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Appropriate Technology Technical Notes describe simple, small-scale technologies aimed at improving people's access to food, water, and shelter. Each document introduces and explains the general concept behind the technological solution, some even include instructions of how to construct your own.



  1. Key Resource 2002-01-01 Seed storage is often a problem in the tropics. However, if seeds can be properly dried, they will remain viable for a longer period of time. The seed drying cabinet described here can help improve the viability of seeds in storage. What’s Inside: Introduction Description Diagram Observations...
  2. 2002-01-01 This simple forage cutter provides a mechanism to chop tough grasses or other forages to make them more palatable and digestible for livestock. This results in more efficient food conversion for animals and reduced wastage. It can also be used to chop materials for compost, silage, vermiculture,...
  3. 2010-01-01 Cite this article as: Longenecker, J. 2010. Treadle Grindstone.ECHO Technical Noteno. 62.
  4. 2006-01-01 The A-Frame Level is a simple, yet accurate tool used for constructing contours on a hillside or slope. It is useful in the basic construction of hillside farming systems, such as the SALT systems, as well as for establishing level contours and drainage ditches. Level contours on a slope reduce...
  5. Key Resource 2011-01-01 A sand dam is a reinforced concrete wall built across a seasonal river to hold underground water in sand (see above photo of Nzaaya Muisyo sand dam, Eastern province, Kenya). It is initially built one meter high and up to 90 meters across. During the heavy and erratic seasonal rains, the water...
  6. Key Resource 2018-05-17 Many plants deemed as invaluable for the smallholder farmer offer nutritious food for the family, fodder for animals, or timber for construction. Remarkably, bamboo offers all three of these assets from the same perennial plant! This Technical Note will focus on how to most effectively harvest,...
  7. 2003-01-01 Although this document will tell you how to build a particular incubator that I have used for several years, the ideas presented here should assist in building an incubator of any capacity. The orientation here is toward solving the problems in building a kerosene fired incubator in general....
  8. 2010-01-01 The purpose of this document is to show several water pump designs constructed from PVC pipe, explain how to manufacture them, and discuss pump performance and how to improve on these designs.
  9. 2000-01-01 Briquettes made from materials that cost little or no money to obtain, such as old newspaper or unutilized plant waste, can be a cost-effective alternate fuel to charcoal or firewood. This could alleviate the harsh pressures put on many forests for providing enough fuel energy to meet people’s...
  10. 2002-01-01 A composting toilet is any system that converts human waste into compost through the natural breakdown of organic matter. The photo above shows a composting toilet from the late 1800’s. Composting toilets provide a sanitary method to recycle human waste while conserving water and protecting the...
  11. 2003-01-01 Rope can be made from cord or string or even discarded plastic bags using a simple spindle to twist the materials together. Cite this article as: Forst, C. and L. Stoll 2003. Rope Maker. ECHO Technical Note no. 49.
  12. Key Resource 2016-02-05 Until recently, firewood was taken for granted in northern Thailand. With vast forests full of many types of trees, upland households could afford to be choosy concerning the wood they used for cooking. However, in recent years, more and more communities are facing restricted access to forest...
  13. Key Resource 2001-01-01 Access to clean drinking water remains one of the greatest challenges in the world. The BioSand Filter is one method that can be used for purifying water at the household level. With this filter, contaminated water is filtered through a natural biological layer and then layers of sand, pebbles...
  14. 2001-01-01 This simple device provides a method of manually producing bales of hay. Small-scale farmers may be interested in this technology because hay is both easier to store and easier to transport when it has been baled. Also, baled hay retains a higher nutrient content than hay that has been cut and...
  15. 1998-09-01 Many families in the tropics must assume a major role in production of their own foodstuffs. Incomes are so low that purchase of food competes with purchase of necessary items that cannot be hand-made. Most governments in the tropics do not have the resources to guarantee even minimum food to all...
  16. Key Resource 2001-01-01 Often the biggest challenge faced by a tropical farmer is not in the production of a crop but rather in the preservation of the crop. Farmers may want to preserve a crop for future consumption or for sale at a time when the market will offer a higher price. Using a solar dehydrator is a simple,...
  17. Key Resource
    1991-01-01 There are several reasons for establishing fences on the small farm. Fences are used to: To mark boundary lines between farms or next to roads. To separate adjacent fields used for distinct purposes To protect and keep animals from straying To protect crops from animal damage A fence represents...
  18. 2001-01-01 There are many variations of sawdust cookstoves that have been used for years both in North America and around the world. These cookstove models provide a low-cost, low-input method for producing a high intensity flame that will burn for up to five hours using a waste product. These stoves are...

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