Unilever SA in sunflower partnership

first_img9 May 2013Consumer goods firm Unilever South Africa has formed a sunflower farming partnership as part of its sustainable living plan and has successfully developed hybrid seeds, which are expected to reduce the country’s dependence on sunflower oil imports.“This project is currently under way in Limpopo province where almost 30 000 hectares of land is under sunflower crops and expected to yield 20% of Unilever’s oil requirements in South Africa,” Unilever said in a statement last week.The partnership involves a private group of farmers, verification company Control Unit and the Central Edible Oils Company, which has links to farmers, co-operatives and silo owners.The group of partners follow Unilever’s Sustainable Agriculture Code, which is a framework to maintain soil fertility, enhance water fertility, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, protect biodiversity and improve the livelihoods of farmers and workers.It falls under the firm’s sustainable living plan, established in 2010 to drive the company’s growth while reducing its environmental footprint.It set a target of 100% sustainably sourced materials by 2020.Unilever also announced it is now sourcing 36% of its agricultural raw materials sustainably, exceeding the 30% target set when the sustainable living plan was launched in 2010.“The initial assessments showed varying gaps against Unilever’s Sustainable Agriculture Code, but through dedicated work between the Centrol Edible Oils Company and the farmers, every participant now meets or exceeds the sustainability criteria,” said Unilever South Africa’s chairperson, Marijn van Tiggelen.In addition to sunflower oil, palm oil was included in the firm’s plan for sustainable sourcing and Green Palm certificates were introduced in 2012.These certificates allow certified growers from the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil to convert their oil into certificates on the green palm market where manufacturers place offers and offset their physical oil with the equivalent amount of certificates.“The producer receives the full value of each certificate, enabling him to reinvest the premium and tackle the environmental and social issues created via palm oil production,” Van Tiggelen said.Further efforts to improve sustainability that have been identified as priority efforts by the company are reducing water use and enhancing development through job creation.“These are noble ambitions and we are not immune to their challenges, but they are underpinned by time-bound targets,” Van Tiggelen said. “While the company has made steady progress towards our goal in the second year, there remains much to do.”SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

South Africa considers compulsory pre-schooling

first_img24 July 2014 The government plans to conduct a review of the relevent legislation that could make it compulsory for all South African children to receive at least two years of pre-school education, says Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga. Speaking to journalists ahead of her department’s budget vote in Parliament in Cape Town on Wednesday, Motshekga said the country’s National Development Plan (NDP) underlined the need for for all children to have at least two years of pre-school education. “The [African National Congress], in its manifesto, echoes this sentiment of making two years of pre-school education compulsory,” the minister said. “Due to success in rolling out early childhood development (ECD) programmes, a legislative review to make schooling for young people aged five to 15 years compulsory is on the cards.” The minister said that a national curriculum framework for children under the age of four years would be piloted in September and rolled out at registered ECD centres from January 2015. “All preparations, like practitioner training and supply of resources, have already started, and will be completed this calendar year.” Motshekga said the first ever impact evaluation of Grade R on learning outcomes was conducted in 2013, and a report was presented to Cabinet in March. “In response to the recommendations made, a management plan has been approved to strengthen the quality of implementation of Grade R schooling in our country, especially in relation to teaching.”Teacher development ‘a major focus area’ Motshekga also announced that, in line with the NDP’s aim to improve results, especially in maths and science, teacher development would be one of her department’s major focus areas over the next five years. This would include ensuring that the conditions of service, recruitment, deployment and development of teachers was closely monitored and properly implemented. In addition, following a recommendation by President Jacob Zuma, a ministerial task team on reading, maths, science and technology had been integrated into the department’s plans. “All of us involved in this sector know very well that in order for us to improve the quality of our education outcomes, instruction has to improve,” she said. Source: SAnews.gov.zalast_img read more

Ohio agriculture needs 100% involvement in water quality efforts

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Matt ReeseIn July, interested parties from around Ohio gathered at Stone Lab on Lake Erie to hear about the science behind the Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) Forecast for Lake Erie in 2018. At the event, Laura Johnson, Director of the National Center for Water Quality Research from Heidelberg University, reported that phosphorus loading in rural waterways has not changed much in recent years since the sharp increases that began in the mid-1990s.“What we have been finding out of the Maumee River hasn’t changed a whole lot over the past 5 to 10 years. We are still getting the same concentrations that we have gotten in the recent past, but that doesn’t mean we are not making progress. There is a lot of effort going into practices that most folks would say are the practices we need to focus on like nutrient management plans, not applying on frozen ground, drainage water management, 4R certification — these are all moving in the right directions. There has been an awful lot of implementation, but we need more,” Johnson said. “The other question that is really important is has there been enough time to tell if these practices are doing their thing? I would argue that is not the case. We are talking about something that took years to get to. I would argue that we just haven’t had enough time and people need to be patient. We wouldn’t expect to see changes this quickly. We have to remember that there are more practices going into place and more funding going into those practices. We also have to remember that it takes time not only for the practices to go into place but for them to lead to these reduced phosphorus levels coming out of the Maumee River and to reduce algal bloom size in Lake Erie.”Hancock County grain and hog farmer Duane Stateler agrees, based on what he has been seeing on his farm since 2017. Stateler is one of three farmers with acreage included in the Blanchard River Demonstration Farms Network to conduct edge of field water monitoring research. The research is a joint effort of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation collaborating with the Natural Resources Conservation Service and a number of stakeholders. The project looks at surface and tile runoff from the farm and nutrient losses, among other things. One reason the Stateler farm was selected for the program was its relatively high phosphorus soil test levels.With all of the #WaterDrama18 that has unfolded this summer, Stateler has been at the forefront of the discussion and served as a strong voice of reason for Ohio agriculture based on his first hand experiences on the farm. When Ohio’s legislators gathered in opposition to executive orders from Gov. John Kasich pushing for distressed watershed designations in northwest Ohio, Stateler was at the microphone. Stateler again provided comments at the Ohio Soil and Water Conservation Commission meeting where it was decided to send the distressed watershed designation discussion to a subcommittee for further review. His statements made a powerful argument to buy agriculture more time in the face of looming regulations.Stateler, and many in agriculture, are hoping cooler heads prevail in the water quality discussions to allow time for learning through the demonstration farms and other research and for more practices to be implemented and given a chance to work.The edge of field testing looks at both surface and tile run-off.Statelers raise corn, soybeans and wheat on approximately 600 acres in Hancock County and also operate a 7,200 head wean to finish swine operation. They have already learned plenty from the edge of field research being done on 243 acres of their farm through the Blanchard River Demonstration Farms Network. First, Stateler points out that, after studying the data generated from 2017, his farm is indeed losing nutrients.“They always told us that once you put phosphorus in the soil it doesn’t move. We just assumed that it was always there,” Stateler said. “When we put in the edge of field equipment, we found that we had P leaving.”Manure supplies all of the phosphorus (and other nutrient needs). No commercial fertilizer has been used on the farm since 2006. The nitrogen needs for the corn on the farm are supplied by manure, 15 gallons of 28% 2-by-2 at planting and 75 to 100 pounds at sidedressing.Hog manure from the farm was applied for the 2017 crop in early November of 2016 at a rate of 5,000 gallons per acre. The manure was applied with a GenTill system that roughs up the surface of the field (similar to an AerWay) and broadcasts the manure on the surface. There was about an inch of rain in December following the manure application. Edge of field data collection began Jan. 1, 2017.2017 phosphorus loss on the Stateler farm (with Duane’s rainfall amounts added)Through most of the year, nutrient losses were minimal. For 318 days of 2017, the Stateler farm averaged a loss of .075 pounds per acre of dissolved reactive phosphorus and a .24 pounds per acre of total phosphorus load, which is below the desired target of .26 pounds per acre per year set by the Ohio Phosphorus Task Force. The problem, however, was the other 47 days of 2017.“The results for the other 47 days were so bad that the average for the total time period resulted in losses of .54 to 1.9 pounds of dissolved reactive phosphorus per acre and a 2.8- to 5-pound per acre total P load. The target we are shooting for is under .26 dissolved reactive phosphorus and under 1 pound total P load loss per acre for the year,” he said. “We can do a pretty good job even with our high P soil test for the majority of the year but we can also have two-plus years worth of phosphorus loss in just 47 days.”Numerous large rain events caused the losses. During that 47 days of significant nutrient losses there were seven major rain events of over 2 inches within a 24-hour period. The largest single rain amount was 4.1 inches. The biggest nutrient loss took place in early July, 8 months after the manure application with a growing corn crop in full tassel in the field.“Major rains are a piece of the pie. There are way more 2- and 3-inch rain events this decade in comparison to previous decades and we still have two years to go. With these big rains, we have to save every ounce of phosphorus possible because of the elements we can’t control,” Stateler said. “Still, my edge of field is telling me that I am losing less that what some people are saying. We’ve learned more than what I ever thought we’d learn.”Like phosphorus, the largest nitrogen losses in 2017 also occurred in July and November with another significant spike in May accompanied by big rains. The total per acre NO3 loss for 2017 on the Stateler farm was 104.407 pounds and the total nitrogen loss was just over 115 pounds per acre.There is no doubt that many questions remain with regard to nutrient loss from farms, but some answers are starting to emerge as well. First, careful attention to the 4Rs, starting with accurate grid soil testing, can do a number of positive things for minimizing nutrient loss.“Everyone needs to be aware of how much fertilizer can be lost when we do not use proper timing prior to a rain and the placement of nutrients as critical parts of the 4Rs,” Stateler said.In addition, managing the water leaving tile lines can have real value in water quality.“If we can manage the water leaving our tile we have seen that we can make a definite immediate impact on what we are losing,” Stateler said. “Across any tiled field, the 30 inches of soil does a pretty consistent job of pulling the P out regardless of soil type. Even though we are taking a lot of phosphorus out by the time it drains through 30 inches of soil profile and using that as a filter, we still have P coming out of our tile.”Nutrient losses from an open tile can be fairly consistent through the year compared to the large dramatic spikes of losses from surface runoff with big rain events. To address the problem, Stateler has installed water control structures that can close the tile off completely or raise and lower the water table between the surface of the field and tile level. The nutrient loss reductions through the tile lines have been significant.“If we can get by with drainage only three or four months a year we can slow that constant drip from the tile going into the streams,” Stateler said. “The water control structures on our farm were opened April 1 and were partially closed to set the water table 16 inches below the soil surface June 10 after sidedressing of the corn. The tile was closed off after harvest. If we can manage that water we are still losing nutrients out of the tile, but it is within the range of acceptable losses. We will spend about $4,000 for 50 more acres of controlled drainage structures. If we would get a 5% yield increase in a couple of dry years, it pays for itself.”In comparison, surface nutrient losses on Stateler’s farm were more dramatic than tile with the frequent and heavy rains in 2017 accounting for the majority of nutrient loss.“The surface losses are larger but in a shorter time duration,” he said. “And the surface loss issues are harder to control. If you get seven major rain events, you’re going to have some surface runoff. We can keep the ground covered, though. A cover crop can absorb nutrients and put them in the roots where the microbes can get to it and use it for the next crop. That reduces what we have leaving the field. It is amazing the difference a cover crop can make when it comes to reducing losses.”Recent research from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service (ARS) looking at edge of field research data show very significant reductions in nitrogen loss with a mustard cover crop. So far, cover crops have not been used on the Stateler’s portion of the Demonstration Farms.“The use of cover crops is going to have to increase. We have so far run the baseline with our edge of field research without cover crops,” he said. “So, when we put cover crops on next year we can get a handle on what is happening pretty quickly. Cover crops will be the first variable we change in our edge of field research.”The Statelers also plan on adding deep incorporation of manure to assess the impacts on nutrient loss. ARS research has found a roughly 70% reduction in the concentration of dissolved reactive phosphorus in runoff when fertilizer is injected. With a baseline established with surface application of manure on the Stateler farm, they will start side-by-side comparisons with deep injection to see the results in the near future.With growing political pressure, Stateler emphasizes the need for broad and rapid adoption of these practices within Ohio agriculture.“The people in Toledo get to see this green water in the Lake, on their television and in the newspaper and they are living it. We have to make a major effort to understand what they have to live with. We have to be responsible on our end and if we don’t take it to heart it will be legislated to us. If this is legislated, this will immediately affect the smaller farmers more than the larger farmers. Larger farms can spread these costs out over more acres. I am afraid legislative action is going to hurt the smaller guys especially,” Stateler said. “There is no one thing that will solve this problem and it will take years to solve it. Incorporating nutrients will only influence the surface runoff and tile control structures are only feasible on maybe 40% of the tiled acreage. We can’t do cover crops on every acre because of rental agreements and so forth but where we can save any phosphorus, we have to do what we have to do to save it. We need 100% buy-in on this from agriculture.”last_img read more

Joel Embiid, 76ers send Knicks reeling to 18th straight loss

first_imgUS judge bars Trump’s health insurance rule for immigrants Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid leaps into the stands while chasing a loose ball during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the New York Knicks, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019, in New York. The 76ers won 126-111. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)NEW YORK — With a big lead and bigger games ahead, Joel Embiid could have opted for safety.He could have simply let the ball go out of bounds, without putting a scare into people in the 76ers’ front office or along the Madison Square Garden sideline.ADVERTISEMENT Knicks: Dennis Smith Jr. had 13 points and DeAndre Jordan, who came with him from Dallas in the Kristaps Porzingis trade, scored 12.KANTER’S CHANCECoach David Fizdale said he was happy for Enes Kanter, who announced Wednesday he was signing with the Portland Trail Blazers. The Knicks waived their former starting center last Thursday after they weren’t able to find a trade for him.“Seriously, that’s a great deal for him,” Fizdale said. “He landed with a playoff team.”PAY UPEmbiid was fined $25,000 for his public criticism of the officiating, which included profanity, following Tuesday’s loss.“I knew what I was getting into,” Embiid said. “I haven’t seen the Last 2-Minute Report but I did get fouled and everybody knew that. I felt like it changed the outcome of the game. The game could have been tied and I was in the heat of the moment.”The report did say Al Horford should have been called for fouling Embiid with 35 seconds remaining.UP NEXT76ers: Host Miami on Feb. 21. Philadelphia seemed headed for a rout when it scored eight straight points in the third to open an 88-62 advantage after a free throw by Simmons, but the Knicks put up 36 points in the period and were within single digits going to the fourth.It was during the third that Embiid gave the 76ers and plenty of people sitting courtside a scare when he tried to chase down a ball going to the sideline. He went flying just over the head of actress Regina King , who won the Best Supporting Actress award at the Golden Globes, and crashed feet-first into the MSG Network statistician working next to broadcaster Mike Breen.“It’s good that I saved her life I guess, but someone else had to, like, take that,” Embiid said. “I’m sorry about that.”Philadelphia coach Brett Brown’s thoughts on Embiid’s dive?“Just like I think our owners and our fans back home were thinking,” he said. “You respect his aggression, and his passion, but you don’t want that. I say that out of love and care. It’s stuff you hope to avoid.”The statistician somehow stayed in the game.“I didn’t see him but I know he’s going to feel it tomorrow,” Simmons said.The Knicks had their moments, highlighted by rookie Kevin Knox’s powerful slam over Simmons . But they don’t have the firepower to beat a team like the 76ers, or anyone else in the league over the last 2 ½ months.TIP-INS76ers: Philadelphia has won the last eight meetings. … Jimmy Butler had 13 points, eight assists and seven rebounds. … Embiid had his 10th straight double-double. View comments Knicks: Visit Atlanta on Thursday.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss LATEST STORIES ‘We are too hospitable,’ says Sotto amid SEA Games woescenter_img That’s not his style.“I only know one way to play and that’s to play hard and compete,” Embiid said.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine ‍football chiefSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesThe All-Star center had 26 points, 14 rebounds and one flying leap over an award-winning actress into the crowd, and Philadelphia handed the Knicks their 18th straight loss with a 126-111 victory on Wednesday night.Tobias Harris scored 25 points and Ben Simmons had 18 for the 76ers, who bounced back from their 112-109 home loss to Boston on Tuesday, sending themselves into the All-Star break with a 37-21 record. They went 7-5 during a difficult stretch of their schedule that included the trade with the Clippers to acquire Harris. Celtics rally in 2nd half to end Pistons’ win streak MOST READ Grace Poe files bill to protect govt teachers from malicious accusations Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Oil plant explodes in Pampanga town Oil plant explodes in Pampanga town ‘We are too hospitable,’ says Sotto amid SEA Games woes “We’re in a good position,” Simmons said.They had times Wednesday where it appeared they’d win easily, and other moments where the game became much more difficult than necessary against the team with the NBA’s worst record.Allonzo Trier scored 19 points and fellow rookie Mitchell Robinson had 14 points and 13 rebounds for the Knicks (10-46), who remain mired in the longest losing streak during one season in franchise history.“All we can do is keep building on the good things we’re doing and try to fix the things that are mistakes for us,” Trier said.The 76ers made 14 of 18 shots (78 percent) in the first quarter, yet only led 37-33 after the Knicks outworked them on the offensive boards to get up nine more shot attempts. Philadelphia then pushed the lead to 71-55 at halftime.ADVERTISEMENTlast_img read more

9 months agoBournemouth boss Eddie Howe: Everton defeat hard to take

first_imgBournemouth boss Eddie Howe: Everton defeat hard to takeby Paul Vegas9 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveBournemouth boss Eddie Howe refused to criticise his players after defeat at Everton.Goals from Kurt Zouma and Dominic Calvert-Lewin sealed the three points for the hosts, who move up to tenth. Howe said, “It’s a difficult one to take and one that is similar to our recent run. Personally, I’m really pleased with our performance.”We started strongly, created chances, defended well and then we switched off for a second and got punished. The game is then more difficult. We penned them in but couldn’t get that goal. “At the time, I thought the first penalty shout on Brooks probably was a penalty. I haven’t seen it back, so I may be wrong. At the end, I’ve then been told there was a stonewall, but that’s the way things are going for us at the moment. “In terms of Andre Gomes, certainly from my view, I thought the first one could’ve been a yellow, as well as the second. If you add them together, he is lucky to stay on the pitch. I haven’t seen back the one at the end, though.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

11 days agoEx-Man City boss Pearce urges Foden to leave

first_imgEx-Man City boss Pearce urges Foden to leaveby Paul Vegas11 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveFormer Manchester City manager Stuart Pearce has advised Phil Foden to leave the club on loan in January.The 19-year-old has appeared just three times for City this season, and Pearce is adamant the midfielder needs playing time at a vital stage of his young career.He told talkSPORT: “In January, he [Foden] really needs to look at where he is at the moment.”Game time is absolutely vital for a player of his age.He’s coming to that age where he needs to play some games.”I think six months out on loan, if he hasn’t broken into the team, would do him the world of good.”Guardiola loves the kid to bits, but the bottom line is, you’ve got to play.”Frank’s chucked a few youngsters in at Chelsea and that’s probably brought Foden’s name to the fore a little bit more, because he isn’t getting game time.”You and I know the best experiences come from game time and not training.” TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

3 days agoReal Madrid must sell to buy Tottenham star Eriksen

first_imgTagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Real Madrid must sell to buy Tottenham star Eriksenby Paul Vegas3 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveReal Madrid must sell in January if they’re to buy Tottenham star Christian Eriksen.AS says Madrid president Florentino Perez is keen to free up the wage bill before dipping back into the transfer market for new players. Players at the top of Madrid’s departure list are Mariano Díaz, Brahim Díaz and Isco. The latter could be of interest to Spurs as manage Mauricio Pochettino has long been an admirer of the Spaniard. Their current league form may not provide an attractive proposition for the playmaker, however. last_img read more

Why did you do that my dear cousin People in Lac Simon

first_imgDanielle Rochette Tom Fennario APTN National NewsLAC SIMON, QUE — Joseph Anthony Raymond-Papatie, 22, posted on his his Facebook page at 10:28 pm on Saturday, shortly before he took his own life.“Sorry everyone, I gotta go now. I killed a cop,” he wrote.The “cop” in question was Thierry Leroux, 26, who was shot and killed after responding to a domestic disturbance call at Raymond-Papatie’s residence.Now the Algonquin community of Lac-Simon is taking the tentative first steps towards healing.“It was me who asked to do a prayer in front of the police station, to make a big circle, and I know that there were many that were touched,” said Lac-Simon elder Jeannette Brazeau.Impeding the healing process here are questions about what made Raymond-Papatie shoot Leroux.A quick glance through Raymond-Papatie’s Facebook profile reveals a gun aficionado who had joined the armed forces.But Vice-Chief Pamela Papatie told APTN National News that he was also active in the community.“He was involved in activities after work and school, like crossfit. I’ve seen him do substitute teaching at the high school,” says Vice-Chief Pamela Papatie.APTN National News learned that Raymond-Papatie had recently lost an uncle to suicide, something that happens all too frequently in Lac-Simon.Over crowded housing, drug, alcohol abuse, and poverty are also listed by residents as issues that plagued the First Nation, which sits about 500 kilometres northwest of Montreal.Vice Chief Papatie says five teams of crisis workers have been brought in to help Lac-Simon to help community cope.Still, many spoke today of Lac-Simon needing to look within to tackle what ails the community.“There’s lots of support here, there are services that have been put into place here in the Mental Health Centre. Me I’m proud of my community but it’s important that the youth goes looking for the resources. Elders too,” said Brazeau.Thierry Leroux had only been a part of the Lac-Simon police force for six months.As a non-Aboriginal officer, Leroux made an effort to implicate himself in the community.“We played volleyball together a couple of times during the holidays. I saw him as always smiling, he was shy but really nice,” said Vice Chief Papatie.Papatie had the opportunity to speak with Leroux’s parents Monday, in front of makeshift flower and tobacco memorial at the police station.“When I went to see them I was very emotional. I thanked them for meeting with me and I gave them my condolences personally and in the name of the community,” she said. “There’s lots of people in my community who are praying for them.”Although a memorial has also been set up in front of Raymond-Papatie’s house, a sense of incomprehension lingers on social media.“Why did you do that, my dear cousin?” said a final comment on Raymond-Papatie’s Facebook page.The message is peppered with teary emoticons of pain and rage.Since there’s no one here who can truly answer that, the people of Lac-Simon will instead continue to look within themselves for an explanation, as they begin their journey back towards normalcy. drochette@aptn.catfennario@aptn.calast_img read more

Mother talks about the struggles of getting by in Nunavut

first_imgKent Driscoll APTN NewsThere’s a statistic that has been around since Nunavut was founded – the territory has Canada’s youngest and fastest growing population.It is often seen as a threat, a territory pressed to provide basic services facing a population bubble.APTN News met with one young mother and she’ll explain that in Nunavut, the challenges are basic, and daily.kdriscoll@aptn.ca@kentdriscolllast_img

Conditional ban on Pak will not work Gambhir

first_imgNew Delhi: Sharing his views on the demand to boycott Pakistan in the upcoming 2019 World Cup in the wake of the Pulwama terror attack, former India opener Gautam Gambhir on Monday said a conditional ban on the neighbouring country will not work. Known for being forthright, Gambhir also said that India should even be prepared to “forfeit” the final of the World Cup tournament starting on May 30 in England and Wales, if it comes up against Pakistan in the title clash. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over Chandigarh”This is what BCCI needs to decide and I have always maintained there can’t be conditional bans…either you don’t play them anywhere or open doors for them…what’s happened in Pulwama is absolutely not acceptable,” Gambhir told mediapersons here. “I am sure it’s going to be difficult to boycott Pakistan in World Cup but they are not playing them in bilaterals…best they can do is stop playing in Asia Cup as well, that’s what I believe,” the 37-year-old said. Also Read – Vijender’s next fight on Nov 22, opponent to be announced laterCiting the example of the 2003 World Cup when England lost two points after refusing to travel to Zimbabwe, Gambhir also urged the nation to stand behind the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) if it decides to boycott Pakistan, and India fails to qualify for the semis of the showpiece event as a result. “If BCCI decides that India should not play Pakistan, they should be mentally ready and the country should be too. It can’t be a conditional ban, there could be repercussions as well, and no media should blame India for not qualifying for the semi-finals.. the entire media and country should back the team as well,” Gambhir said. The cricketer also felt that the lives of martyred soldiers are of much more importance than the match and even if the men in blue face the green brigade in the final, India should refuse to play. “There is nothing wrong in forfeiting the game and losing two points. The lives of 40-41 soldiers, who lost their lives are far more important,” asserted Gambhir. “My point is if India decides to forfeit, then the entire country should back the team Even if India have to play Pakistan in the World Cup final, even if you have to let go of that final, they should be ready for it,” he added. Gambhir also denied the rumours of him joining politics. “There are lot of rumours on that front but I haven’t thought about joining as yet because it is a completely different field. I just got Padmashri two days back, haven’t really thought about it. I am still doing commentary,” Gambhir added.last_img read more