ECHOcommunity Conversations

Bio Agriculture

Hello everyone,
All of you know that Haiti is a poor Country. Here we need to produce lot of food to feed the population. To do so, we must use chemical fertilizer. Nowadays they are talking about bio agriculture that I think we cannot produce enough food for the population. What do you think about that? Please.

Hello Jean-Denis
You know it’s a complete phalacy (untruth) that to grow more (and better) food you need chemicals - research into regenerative agriculture, permaculture etc.
best
Chris

Last spring I was on a farm in the in the mountains of Haiti. This farm has not been dependent on chemical fertilizers for many years and it had some of the best producing crops anywhere. I lived 18 years in the corn belt of Midwest United States. Overuse of chemicals have completely destroyed the soil health of all my neighbors’ fields. Don’t let anyone convince you it takes chemicals to produce enough of crops to feed society.

It does take chemicals to become a rich, mega-farmer who alone farms hundreds or even thousands of acres in his agri-business. However it does not require chemical dependency for small-holder farmers to raise excellent crops and collectively feed the world.

2 Likes

Thank you Chris and Edward for advice.

Le lun. 16 déc. 2019 à 11:25, Edward Martin via ECHOcommunity Conversations conversations@echocommunity.org a écrit :

Chris is correct, you can increase the soil fertility without needing chemicals. In fact, chemical fertilizers have been shown to degrade soil over time, probably because they impair the natural soil food web. If you want some good resources on regenerative agriculture that will work in developing countries, check out these resources:

Best wishes,
Roger

Jean-Denis,
I understand your belief that chemical fertilizers are need to feed the world. However, echoing others, this assertion is more about paradigm than reality. That does not mean chemical fertilizers are a great evil to be avoided at all cost, but rather an acknowledgement that the American system of high output mechanized monoculture relies on chemical inputs and machinery in order to convert “outmoded” husbandry-based agriculture to agribusiness. The primary objective of agribusiness is to increase profits, and this is done at the expense of long-term land and human health.

However, ECHO folks take a long-term view that encompasses high productivity, sustainability, well-being, and creation care. Thankfully, all of these concerns can be addressed by improving pre-existing small-scale inter-cropping techniques. While it is true that very high outputs can be obtained using the agribusiness model, this tends to be at the expense of the other important factors mentioned above. And since we are holistic beings, our wellbeing is intimately tied to the entire productive system. There may be times when chemical fertilizer can temporarily boost productivity, particularly during emergencies. However, fertilizer should be treated like pharmaceuticals: They may help short term, but long term use leads to dependency and a failure to thrive.

My years spent among resource poor small-scale agriculturalists in Niger have shown me that an integrated, holistic approach that embraces creation care can give impressive, sustainable results. But like anything worthwhile, this approach cannot be implemented without time and effort. That is why ECHO agriculturalists tend to double as missionaries, teaching the essential goodness of living in harmony the creator, the creation, and our neighbors. I encourage you to begin this journey, but only if you have a long-term view. Such a holistic approach cannot be embraced overnight.

Joel R. Matthews

Hello ECHOcommunity,

I persuade that I understand all that you tell me. By the way, I understand that here in Haiti we have a lack of agricultural machines to work. For instance, to plow our lands we use cows to do it. If we have a big piece of land to plow we don’t have tractor that causes we are late and we cannot produce enough food to feed the population. In this case, I would like you share with me other techniques to produce more natural food here? Thank you so much for your interest to discuss my different questions.

Jean-Denis Maignan

Le ven. 20 déc. 2019 à 15:13, Joel Matthews via ECHOcommunity Conversations conversations@echocommunity.org a écrit :

HI Jean-Denis - I am just a few kms away in Cuba. A lot of our everyday vegetables are grown in what we call organoponics - relatively small areas of raised bed which are intensively cultivated and produce onions, carrots, lettuce, acelga, and a lot of short cycle crops including herbs. The trick has always been to compost and mix with preferably horse manure. It takes a while. We have been composting on the roof of the house - we have black soil - but the person tending it keeps putting on water so it isn’t real compost. However it is wonderfully rich soil.

There is a lot of advice about raised beds and wicking beds (we are in a dry area here in Santiago de Cuba) So we are thinking that where it is really dry for much of the year we will try a wicking bed - you can get plans and instructions from this website.
The trick with organoponico is to take the time to make really good soil and then build the beds up bit by bit. You can use marigolds in particular to ward off the bugs. You will also need eventually to have a worm bed and use that soil to mix in. One person I know started with tilapia (to use the water with all the nuitriants) and rabits for family meat, and their waste to mix in!
Open up areas slowly - plant small stuff that grows rapidly and is nutritious - cress, beetroots, sell the beets and eat the leaves! Carrots habichuelas peas - and fruit trees - fruita bomba, guyaba, etc. they will get their roots deep and give some shade.
Are you sure that there are no Cubans in your area helping with agriculture. Ask the medicos if they can put you in touch with the Cuban agricultural experts. They know all about organoponicos. If not let me know and I will find someone for you.

Dear Jean-Denis,
In many countries farmers are now using cover crops to fertilize their degraded soil instead of chemicals!
You can find such information on this website.

It may interest you that I am already in contact with a farmer in Haiti who is going to grow Jack beans (Haricot Jacques) as fertiliser and food.

Graham Knight
biodesigndiy@gmail.com