One key aspect of those who live in poverty is a lack of options. Personal finances are one area in which lack of options can have a huge impact on a family and community. Sometimes income and/or expenses are irregular, leaving folks vulnerable. The opportunity to borrow a small amount of money can be extremely helpful when school fees are due, a family faces unexpected medical expenses, or the time is right to expand a small business. However, the very poor do not have access to traditional banking services, and may be vulnerable to exploitation by people offering high interest loans.
Many of you are already familiar with ECHO’s previously published book, Amaranth to Zai Holes (A-Z ), a compilation of the first 51 issues of EDN . Agricultural Options for Small-Scale Farmers is a sequel to A-Z , with content drawn primarily from issues 52 through 100 of EDN , but also containing updated information on selected portions of A-Z . The sequel also features technical notes, written by experienced practitioners, on agricultural systems that they have implemented in the field and that have been adopted by thousands of farmers.
In the past, we have written about different types of micro irrigation in EDN ; for example, we wrote about using clay pots for irrigation in EDN 97. This is a very good option, but unless pots are made locally, it can be expensive. Graham Knight of BioDesign in the UK has gathered information about wick irrigation, a type of micro irrigation with good potential as a inexpensive option for watering plants in dry areas, especially larger plants such as trees or plants in smaller areas like a kitchen garden.