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.
(An interesting development in ecological agriculture using perennial grain crops. — Admin)
Earth-friendly perennial grain crops, which grow with less fertilizer, herbicide, fuel, and erosion than grains planted annually, could be available in two decades, according to researchers writing in the current issue of the journal Science.
Perennial grains would be one of the largest innovations in the 10,000 year history of agriculture, and could arrive even sooner with the right breeding programs, said John Reganold, Washington State University (WSU) Regents professor of soil science and lead author of the paper with Jerry Glover, a WSU-trained soil scientist now at the Land Institute in Salina, Kansas.
“It really depends on the breakthroughs,” said Reganold. “The more people involved in this, the more it cuts down the time.”
Published in Science’s influential policy forum, the paper is a call to action as half the world’s growing population lives off marginal land at risk of being degraded by annual grain production. Perennial grains, say the paper’s authors, expand farmers’ ability to sustain the ecological underpinnings of their crops.
“People talk about food security,” said Reganold. “That’s only half the issue. We need to talk about both food and ecosystem security.”
In situ conservation techniques are an effective way to improve, maintain and use traditional or native varieties of agricultural crops. In order to empower farmers to take on this important, yet challenging task, national programmes could be of great importance in providing assistance and guidance.
This manual is intended to provide a broad range of actors, including Ministries of Agriculture and the Environment, universities, research and extension institutions, non-government organizations (NGOs), and community based groups, with a comprehensive view of factors involved in designing and implementing a programme to support the in situ conservation of crop genetic diversity on-farm.
BANGKOK, April 24 (Bernama) — Eight Southeast Asian countries are among 26 nations identified as hotspots for food insecurity in the region, according to the Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security in Asia and the Pacific report released by the United Nations (UN) Friday.
Cambodia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar and the newest nation Timor Leste were cited in the report along with Afghanistan, Nepal, Armenia, New Caledonia, Azerbaijan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Papua New Guinea, North Korea, Solomon Islands, Georgia, Sri Lanka, India, Tajikistan, Maldives, Uzbekistan, Mongolia and Vanuatu.
The total population of these countries is more than 2.2 billion, which is 53.8 per cent of the region’s population.
Most rice grows in wet environments, but too much water can be disastrous for rice crops. Plant biologist Pamela Ronald helped create a type of flood-resistant rice that is being introduced to India and Bangladesh. In Davis, California, we spoke with Ronald about her new rice and its promise for small farmers in South Asia.
Most rice plants will die if submerged for just three days, but the new variety can withstand two weeks of flooding. Ronald, a plant pathologist at the University of California, Davis, says it can make a crucial difference in a region where subsistence farmers grow rice to feed their families and four million tons of rice is lost each year to flooding. That is enough to feed 30 million people.
Pamela Ronald developed the new rice strain with a colleague at the International Rice Research Institute near Manila, David Mackill, and another scientist at the University of California Riverside, Julia Bailey-Serres.
Read more at VOA news
Vietnam News, 11/8/08
NGHE AN — Viet Nam is well on its way to becoming a major Asian producer of biogas from animal, vegetable and human waste.
Each underground, brick-lined biogas tank can save about two to three tonnes of fuel wood a year or the equivalent of one third of a ha of forest.
This week, in the central province of Nghe An, the nation’s 50,000th biogas tank was installed as part of a special project for farmers.
This means total savings of about 100,000 tonnes of traditional fuels a year at a saving of VND100-120 billion (US$6-7.2 million). It also means the reduction of 225,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere a year.
Contributed by Hazel V. Antonio, PhilRice
What seemed to be a nightmare-causing insect for most of us could actually be the farmers’ comfort-causing pal? That’s the earwig, the insects in the order Dermaptera characterized by membranous wings folded underneath short leathery forewings. Some believe that earwigs transmit disease, and harm humans and animals because of their nickname, pincher bug. But Dante Sabacan, an agricultural technologist in Sto. Domingo, Nueva Ecija, fearlessly grows this insect to disprove these beliefs and prove its significance to farmers.
VOV News, 08/05/2008, 17:45 GMT
The Vietnam Agricultural Science Institute in Hanoi on August 5 opened its Vietnamese Rice Knowledge Bank website at www.caylua.vn with technical assistance from the International Rice Research Institute and finance support from the Japanese Government through the Asian Development Bank.
The web provides information about Vietnamese rice, growing techniques and relevant agencies in charge of managing rice production in the country.
With a set of questions/answers and other information available on the website, viewers, particularly farmers, will be able to study and improve their own knowledge of rice cultivation.
New York Times, July 31, 2008, 4:50 pm, By Andrew C. Revkin
A new report on agricultural potential in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia by a National Academies panel listed nine techniques and technologies that could substantially boost the desperately lagging yields of many farms in those struggling regions, and nine more that had great potential.
Altogether, the report, commissioned and paid for by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, identified 60 technologies that could help increase food production in these regions. Without advances, the chances of the human population heading toward 9 billion without significant hard knocks are slim, particularly when climate change is thrown in to the mix.
Microsoft has put up “NGO Connection” — an online resource that features successful uses of technology by NGOs, grant facilities, and training opportunities.
The “Regional Consultation Workshop on Farmers’ Situation: Responding to Major Difficulties Faced by Farmers in Asia” was held last June 12-14, 2007 at the SEAMEO Innotech Center, Commonwealth Avenue, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines, hosted by PAKISAMA.
SEAMEO INNOTECH Center, Commonwealth Avenue, Quezon City, Philippines
Hosted by PAKISAMA and PhilDHRRA in cooperation with AFA and AsiaDHRRA
June 12-15, 2007
Day One: June 12, 2007
1. PRELIMINARIES/OPENING CEREMONY, OBJECTIVE SETTING AND FLOW OF PROGRAM
Ms. Esther Penunia, secretary general of AFA, opened the morning session by acknowledging the presence of AFA members from Taiwan (chopstick group), Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia (Mekong sub-region), Indonesia and the Philippines (island group). This was followed by multicultural and multilingual prayers led by Ka Crispin Aguelo of PAKISAMA (Philippines) and Mrs. Zaenab of API (Indonesia). June 12 marked the 109th anniversary of Philippine independence from the Spaniards. To commemorate this, the participants were led by Esther and Ka Rene Peñas, who waved the Philippine flag, in singing the national anthem, Lupang Hinirang.
June 14, 2007
The participants traveled by bus (and then climbed uphill) to Barangay San Jose, Antipolo City, Rizal. The area is a 58- hectare of hilly agricultural land located in Sitio Nagpatong. The land is owned by 42 farmers belonging to the Samahan ng mga Magsasaka sa Bundok ng Antipolo (SAMBA) or the Association of Farmers in the Mountain of Antipolo, a member organization of PAKISAMA. Antipolo is famous for its historical, cultural and natural sites such as the Hinulugang Taktak Falls, Our Lady of Antipolo Shrine, festivals, resorts, and a view of the city from its hills.
Salembai Abdullah and Jaime Manalo IV | PhilRice
Nearly 500 farmers, agricultural technicians, municipal agriculturists, journalists, and students from Central, Southern, and Western Mindanao and the ARMM gathered at PhilRice Midsayap in North Cotabato for its Field Day and Pest Clinic on April 18, 2007. PhilRice Midsayap is PhilRice’s pest management center.
Continue reading New Anti-rice pests technologies from the Philippines
Â Bert Peeters | LEISA Magazine
Over the last four years, the Cabiokid farm in Cabiao, the Philippines, has been developed following the priniciples of permaculture. Fields where mono-cropping and chemical farming techniques had been common for many years were transformed and now produce rice together with many other crops. The analysis of its transition process shows some key aspects, such as the importance of planning for immediate, short and long term changes, and the need to consider the size of the farm in relation to the energy and resources that will be needed. The article also looks at the difficulties and possibilities neighbouring farmers have for replicating this experience.
Continue reading Cabiokid , a successful experiment in permaculture
Food and Fertilizer Technology CenterÂ |Â http://www.fftc.agnet.org/
Soil and water conservation technologies and approaches are critical factors toward the sustainable use of the natural resource base for agriculture in Asia. It is estimated that about 80 percent of all available water supply in the region is mainly used for irrigation. Increasing withdrawals of water for food production is one of the main causes of water scarcity, which several countries are facing today. Meanwhile, soil erosion continuously places many parts of the world in a critical situation. Estimates show that about 35 percent of the earth’s total land surface is significantly degraded. Low crop productivity is also traced to low soil fertility levels.
The widespread concern over the degradation of soil and water resources has led to great efforts by governments and scientists in the Asian region to develop technologies appropriate for small-scale farmers. These scientific solutions to preserve and conserve the natural resource base for agriculture involves strategies that cut across social, environmental, and political boundaries.
By Ramon Jorge Sarabosing | www.inq7.net
RICE farmers in Prosperidad town, Agusan del Sur see a better future ahead.
For much too long, they fell prey to the seemingly never-ending cycle of debt-scheme arrangement from usurers and trader-financiers every planting season. With high interest rates, they end up with nothing during harvest time as deductions mount from fertilizers to emergencies.
But all that may change with the setting up of the Farm-Level Grains Center (FLGC), a project initiated by the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) for the implementation of Caraga Regionâ€™s food sufficiency project in cooperation with the local government unit (LGU) and funded by the Spanish government through Agencia EspaÃ±ola de CooperaciÃ³n Internacional (Aceci).
The project included the construction and manning of technologically-advanced rice mills that also services palay buying, selling and deposit, and trucking to individual and cooperative groups of farmers within the area of reach.
â€œIt has helped ease the financial burden of many of us who have to face human and natural challenges during the planting and harvest seasons,â€ said Edgar Tagaraw, 41, a member of the Gibong River Irrigators Multi-purpose Cooperative, an umbrella organization of nine farmer groups in the area.
With the FLGC, the farmers have been given the chance and option to sell their produce by a few centavos higher per kilo compared to those sold to private rice millers.
Today, the Philippine extension system is fragmented and dispersed. Almost 17,000 extension workers devolved to local government units lack access to up-to-date agricultural information. As a consequence, farmers, as end-users of technologies, have limited options to make informed decisions.
The Open Academy for Philippine Agriculture is a network of institutions that provides education, training, extension and communication in agriculture, making information more accessible to those who need it. With the use of information and communication technology (ICT), this program establishes a virtual network that provides information on-demand, develops content based on farmers’ needs, and provides access through networks and the Internet.
- Use ICT to provide online, web-based services to extension workers and farmers such as advisories, online training, distance learning, e-library, and knowledge databases in agriculture. Tap and optimize existing government ICT infrastructure and network backbones to provide an open learning environment.
- Organize expertise and digitize all available information, data and knowledge in agriculture to make them accessible to farmers through the Open Academy.
- Link policy makers, scientists, markets, business organizations, and farming communities in an open environment using ICT.