop Diagram of Aid dependency in African Nations

Mechanisms of Controlling Body Temperature in Animals

Major Mechanisms that Animals use to Control Body Temperature (Thermoregulatory Mechanisms in Animals)

by Yadav Sharma Bajagai

Major Impacts of climate change on animals are due to thermal stress resulting from increased ambient temperature. This article has been posted to illustrate how animals control their body temperature. This will help to find/design adaptation methods against climate change effects. 

The first line of defense animal use to maintain body temperature in unfavorable ambient temperature is behavioral response to manage heat loss or gain [1]. Seeking shelter in hot day or sun in cold day and altering body posture according to temperature to minimize or maximize relative body surface area to alter heat loss or gain are major behavioral response to maintain body temperature by cattle [1].

Animals can maintain its body temperature within narrow range irrespective of ambient temperature due to metabolic heat production [2, 3]. Control in heat production is mediated either with autonomic or voluntary thermoregulatory process.

Food Safety Regulation in Nepal

by Yadav Sharma Bajagai

1         Introduction


Being member of different international organizations, Nepal has many food safety related obligations to comply with rules and regulations of those organizations. Food safety related issues started to become matter of increased concern and one of the priority areas of the government after the country has become member of the world trade organization (WTO) in 2004.

Being a developing country, food chains are generally long in developing countries like Nepal as compared to those in developed countries due to poor infrastructure which makes the food more vulnerable to be contaminated with harmful agents (microorganism and chemicals). In addition, infrastructures related to technical regulation, conformity assessment and safety of food are still in developing phase which requires more focus and investment for better functioning. Similarly, Inspections and regulation of food related business are challenging and difficult due to scattered and large number of primary producers, traders and retailers. 

2         Legislations to regulate food safety


Regulation of the safety of food in Nepal began in 1966 by enforcing the food act by the government.  Although food safety regulation began as early as 1966, its importance was increased after 1990s due to increased economic liberalization and international trade. Traditionally, food safety related rules and regulations were basically based on inspecting and analysing end products to ensure safety of the food. But this approach has been increasingly replaced by total quality management i.e. ‘farm to fork’ approach which focuses on all level of production, processing, transportation and trading. Modern food safety related regulations and policies have been generally formulated following codex principles and guidelines focussing on preventive measures to produce safe food. Similarly, existing regulations and standards have also been reviewed to make them complying with codex standards wherever feasible according to national regulation and infrastructures. 

Emission of Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) from Livestock Sector of Nepal

by Yadav Sharma Bajagai

Intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPPC) has classified the sources of greenhouse gases into six major source categories (energy, industrial processes, solvent and other product use, agriculture, land-use change and forestry and waste) each of which has further been divided into several sub-categories. Livestock is one of the sub-groups of the sources of greenhouse gases under the agriculture group. Methane (CH4) from enteric fermentation and CH4 and nitrous oxide (N2O) from livestock manure management are two major greenhouse gases emitted from livestock sector.

Greenhouse gas inventory of the country from livestock sector has been prepared by using the Tier 1 emission estimation method of IPPC by using default emission factors for different categories of animals. The data has been assembled and analysed by using 2006 IPCC Software for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories version 1.96. 

Livestock sector of Nepal is responsible to emit 12,295 Gg of CO2 equivalent annually which is 23% of total national gross GHGs emission per annum in terms of CO2 equivalent. Buffalo are the largest source of greenhouse gases (mainly CH4) followed by cattle. Livestock sector produces 583 Gg of CH4 and 0.2 Gg of N2O annually. Ninety percent of CH4 is from enteric fermentation and 10 % is from manure management while total amount of N2O is from manure management. Share of buffalo, cattle, goat, sheep, pig and equine (horses, asses, mules etc) to produce enteric CH4 are 51.9%, 38.5%, 8.8%, 0.2% and 0.1% emitting 270.9 Gg, 201.0 Gg, 45.9 Gg, 4.0 Gg, 1.1 Gg and 0.5 Gg of CH4 respectively per annum. Likewise, buffalo, cattle, poultry, pig, goat, sheep and equine are responsible for emitting 24.5 Gg (41.6%), 16.8 Gg (28.5%), 10.7 Gg (18.2%), 5.1 Gg (8.7%), 1.7 Gg (2.8%), 0.1 Gg (0.2%) and 0.04 Gg (0.1%) of CH4 from manure management. 

Impacts of Climate Change on Dairy Cattle

 by Yadav Sharma Bajagai

1    Introduction

Warming of climate system of the earth is a unanimously accepted reality [1] and probably one of the most prominent challenges for scientists, development workers, policy makers and other relevant stakeholders regarding development and sustainability in international and national arena during past several years. Intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPPC) has described climate change as any anthropogenic or naturally occurring alteration in the climate over time [1]. The World Bank has published ‘world development report 2010’ with the title “development and climate change” as an example to depict the importance of this issue.

Global warming is attributable to increase in atmospheric concentration of green house gases (mainly CO2, CH4 and NO2) as a result of human activities since the industrial revolution [1, 2]. Concentration of total green house gases in the atmosphere has been increased by more than 75% from 1970 to 2004 [3] (figure 1). These trace gases have significant contribution to increase radiative forcing at the atmosphere [4] resulting in net positive forcing of +1.6 W m-2 since 1750 [5]. Emissions of green house gases (GHG) at current rate would result in more warming of global climate in 21st century than during 20th century [1]. Atmospheric temperature of the earth has been increased by 0.74±0.18 0C in 20th century and predicted to be increased by 1.8 to 4 0C by the end of 21st century [1]. Scientists have envisioned that global temperature rise above 20C may be beyond the bearable limit of present-day societies causing extended and widespread societal and environmental disruptions [6].

World Development Report 2013 - Highlights

The World Bank has recently published its regular publication "The World Development Report 2013". This year the report has been published with the theme "JOB". The report has highlighted the importance of job in development process. Some interesting numerical facts highlighted by the report are as below.
  • 1.6 billion people working for a wage or a salary
  • 1.5 billion people working in farming and self-employment
  • 77% labor force participation by women in Vietnam
  • 28% labor force participation by women in Pakistan
  • 39% of manufacturing jobs are in micro-enterprises in Chile
  • 97% of manufacturing jobs are in micro-enterprises in Ethiopia
  • Double employment growth in a firm in Mexico over 35 years
  • 10 times employment growth in a firm in the United States over 35 years
  • 115 million children working in hazardous conditions
  • 21 million victims of forced labor
  • 600 million jobs needed over 15 years to keep current employment rates
  • 90 million people working abroad
  • 621 million youth neither working nor studying
  • 22 times -  the productivity gap between manufacturing firms in the 90th and 10th percentiles in India
  • 9 times - the productivity gap between manufacturing firms in the 90th and 10th percentiles in the United States
  • 10 million entrants to the labor force per year in Sub-Saharan Africa
  • 30 million post-secondary students in China
  • 3%  international migrants as a share of the world population
  • 60% foreign-born population in Kuwait, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.  

Global Food Security Index 2012 – Nepal in 79th Rank

'Economic Intelligence Unit' of 'the Economist' has recently published "Global Food Security Index 2012". According to the report, Nepal scored 35.2 (highest score 89.5 – USA) out of 100 (where 100 is most favorable) and placed in 79th rank out of 105 countries ranked.  Nepal is in 4th rank (after Uganda, Kenya and Myanmar) among low income (US$ 1005 per capita or less) countries where countries are grouped by the World Bank income group classifications. Nepal is in the second last position in South- Asia (first being Bangladesh). Kongo is in the last place scoring 18.4. 

Global Food Security Index uses the following definition of food security to calculate the index.
“When people at all times have physical, social and economic access to sufficient and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs for a healthy and active life”.