Tag: Development

More cassava for less time

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Aeroponic-cassava_resized

Aeroponics involves growing the cassava with its roots suspended in air and automatically sprayed with a special solution. Photo by: Neil Palmer / CIAT


By  | Apr 5, 2018


Cassava has a relatively long growth cycle compared to other important crops. It takes an average of 10-12 months — sometimes up to 24 months! — for farmers to harvest the roots; maize, rice, and potato’s growth cycles span less than a third of that.

In other words, farmers can grow cassava at most once a year, or, in some cases, every two years. Dr. Michael Gomez Selvaraj, a CIAT crop physiologist, is working to change that.

There is very little understanding of how and why few roots in cassava turn into organs that store starch, the part of the crop most valued by rural communities and industry.

Together with his colleagues at the CIAT Phenomics Platform, Selvaraj is developing a method that will lead to identifying the genes and factors that cause early bulking of roots. This will help them establish how to shorten the growth cycle of cassava to as little as seven months.

In addition, the technique will help identify the genes and factors that can increase the number of storage roots, so farmers can sell more of these in the market.

A novel technique

The method being tested by Selvaraj and his team involves growing the cassava with its roots suspended in air and automatically sprayed with a special solution.

Known as aeroponics, it offers a controlled environment for breeders to identify the genes that trigger early bulking of roots and the conversion of fibrous roots — which are all what the cassava initially has — to storage roots.

In the past, breeders would need to dig up the root from the soil to study the genetic traits of cassava. But it was difficult to isolate genes as the plant interacted with numerous elements in and around the soil, such as insects, fungi, bacteria, and other microorganisms.

With aeroponics, breeders can see how and when some roots start to swell and become starch storage organs. Root swelling is the crucial step toward cassava yield. As such, if breeders can learn to manipulate the genes that induce this swelling, they can manipulate cassava yield.

Apart from locating which gene triggers early root bulking, Selvaraj and his team want to know at which point such a gene does this and why the plant selects certain fibrous roots to become storage roots. Temperature and certain types of hormones could be factors, Selvaraj suggested.

With that, breeders will be able to trigger the process of bulking of roots at the earliest possible time and of increasing the number of storage roots the plant develops.

In the future as such, a cassava variety whose roots start bulking at the fourth month and that only has at most 10 storage roots might have roots that would begin bulking from the second month and have 20 storage roots.

“If we can double the storage roots, farmers will have an equivalent of two harvests in one growing season,” said Selvaraj.

Next steps

Selvaraj aims to follow up his experiment with trials to test how the cassava would perform in the field. And he plans to do this again without having to dig up the root from the soil.

One part of the trials will involve the use of the so-called ground-penetrating radar technology or GPR.

GPR can detect objects underneath the surface. It has numerous applications in several fields such as engineering, military, and archeology.

“But this is the first time that the technology will be used on plants,” according to Selvaraj.

GPR can validate whether the roots of cassava are bulking early as expected. A study found it to be a suitable technology to predict and estimate storage root growth of cassava.

Another part of the future trials will entail using drones to see how the crop is performing depending on the type of soil and level of nutrients. Knowledge of the proper timing for fertilizing cassava is still limited, and drones can provide valuable information on this.

For instance, if the amount of nitrogen is low, the plant will likely be short. But with the right amount of nutrients, the plant will likely grow tall.

For farmers, the taller the cassava plant, the better. This means they have more planting materials for the next growing season, as farmers only need stem cuttings to propagate the crop.

“With the combination of all these innovative technologies, we are hopeful that one day farmers can produce more cassava in less time,” Michael Selvaraj said. “More importantly, this allows them to earn more and have more to feed their families.”

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Additional information:

The project titled “Low-cost 3D Phenotyping of Cassava Roots” is funded by the U.K. Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and is a partnership between CIAT and the University of Nottingham’s Computer Vision Laboratory.

The use of GPR by the Phenomics Platform is supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and forms part of the partnership between CIAT, Texas A&M University, and IDS North America Ltd.


Article Disclaimer: This article was published by the CIAT and retrieved on 04/09/2018 and posted here for information and educational purposes only. The views and contents of the article remain those of the authors. We will not be held accountable for the reliability and accuracy of the materials. If you need additional information on the published contents and materials, please contact the original authors and publisher. Please cite the authors, original source, and INDESEEM, Inc. accordingly.


 

Meeting on Liberia: Peacebuilding Commission Ambassadorial Level meeting on Liberia

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UNDP-Liberia 2018

The people of Liberia have demonstrated resilience and readiness for democratic progress and a resolve to move forward on a path of development. Credit: UNDP.

 


By Achim Steiner | UNDP Administrator | March 13, 2018 |


As prepared for delivery.

At a time of much upheaval in the world, it is a distinct pleasure to meet here today to acknowledge Liberia’s impressive progress and discuss the path forward as the country enters the next phase of its development. While the era of peacekeeping will come to a successful close at the end of this month, long-term success demands sustained focus. Liberia’s partners cannot afford not to invest in Liberia’s future. There are far too many examples of reversal of peace and development at moments such as this to ignore the risks, as we all heard last week from the Secretary-General during his remarks to the General Assembly on Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace.  Our support to sustainable development going forward must focus carefully on issues that will secure the peace.

The people of Liberia have already taken the first step in sustaining peace through a successful election and a seamless transition. They have demonstrated resilience and readiness for democratic progress and a resolve to move forward on a path of development. Liberia’s endowment of national resource constitutes an important opportunity if well-managed to promote the aspirations of the people. While the recent achievements deserve to be celebrated the road ahead for Liberia is marked by challenges. The country faces significant economic constraints brought about by the global slump in commodity prices, a narrowing fiscal space and a slow recovery from the Ebola crisis.  Challenges concerning national reconciliation, human rights, rule of law, marginalization of the periphery and basic governance capacity also remains.

The outcome of the election shows that the people of Liberia stand behind a pro-poor vision founded on a decentralized, people-centered approach seeking to narrow the gap between rich and poor and fight corruption. The formulation of the National Development Agenda for 2018-2024 offers a great opportunity to build on the President’s vision and fully incorporate the SDGs with an emphasis on education, health, gender equality and an inclusive economy focusing on jobs especially for women and youth as well as address the key elements of the Liberia Peacebuilding Plan.

The UN Country Team, of course, remains in Liberia after UNMIL’s departure and will spearhead the Secretary-General’s concept of a new generation of Country Teams tailored to national priorities and ensuring the continued availability of UN expertise to the country in critical areas. It will naturally be a reduced UN footprint compared to the peacekeeping era but the Secretary-General has requested a strengthened Resident Coordinator’s Office and the establishment of a Multi-Partner Trust Fund for Liberia to ensure our strong, coherent and coordinated support to the country’s efforts in implementing its vision and achieving the SDGs which will ultimately lead to sustained peace for the people of Liberia. While the MPTF will initially be based on the United Nations Development Assistance Framework and informed by the priorities of the peacebuilding plan, it will ultimately be one of the principle mechanisms in implementing the next national development plan and achieving the SDGs.  The MPTF will ensure that strategic seed funding for priorities is available for both government institutions and UN Agencies. that not only includes sustained financial support but also ensures a coordinated and coherent approach to achieving peace.

We cannot expect the government of Liberia to meet the broad and demanding challenges they face without our continued support. In this regard, I would like to thank the Peacebuilding Configuration for their continued support to the government of Liberia and the United Nation during the transition period.  The new Government will continue requiring the direct support from the Peacebuilding Configuration and all international partners.  The “Liberia Moment” on 23 of March presents an important opportunity for the Government, the PBC, and development partners to jointly kickstart the formulation of a Framework of Engagement, that will define the collaboration between the Government of Liberia, the UN and the international community in meeting their obligations with respect to sustaining peace agenda and meeting the SDGs.


 

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This article originally appeared on UNDP and was retrieved on 03/19/2018 and republished here for information and educational purposes only. The views and contents of the article remain those of the authors. We will not be held accountable for the reliability and accuracy of the materials. If you need additional information on the published contents and materials, please contact the original authors and publisher. Please cite the authors, original source, and INDESEEM INCORPORATED accordingly. If you have any question or concern, please send us an email at info@indeseem.org.


 

Innovative wood and furniture testing centre opens in Ghana

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By Juan Pablo Davila | UNIDO | 6 FEB  2018|


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UNIDO-Ghana 2018


ACCRA, 6 February – An innovative, new wood and furniture testing centre in Ghana was officially commissioned today by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) with support from the Government of Switzerland through the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO). Located at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) – Forestry Research Institute of Ghana (FORIG), in Fumesua in the Ashanti Region, the Centre will ensure trade facilitation and support the Government’s efforts in promoting industrialization across all sectors.

The Wood and Furniture Testing Centre (WFTC) is the first of its kind in the West African sub-region and the third in Africa, following Egypt and South Africa, allowing Ghanaian and imported wood and furniture products to be tested to ensure they meet the required trade standards for consumer use and protection. Entrepreneurs in the wood industry will now be able to conduct tests to determine the strength of the materials used in producing wood products, including the bonding quality of plywood, and the durability, stability and strength of tables and chairs. These tests determine the lifespan of wooden products and their ability to perform the functions for which they are designed, and will help to ensure durable wood products in the Ghanaian and global market. The UNIDO Country Representative to Ghana, Fakhruddin Azizi noted that “The UNIDO-SECO partnership has given fruitful results in Ghana and the TCB Programme is truly a flagship example of confidence and trust between strategic partners.”

He encouraged CSIR – FORIG to effectively manage this wood and furniture facility to achieve sustainability and ensure that it creates positive lasting impact for the wood and furniture sector in Ghana and in the global market place.

Daniel Lauchenauer, representing the Embassy of Switzerland in Ghana, emphasized the important contribution the new centre can make towards the enhanced international competitiveness of Ghana’s wood and furniture sector and with this, to a much needed increased diversification of the economy, in line with the objectives of the government of Ghana.

“It is my hope that our support to CSIR – FORIG has a much greater impact and leverages existing government strategies such as the One District, One Factory (1D1F) to go a long way in supporting the wood and furniture industry in Ghana effectively,” added Azizi.

For further information, please contact:

Juan Pablo Davila, Project Manager

UNIDO’s Trade, Investment and Innovation Department (TII)

UNIDO Trade Capacity Building Programme for Ghana

Email

For the full image gallery, please see here



Article Disclaimer


This article originally appeared on UNIDO and was retrieved on 02/19/2018 and republished here for information and educational purposes only. The views and contents of the article remain those of the authors. We will not be held accountable for the reliability and accuracy of the materials. If you need additional information on the published contents and materials, please contact the original authors and publisher. Please cite the authors, original source, and INDESEEM INCORPORATED accordingly. If you have any question or concern, please send us an email at info@indeseem.org.


 

Poor countries spending climate cash on rich world consultants

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By Mantoe Phakathi in Manzini | Published on 02/11/2017 | 11:42 AM |


Even as they plan to demand more cash at UN talks in Bonn this week, poor countries lack the ability to initiate and implement climate projects, according to a senior African diplomat.

Maguga Dam, Swaziland

In Swaziland’s latest drought, the Maguga Dam fell to just 20% capacity, leaving farmers without water for animals and crops (Photo: Deposit Photos)

 

That means money is being sent back to rich countries through consultancy fees.

Slightly more than $10 billion has been pledged to the Green Climate Fund(GCF), an institution that distributes funds from rich countries to developing countries to help them cope with climate change. But the fund has struggled to get project proposals from developing countries and has rejected others that have reached its board.

In an interview with Climate Home News, former chair of the African climate negotiation group Emmanuel Dlamini blamed this on developing countries’ limited ability to prepare applications and carry out the work once they have received the funding.

“Developing countries still hire consultants from developed countries, who often don’t even understand the context, to write proposals and implement adaptation projects,” Dlamini said, ahead of climate talks to be held in Bonn, Germany, starting Monday.

Report: Drought sours future of Swaziland’s sugar growers

Dlamini made an example of a $3 million GCF-funded project aimed at making drought-threatened rural industries in Swaziland more resilient to climate change, which he said had been delayed by lack of skilled people in the country.

“We need to hire a consultant to help in the implementation of the project and the process is delaying the project,” he said, adding: “A lot of developing countries have a similar experience.”

Dlamini, who is also Swaziland’s climate change focal point, said this demonstrates some of the major challenges facing developing countries, apart from funding, which need to be acknowledged.

“Most developing countries don’t even have the capacity to develop their own technology to help them move towards low-carbon development and create jobs in the process,” he said.

Under the 2015 Paris Agreement, countries agreed to mobilise $100bn a year by 2020 to build resilience against climate impacts in developing countries. Because of their historic carbon emissions resulting to climate change, which is disproportionately impacting the global south, northern countries have accepted responsibility for this climate finance.

Demands for further money to be disbursed are set to increase at the talks in Bonn. Especially after US president Donald Trump ruled out making any further contributions to the GCF – even though the US still has not delivered $2bn of its $3bn pledge.

Chair of the least developed countries negotiating group Gebru Jember Endalew told Climate Home News that the conference needed to be one of “finance and support”.

“The LDCs will certainly be calling for greater finance and making sure this issue is heard loud and clear in the negotiating room,” said Endalew.

Dlamini said developing countries were right to make these demands, but more needed to be done so they could stand on their own feet.

Report: Sick of waiting, poor countries prepare to fight climate change alone

In an attempt to address this problem, in July the GCF released $9m to help developing countries build their ability to write proposals and implement projects. Among the beneficiaries were Rwanda, Mauritania, Egypt, Ghana, Jordan, Maldives, Nepal, Tonga and the secretariat of the Pacific community, an organisation governed by 26 Islands and Developing States.

International policy and development advisor at Climate Action Network (CAN), Lucile Dufour, agreed it was crucial to support the most vulnerable countries to develop projects that will help them to build resilient societies and benefit marginalised communities.

“However, to build this capacity, developing countries need support from the richer countries,” she said, adding: “The lack of capacity [in developing countries] cannot be an excuse for not providing sufficient funds.”

Dufour questioned why “scarce resources” were being used to pay experts from rich countries when they were meant for mitigation and adaptation projects in the developing world.

“This is why we need to first build capacity so that [developing] countries can access climate finance and decide on how best to use it,” said Dufour.

Bonn COP23 climate talks

When? 6-17 November, 2017

Where? Bonn, Germany

What? A meeting of 197 parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, where the implementation of the Paris climate agreement will be the major point of negotiations.

Not just Donald Trump news! Climate Home will be taking its biggest ever team to the talks.

How to keep up? Sign up to Climate Home’s newsletterFacebook and Twitter feeds for the most in-depth, dedicated reporting from this critical meeting.

She added that it is also important that decisions were taken by beneficiary countries rather than by donors or multilateral development banks or funds from the developed world.

Rich countries currently prescribe projects to be implemented in developing countries, according to the Pan African Climate Justice Agenda executive director Mithika Mwenda, all the while gobbling up the very money they purport to provide.

“We have witnessed situations where consultants come to helpless African countries to ‘help’, only to develop and impose policies or projects whose contexts are completely away from local realities,” said Mwenda. “The result of this is that these remain just documents, as they lack ownership from the people themselves.”

But he disputed Dlamini’s claim that developing countries, including those from Africa, lack skills to initiate and implement projects, calling it a fallacy advanced by rich countries to delay and eventually justify failure to deliver on the 2020 target of $100bn per year.


Article Disclaimer

This article originally appeared on Climate Home News and was retrieved on 02/06/2018 and republished here for information and educational purposes only. The views and contents of the article remain those of the authors. We will not be held accountable for the reliability and accuracy of the materials. If you need additional information on the published contents and materials, please contact the original authors and publisher. Please cite the authors, original source, and INDESEEM INCORPORATED accordingly. If you have any question or concern, please send us an email at info@indeseem.org.


 

Is digital agriculture the key to revolutionize future farming in Africa?

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By Emebet Tita and Dawit Solomon (CCAFS)|Dec 8, 2017|Low Emissions Development


Stakeholders discuss opportunities and challenges of digital agriculture in Africa.

Digital technology has significantly transformed all sectors of economic development. It has changed our way of living to the extent that it is difficult to imagine life without it. In developed countries, digital technologies and analytics are already transforming agriculture, making farm operations more insight-driven and efficient. However, agricultural productivity in developing countries, especially on the African continent, remains very low and the application of digital technologies still very limited.

Source: Digital Agriculture: Pathway to Prosperity | ICRISAT

In October 2017, the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security in East Africa (CCAFS EA) in collaboration with the University of Copenhagen (UCPH), the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT) Ethiopia, and Ethiopian Agricultural Research Center’s (EIAR) Climate and Geospatial Research Program brought together stakeholders from the private sector, government organizations and universities in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to explore digital agriculture and its potential to transform farming on the continent.

Stakeholders discussed the opportunities that digital agriculture presents and the existing challenges on the ground that need to be taken into consideration in order to successfully embrace and implement digital agriculture in Africa.

In his opening remarks, Dr. Dawit Solomon (CCAFS’s East Africa Regional Program Leader) highlighted that precision agriculture, internet-of-things, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology, crop and soil sensing, weed sensing, disease sensing, new breeding technologies, biologicals, biochips, and new breeding technologies are all innovations that once seemed farfetched but are now becoming an accessible and affordable reality, already in use in some corners of our world.  So how can African countries adopt and deploy these technologies? Can Africa learn from the developed world? Or as Dr. Campbell, Director of CCAFS, puts it, “can Africa leapfrog into a new world in agriculture similar to mobile banking?”

Dr. Svend Christensen, Professor, and Head of Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, emphasized that at the center of it all is data, and how we obtain and use it.

However, most participants highlighted, gathering data, standardizing the collection process and data storage are major challenges. Data collection is scattered and stored in different data silos, in different formats, by different organizations. It is difficult to determine how such data can be integrated and used to make reliable comparisons. Thus, it is evident that collaboration between different stakeholders involved in agriculture is key to obtain and use data efficiently, as well as to reduce the cost of obtaining data.

Dr. Mandefro Nigussie, Senior Advisor with Digital Green, also added the starting point should be establishing a clear understanding of the existing framework of digital agriculture in the different countries, which include the policies, data infrastructure and the stakeholders in play. This can serve as a basis to identify the gaps and leveraging points, in order to commission initiatives that can drive targeted solutions.

Finally, participants also noted that while the potential for digital agriculture in Africa is real, any successful solution should involve the farmer in the design process, focus on the farmer’s real-world needs and devise a two-way flow of information to and from the farmer. It is also necessary that governments create and implement policies conducive to the changing needs of the digital age we live in.

On the following day, selected participants attended the Global Green Growth Week Public-Private Sector roundtable discussion on Transforming African Agriculture organized by CCAFS in collaboration with the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) and the Green Climate Fund (GCF). As a result of the discussions, CCAFS East Africa is now leading the formation of a Public Private Partnership project that is aimed at tackling the challenges related to agriculture data infrastructure. The project is expected to create a digital platform and application, expected to reach over 50,000 smallholder farmers, which will serve as a tool to gather data, communicate and receive intelligence specific to climate, agro-metrology, and market information.

Following the meeting, CCAFS, UCPH, CIMMYT and the EIAR organized site visits for selected participants to the wheat research site at Kulumsa Agricultural Research Centre (KARC) and the Eteya-Huruta wheat belt in Oromia region located over 175 km outside Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

At KARC, participants observed the wheat nursery, test fields, and pilot farmers’ fields. KARC is working on breeding high yield, stem and yellow rust resistant wheat varieties to be distributed to farmers. Farmers are also trained on farm management good practices and provided with mechanization tools for rent.

Test fields from Eteya-Huruta wheat belt in Ethiopia’s Oromia region. Photo: Dawit Solomon (CCAFS)

Driving back to Addis Ababa, away from the fields, much like the one pictured above, one cannot help but imagine that soon the farmer on the field will be using his mobile phone to switch on and off a harvester, a drone is flying over-head conducting soil and field analysis and a satellite somewhere in space is connected to both, storing and exchanging the data in a cloud database, and connecting the different users in the ecosystem.

 

Article Disclaimer: This article was published by the CGIAR-CCAFS and retrieved on 12/20/2017 and posted here for information and educational purposes only. The views and contents of the article remain those of the authors. We will not be held accountable for the reliability and accuracy of the materials. If you need additional information on the published contents and materials, please contact the original authors and publisher. Please cite the authors, original source, and INDESEEM accordingly.


 

 

 

Can development and conservation go hand in hand in Colombia’s Orinoquia region?

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Photo Source: CIAT


by Glenn HymanAug 10, 2017


A diverse group of environmental and private sector specialists met in Bogotá last week to discuss how to achieve sustainable development in Colombia’s Orinoquia region. Meeting participants explored possible scenarios of sustainable development that reconcile nature protection and improve human well-being. Organized by the Science for Nature and People Partnership (SNAPP), participants discussed potential development scenarios for the principal agricultural and land use sectors and how these might affect biodiversity and ecosystem services in the region. The SNAPP working group on land-use change in the Orinoquia region is a two-year effort to evaluate development impacts on ecosystem services and livelihoods, and how to support planning processes and decision making with scientific analysis.

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Dr. Jaime Bernal of the Colombian Corporation for Agricultural Research (CORPOICA, its Spanish acronym) discussed soil ecosystem services of the Orinoquia region.

Agroindustry representatives and conservation specialists had a unique opportunity to discuss how to balance development and environmental concerns. Participants noted a number of limitations to development in the region, such as lack of transportation infrastructure, lack of timely access to water resources, land tenure insecurity, and corruption. They overwhelmingly agreed that the best future scenario is green growth, with agro-industry representatives recognizing the importance of nature protection and conservation specialists recognizing the importance of improving livelihoods. They also agreed that the worst future scenario is unplanned development or the current trend in the region. However, most participants had a rather negative view of the most likely scenario, which is much closer to the worst-case than the ideal scenario. The discussion highlighted general agreement between agro-industry and conservation specialists on the need for green growth, but difficult challenges, given past experience.

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A group of scientists and conservation specialists discussed key environmental and sustainable development challenges facing the region, such as fire, reducing CO2 emissions, soil health, water resources, biodiversity, and livelihoods. They noted the need to synthesize existing research, how the heterogeneity of the region defies simple generalizations, the importance of understanding the historical dynamics behind the different drivers of change, and the need to adopt whole landscape and participatory approaches in order to integrate sustainable development concerns in the region.

The SNAPP land-use change working group for the Orinoquia region organized the August 2ndBogotá meetings, which included representatives from agro-industry, conservation organizations, government agencies, and university and research institutions. A morning session on August 2ndincluded conservation specialists and scientists discussing key issues related to land-use change impacts on ecosystem services. The working group and officials of the BioCarbon Fund’s Initiative for Sustainable Forest Landscapes (ISFL) held a lunch meeting to discuss how SNAPP could support ISFL, a payment-for-results initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the region. Finally, in the afternoon, representatives of the private sector and conservation specialists met to discuss limitations to development and future scenarios. The working group is developing a partnership with institutions and individuals developing analyses and models to support development planning and decision making in the region. For more information about SNAPP, contact German Forero at the Wildlife Conservation SocietyTomas Walschburger at The Nature Conservancy, or Glenn Hyman at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT).


Article Disclaimer: This article was published by the CIAT and retrieved on 08/10/2017 and posted here for information and educational purposes only. The views and contents of the article remain those of the authors. We will not be held accountable for the reliability and accuracy of the materials. If you need additional information on the published contents and materials, please contact the original authors and publisher. Please cite the authors, original source, and INDESEEM accordingly.


 

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