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ttere are two important options that farmers/producers in Senegal employ, and these are the use of food production-related forecasting and early warning systems and the invention and diffusion of sustainable technology compatible with agricultural conditions. Uganda

In Uganda, the farmers' coping toolkit for agriculture includes use of farmers' traditional knowledge of micro-environment diversification, intensification of vegetation on farmlands in order to reduce soil erosion and sedimentation rates near water catchment areas, integration oflocally developed knowledge of soil, climate, biological resources and other physical factors with scientific assessment to maintain crop diversity. One example is the management and recycling of crop residues to improve and sustain productivity.


Case studies: Regional/national coping strategies 13.4.1

The Philippine experience: Empowering farmers for rural development tte Philippines is an archipelago with more than 7,100 islands located in the tropics bounded by 4 ° and 21° latitudes and 116° and 127° longitudes. It is completely boundedbybodies ofwater. (See Figure 13.1). Its agroecologicalzone classification is warm humid tropics with four climate types based on rainfall patterns: Type 1 is described as two pronounced seasons, dry from November to April and wet during the rest of the year. Type 2 is characterized by the absence of a dry period with maximum rain period from November to January. Type 3 has a short dry period from November to February. Type 4 has more or less even rainfall distribution during the year.

Arable land per capita is 0.075, one of the lowest in developing Asia with agriculture contributing about one-sixth of total GDP. Rice constitutes about 30% of total crop harvested. As of 2000, about 67% of the 4 million-hectare rice area (but excluding the upland area planted to rice), is irrigated and the rest is rainfed. Upland rice is grown in both permanent and shifting cultivation systems scattered throughout the archipelago.

In the early 1960s, a technology innovation called Green Revolution changed the configuration of farming in the Philippine setting (Medina 2002). ttis technology which centered on the use of high-yielding varieties (HYVs) required high inputs of fertilizers, pesticides and irrigation. Together with support services like credit and extension personnel providing advice, yields had a dramatic increase. But, because Filipino farmers are mostly resource-poor, increase in yields did not compensate for the increase in external inputs, tte burden of borrowed capital with associated interests and the uncertainties brought about by increased frequency of incidence of pests and diseases and also, the occurrence of natural hazards (typhoons, floods, drought events) had not improved the lives of most of the farmers.

Worse, other challenges had surfaced. Most of the varieties developed by the farmers were displaced by HYV monocrops. ttere were more frequent outbreaks

Fig. 1.1. Uemap of the Philippines.

Fig. 1.1. Uemap of the Philippines.

of pests and diseases because most of the natural predators had vanished. A variety of available food sources like birds, fish, frogs and the like had been eliminated with the increasing use of pesticides. Also, farmers were exposed to health risks due to prolonged and frequent use of chemical inputs. More importantly, seeds commonly saved and exchanged among the farmers were gradually replaced by commercial seeds. And eventually, farmers lost control of their production assets like seeds, technology and in some cases, land.

To address these farmers'needs and concerns, a Farmer-Scientist Partnership for Development called Magsasaka at Siyentipiko sa Pag-unlad ng Agrikultura (MA-SIPAG) was formed in the mid-1980s (Medina 2002). ttis development approach to address uncertainties and risks, and ultimately, improve the quality of life of the resource-poor farmers, had five strategies; namely,

• farmer-scientist partnership to combine the theories and technical knowledge of the scientists with that of the experience and practical knowledge of the farmers,

• bottom-up approach to prioritize farmers' needs,

• farmer-led research and training through the farmer-managed trials cum training center,

• farmer-to- farmer mode of technology transfer, and

• advocacy for sustainable/organic agriculture and other related issues.

tte member-farmers either organized themselves or joined already organized units, ttey joined orientation workshops on local and global trends in agriculture, including alternatives like sustainable organic agriculture, which are organized by farmer-trainers from peoples' organizations (POs), or by the technical staff of the MASIPAG or partner non-government organizations (NGOs). tten they established trial farms where they planted from 50 to 100 traditional varieties and MASIPAG rice selections (those seeds which could not be defined technically as varieties because they do not meet the criteria for purity and uniformity) per trial farm, tte seeds were to maintain more genetic variability, which gave wider possibilities to match selections to environmental conditions, tte choice of starting traditional varieties was based on the less capital input required and those that were ecologically adapted to diverse agro-ecological conditions.

tte farmers observed the characteristics of the different varieties and selections to assess them for suitability to the local environment conditions and pest resistance. tte top ten performing locally adapted varieties were then chosen for planting. Farmers were given only between a hundred grams to one kilogram of seed per variety so that these farmers re-learned the skill of mass-producing their seeds. Result was the mosaic effect of the different neighboring varieties, creating a barrier to pests and diseases due to the differential resistance between the varieties. One positive effect of the farmer planting several varieties in his farm were the benefits of different rates of maturity, so that harvest was spread over a longer period allowing him to spread out the work, rather than hire labor.

tte yields of MASIPAG_bred rice and some selected traditional varieties were in most cases higher or similar as those of HYVs. But because farmer partners did not use chemical fertilizers and pesticides, net income was significantly higher than the conventional technologies (See Table 13.1). Eliminating chemical inputs and focusing on the utilization of natural resources available in the farm for pest control not only minimized financial expense, but also provided ancillary benefits to the environment. Alternative pest management was focused on maintaining ecological balance in the farm. Pesticides were completely eliminated from the food chain and farmers were no longer exposed to toxic chemicals, ttis in return, had allowed the return of diverse food sources, which contributed to better nutrition of the farming family.

Moreover, the recovery and maintenance of 668 traditional rice varieties contributed to the conservation of the main staple food. Improvement of these varieties through a modified bulk selection breeding strategy had produced 539 MASI-

Table13.1. Comparison of inputs used in organic MASIPAG farming versus conventional farming (Source: Medina, 2002)


Conventional (Pesos)1

MASIPAG (Pesos)1

Straw application



Land preparation









Seed broadcast/seedbed











Chemical Fertilizer






Total production cost



Yield/Gross income: 4560kg (PhP 7.40/kg) / 4620kg (PhP 7.40/kg)

Net income



Net profit: cost ratio



Cost and return analysis per hectare of conventional farming (HVY) and organic MASIPAG RICE (Sinayawan, Valencia, Bukidnon, 1977) 'One US$=51.5 Pesos (as ofFeb. 2002)

Cost and return analysis per hectare of conventional farming (HVY) and organic MASIPAG RICE (Sinayawan, Valencia, Bukidnon, 1977) 'One US$=51.5 Pesos (as ofFeb. 2002)

PAG selections, as of 2002. Also, for maize, a recent addition, 49 traditional varieties with 3 improved MASIPAG selections had been produced with two regional back-up farms for maize established.

One female farmer in Southern Philippines claimed that since she began shifting to organic farming her expenses on agricultural inputs, labor and land preparation in her 1.74-hectare farm cropping dropped from P15.000 to P2,480 (S 300 to S 50) per cropping. Another farmer, who used conventional farming for twenty years but has shifted to organic farming, not only saved in his expenses for farm inputs, but also experienced an increase in yield to as much as 68 cavans (or 4080 kgs) of rice per hectare.

tte success of those who have used this approach has started to mobilize the other farmers in the rural communities in the southern Philippines (Zonio 2006).


At the farm level, each MASIPAG rice farmer plants at least three rice varieties to ensure varietal diversity as an ecological design in preventing outbreak of pests as well as for genetic conservation. Farm diversification and integration of farming components and processes are also incorporated to avoid external chemical inputs and increase sustainability. ttus, vegetable and fruit trees are also conscientiously integrated in farm diversification. Without chemical inputs and with nutrient cycling in place, natural soil fertility has been improving. Farmers' experience has shown that it requires from three to five years of conversion from conventional to organic farming for soil nutrient recovery. Without chemical pesticides, ecological balance is re-established, with plant and animal diversity slowly but steadily increasing.

Advantages of this farming system are that there is improved access and control of seeds, enhanced capacity to develop and control technology and the availability of farmer-managed trial farms, tte diverse variety of seeds maintained and readily available to them through their trial farms eliminates the cost of procuring expensive HYVs and has assured them of the adaptation to diverse agro-ecological conditions, tte farmers are trained to do actual plant breeding and management, as well as evaluation and selection of plant cultivars so that they can develop seeds based on their resources, priorities or perceived needs.

Using farm wastes wisely

In one of the farmer communities in the country's premier granary (the Central Luzon plains), a group of farmers has been practicing some innovations such as the conversion of farm wastes (hay, straw and rice hull) into commercial products, tteir farming approach consists of:

• use of organic fertilizers (3 bags of chicken manure substituted for a bag of chemical fertilizer),

• herbal spraying (fermented leaves and twigs of neem and "kakawate" trees and "makabuhay" plants),

• thorough land preparation, good water management and good crop establishment for control of weeds,

• small canal built near dikes for destroying mollusks of golden snails, and

• use of inbred rice varieties, instead ofhybrids.

tteir average yield is 110 cavans (6,600 kgs) per hectare and targeted net income is from S 3,000 to S 4,000 per hectare (Roque 2006).

Transforming the Cordillera (Philippines) rice terraces for organic food production

Organic farming is now being encouraged again in the Cordilleras (a range of mountains found in the northern Philippines which is the home of the Banawe rice terraces (Figure 13.2). ttis farming practice, indigenous to the tribes who live there, do not use synthetic pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers; instead, time-tested principles of soil replenishment, biodiversity and ecological balance are applied. Some of the local farmers also use the inago, rice ratooning, rice-based cropping system, rice-vegetable farming system and rice-fish culture system, among others.

In the inago traditional cropping system, mulch mounds are established in the flooded rice paddies where vegetables, green onions and other condiments are grown. Elongating the inago mounds will enlarge the area for producing vegetables and condiments in the rice terraces, ttere are two benefits of this practice; one, it will augment farmers' income, and the other, it will correct the zinc deficiency associated with the continuous flooding of the rice terraces.

tte practice of ratooning aims to increase rice production and cropping intensity. Ratooning produces a second crop without seeding, lengthy land preparation and replanting activities. It also enables shorter crop maturity and requires less fertilizer, water and labor.

Sew« : Webshofa-cofn

Fig. 13.2. ^e Banaue rice terraces in the Cordilleras

Rice-vegetable (usually sweet potato) cropping system is practiced as an alternate to mono-rice, tte dry cultivation of sweet potato aerates the soil and makes zinc available to rice plants. Integrating fish with rice in the rice terraces increase the cash and non-cash income (fish for home use readily available fingerlings and also control of weeds, insects and snails in the field).

ttis enhanced farming practice in the rice terraces is hoped to transform this resource into a vibrant producer of quality and safe rice, vegetables and condiments seasons after seasons. An added value to the Cordillera is the preservation of this cultural heritage for generations of Filipinos, not discounting the other benefits that organic agriculture offer the farmer practitioners, such as safeguarding public health by eliminating/minimizing use of toxic pesticides/fertilizers, renewed local economies since market opportunities are widened due to consumers demanding food safe for themselves and the environment, protection of natural resources (crops in accordance with local climate), preservation of biodiversity (through preservation of a greater number of strains), and ensured future of agriculture since organic farming produce food without depleting the system's ability to continue (

Fruit production and the management ofslopelands in the Philippines

High-value fruit trees such as mango, citrus, durian (Durio, Zibethinus, Murray), lanzones (Lansium domesticum Correa), pili (Canarium ovatum Engl.), banana and rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum L.) have become banner commodities of profitable fruit production enterprise in the Philippines. Production areas have expanded from flat rolling land onto hilly and marginal slopelands, so that the Sloping Agricultural Land Technology (SALT) has been developed and propagated. Basically, there are four SALT models (Escaño and Tababa 1998):

• SALT 1: Ally cropping using leguminous tree or shrub species planted closely in a belt along contour lines. Annual and perennial crops are planted between the rows, ttese are a mixture of food and cash crops.

• SALT 2: Known as "simple agro-livestock technology", this recommends a land use of 40% for agriculture, 20% for forestry, and 40% for livestock, particularly goats, tte cropping mix includes forage crops as well as cash and food crops.

• SALT 3: Known as "sustainable agroforest land technology", this promotes food-wood intercropping where trees are planted in slopes of more than 50%. Tree species are a mixture of fruit and timber crops.

• SALT 4 ttis is "small agrofruit livelihood technology", and recommends the planting of fruit trees on the upper two-thirds portion of a SALT farm.

Fig. 13.3. UeWest Africa semi-arid tropics (WASAT)

Source: Wikipedia free encyclopedia

The West African semi-arid tropics (WASAT)

tte West African semi-arid tropics (WASAT) are of three zones, the Sahel, Sudan savanna and North Guinea savanna (Figure 13.3). ttese three zones represent striking contrasts in production potential and risk. Climatic constraints (e.g., limited total precipitation, a short one-modal rainy season, high intraseasonal rainfall variability, high rainfall intensity and high évapotranspiration demands which peak at seedling and grain-filling stages, etc.) are most limiting in the Sahel and decline in importance in the Sudanian and Guinean zones (Matlon 1991). Its highly weathered soils reinforce these climatic constraints, tte feature of the soils (loamy sands of the Sahel zone and sandy loams in the Sudanian and Guinean soils) result in low water-holding capacity, poor fertilizer use efficiency and high risk of periodic moisture stress.

Due to the close correlation of climatic and edaphic constraints across these ag-roclimatic zones, the lowest technical potential is located in the Sahel and the highest in the Sudan and North Guinean zones (see Table 13.2).

tte WASAT farmers employ a combination of risk-reducing methods which can be defined as a management risk strategy, ttese tend to be interwoven as key elements of the farming systems in the region due to the particular constraints in the environment. Some of these methods are focused on reducing downside yield risk

Table13.2. Zonal differences in cropping patterns and production potential in the WASAT (Source:Matlon,1991)


Sudan Savanna

North Guinean Savanna

principal crops

millet, cowpeafonio, ground nut

millet, sorghum

cotton, maize, rice, cowpea, ground nut

secondary crops


maize, ground nut, cowpea, cotton


constraints / opportunities

- particularlyharsh environment,

- most limiting constraints for production

- lowest water - holding capacity

- short growing period

- low water -holding

- longer growing period allowing farmers to grow wider range of crops (solo, mixed or in relay cropping system)

productive potential

- lowest potential risk ofhighest failure

- higher production potential,

- low risk

- higher production potential,

- lowest risk

degree of crop diversification

- lowest diversification

- most diversified production pattern

directly, while the others are to generate compensatory income in the event that production shortfalls still occur (Matlon 1991).

ttese risk-reducing options include diversification of crops, cultivars and locations), varietal diversification in which farmers select and maintain a diversified set of varieties for the major crops in order to enable the spread of risk of loss due to period-specific stresses, diversify plot locations and land type diversification and match crops to the micro-environments to reduce the risk of crop losses due to stresses associated with particular land types, and interactive management which involves sequential decision-making in which cropping patterns and cultivation practices are sequentially adjusted to correspond to changes in conditions in the production area.

Additionally, Nyong in a 2005 study made on strategies of West African Sahel farmers for crop management noted that these include selection of varieties, crop field localization and ultimately, crop diversification. He has ranked these farming techniques used as management strategies according to preference of farmers and

Table 13.3. Ranking of farming techniques used in the West African Sahel as management tools according to order of preference and length of practice (Source:Nyong, 2005)

Farming Techniques

Preferred (ranking)

Length of practice (ranking)

Mixed cropping



Early planting



Wetland farming



Early maturing/drought-



resistant crops

Increased spacing of




Change in crop type



Increase in farm area



number of years they have practiced them, tte most preferred and practiced the longest are wetland farming and mixed cropping (see Table 13.3).

Improving rice-based cropping systems in the Indo-Gangetic Plains and in north-west Bangladesh

In rainfed agricultural areas, when the rice farmers wait for the monsoon rains to come, one crop management approach which has emerged as a promising part of the solution is simple: rather than transplanting rice seedlings into flooded field, rice seeds are sown directlyinto unfiooded field.

tte Indo-Gangetic Plains is a rich, fertile land encompassing most of northern and eastern India, the most populous parts of Pakistan, and virtually all of Bangladesh (see Figure 13.4). It is home to over 850 million people (Wikipedia). Rice-wheat is the principal cropping system occupying 13.5 million ha. Its sustainability is thus, vital to the livelihoods of the farmers of the region (Singh et al. 2005).

In India, rice and wheat are the staple food crops. Rice is traditionally transplanted at the end of the dry season (May/June) and wheat is sown after the rice harvest (November/December). Likewise in Bangladesh, rice is also its staple food; hence, it is of major importance due to the fact that its agriculture consists mainly of subsistence farming on very small farm areas. Yet, it is the single largest producing sector of the Bangladeshi national economy. (Wikipedia).

Bangladesh has annual monsoon floods and cyclones are frequent. But the High Barind Tract of NW Bangladesh is a drought-prone area. Its rainfed agriculture has a predominant cropping pattern of a single crop of transplanted rice (about 100,000 ha) grown during the monsoon 'aman' season from June to October dur-

Source : IRB i Discussion Paper He. 40.2000

Fig. 13.4. Map of the Indo-Gangetic Plains showing the agroecological analysis of its rice-wheat area and productivity (Source: IRRI, 2000)

Source : IRB i Discussion Paper He. 40.2000

Fig. 13.4. Map of the Indo-Gangetic Plains showing the agroecological analysis of its rice-wheat area and productivity (Source: IRRI, 2000)

ing which 80 per cent of the 1200-1400 mm annual rainfall occurs (Mazid et al. 2006). After rice harvest, in the 'rabi' season, approximately 20,000 ha is sown to a range of dryland crops planted on the residual soil moisture, ttese include chickpea, linseed, mustard and/or wheat.

tte late onset of the monsoon (as is being seen during most of the recent years) can delay rice transplanting, as a minimum of400 mm cumulative rainfall is needed to complete land preparation for transplanted rice (Mazid et al. 2006). However, changing rice establishment from transplanting to direct seeding can result in yields (seasonally dependent and ranging from 2-4 tons/ha) similar to, or higher than those by conventional transplanting.

Direct seeding is either dry-seeding or wet-seeding. Dry seeded rice can be sown after land preparation with only 150 mm cumulative rainfall. On the other hand, wet-seeded (pre-germinated) rice sown by drum seeder on to puddle land removes the nursery bed requirement of transplanted rice and can advance the crop establishment by one month. Harvest time is advanced even when the cultivar used is not changed. Advancing crop establishment also reduces the risk of terminal drought and allows earlier planting to ensure more reliable establishment of a post-rice crop. A drawback though, is that the inherent advantage of weed suppression through puddling and transplanting rice into standing water is lost, tte increased weed pressure after emergence of direct-seeded rice could, however, be overcome by the timely application of a pre-emergence herbicide after seeding and follow-up hand weeding.

In both India and Bangladesh, if soil moisture is adequate, pre-germinated rice seed may be either broadcast by hand or sown in rows with an inexpensive plastic drum seeder (Rice Today 2006). And in many northeastern Indian farm, farmers use tractor-mounted mechanical seeders that sow seeds at chosen rates and simultaneously apply fertilizer. Advantages cited by the scientists from different research centers assisting the farmers (the International Rice Research Institute, the UK-based Natural Resources Institute, the University of Liverpool in UK, the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute, and in India, the G.B. Pant University of Agriculture and Technology in Pantnagar, Narendra Deva University of Agriculture and Technology in Faizabad, C.S. Azad Agriculture University in Kanpur and Rajendra Agriculture University in Patna) include:

• relief in both the water and labor problems,

At the eastern end of the Plains in Bangladesh, farmers need about 500 mm cumulative rainfall to establish a rice crop through transplanting. If farmers direct-seed, they can establish the crop from about one-quarter of this rainfall amount (Johnson and Mortimer 2005).

In Barind, farmers are supposed to transplant by July. But if there is no rain, they can not transplant and the seedlings get older. Seedlings should be no older than 30 days to get the best yields. Additionally, labor requirements are less.

• avoidance of damages from early-season drought.

Droughts during rice plants' flowering stage (prolonged monsoon breaks) can devastate the crop, causing yield losses of 50 per cent or more.

• Earlier establishment means earlier harvest; thus, increasing the chances of growing a dry-season crop (for instance, chickpea),

• avoidance of crop yield losses due to delay in planting , and

In the rice-wheat belt of India, if rains arrive too late and there is no access to water (irrigation), the crop is compromised and the equally important wheat crop is also threatened. For every week beyond 1 November that wheat planting is delayed, the crop suffers a yield loss of 10 per cent in the most productive areas because of cold temperatures.

• Direct seeding is generally cheaper than transplanting, which incurs the expenses of nursery establishment and care and the labor that go with it. Additionally, even on larger farms, running tractors and machine seeders on dry, unpuddled fields is less expensive than on a flooded one. In Barind, the average crop establishment costs around USS120 ha1 for transplanted rice, while for direct-seeded rice, there is a reduction of around 25 per cent in this cost with no yield disadvantage (Mazid et al. 2006).

Every crop management system has its own disadvantages, and for direct-seeded rice cropping, the constraint is in weed control. Because farmers can no longer rely on the flooding to suppress the weeds during the crucial initial period of crop establishment, there is a need for better management in the farms, tte scientists assisting the farmers have already shown during the farmers' trials that successful weed management can be put in place in both rainfed and irrigated rice-cropping systems in India and Bangladesh (Rice Today 2006).



Fig. 13.5. Mapoflndonesia.



Special Case: Small-holder rubber production in South Sumatra, Indonesia tte Indonesian archipelago extends from 6°N to 11°S latitude and from 95° to 141°E longitude (see Figure 13.5). ttere are more than 13,000 islands, with Sumatra as one of its largest. Indonesia has a moist climate with high temperatures and abundant rainfall.

Natural rubber is one of the most important agricultural industries in the Indonesian economy (Purnamasari et al. 1999). tte industry is dominated by smallholders who have 85 percent of area planted and undertake 76 percent of production. A rubber producer's profit depends on the quality and quantity of latex yield and the costs involved in producing it. ttese factors depend largely on tree-management decisions such as used clone tree density, rotation length, tapping method and are also influenced by risks arising from climatic change and uncertainty of rubber prices.

To determine optimal management strategy for small-holder rubber production in South Sumatra, the use of a rubber agroforestry model was embedded in a dynamic economic model, tte results of the model could be used as a guide in the tree-management options. For instance, the fact that the profitable cultivation period of the clonal tree (which contained improved genetic materials) is longer than for the wilding (unselected seedling), rotation length for the clone is longer than for the wilding and expected Net Present Value (NPV) is higher. Management practices recommended are earlier commencement of tapping from year 7 to year 6, higher density from 500 to 600 trees ha-1 and shorter cycles from 38 to 35 years for the clone and from 34 to 31 years for the wilding.



Coping strategies to address agrometeorological risks and uncertainties are many and varied, ttese are, however, largely dependent on the farmer's access to both on-farm and off-farm resources, ttere are multiple stresses, which at times are difficult challenges to surmount unless access to resources is assured. However, inasmuch as technology has leapfrogged, it is hoped globalization will begin to reduce the divide between the developed and developing world.

Yet, in many developing countries, persistence of poverty, particularly in the rural environments is most often due to the inability of the poor to gain access to support mechanisms in terms of technical expertise/technological innovations and others, including formal sources of credit and crop insurance.


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