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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.  

96 Edisi dalam Penerbitan ini (Menampilkan edisi - 42)

Establishing a Scaled-Up Black Soldier Fly System - 15 September 2021

Critical to the success of a small-scale farm is its ability to turn on-farm waste into alternative value-added products. By integrating the Black Soldier Fly (HermetiaAN47 BSF Fig13 illucens) on the farm, small-scale enterprises can do just that. Taking common waste products such as food scraps and manure, the Black Soldier Fly can be used to efficiently convert raw waste materials into high-protein feed sources for livestock, while simultaneously producing a by-product suited for amending soils. 

An Innovative ‘Do-All’ Biochar Burner Design - 15 September 2021

[Editor’s Note: There are many biochar burner designs currently in existence, intended for various scales and end uses in mind. This particular design hasAN47 Biochar Fig3 become a favorite of the ECHO Asia farm staff, for its ability to produce larger quantities of pyrolyzed material and wood vinegar at the same time. This design was innovated by a local Thai partner and credit should be given accordingly. Thank you Mr. Arun Waikham for allowing us to share your design with the ECHO network.]

Developing Community Seed Banking Practices through Low-Cost Appropriate Technology Use - 20 Mei 2021

This article by ECHO Asia Staff members Patrick Trail, Yuwadee Danmalidoi, and Boonsong Thansrithong, appeared in ARI's  'Eudoo' Journal of Rural Future Study (May, 2021)

A number of motivations exist for saving seed at the community level, including crop biodiversity preservation, food sovereignty of local seed, and the potential for improved crop production. Beyond traditional farmer seed saving practices, many opportunities exist for small to medium-sized seed bank entities operated at the community level. This article will summarize some of the work of ECHO and its experiences partnering with community seed banks throughout Southeast Asia.

To date, ECHO has engaged with a growing network of community seed banks (CSBs) throughout the region, serving at the community and/or local NGO level. Current partnerseed banks range in scale and scope but share in their implementation of low-cost appropriate technologies for the storage of their seeds.

The Martinez Airlift Pump: Lifting Water with Air - 14 Desember 2020

Water pumps have long been a key component of the small-scale farm and are valuable labor-saving devices that offer a variety of practical applications. Pumps of AN 44 Fig1different types are regularly used for water storage & filtration, irrigation, aquaculture systems, and more. While convenient and useful, pumping water does come at a cost – from the necessary consumption of energy, to the regular maintenance of moving parts. However, new developments in appropriate pump technologies offer options that can save money, increase reliability, improve longevity of equipment, and offer certain other benefits that to be presented in this article. 

Tomato Grafting in Southeast Asia: A Useful Technique for Rainy Season Production - 31 Agustus 2020

Tomatoes are difficult to grow during Southeast Asia’s hot and humid monsoonal rainy season. A combination of waterlogged soils, increased disease pressure, and high temperatures often kill young tomato transplants or significantly reduce yields. As an introduced crop, originally from South America, tomatoes are not well adapted to all Southeast Asian climates and soils, and can struggle to produce in the wetter conditions of the region.

Many of the tomatoes found in the marketplace and used by restaurants and hotels during the rainy season are imported or greenhouse-grown, commanding a premium price. This provides a unique opportunity for any local farmers capable of successfully producing to markets during this ‘off season’ window. While growing tomatoes on raised beds or in rain shelters is becoming common practice, grafting is an additional tool that can be used by farmers to produce tomatoes with an improved profit margin. 

Mycorrhizal Fungi - Our Tiny Underground Allies - 31 Agustus 2020

This article is from ECHO Asia Note # 43

Soil microbes influence almost every food production system on earth. Microbial life helps build and maintain human society because they are among our greatest agricultural allies. Ten years ago, I began studying an exceptional group of soil microbes called ‘mycorrhizal fungi’. These microscopic fungi are essential for productive soil ecosystems, because they support plants and other beneficial soil microbes. With proper management, they can help us improve food production, accelerate rural development, and promote community nutrition security.

There are many ways to discuss soil ecosystems, and numerous physical, chemical, and biological terms can become overwhelming. I favor an overall concept called ‘soil health’ because it reminds us soil is alive, and like all living systems, can range from vibrant to broken. The capacity of soil to sustain plant, animal and human life is fundamental to soil health. I focus on the abundance, diversity and functions of mycorrhizal fungi as key indicators, because we often observe thriving mycorrhizal fungi and other microbes building soil health and developing system stability, resilience and productivity over time.

ECHOs from the Network: Integrated Pest Management on the Island of Bali - 29 Mei 2020

This article is from ECHO Asia Note # 42

On the island of Bali we have had recent challenges with the Sugarcane White Grub (Lepidiota stigma) consuming many different crops and frustrating local farmers. In Bali (and Sumatra) we call this pest ‘gayes’, in Javanese it is known as ‘urèt’. In our region, it is a major pest in dryland cropping areas, with the grubs consuming the roots of sugar cane, maize, sorghum, cassava, banana, and other crops. Gayes has always been around, but only in recent years has it become a major pest problem, quickly getting out of control. It has been so bad that some farmers have given up on their fields completely and have abandoned them to grow in other areas. One reason the population has exploded is that back in the olden days people liked to pick and eat the grubs for food, but now the younger generation is not interested. 

Making On-Farm Pig Feed: Farm-Generated Formulas vs. Commercial Feeds - 29 Mei 2020

This article is from ECHO Asia Note # 42

The integration of livestock on the smallholder farm is often a key component to the long-term sustainability of the farm, specifically by means of critical nutrient cycling. Livestock play a unique and critical role on the farm, transforming plant and waste materials into important sources of energy, either for consumption on the farm, or for sale beyond it. As omnivores, pigs are one of the most efficient converters of on-farm ‘waste’, transforming materials unsuited for human consumption, into meat, manure, and income. 

On the ECHO Asia Farm we seek to create our own ‘Farm-Generated Feeds’ for the purpose of leveraging the materials we have available to us, while bringing down our costs of livestock production. In addition to the meat and income produced through our cows, pigs, chickens, and fish, we also value them for their manure, which we compost and use in crop production among other things.

Words of Gratitude and Solidarity from the ECHO Asia Director - 29 Mei 2020

This article is from ECHO Asia Note # 42

Dear ECHO Asia network members,

It is my utmost gratitude to touch-base with you amidst this COVID-19 pandemic, and to extend my best wishes in behalf of the ECHO Asia team! I also hope that all of you are healthy and safe from the threats of the pandemic.

For the last two months, ECHO Asia adopted preventive and precautionary measures against the pandemic compelling us to suspend all our activities at the ECHO Farm. However, at this time, I am very pleased to inform you that our operations will resume normally starting 01 June 2020. We look forward to welcoming you again at our Farm through your visits, tours and trainings.

ECHOs from the Network: Coffee Drying ‘Bunk-Beds’ for Vegetable Production - 29 Mei 2020

This article is from ECHO Asia Note # 42

During the coffee harvest season, we find ourselves maxing out every available drying table that we have while processing our coffee. At the Behind the Leaf Coffee Processing Center, we have 122 drying tables, and for 4 months of the year we use every table we have to lay out and dry the fresh cherries. Unfortunately, there are 8 months of the year that we are not using those drying tables, and they take up significant space. Over the years we have experimented with multi-use table alternatives but have largely been unable to take advantage of the land dedicated to drying coffee.