3. Farming for the future: an introduction to low-external-input and sustainable agriculture.
The MacMillan Press Ltd., London, UK, ISBN 0-333-57011-1, 1992, 162 pp + appendices
In recent years, the negative environmental and social impacts of high-external-input agriculture have become increasingly obvious.
The call for sustainable agriculture is increasing.
'Farming for the future' examines the strategies and techniques of low-external-input and sustainable agriculture (LEISA) in the tropics.
It is based on eight years' work by the Information Centre for Low-External-Input and Sustainable Agriculture (ILEIA) in conjunction with the ETC Foundation in the Netherlands.
The scientific principles behind the various LEISA systems and techniques have been analysed, with the advisory support of staff members from the Agricultural University of Wageningen and independent professionals.
The focus in this book is on farmers who presently operate with low levels of external inputs, either because they are not available or because they are too costly. The intention is to provide background theory, practical ideas and sources of further information for persons and organisations who are working together with such farmers in trying to solve technical problems and open up potential at the farm level. The solutions to farmers' problems is as diverse, complex and site-specific as their farming systems, but the principles involved in finding the solutions will be of wider validity.
The first part of the book provides background information about the need for sustainable agriculture, and draws attention to the central role played by farmers in achieving it.
Part II draws from scientific agroecological findings to give the theoretical background of sustainable agriculture.
Part III draws from field experiences in developing smallholder agriculture to show how the process of technology development by farmers can be linked with the insights of agroecological science in a participatory approach to development which strengthens farmers' innovative capacity and complements other methods of technology development.
The rather extensive appendices are intended to provide some technical information as well as further sources of information, in order to support fieldworkers and farmers in their combined efforts.
Appendix A presents a selection of some technical options for LEISA development.
A glossary of key terms used can be found in Appendix B, and sources of further information are indicated in Appendix C.
The central concern of the book is how development workers can assist small-scale farmers in making the best use of low-cost local resources to solve their agricultural problems. Emphasis is on methods of Participatory Technology Development (PTD) to find site-specific solutions and to raise the overall productivity of farming in a sustainable way.
The authors have taken an interdisciplinary approach, providing a broad framework of background theory as well as practical ideas and sources of up-to-date information. Numerous examples from the field are given to illustrate key principles and techniques of LEISA.
'Farming for the Future' is written for agricultural development staff in extension, research and training. The book should also be of great interest to lecturers and students of agriculture and rural development, as well as to research scientists and to planners and donors of agricultural and related projects.
This book is an excellent source of information for the newcomer to the aspects of sustainable development as well as for the veteran practitioner and planner.
1134 92 - 5/110
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