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General Technical Documents are resources made available through ECHOcommunity.org that are not currently part of an ECHO periodical publication such as ECHO Development Notes or ECHO Technical Notes. These resources may or may not be published by ECHO, but have been made available to the ECHOcommunity as online, sharable resources.

72 Issues in this Publication (Showing 41 - 50) |

Sustained Rangeland Improvement with Special Reference to the Laikipia Controversies - 2018-03-08

I have spent over fifty years working in East African Rangelands studying wildlife in National Parks and ranches or helping pastoralists in northern Kenya and consulting in Tanzania. The situation has changed unpredictably and dramatically since my original research in the Queen Elizabeth National Park in western Uganda. The main change has been rapid and near exponential human population growth with accompanying degradation of the rangelands especially those classified as ASALs (Arid or Semi-Arid Lands). It is not unique to the Greater Horn of Africa, but an example of what has been happening in most countries in Sahelian Africa. A world’s leading expert on deserts concluded over 25 years ago that “all the areas between the 100mm and 300mm isohyets will become man-made deserts in the next 35-70 years if the present trend is not reversed!” (Le Houerou,1991).  Further exacerbating the effects of unchecked population growth is that of global warming, where pastoralists are the victims of the rapid increase in the use of fossil fuels by the world’s increased human population.

Permaculture For Refugees in Camps - 2018-02-20

PermacultureForRefugees (P4R) has released their first booklet in a series to bring permaculture solutions to refugee situations. Permaculture for Refugees in Camps is a 20 page how-to guide outlining a positive approaches to transforming refugee camps. It is the culmination of ideas, experience and knowledge based on discussion, writings, research and the shared experience of the founding members of the P4R working group, edited by Ruth Harvey and Rowe Morrow.

The booklet reframes the period of limbo in camps of  enforced idleness and desperation to a time of learning and building relationships to land and  each other. Working from ethics, it introduces eco-design methods, and presents principles and strategies  for empowering disenfranchised communities and giving them permaculture skills and knowledge to take into the next stage whatever it may be.

Bicycle Pump Vacuum Sealer for Seed Storage - 2018-01-20

Storing seeds in the tropics can often be difficult; with high temperatures and humid conditions, seeds lose their ability to germinate quickly.  Many techniques for seed storage exist, from the high-tech standards of gene banks to simple methods used by villagers for saving their own seeds.  All have their strengths and weaknesses, but when balancing costs and resources, which methods are really the most effective?  This article highlights research conducted by ECHO Asia regarding the use of vacuum sealing, using a simple bicycle tire pump, for tropical seed storage under resource-constrained settings.

The three key factors that determine the rate of seed deterioration in storage are: oxygen pressure (amount of oxygen with the seeds in storage), seed moisture content, and temperature (Roberts, 1973).  An increase in any of these factors will lower the storage life of the seeds, and as a general rule any increase of 1% moisture content or 10° F (5.6° C) in storage will halve the storage life of the seeds (Bewley and Black, 1985).  Each factor contributes to seed decay in specific ways, and minimizing these conditions is critical to effective seed storage.  Vacuum sealing is a relatively low-cost method that requires few inputs after an initial investment.  Sealing helps conserve seed quality by minimizing oxygen presence and exposure to ambient humidity, thereby keeping seed moisture content low.

Moringa oleifera f-sand Filters for Sustainable Water Purification - 2017-11-22

ABSTRACT: Environmental Science & Technology, 2017

The purpose of this work is to determine parameters for the design of a Moringa seed sand filter for water purification. Moringa oleifera seeds containing cationic antimicrobial proteins have been used as natural coagulants for the removal of turbidity; however, a low removal efficiency and high residual organic levels limit their applications. In this work, Moringa seed extracts were used to reverse the charge of sand ( fsand) to 10 mV at a seed dosage of 5.6 g of seeds/m2 of sand. This f-sand filter demonstrated ∼4 log removal of 1 μm polystyrene particles and >8 log removal of Escherichia coli compared to <0.1 log removal for bare sand. Enhanced removal for particles and E. coli was dominated by attractive electrostatic interactions. Clean bed filtration modeling predicts a sticking coefficient (α) of 0.8 for f-sand compared to a value of 0.01 for bare sand. This α was further validated under a wide range of filtration conditions. Preliminary scale-up analyses suggest a point-of-use f-sand filter that requires a very small amount of seeds annually. The outcome of this work presents the scientific basis for the design of a water purification solution for developing regions, requiring only locally available resources and no use of synthetic chemicals or electricity.

ECHO Crop Information Sheet - 2017-05-08

ECHO reguguarly keeps track of crop porduction records especially for crops disseminated from our Global Seed Bank. This fillable form is the sheet ECHO staff (mainly interns) use when evaluating a crop for it's potential use and distribution to ECHO's Network. This form can also be used to monitor and evaluate new crops or regenerated crops. This form was made specifically for ECHO's use, so it may need adapted and reconfigured in order to best suit your needs and your capacity.

Principles to Guide Conservation Agriculture Programming - CFGB - 2017-04-20

Conservation Agriculture (CA)—characterized by the three linked principles of minimizing soil disturbance, permanently covering the soil, and including crop rotations and associations – has proven effective at restoring soil health and fertility, improving the capture and use of rainfall, and increasing crop yields and farm profitability. Scientific studies and farmer experience have also shown it can improve food security, reduce labour requirements (thus leading to significant benefits for female small-scale farmers), and help build farming systems that are more resilient to climate change. In the semi-arid regions of Africa where much of Canadian Foodgrains Bank programming is focused, CA practices have been shown to improve soil moisture and fertility and lead to substantial yield gains.

Over the last decade, partners of the Canadian Foodgrains Bank network have implemented over 50 CA projects in many different countries across sub-Saharan Africa. This momentum has stimulated the creation of resource materials, annual meetings and other opportunities to share and learn together, and the hiring of six full time CA technical officers.

This CFGB technical team has been collecting learnings and experience of partners, reviewing scientific literature, and talking to others involved in CA programming. They’ve used these learnings to date to develop the following list of basic principles to guide CA programming. Please note that these are principles (general truths that guide action) and not laws (hard and fast rules about what to do). Accordingly, these principles need to be worked through, used, and adapted to specific situations. We would greatly appreciate your feedback and thoughts on these principles, as we expect to update these on a regular basis.

Parthenium hysterophorus - 2017-02-09

Parthenium hysterophorus, also known as carrot top, white top weed, and fever few is a fairly new invasive weed but has quickly become one of the worst weeds to tropical areas(CABI 2015). In Ethiopia it is known as Farmasissa which means “sign your land away” (IAPPS 2016). Originally from Central America, Parthenium has been seen to cause major problems in India and Southeast Asia, Australia, and East Africa. In 2015, Parthenium is said to have invaded roughly 34 countries globally (Strathie 2015). A fast growing highly reproductive invasive species, Parthenium has become a hazard to farmland, rangeland, as well as animal and human health.

Building Living Garden Soil With a Worm Tower - 2017-01-20

Using worms to create Living Soil results in :

Nutrition: Delicious, nutrient-rich plants.

Vitality: Plants growing in living soils are inherently stronger and need less protection, allowing low input food production methods to be used.

Drought tolerance: Nutrients are in colloidal states rather than being soluble, naturally grown plants only feed when they want to, are not overloaded with chemical salts, and can continue to grow under drier conditions.

Pollution: Nutrients are not soluble so they stay in the soil where they are needed rather than leaching away and causing pollution.

Greenhouse impact: Does not require energy intensive inputs of agricultural crop chemicals and fertilizers.

Collaborators : Brad Ward and Jerry Larson, January, 2017

Materials List

Video Link


Greenhouse Gardening for the Purpose of Self-Sustaining Ministry in the Former Soviet Union - 2017-01-20

This paper is shared as a case study of a greenhouse project in a cold climate. It contains information on the benefits of greenhouses in a temperate setting. Technical details provide practical considerations in greenhouse construction, some of which would also apply to tropical settings. We noted, in particular, efforts to keep costs low, such as using a gravity-based drip irrigation system. The paper also details costs involved, and includes an appendix with information on crop performance, labor, and vegetable yields.

List of Short Season Crops Appropriate for Haiti - 2016-10-26

This document was originally prepared in response to hurricane Matthew in 2016.

As organizations are responding to Hurricane Matthew damage in Haiti and in other parts of the Caribbean, they are developing short, medium, and long term plans of how to respond.  With much of the damage in Haiti occurring in rural communities, organizations are considering how to respond with seeds and trees so to help the agriculture sector rebound.  In agriculture there are crops that produce in the short term (various vegetables, beans, etc.), medium term (bananas/plantains, yams, cassava, etc.) and long term (fruit/forestry trees) that can be part of the response planning.  How to properly respond will depend on various factors such as access to land, available seeds/seedlings, time of year, available water (irrigation or rain fed), soil salinity (often an issue after storm events near the ocean), and cultural preferences.