In Chiang Mai, Thailand, during the late 1990s, I became aware of farming practices that utilized beneficial microorganisms to enhance small farm resources and production in the tropics. Such techniques, enabling soil recovery and improving smallscale crop and livestock production, blended tropical inputs with compatible natural farming ideas from Japan and Korea. The techniques stimulated considerable interest among local agriculturists, and it was not long before Thai farmers were reporting related benefits. Unfortunately, at the time there was very little accessible scientific information to back up many of the various claims or to explain the results.
However, Dr. Arnat Tancho at Maejo University in Chiang Mai began to investigate these microbial-based farming approaches. Combining scientific references with research findings, he has enabled Thai agriculturists to consider the use of local, cost-saving inputs that, beginning with the soil, can increase farm production while reducing waste. In the process, Dr. Arnat has increased farmer awareness about the vital role of microorganisms in farm practices, including soil improvement, crop production, vermiculture and livestock nutrition. These approaches, supported by scientific references, were presented in his popular Thai-language book called Applied Natural Farming.
To extend the benefits of the book beyond Thailand’s borders, ECHO is pleased to have facilitated the translation of the Natural Farming book into English. We are grateful to the National Science and Technology Development Agency for permitting and coordinating the production of the English edition. Offered at a level that is suitable for persons who use English as a second language, the English version of Natural Farming is already serving as a helpful reference for farmers, agricultural development workers and educators throughout Southeast Asia and beyond.
The English Natural Farming edition is 340 pages and includes color photos and educational graphics as well as tables that do a very good job of summarizing information. To order, go to www.echobooks.org
ECHO Staff 2013. Natural Farming. ECHO Development Notes no. 121