Acidification of soil is a natural process with major ramifications on plant growth. As soils become more acid, particularly when the pH drops below 4.5, it becomes increasingly difficult to produce food crops. As soil pH declines, the supply of most plant nutrients decreases while aluminum and a few micronutrients become more soluble and toxic to plants. These problems are particularly acute in humid tropical regions that have been highly weathered. According to Sanchez and Logan (1992), for example, one third of the tropics, or 1.7 billion hectares, is acid enough for soluble aluminum to be toxic for most crop plants. We will look at some of the causes of acidification and list some of the expected results of both acidification and the practice of liming for acid neutralization.
In simplest language, agroforestry is the production of trees and of non-tree crops or animals on the same piece of land. The crops can be grown together at the same time, can be grown in rotation, or can even be grown in separate plots when materials from one are used to benefit another. For discussion opportunities, go to http://www.echocommunity.org/group/agroforestry
Amaranth [Amaranthus hypochondriacus, A. cruentus (Grain type) & A. tricolor (Vegetable type)] is an herbaceous annual with upright growth habit, cultivated for both its seeds which are used as a grain and its leaves which are used as a vegetable or green. Both leaves and seeds contain protein of an unusually high quality. The grain is milled for flour or popped like popcorn. The leaves of both the grain and vegetable types may be eaten raw or cooked. Amaranths grown principally for vegetable use have better tasting leaves then the grain types. Originating in the Americas and Europe, amaranth has been cultivated for more than 8,000 years, dating back at least to the Mayan civilization of South and Central America. It was a staple of the Aztecs and incorporated into their religious ceremonies. In the 1500’s the Spanish conquistadors prohibited amaranth production.
Probably the most important fruit in the tropics in terms of distribution, use and contribution as food is the banana (for purposes of this discussion, bananas and plantains will be considered together). The many ways these fruits can be eaten makes them a popular everyday food. Its primary nutritional contribution is calories (as starch and sugar). The coconut is common and a daily food in some but not all parts of the tropics. It is well adapted and can be grown almost anywhere. The tree itself is versatile in its application and may be the most useful tree of the tropics. The fruit is used at all stages in unique ways, and is a significant source of protein and a major source of fat in the diet. The breadfruit, aptly named, a staff of life in the Pacific. Its nature as a staple is the reason that it has been so widely introduced throughout the tropics.
Developed by FHIA in Honduras. The 5 hybrids illustrated in this booklet have all been successfully cultivated in at least one country. Most of them have been evaluated in several countries, and the reports about their performance and acceptance by farmers and consumers have been positive. All of these hybrids have disease resistances not found in similar-type natural varieties. And, all have proven to be more robust and productive than the different natural varieties which most closely resemble the individual hybrids.
What we eat has a direct impact on our health. When we eat nourishing food, we replenish our bodies with what we need to build and repair tissue, to keep us vigorous and healthy, and to fuel us for the activities of life. Good nutrition is perhaps the most basic factor associated with health.
The tropics are different from the temperate zones. While in theory it might be possible to produce food crops all year round, in reality a wide range of biological and social factors determine what crops are produced and during which seasons. Crops of the tropics are generally distinct from crops of the Temperate Zone. When they are the same, the varieties can be vastly different. Methods of producing them are varied and usually there are small-scale methods. Even the layout of the garden is different, often with an irregular and undisciplined mix of trees and vines with mostly perennial vegetables.
The cashew, Anacardium occidentale, is a resilient and fast-growing evergreen tree that can grow to a height of 20 m (60 ft). It belongs to the family Anacardiaceae, which also contains poison ivy and the mango. Cashew is an important nut crop that provides food, employment and hard currency to many in developing nations. Of all nuts, cashew is second only to the almond in commercial importance.
Dr. Martin Price, co-founder of ECHO and former head of ECHO’s Agricultural Resources Department, has said, “I would consider chaya to be one of the five most important underutilized food plants ECHO distributes. I give it this rank because of its ability to thrive in both arid and rainy regions, its little need for care or extra fertility, its lack of insect or disease pests, its high production per square foot, and the exceptional nutritional value of its cooked leaves.”
Of all traditional small scale animals in the tropics, however, chickens are by far the most common --- as indeed they are worldwide. The purpose of this paper is to help Third World families alleviate hunger and poverty by improving small-farm poultry production.
In response to various questions from overseas about citrus propagation and rootstocks, we have tracked down some answers that are of general interest to our readers. These have been published in past issues of ECHO Development Notes. This technical note reprints those in their entirety. It also adds a couple of helpful tables that were provided by the Holm Citrus Nursery concerning characteristics of citrus rootstock and varieties of citrus.
The small farm or home garden is likely to experience a wide variety of problems, especially with weeds, insects, and diseases, The techniques for dealing with these problems are extremely varied. There is little hope that the small farmer can discover these only through his own experience. Therefore, in this bulletin, different techniques are discussed in order to give the small operator a background of information which can serve as a general guide.
The uses of cucurbit seeds as sources of oils and proteins have been reviewed by Jacks, et al. (1972). After the hull is removed, cucurbit seeds contain about 50 percent oil and up to 35 percent proteins. Most of their oil is made up of non-saturated fatty acids, thus of high nutritional values.
In every region of the world it is necessary to find or develop appropriate techniques for agriculture. A large part of the surface of the world is arid, characterized as too dry for conventional rain fed agriculture. Yet, millions of people live in such regions, and if current trends in population increase continue, there will soon be millions more. These people must eat, and the wisest course for them is to produce their own food. Yet, the techniques are so varied that only a very large volume would cover the entire subject. This publication is only a primer, an introduction to appropriate techniques.
The faith-based organization, Serving in Mission (SIM), has worked with farmers for over 30 years, and has developed an integrated farming system known as “The Farmer Managed Agro-forestry Farming System” (FMAFS). The system seeks to make communities and crops more resilient to drought by incorporating agro-forestry and environmental restoration to maximize biodiversity, improve food security and regenerate indigenous trees. It combines successful and sustainable agricultural components of the “Sowing Seeds of Change in the Sahel” project developed between 1981-1999 in the Maradi region. These include Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR) and Crop Residue Mulching (CRM). The FMAFS incrementally builds on these techniques to produce a more complex farming system.
Fish farming can generate high interest and excitement. It has great potential to produce high quality protein in relatively short time periods and in small areas. Fish farming is one way that resource poor farmers throughout the world can provide protein that is often lacking in the family diet and too expensive to purchase. This technical note is about raising tilapia in earthen ponds because tilapia are the second most commonly raised fish in the world and are appropriate for resource poor farmers in tropical areas.
Forage crops are important to the small farm as one element of the production system because they can utilize lands that are not easily used for other crops, they can grow rapidly and often can be produced continuously, they serve as principal sources of feed for a number of different kind of animals, and thus indirectly as sources of meat, milk, and eggs. They are inexpensive crops to grow and usually easy to produce. Furthermore, grasses are useful in preventing erosion, and legumes can increase the nitrogen available in the soil for other crops.
Green manure crops are crops that are grown to be turned under to increase soil fertility. Leguminous green manure crops, i.e. those which can make nitrogen fertilizers from atmospheric nitrogen, can offer small-scale Third World Farmers a tremendous number of advantages.
The guinea pig or cavy, Cavia porcellus, is a rodent that was domesticated in the Andes as a source of meat. Because it is a small animal it can be eaten by a small family in one meal and does not require refrigeration. It is herbivorous and becomes accustomed to many sorts of feed. The meat is much like rabbit, and is low in fat content. Furthermore, the cavy multiplies rapidly, but not at the rate that folk literature would suggest. With breeding as recommended here, one pair of cavies could produce about 260 new pairs in 2 years. For discussion go to http://www.echocommunity.org/group/Animals
Jicama, also known as yam bean, originates in Meso-America and is naturalized in agricultural areas throughout the tropics. It is excellent for commercialization where markets exist, a useful home-grown crop for varying the diet, and a novelty vegetable for special uses due to its taste and crisp texture.
A little-known, underexploited leafy vegetable, C. argentea is a crop that is easy to plant, grows in most climates and soils, withstands drought and heat, has few problems with pests and disease, is easy to prepare, highly nutritious and tastes good, and produces large quantities of seed.
Leucaena leucocephala ("koa haole"-Hawaii; ipil ipil - Phillipines) is a fast-growing, leguminous tree that can be used for reforestation, for firewood, and as a forage crop that can equal alfalfa in nutritional value.
A fence represents a major investment on the small farm. Although it carries a cost, it also provides something of benefit, namely protection. It is often a challenge to small farmers to increase farm production, such as crop yield, and the use of fences can facilitate such improvements. Whereas a fence may facilitate yield increase on the farm, a living fence can improve the efficiency of the production as well.
Maize (Zea mays; other common names – corn) is the third most important food crop in the world, surpassed only by two other grains, wheat and rice. Maize is a widely adapted crop, capable of production during the appropriate season in almost all parts of the world where farming is done. Maize is represented by thousands of varieties, some producing in as little as 70 days, others needing up to 9 months to reach maturity.
The leaves of the Moringa oleifera tree are very nutritious. They can be consumed fresh, cooked or dried. Since dried Moringa leaves retain their nutrient content, it is possible to convert them into leaf powder. When there is an abundance of leaves, this leaf powder can be made and stored easily. Moringa Leaf Powder is an excellent nutritional supplement and can be added to any dish. For discussion go to www.echocommunity.site-ym.com/group/Moringa
Here are some ways to cook moringa leaves and pods. All of the following recipes were developed in the Philippines and the ingredients are standard inclusions in meals there. For discussion go to www.echocommunity.site-ym.com/group/Moringa
Doliv (Benzoliv) se yon plant ki ka sove pitit ou. Ou ka itilize tout pati Doliv pou manje oubyen pou fè renmèd, depi nan rasin pou rive nan grenn nan. Men sa ki pi enpòtan, li ka sove pitit ou. Fèy ak gous Doliv gen anpil bagay esansyèl pou lavi epi si pitit ou malad anpil oubyen doktè yo gentan di l ap soufri malnitrisyon, Doliv ka ede ou jwenn solisyon.