Agro Ecology

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By: Eng. Ahmed Taha
 FAODA A.E advisor       

 

 

Introduction:

Agro Ecology is the basis for sustainable agriculture, because of having the environmental necessary concepts and principles to analysis, design and management of any productive agriculture also for preservation of the available natural resources (soil – Irrigation – Supplies) for the best usage of the methods of its management, which originate from the belief of the farmers of the concept and principles of agro ecology.

In addition to the above, Agro ecology focused on a very important principles such as biodiversity, waste recycling, usage of nutrients, consistency and interaction between each of the cultivated crops, animals and soil, which leads to renew and preserve the natural resources.

Recently, Egyptian agricultural soil has suffered from serious deterioration in its value and fertility, Consequently lost resource of its main fertility which is the mud of the Nile and the bad usage of methods and systems of traditional irrigation by flood and unsuitable drainage systems that led to raise water level and increase salinity Which leads to the rapid deterioration for soil.

All that, Resulted to make the small farmers faced the problem of the continued increasing in the costs of the production through the usage of increasing amounts of chemicals to compensate the deterioration of the quality of the land which led to increase of the amount of the crop by farmers without interesting in preservation of their farm’s soil, It was that farmers have resorted to work to increase yield without regard to maintaining their agricultural soil, was moving entirely to feed the crops cultivated in ways that bad practices and poor to increase the amount of his crop, which led to the deterioration of the soil and the lack of its fertility.

As one of the objectives of Agro ecology Practices and Marketing for Fayoum Small Growers project is to raise the awareness of farmers with the importance of the usage of good methods and practices in the management of natural resources, for the above the following work strategy had been framing, then to characterize it in activities plan and continue supporting associations to apply these practices (follow up) in order to end up the project’s associations to have the same concepts and apply the same practices.

According to the above, working plan was determined in the implementation and application of two main practices which are soil and irrigation considering that shared supplies with the soil as well as determining the features of the plan’s activities in two main subjects that are theoretically (workshops) and practically (cross visits within the governorate and link visits outside or inside the governorate according to the objective of the visit).

First: The soil:                                              

The activities of the achievement of the objective of the business strategy in the field of soil Confined in three axes:

{1} raise the awareness of the new associations’ farmers with the importance of continue analysis of the soil to know the components and the size of the nutrients of the soil and determine its need of the missing items.

  • Activities:
  • Train farmers through their participating in link visits, workshops and symposiums on the importance of soil analysis.
  • Activate cooperation between Fayoum regional laboratory for soil fertility, and the Faculty of Agriculture lab in Fayoum with agro Ecology committee of the project to provide services of soil analysis for farmers and find criteria for cooperation between laboratories and associations.
  • Train the agronomists of Agro Ecology committee on methods of sampling from the project’s farmers and methods of reading the recommendations of soil analysis and simplify it for farmers to facilitate the implementation of soil analysis for them and for continuity of applying this practice in the associations after the end of the project.
  • Activate the relationship between Agro Ecology committee and some other research parties (Central Laboratory of Organic Agriculture) to analyze soil samples to support farmers to disseminate this practice.

Determine the most important practices to raise the fertility of the soil and encourage the project’s participant’s farmers to apply these practices.   

  • Activities:
  1. Find the most important practices that aims to raise soil fertility, which should be implemented by new association’s farmers to ensure the continuity of renewing of soil fertility and raise its vitality, it is determined by the following practices:

1)  Adding agricultural gypsum.   2)     Sub soiling.   3) Laser leveling.

4) Add organic fertilizer.

2.Train farmers through participation in workshops, technical link visits, cross visits and symposiums on the importance of special practice that aim to raise the fertility of the soil and how to implement it in a right way.

3.Activate the relationship between Device of soil improvement in Fayoum and Agro Ecology Committee and linking them together.

4.Encourage Agro Ecology Committee on preparing lists for farmers who wish to apply the practices of sub soiling, laser leveling and adding the agricultural gypsum to coordinate the implementation of these practices by a device of a soil improvement in the governorate.

5.Farmers were trained on compost preparation through technical link visits, field cross visits and workshops.

6.The cadres of agro ecology committees were trained to help farmers on implementing compost Piles to farmers of NGOs that work with the project.

7.Provide the alternative production requirements to raise the fertility of the soil through unions.

Activities:

  1. Implement a research on companies and bodies that produce safe agricultural production requirements and support the relationship between the project and these bodies.
  2. provide technical information on safe agricultural production requirements, methods of its usage and precautions that must be taken during the usage of these requirements by the farmer through technical link visits, training and workshops, which implemented for farmers.
  3. Join the agro ecology Committee with companies of producing safe agricultural production and activate the relationship between them.
  4. Encourage Agro Ecology Committee to purchase safe agricultural production requirements collectively, and provide it to farmers participated in the project’s activities.

Why we think on this plan?

1 – Lack of association’s plans (lack of new topics and activities).

2 – Programming the farmers (He has only what he learnt).

3 – Activities of soil were limited on only two or three methods (analysis – settlement – deep plowing).

4 – New methods to increase farmer’s income (fertile soil = increasing the production = increasing the income),

5 – Promote farmer’s ideas and respect his mentality.

6 – Support the relationship between the farmer and trader in the usage of bio-fertilizers.

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The objective of the plan:

Training has several major objectives which lead to achieve the highest productivity in the farmer’s agricultural acreage due to applying good and well practices to raise the soil fertility, which is considered The major factor to raise crop productivity.

We can summarize the objectives of the plan as follow:

(1) Raise the capacity of farmers in applying methods and best practices to increase soil fertility and preserve it.

(2) Good usage to rationalize of mineral fertilizers.

(3) Good usage of bio-fertilizers.

(4) Identify methods that used in estimating the degree of soil fertility.

(5) Identify the methods and practices that used to add fertilizers to the soil, which helps to maintain and enriching the soil.

(6) Recognize the importance of soil analysis and benefit from its recommendations and applying these recommendations.

(7) Methods of design agricultural courses.

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How to preface the implementation of this plan:

  • Implement a field survey for the soil problems in the area (determine problems – identify priority – Identify areas that have more of these priorities.(
  • Choose participant farmers in the activities of the plan in accordance with the agreed criteria.
  • Study the interventions of The Device of soil improvement in Fayoum directorate and join it to the activities of the plan.
  • Notify the Department of Agro organic in Fayoum Agriculture Directorate and engage their agronomists to the activities of the plan.

Criteria of farmers’ selection:

In addition to the agreed basic criteria in our selection of participant farmers in the activities of the project, farmers must have problems of soil fertility, to have an interaction between the trainer and farmer.

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Training topics:

  1. Soil fertility: its definition / meaning of fertile soil.
  2. Soil Analysis: its importance / objective / benefit from the results of the analysis and methods of the implementation of its recommendations.
  3. Ways to improve soil properties: through plant nutrition / pest control / laws of Crop rotation / irrigation methods.
  4. Bio-fertilizers: its importance of the soil / types / how to use it, its impact on soil properties / economic feasibility of its usage, Seriousness of the excessive use of mineral fertilizers
  5. Organic Fertilization: Meaning of organic fertilization / its importance of raising soil fertility / sources of organic material / Types of compost.

Second: Irrigation:-

Cooperation with irrigation field projects in Fayoum governorate.

Activities:

  1. Cooperation with water quality unit by facilitating sources of information at a high level of competence and experience to educate farmers from the new association’s about the current crisis of irrigation water in Egypt in terms of quantity, quality and impact of the water issue in Egypt.
  2. Cooperation with Water Research Institute in the Ministry of Irrigation through providing a training for new associations’ farmers on different methods of rationalizing the usage of irrigation water in its research stations in all over the country.
  3. cooperation with Institute of lands, Water and environment Research in agricultural research center in the Ministry of Agriculture through providing sources of information to train new associations’ farmers on good practices in water management (Cross irrigation – Irrigation using pot evaporation – Irrigation by dividing the tubs into terraces instead of lines – plant some crops such as wheat, trefoil and beans by drying method.

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Improve practices of water rationalization for the new associations’ farmers:

Activities:

  1. Encourage farmers to implement practices of Land leveling and the division of land into plots through the trainings which been implemented by Agro Ecology component.
  2. Set up pilot farms in new associations’ farms and document it in cooperation with GEWs in agriculture directorate.
  3. Cooperation between unions, irrigation departments and Device of land improvement in cleaning sub-channels for irrigation.
  4. the application of PRA in the curriculum work in the field of irrigation through the promotion of community dialogues to activate the participation of farmers in water management decisions and activate their participation with the central departments.

  {4} Encouragement the coordination and dialogue and shaping the merger between the Directorates of Agriculture, Irrigation and Civil Society.

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