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This reading list provides links to resources suggested for participants in ECHO's Tropical Agriculture Development series as they prepare to attend.  Some of the subject matter may assist the students in formulating thoughts and questions helpful in maximizing the learning experience.



  1. Key Resource So you want to help people in the tropics. Beautiful! The tropics are waiting for you. No matter what your abilities, you can make life better for others in the tropics. Your concern for the physical and spiritual well-being of people can be translated into fruitful service. Your first asset is...
  2. Key Resource 2018-02-09 Traditional diets included a wide variety of ingredients from myriad wild and domesticated plants. Regional cuisines were shaped by native species in their local environment and by gradually-adopted plants from distant places. The modern global food system and market pressures have reversed this...
  3. Key Resource 2011-01-20 Over the past 30 plus years that we have been working with small-scale farmers in Central Africa, we have enjoyed the wonderful lushness of its forests, savannahs, and rivers. In addition, we have been privileged to get to know some of the many people groups, with their different cultures and...
  4. 1999-03-19 Three programs in Honduras have been looking for ways that poor hillside farmers can capture rainwater in their own fields and hold it there for two or three months. This water could then be used for supplemental irrigation during droughts or for extending the cropping season into the dry season....
  5. 1985-01-01 Green manure crops are crops that are [often times in North America] 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...
  6. Key Resource
    2010-06-01 Seeds naturally have a place in almost any endeavor having to do with agricultural development. Seeds of most food plants are small and, as such, are more easily transported and can be shipped longer distances than vegetative cuttings. For the farmer, seeds represent the promise of a continued...
  7. Key Resource
    2009-01-20 All plants need certain mineral elements for proper growth, development, and maintenance. The basic structure of all organisms is built of carbon (C), oxygen (O) and hydrogen (H). Plants obtain these elements from water (H2O) in the soil and carbon dioxide (CO2) in the air, so no input is...
  8. Key Resource 2013-06-01 Rick Burnette wrote an article for Issue 7(July 2010) of ECHO Asia Notes, titled “Charcoal Production in 200-Liter Horizontal Drum Kilns.” My article takes the charring process a step further by exploring the rapidly re-emerging world of biochar. Biochar is a form of charcoal, produced through...
  9. Key Resource 2012-11-14 The UNCCD estimates that over 250 million people are affected by land degradation, and about 1 billion people in over 100 countries are at risk. According to the WMO, 33% of the world’s land surface is vulnerable to land degradation.Degraded lands lead to overall reduced productivity and reduced...
  10. 2017-02-09 This presentation will look at the differences between relief, rehabilitation, and development. We will see some of the challenges involved in determining which one of those three interventions is needed in different situations and we will talk about what to consider when transitioning from...
  11. This article is from ECHO Asia Note #29 The old adage ‘You can’t fix a problem if you don’t know you have one’ underpins the basic science of diagnosing plant nutrient deficiencies. For years, farmers and scientists have worked together to identify a set of visual clues that can be used to...
  12. 2022-09-14 Outline Characteristics of Soil Indicating Health Life in the Soil Farmer Constraints in Building Soil Health Competing Uses of Organic Matter Soil Loss Roaming Animals Fire
  13. 2015-05-19 A participatory learning approach, applied at each stage of a community development project, is crucial to reaching the level of stakeholder involvement needed for lasting, positive change. The use of participatory survey and planning methods in the development process encourages community...
  14. Key Resource 1993-06-01 During the course of each year a number of individuals working in community development spend some days studying and planning at ECHO. In reality their felt need is not so much for a bit more knowledge (study), but for a project plan for how they are going to proceed to help local farmers. A...
  15. 2019-01-20 Reviewed by Dawn Berkelaar ECHO has an extensive network of agricultural experts working in diverse areas of production and development. Many members contribute to our various publications and resources, often writing or contributing to our existing documents. Some provide self-developed...
  16. 2022-09-13 General Information : Green Manure Crops (ECHO Tech Note 10) An Introduction to Soil Fertility (ECHO Tech Note 57) Nutrient Quantity or Nutrient Access? A new Understanding of How to Maintain Soil Fertility in the Tropics (EDN 74) The Use of Green/Manure Cover Crops for Relay Cropping in Northern...
  17. 2022-09-13 Outline No Silver Bullet Approach Emphasis on Diversity Valuing Cultivars and Collections of Selected Species Strong Dependence on Perennials in Farming Good Mix of Annual Cropping Systems Approach to Agriculture for Small Scale Emphasis on Extending the Growing Season On-site Production of...
  18. 2022-09-12 Outline How Do You Define Poverty? Exploring Poverty Expanding Our Understanding BIG 5 Contributers Dependency Overly Restricted Measurements Three Dimensions of Poverty Categories of Poverty How to Respond Poverty Mindset Renewing the Ch---Mindset
  19. 2022-09-13
  20. 2022-09-13 Outline What are Green Manures? Cover Crops? Velvet Bean Cowpea / Niebe Hyacinth bean Root Nodules Sorghum Sudan Grass Keys to Success Soil Cover vs. Soil Incorporation Sunn Hemp Intercropping with Legumes
  21. 2022-09-14 Outline Classification Photosynthesis Water and Nutrient Movement Monocot vs. Dicot Plant Growth
  22. 2022-09-14 Outline Understand the Essential Steps in Seed Saving Look at Practical Tools and Technologies for Seed Saving Identify the Importance of Saving Seeds Pollination Steps in Saving Seeds Harvest Seeds
  23. 2022-09-14 Outline Agroforestry Basics Characteristics of Agroforestry Benefits of Agroforestry Agroforestry Practices
  24. 2022-09-15 Outline Perennial Greens and Inderutilized Tropical Crops Benefits of Underutilized Crops Select / Promtion of Underutilized Crops
  25. 2022-09-15 Outline Case Study Definition(s) Relief, Rehabilitation, Development ECHO Principles Pitfalls To Avoid Tools for Practice
  26. 2022-09-16 Outline Lowland Tropics Tropical Highlands Monsoon
  27. This information service on biogas technology has been developed and produced on the order of the GTZ project Information and Advisory Service on Appropriate Technology (ISAT) for the ISAT Website in a collaborative effort. Information included in this document include application and production...
  28. There are two main reasons for drying food: to prevent (or inhibit) the growth and activity of micro-organisms and hence preserve the food to reduce the weight and bulk of food for cheaper transport and storage. This technical brief describes some of the requirements for proper drying and...
  29. Globally, drying is the most widely used method for preserving foods for use in the home or for sale. When drying foods such as fruits, vegetables, spices, herbs and nuts value is added by dryingand in such cases an investment in improved drying technologies may be economically viable. This...
  30. This Agrodok (#3) is meant to be a practical manual giving a review of the simple techniques used to preserve fruits and vegetables. The general introduction deals with the principles of spoilage prevention. Following this, the various methods of preserving are explained, and the main points of...
  31. The UC Davis chimney solar dryer was designed to provide efficient drying even in hazy or partially cloudy conditions. Constructing the dryer is simple, and it can be built from low-cost materials found locally in markets and shops around the world. The objective of this manual is to provide the...
  32. Document Reference: Boodoo, A. A.; Delaitre, J. C.; Preston, T. R., 1977. Ensiling sugarcane tops with different additives. Trop. Anim. Prod., 2 (2): 185-188 A number of different additives (molasses, urea, calcium hydroxide, ammoniated molasses and sand) were tested in silage made from chopped...
  33. Document Reference: Munroe, Glenn. (2007). Manual of On-Farm Vermicomposting and Vermiculture. Org Agric Centre of Canada. This document includes information regarding the difference between vermiculture and vermicomposting, the five worm essentials, basic types of vericulture systems, and much...
  34. How to improve the nutrition of farmers’ milking animals when each family keeps only one dairy cow? During the cold, continental winter, the major fodders available are wheat or maize straw, together with hay and concentrated feeds. As a minimum, it is essential to provide a green fodder...
  35. 2021-01-20 Available on iOS 10.0+and Android 5.0+ Android version updated 8/2022 for Android 11, 12, 12.1 (available soon) Search "echocommunity" in the App Store on your iPhone or in Google Play on your Android phone. ECHO has provided resources to farmers and development workers for 40 years....
  36. How to improve the nutrition of farmers’ milking animals when each family keeps only one dairy cow? During the cold, continental winter, the major fodders available are wheat or maize straw, together with hay and concentrated feeds. As a minimum, it is essential to provide a green fodder...
  37. 2007-01-01 Biogas is a well-established fuel for cooking and lighting in a number of countries. It is a gas mixture comprising around 60% methane and 40% carbon dioxide that is formed when organic materials, such as dung or vegetable matter are broken down by microbiological activity in the absence of air,...
  38. Making your own Solar CITIES IBC Tote Tank Biodigester has never been easier!! Here's all you need to do to jump into the backyard or basement biogas game and become a first flamer (yes, you can build them on your roof, porch or patio too!):
  39. This information service on biogas technology has been developed and produced on the order of the GTZ project Information and Advisory Service on Appropriate Technology (ISAT) for the ISAT Website in a collaborative effort. Information within this document includes the basics of biogas, the...