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Indicative List of Success Cases that could be promoted or scaled up
by the Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development Initiative
Zimbabwe: Organic farming of cotton with natural pest management
The project was initiated by a group of resource-poor women farmers, keen to produce cotton without pesticides for economic, health and environmental reasons, but who lacked the knowledge of pest management and organic agriculture. A local NGO provided training in farmer field schools and a market for locally produced organic lint was found. The project has benefited 400 households, and has led to the elimination of organophosphate and pyrethoid pesticides from the farming system, provided information and training in sustainable agriculture directly to farmers and fostered the conservation of indigenous trees. The project has particularly benefited HIV/AIDs widows by allowing access to an income source from which they were previously excluded, due to the high costs of inputs. Organic cotton production is accessible to these groups because there is no need for costly inputs.
Source: Pesticides Action Network in UK, Pretty & Koofhakfan1, (2002)
China: East Gansu Sustainable Agricultural Techniques for Effective use of Rainfall Resources Project
This project promotes the more efficient use of rainfall through run-off collection techniques, water storage, film mulching, and multiple-use of crop products and bi-products of livestock. Cereal yields have increased substantially by about 40% and more water is now available for human and animal consumption and irrigation. Additional benefits include reduced soil erosion, decreased pesticide and fertiliser use, increased social capital formation through farmers' mutual aid groups, and the increased capacity of women who now play a major part in fruit and vegetable management and livestock rearing.
Source: Fan Tinghu in Pretty & Koofhafkan1, (2002)
Nepal: Jajarkot Permaculture Programme
This community-based programme builds on the skills and knowledge of local people and professionals, through social capital formation for sustainable food production and livelihood diversification. Local households used regenerative agriculture technologies such as green manures, composting, intercropping, and agro-forestry to improve the fertility of their lands. They diversified their farms by incorporating fruit trees, bees, sheep, rabbits, cotton, flowers and intensified production on their kitchen gardens. The project contributed to sustainable rural development by encouraging the formation of community groups for managing local savings and credit schemes, constructing smokeless stoves and pit latrines, giving support to small businesses, and offering adult education and access to health facilities.
Source: Jajarkot Permaculture Programme, 1997-00, in Pretty & Koohafkan1, (2002)
Philippines: Integrated Pest Management for Highland Vegetables
This Integrated Pest Management project was set up in response to the severe negative effects of pesticide use on insecticide resistance and human health. The project set up farmer field schools to increase awareness about the harmful effects of pesticides, to increase knowledge of natural enemies, and to encourage discussion on best husbandry practices amongst farmers. The project reached 1,719 farmers in 65 Farmer Field Schools, with 48 trainers trained, mainly from local government. As a result, there has been an 80% decrease in pesticide use in the wet season (55% decrease in the dry season) and the synthetic fertiliser rate has halved, giving the farmers a 17% increase in income. Vegetable yields have also increased by about 20%. Farmer Field Schools are considered locally to be a good investment by municipal authorities.
Source: Pretty & Koohafkan1, (2002)
Brazil: Community Seed Banks, Paraiba
Small farm-land holding sizes in Paraiba and frequent droughts mean that families are often unable to produce enough seed for home consumption and to save for the next year's crop. A preference for commercial seed varieties over local varieties to meet market demands and to distribute in government seed programs is also contributing to the loss of genetic diversity. Community seed banks are helping to reverse this trend through participatory, collective seed supply and husbandry. These banks enable farmers to be self-reliant by supporting the timely provision of seeds, as well as the conservation of agro-biodiversity.
Source: AS-PTA in Forum for Food Sovereignty2 (2002)
Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua: Hillside Improvement
Farm families have adopted sustainable agricultural practices such as using green manure, cover crops, contour grass strips, in-row tillage, rock bunds and animal manure to improve soil fertility and to reduce soil erosion. These techniques have been adapted to local conditions through farmer experimentation. Farm families have benefited from significant increases in crop yields (400-600kg/ha to 2000-2500kg/ha). The project has also had effects on the local economy through an increase in land prices and labour rates. Families have moved back into rural areas from capital cities. There have also been positive impacts on the environment, through reduced deforestation. Farmers are now able to farm the same piece of land permanently, instead of clearing forests for new agricultural land.
Source: Roland Bunch COSECHA, Honduras & Juan Carlos Moreira, Centro Maya, Guatemala, in Pretty & Koohafkan (2002)
USA: Green Enterprises in Willapa Watershed of the Pacific North-West
The economically depressed Willapa watershed was experiencing environmental degradation and dwindling natural resources. Its economic activities depended on external markets for locally produced products. The Willapa Alliance is a partnership of indigenous peoples, farmers, oyster growers, fishermen, small businesses and others set up to create businesses and products that use natural resources sustainably and add value to them. Although the Alliance had many business ideas, the necessary skills and access to markets and credit were in short supply. With help from the South Shore Community Bank and support from the Ford Foundation, local businesses and livelihoods have been made more sustainable through locally marketed oysters, collection of wild mushrooms from forests, diversification of cranberry products, harvesting of alder from secondary forests for high quality wood products, marketing of fish and crab as wholesome foods, and reduced herbicide use in shellfish beds due to reeds and grasses being used to make woven products.
Source: Pretty, (1998) "Living the Land" in Pretty & Koohafkan1, (2002)
We Welcome Your Support
These are just a few of the many cases of success since 1992 in improving people's livelihoods by achieving more sustainable agriculture and rural development. We welcome your support in identifying other cases that can be used to assist rural communities and disadvantaged groups to solve similar problems in other parts of the world.
1 Case Studies adapted from Pretty, J & P. Koohafkan (2002) "Land and Agriculture from UNCED, Rio de Janerio 1992 to WSSD, Johannesburg 2002: A Compendium of recent Sustainable Development and Agriculture Initiatives in the field of Agriculture and Land Management"
2 Case study adapted from Forum for Food Sovereignty, (2002) "Sustaining Agricultural Biodiversity and the integrity and free flow of Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture"