ECHO Asia Notes is a quarterly technical e-bulletin containing articles of interest to agriculture and community development workers in Asia.

This list contains articles from ECHO Asia Notes, many of which have been translated into regional languages.  

89 Issues in this Publication (Showing issues 23 - 20) |

Working with Farmers in Malaysia - 2015-02-15

This article is from ECHO Asia Note #23

In Malaysia, agriculture is practised by a range of farmers – from subsistence cultivators of the soil to sophisticated, commercially-driven entrepreneurs. The latter group are quite adept at assessing the latest in technology and varieties, and already have established marketing channels. The challenge for an agronomist and scientist like me is determining how to effectively transfer scientifically-generated technology and know-how to the aforementioned subsistence cultivators.

The Use of Tropical Forages for Livelihood Improvement in Southeast Asia: A Focus on Livestock - 2015-02-15

This article is from ECHO Asia Note #23

In its simplest definition a forage is any plant material grazed or fed to livestock. However, a more specific definition that’s presented in this article focuses on plants (grasses and legumes) that are planted specifically to provide superior feed benefits to livestock due to: 1) higher protein content, 2) lower labour requirements, and 3) additional farming system or social benefits.

Lessons Learned from Cement Ring Aquaponics Systems in Northern Thailand - 2014-10-15

This article is from ECHO Asia Note #22

Today, if someone were to ask me to help build a small system on their urban rental property, would I use cement rings? The easy answer is yes, but....

A Low-Cost Concrete Ring Aquaponics System - 2014-10-15

This article is from ECHO Asia Note #22

Currently, we have two 16 x 1 meter floating raft troughs, and one 16 x 1 meter rock bed that are connected to six 1 cubic meter fish tanks by PVC piping (elements 1 and 2 above). We also have three smaller stand-alone aquaponics units that we use as example starter units. One of our major goals is to help others understand how aquaponics works. We accomplish this by presenting aquaponics in a way that is easy to understand and replicate. Our Concrete Ring System, a rock bed system developed by Scott Breaden at his home and at the ECHO Asia Impact Center, accomplishes this goal. It has helped us cut down on building costs, simplified the system, and allowed us to use locally available materials.

Increase Yields and Save Money with Innovative SRI Tools - 2014-06-14

This article is from ECHO Asia Note #21

The System of Rice Intensification (SRI) is a promising rice-farming methodology that is able both to lower production costs—of seed, fertilizer, chemicals, and water—and to increase yield by enabling each rice plant to reach its full potential. However, the SRI approach involves transplanting young seedlings, a labor-intensive practice that farmers are often resistant to adapt. This article will introduce appropriate SRI tools that save both time and energy, making the technique more accessible to (Thai) farmers

SRI Transplanting Tools - 2014-06-14

This article is from ECHO Asia Note #21

This article contains diagrams of the SRI Rolling Marker, Rotary Weeder, and Grass Cutter discussed in other articles from Echo Asia Note 21.

SRI Roller Planting Marker - 2014-06-14

This article is from ECHO Asia Note #21

Wanpen’s roller planting marker was developed from her experience. When a problem occurred, she would alter and develop the tool according to the problem and rice variety.

Wanpen’s tool was designed to be lightweight, easy to handle and convenient to use. The handle was designed so that the tool can be pulled. The tool makes parallel and perpendicular lines to mark the planting locations, optimizing space between rows so that the rice is easily organized in lines without using too much energy.

Learning from Farmers - 2014-06-14

This article is from ECHO Asia Note #21

It was an afternoon of 2002 when I first read about SRI. As an extension officer in the District Agriculture Development Office (DADO), I started promoting SRI in the following years in the district of Morang, Nepal. Over this time I observed hundreds of attractive SRI fields and spent some years as a SRI activist. Looking at the results, I’ve learnt that different farmers face different problems, and that they adapt all techniques to suit their diverse circumstances and needs.

Observations of SRI in Nakorn Sawan, Thailand

This article is from ECHO Asia Note #21

SRI was first tried by farmers in Thailand over ten years ago. However, many farmers struggled to avoid trauma to the seedlings and to transplant young seedlings using human labor. Additionally, trying to draw lines (for even spacing of the transplants) was difficult and required labor and time.

In response to these challenges, several farmers began to practice the “parachute method” of rice transplanting, in which rice seedlings are “parachuted” into their place in the paddy using a throwing motion. Further advances on this have been created around Thailand, including a “dart transplanting method with roller planting marker line drawing” developed by Wanpen, the farmer in Nakorn Sawan whom I went to visit. With Wanpen’s innovations (methods ideal for SRI farming) a roller planting marker machine is used to make very straight lines throughout the field; these lines can then be used for spacing rice transplants, which are thrown like darts at the appropriate target. Both the dart method and rolling planter marker machine will be explained in further detail in the Thai Natural Farming Journal articles included in this ECHO Asia Note. Below, I will explain how Wanpen has utilized both innovations in her SRI practices.

Farm-Generated Feed: Fish Feed Production

This article is from ECHO Asia Note #20

Farm-generated fertility makes agriculture more sustainable. Crop residues and manures are part of the nutrient cycle and can lower input costs through the use of thermophilic composting, vermiculture, bokashi production, or green manures. Farm-generated feeds can also reduce expenses, if farmers manage and utilize the resources already available to them. For, example, farmers might develop pasture using planned grazing for cattle; make hog feed from crop residue and by-products (such as whey and skim milk); cultivate legume shrubs for cut-and-carry operations for goats; and grow floating ferns and other water crops for fish and poultry.

As densities of livestock increase, the industrious farmer finds ways and means to increase his farm nutrient stream for the benefit of his system. This article will examine the methods and techniques necessary for the smallholder farmer to succeed with farm-derived fish feeds. A farmer should first fully exploit his extensive (and more passive) existing systems, and then consider intensifying his overall operation.