Marketing of organic products where farmers get a bigger share of the value chain. Clean and renewable energy systems that are appropriate for rural communities. These are just some of the concerns of small scale women and men farmers in Asia.
The Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA) arranged a study tour for its Cambodian member Farmer and Nature Net (FNN) and Laos partner Social & Economic Developers Association (SEDA-Laos) last March 2, 2011 in the Philippines in order to share some of the best practices of local NGOs and POs on these two important subjects.
Continue reading AFA holds study tour on organic marketing and renewable energy
Malaysian environmental activist Aida Ismah contributed the following article on the growing popularity of used cooking oil as a source of biofuel, which can help reduce green house emissions in the atmosphere:
Biofuel is considered as the purest, easiest and most available fuel on the planet. Biofuel is looked upon as a way of energy security which stands as an alternative to fossil fuels that is currently limited in availability. Biofuel has made most vehicle engines to perform more efficiently and even last longer. This fuel is also very clean and environmentally friendly, whereby, the usage of biofuel, unlike fossil fuel like petroleum and diesel, is the best way to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide. As a result, the rate of global warming can be reduced. Biofuel can be a lot more economical because it can be manufactured at home in the form of a gas, to be used for cooking purposes. This fuel also encourages the recycling process as it is manufactured from waste products. For example, used cooking oil.
Read the full article at Indonesia Organic
MANILA, Jan 22 (Reuters) – Revenue from a small hydropower plant that cost little more than a supercar to build, will help preserve 2,000-year-old Philippine rice terraces dubbed the “Eighth Wonder of the World”, conservationists say.
The crumbling ricefields that follow the contours of the mountains in northern Ifugao province and resemble a stairway are slowly being eroded by bad weather and limited upkeep.
On Friday, Philippine officials were handed the symbolic keys to the $1 million 200-kilowatt hydropower plant, which will meet 18 percent of the province’s power needs.
Read the full story at Reuters UK
With the worsening of the global food crisis, general international agreement has emerged regarding the importance of smallholder agriculture in the battle against hunger and poverty. However, public debate has been highly restricted and increasingly dominated by conventional, market-led, and corporate approaches to aid and agricultural development. These positions call for a return to the World Trade Organisation’s Doha Round, a new “Green Revolution” and the spread of biotechnology to the countries of the Global South. In global and national policy circles, these “business as usual” approaches are eclipsing many proven, highly effective, farmer-driven agroecological and redistributive approaches to agricultural development.
Sustainable, smallholder agriculture represents the best option for resolving the fourfold food-finance-fuel and climate crises. Although conventional wisdom assumes small family farms are backward and unproductive, agroecological research has shown that given a chance, small farms are much more productive than large farms. Small, ecological farms help cool the planet and provide many important ecosystem services; they are a reservoir for biodiversity, and are less vulnerable to pests, disease and environmental shock.
Just as small farms can be more productive and environmentally beneficial, there is also strong evidence that small farm communities can be far superior to large, mechanised operations for improving rural livelihoods. However, this potential is thwarted because smallholders are systematically disenfranchised of their basic human rights and dispossessed of their wealth and basic resources. If smallholders are to be the social and productive base for ending hunger in the Global South, then the rights of smallholders especially women—must be ensured. Ensuring smallholder rights and the equitable distribution of resource entitlements in the countryside not only implies increasing the levels of aid and investment flowing to smallholders, it implies the redistribution of public investment in agriculture, including land reform.
Download the full report at Food First
FIVE years ago, a 100-person village in Battambang province became a trail-blazing experiment in the use of renewable power in rural Cambodia.
The village, An Long Tmey, located in Chhey Teal commune, received its own ‘gasification’ system, a renewable energy reactor that converts nut husks and wood into green energy.
To operate the system, residents laboured day and night to oversee organic products being turned into gas and pumped through a dynamo to electrify their community. Families also planted crops of high-yield wood to fuel the unit.
By many accounts, the entire community benefited from a stable, long-term power source, which serviced 300 homes in the area.
Now, that system is under threat.
Read the full story at The Phnom Penh Post
Thai sugar mills that produce electricity from waste products may face barriers to selling their surplus power to the national grid unless the government sets a clear policy for regulating the matter, says Thai Sugar Millers Corporation.
The company said sugar mills have been using biomass to produce electricity for their own use for 15 years. Any surplus was sold to the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat).
But a new law obliges plants wishing to sell electricity to first comply with regulations drawn up by the Office of the Energy Regulatory Board, established in 2007, which include environmental impact assessments (EIAs) and health impact assessments (HIAs), said TSM, which comprises 47 sugar mills.
About 90% of these 47 sugar millers each generate more than 10 megawatts of electricity per year, which technically classifies them as power plants.
Read the full story at Bangkok Post
TOKYO, JAPAN: A plant established in Shikaoicho in the Tokachi region of Hokkaido in March 2007 to produce biogas from livestock excreta is now the largest production facility of its kind in the nation.
The Hokkaido government built the plant at a cost of about 1.7 billion yen on about four hectares of land surrounded by wheat fields and ranches located about three kilometers east of the center of the town.
The plant is operated by a union comprising the town government and local dairy farmers.