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The Agro-Ecological Village Development Model: Experiences in the Philippines, China and the Gambia. Roger Samson REAP - Canada Box 125 Maison Glenaladale Ste. Anne de Bellevue, QC, Canada, H9X 3V9 T: (514) 398-7743; F: (514) 398-7972 W: www.reap-canada.com ; E: [email protected] .

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The Agro-Ecological Village Development Model:Experiences in the Philippines, China and the Gambia

Roger Samson

REAP - Canada

Box 125 Maison Glenaladale

Ste. Anne de Bellevue, QC, Canada, H9X 3V9

T: (514) 398-7743; F: (514) 398-7972

W:www.reap-canada.com; E:[email protected]


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REAP-Canada

Helps rural communities in Canada and developing countries meet the challenges of ecologically sound production of food, fibre and fuel.

The organization began its participatory on-farm research and farmer-to-farmer training on ecological farming in Canada in 1986.


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Agro-Ecological Village (AEV) Development Project Partnerships

Aim to improve the economic & social well being of marginalized farming communities & women, while also protecting & enhancing the natural resource base

SNSADP Project, Philippines (1997), PDG and the MAPISAN Farmers Alliance

WCAEV Development Project, China (2002), Ministry of Water Resources, Peoples Republic of China

GAEV and GEAD Development Project, Gambia (2003), NATC and Village AID


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Extreme weather Partnerships

Soil erosion and poor soil fertility

Deforestation and loss of watersheds

Agricultural Problems in the Philippines

Agrarian land reform

struggles

Monoculture production

systems


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Agricultural Problems in North Central China Partnerships

  • Severe erosion

  • Loss of soil organic matter

  • Overgrazing and excessive use of wood & crop residues for household energy

  • Low rainfall and risk of drought

  • Vulnerability of the environment to desertification and global warming

  • Salinization


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Agricultural Problems in the Gambia Partnerships

Agricultural production decreasing due

to deteriorating soil fertility & rainfall

Monoculture production of peanuts

All crop residues are removed

Free ranging goats destroy vegetation

Forest cover has seriously declined


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Why The Agro-Ecological Village? Partnerships

A holistic and integrated approach that builds the social, ecological and technological infrastructure of communities. Addresses the challenges of food security and improving livelihoods by rehabilitating the natural resource base through ecological farming systems development & farmer to farmer training.


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An interdependent community of individual households that are largely self-reliant through the creation of ecological food, fiber & energy systems.

The Agro-Ecological Village


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AEV Approach are largely self-reliant through the creation of ecological food, fiber & energy systems.

Emphasizes local self-reliance through the development of diversified and ecological agricultural systems

Empowers farmers through participatory assessment, training and research that is farmer led

Lowers cost of rural development

Conventional Approach

Focus generally is on expanding exports of cash crops

Loans used to “fuel” rural development

Focus is on production with limited attention to natural resource issues

Problems identified by outside experts

Training provided using “top down” approaches

The Agro-Ecological Village (AEV) Rural Development Approach


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The Agro-Ecological Village are largely self-reliant through the creation of ecological food, fiber & energy systems.


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Agro-Ecological Village are largely self-reliant through the creation of ecological food, fiber & energy systems.Development Activities

1. Baseline Data Gathering & PRA

2. Institution Building

3. Capacity Building

4. Farm Planning and Development


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1. Baseline Data Gathering & Participatory Rural Appraisal are largely self-reliant through the creation of ecological food, fiber & energy systems.

  • Assess the communities status with agro-ecological and socio-economic surveys

  • Through a Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA), the community analyzes & deepens their understanding of their local situation.

The project team and local villagers identify causes & possible solutions to local problems, through PRA and Participatory Action Planning (PAP).


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2. Institutional Building are largely self-reliant through the creation of ecological food, fiber & energy systems.

  • Ensure communities are sufficiently well organized before project activities are initiated

  • Ground project activities with community leaders & organizers who facilitate the communities awareness, understanding and uptake of the project


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Farmer to farmer training network are largely self-reliant through the creation of ecological food, fiber & energy systems.

Ecological Training Modules

Gender Development

3. Capacity Building


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Development of participatory Farmer to Farmer Training network

Selection of first liners and second liners

Training of trainers

in farm development

and effective training

techniques

Inclusion of women as trainers

Farmer-to-farmer training


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Participatory Training Modules network

Training materials need to be customized to local needs identified through the PRA and through on going assessments as the trainings evolve.

The process can begin with a basic ecological farming module including:

Soil Fertility Management

Cropping systems

Weed management

Pest & disease management

Soil & water conservation


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Gender Development network

Sensitize communities around gender equality

Involve active participation of both genders in project activities as trainers and participants

Increase women's role in decision making in communities

Ensure gender issues are incorporated into all project activities.


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4. Farm Planning and Development network

Farm planning and “Learning Farms”

Soil and water conservation

Food Footprint

Appropriate Technology


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Learning Farms network

A farm in the community that is used for education and farmer led research while remaining a “working farm.” They can include:

Adaptability Trials

Crop Improvement

On-farm Demonstrations

Community Seed banks and tree nurseries

Farmer-led plant breeding

Livestock Management


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Adaptability Trials network

The testing of new crops or varieties to assess their adaptability to the environmental and management conditions on small farms.


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Crop Improvement in North Central China network

In the Western China AEV Project in Gansu Province, farmers tested a total of 43 different varieties of 7 field crops. They are now scaling up production of the leading new varieties.


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On-Farm Demonstrations network

Farmers demonstrate E.F.S. (Ecological Farming systems):

Crop Rotations

Green Manures

Multiple Cropping

Composting

Live Fencing


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Community Seed banks and Tree Nurseries network

  • Farmers collect and preserve seeds to conserve genetic diversity

  • Farmers also learn how to propagate plant material and develop plant material improvement programs


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Farmer-Led Plant Breeding network

Farmers learn how to breed varieties adapted to their local environment and growing conditions.

In the Philippines, one achievement has been the development of ECO-RICE varieties that combine SRI techniques, Biological Nitrogen Fixation (BNF) and ratooning.


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Livestock Management network

In ecologically devastated areas, free-range livestock management can cause irreparable damage.

Farmers learn ecological and sustainable methods for:

Benefits of intensive/ semi-intensive management

Fodder Crop Production

Animal health and nutrition


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Soil and Water Conservation network

Contour farming

Drip Irrigation

Checkdams

Windbreaks


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Food Footprint network

1. Assess the quantity of food consumed annually and the landbase needed to produce the households basic foods

2. Diagram seasonal fruits and vegetable production and identify gaps

3. Discuss opportunities for creating a healthier diet

4. Identify strategies to maximize efficiency of land use based on optimizing production


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Appropriate Technology network

Farmers need access to low cost appropriate tools for developing their farms ecologically. REAP has worked to help support farmers organizations manufacture their own tools.


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In the PRA process, communities identify their most urgent and basic technological needs.

To help solve the fuelwood

crisis in the Philippines,

REAP developed the Mayon

Turbo stove, a low cost,

advanced combustion rice

hull stove.

Appropriate Technology


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The AEV model is a logical evolution for rural development programming. It integrates the best management practices in rural development with sustainable knowledge in ecological farming systems training and development.

Summary


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Thank you! programming. It integrates the best management practices in rural development with sustainable knowledge in ecological farming systems training and development.


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