Sharing Ideas in Agriculture and Allied Fields


Sharing Knowledge is a Key

sharing knowledge is a key to success for the people. The knowledge being shared from the different parts of the people with different opinion and experience can bring change in mindset and overall production system in agriculture.
In the following debate, we discussed small scaled farming, water issue, Ashar, icecream plants species, Balochistan livestock and the climate change. 

This Blog is Composed of the Discussion between the Author and a European traveler/ethnoecologist and farmer.

Her name is Griet Belien. She has told about her in the messages below.
I wrote in response to her great comments at my post about the camel manure compost project.
I wrote as : thanks for your great feedback. I’m really thankful. please always support with your great knowledge. Here is the link of my article about the camel manure. 

Griet Belien introduces her as following

Hi, thanks for the link. there is always a lot of interest and pleasure in sharing ideas and information, it is even, as you well know, the best basis for acquiring knowledge, apart from the field of course. So I read your posts with pleasure, it’s a little spice in the dominant platitude of FB I do not have a great knowledge of Camelidae, even if I have been in close contact with them during missions in Mongolia (bactrianus) or the Sahel (dromedarius). I know more about small ruminants (goats and sheep) and much more about equidae. I am now mostly in France, but I try to follow what is being done in terms of pastoralism in sub-desert areas, as well as these ecosystems and their biocenoses

Raziq

I’m happy to know further about your ideas and visions. I’m myself from semi-pastoralist background. we had more than 400 sheeps and goats in Balochistan Pakistan. The climate change really killed us and vanished my precious livestock.

Goat is still incredible
The goat is one of the oldest companion.

Griet Belien

The problem with climate change is that this is only the beginning! Even here in the mountains of southern France, drought is hitting (proportionally speaking), many springs are drying up and plant associations are changing at an unprecedented rate. For the past 6 years I have been working to modify the vegetation cover on our property by favouring local trees of rapidly growing species (here mainly Fraxinus excelsior which is a good pioneer), in order to preserve the herbaceous stratum and therefore the pasture under tree cover. But of course and unfortunately this is often not possible in steppe to sub-desert regions. I don’t know Balochistan, I only crossed this region from India to Iran 30 years ago. And I stayed a few days last year in the Baluchi part of Iran, that’s what I know, besides some readings, so in the end not much

Raziq

I live in the northeastern part of the Balochistan (the Pashtun/Afghan inhibited region. This region is comparatively rich in biodiversity with a good vegetation cover to support livestock, especially shoats, cattle and the camel. Since my childhood, having very strong connection with the nature at large and the livestock and farmlands very special.

Raziq

I’m witness of the loss to our grazing lands and the biodiversity. The first and unrecoverable loss happened with the onset of the black rains after the Iraq war when the oil wells were put on flames. Then subsequently short and long droughts effected the worst. The so called agricultural revolution have very long shadows as we lost our natural sources of water, old Karez system and the underground water. I’m very much worried and concern about the drinking water.

Raziq

The vegetation cover affected very negatively, as loosing the grass or icecream species of plants for sheep and cattle. Some shrubs and other invador species increased in population.
I can count up to 30 birds, beetles, bugs species which we lost in front of my eyes.24x

Griet Belien

I know the “Qanat” or “Karez” system, in Iran and much better in the Maghreb, everywhere this system is in great danger, either, as you say, because of the so-called “modern” (standardized productivist) agriculture, or by abandonment when water supplies are provided in the villages. They have the advantage of bringing water to the street or home (and this is a relief for women) but the consequences are on the one hand the creation of fixed charges, often for the benefit of private companies, because this water is not free and fixed charges are a scourge for populations with low monetary income, and on the other hand, the abandonment of the maintenance of these traditional systems which often provided water of good quality.

concerning invasive species (and also invasive alien species), I note everywhere these same problems with sometimes exponential developments

Raziq

Here in Northeastern Balochistan and adjoining areas of Afghanistan and central Balochistan, we maintain/clean the Karez with the group of villagers called ‘Ashar‘. We the Pashtun/Afghan have a great tradition of the Ashar. The group of people in the village work voluntarily and support each other in work. The ashar is practiced for cropping, harvesting, loading etc.

 

Raziq

I write about the small scaled farming and the importance in food security under climate change context and conservation of the native genetic resources for food and agriculture. The blog name is the ‘people’s new world order’

 

Livestock and agroecology


A summary

  • key opportunities for livestock to contribute to the agroecological transition
    Livestock is found in all agroecosystems and includes a diverse range of species and breeds raised in a variety of production systems.
    Livestock play an important role in enhancing food security and nutrition of the public at large and the rural and urban poor in particular by providing access to nutrient dense food (meat, milk, and eggs)
    Livestock is key to the livelihoods of small-scale farmers, particularly women, providing them with income, capital, fertilizer, fuel, draught power, fibers, and hides.
    Agricultural productivity, income, and resilience can be increased by integrating livestock with other production system components such as trees and crop plants.
    By eating fibrous feeds (e.g. grass and straw) and waste (e.g. swill), livestock makes use of biomass that humans cannot eat and increase natural resource use efficiency.
    Animal mobility within and between agroecosystems and landscapes transfers nutrients, biomass and water in the form of animal manure, and moves people’s assets in times
    of disasters such as floods or drought.
    Manure is rich in nutrients and organic matter, which are key to the physical, chemical and biological properties of healthy soilsGood livestock management practices increase plant biodiversity in grasslands, which in turn enhances productivity, resilience, and other ecosystem services
    Livestock are part of climate solutions, through reducing enteric methane emissions and deploying diverse livestock resources to increase resilience on farm

Details in the FAO Report

Click to access i8926en.pdf

A Blend of Indigenous Knowledge and Native Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture Ensure Food Security


I am Raziq belong to the remote and the poorly infra-structured area of Pakistan named as the Balochistan province. I completed my PhD dissertation on the local livestock especially camel and pastoralism. I worked in the north-eastern part of Balochsitan known as the Suleiman Mountainous Region. Actually two areas of the north-eastern Balochsitan i.e. Suleiman region and the Kakar Khurasan are the cradle of the livestock breeds and rich in organic agriculture. The people of the area rarely use synthetic means to cure their animals and to increase the fertility of the lands.

I would like and wish to write in detail about the practices the local farmers use to produce organic food and to explain their efforts to save the friendly environment, which might not be possible in one email. I would like to write on each topic in detail on by one. Please find below a brief of my study on organic practices by the pastorals in Suleiman mountainous region in Pakistan.

What the pastorals do?

In Suleiman mountainous region, about 96% of the pastoral people of the region depends on the organic farming, out of which 97% follow seasonal migration along with their livestock with or with out their families. All the flood irrigated agriculture is practice without using chemical fertilizer and pesticides. Only the tall local variety of wheat is used for the flood irrigating agricultural fields. Majority of the farmers follow their indigenous star calendar for the crop cultivation and animal breeding program. About 83% of the pastoral people believed that indigenous knowledge is more reliable, easy applicable and cheaper than western style of medication. The pastoral people preferred to use their own animal based products like Ghurree (butter oil), butter, Shlombey (whey), Kurht (dried cheese) and Lanthi meat rather than the products available in the market for the same purpose. The region is very famous for organic agriculture and livestock production in pastoral system, since centuries. They use flood water for irrigation of their Bandat (small dams or plats). The flood water is rich source of organic manure composed of soft mud, animal dung and foliage. They fill their Bandat in Wassa (monsoon or wet season) many times, to further increase soil fertility and the soil humidity shelf life. At the end of the Wassa (October) crop fields are ploughed mostly by bullocks and asses but the large farmers use tractors for this purpose.pastoral livestock

The current higher fuel prices and the continuous land distribution between the increasing numbers of families once again increase the use of working animal for ploughing. No flood water is applied after sowing of the crops and only natural precipitation provides humidity. The crop of wheat is harvest in the month of June, and if the early monsoon starts the Bandat are again filled and the pulses or grains crop like sorghum, millet and maize is cultivated. These all crops are used by the farmers themselves and very small portion are spare for sale. In many cases they offer the surplus grains to their animals in rainy days. Only the large farmers have excess crop than their use. The lands are use mostly for one crop annually and therefore, sustain their fertility.

The local varieties of crops are used which are already resistant to diseases. The farmer of the area uses the tall varieties of the wheat, which are disease and drought resistant. The variety also insect resistant and wild bird like sparrow cannot eat its grains in milky stage. The tall variety of wheat also produces more straw for their animals than the dwarf hybrid verities. The straw is offered to the animals especially cattle in the dry and scarce period.

Majority of the pastoral people (96%) depends upon the organic agriculture and livestock production. The pastoral people exercise a regular system of migration. Aujla and Jasra, (1996) also reported that the pastoral communities throughout Balochistan fallow a regular pattern of migration depending upon various factors. About 97% of the pastoral people follow seasonal migration along with their livestock with or with out their families. They transport their families and luggage on the back of camels, asses and sometime bullocks are also used for this purpose. The pastoral people have two types of settlements in a year depending upon the vegetation, water availability and season. Their movement originates from the winter settlement (Mena) after the wheat harvest and move upward in the high mountains to summer or wet season settlement (Gholie). They use the vegetation of the highlands and the pleasant and cool weather. The spent wet season there, graze the fresh and succulent vegetation. The well drained topography during the wet season of monsoon result in the lower risk of disease outbreak especially the foot and mouth disease. Some herbal plants found on the highlands like Artimisia, Ephedra and others are well praised for their health friendly characteristics. The farmers believe that offering these herbal plants once in summer keep the animals away from diseases round the year.

Then the pastoral people come down in the autumn after harvesting the vegetation of the high Alps to keep their animals in comparatively warmer and favorable environment. The winter grazing area is strictly banned for grazing in summer and wet season and such a system is known as Pargorr locally. The animals graze on comparative low lands in winter near the crop fields and Piedmont.

Star Calendar and Indigenous Knowledge

The farmers strictly follow the star calendar Permani for sowing and cultivation of the crops. This system is the part of their centuries old indigenous knowledge. The same calendar is used for the animal breeding, movement, housing management and all other livestock related activities. By the grace of this system the farmers save their livestock and agriculture from the heavy use of medicine and pesticides. About 83% of the pastoral people believed that indigenous knowledge is more reliable, easy applicable and cheap than western style of medication. Their mode of life, production system and pastoral way of life make their life easy, near to nature and health friendly.

Food preference and behavior 

The pastoral people preferred to use their own products mainly based on organic agriculture, rather than the products available in the market. They use wheat, maize, sorghum, millet and pulses from agriculture origin. The animal products like Ghurree (butter oil), butter, and Lamm (fats of the fat tailed seep), Shlombey (whey), Kurth (dried cheese) and milk are used in the spring and summer seasons. In winter they use Lanthi meat and animal fats to coup with the cold waves of winter season. Lanthi is a dry meat prepared by drying meat under natural temperatures, humidity and circulation of the air, including direct influence of sun rays. The cool and dry air of the region is well suited for this type of preservation. This method is the oldest method of meat preservation. It consists of a gradual dehydration of pieces of meat cut to a specific uniform shape that permits the equal and simultaneous drying of whole batches of meat. Such a meat is prepared from the mutton of sheep, beef of cattle and camel. Camel milk is very much liked by the pastoral people. They know the health friendly characteristics of camel milk and Kohi camel is the best of the area for reasonable milk yield while keeping on ordinary range like conditions (Raziq and Younas, 2006).

Woman Role

Women help in feeding, milking and management of animals at home and taking care of young and sick animals. She also takes part in the crop production and harvesting activities. The women manage all the activities at home like cooking, cleaning and washing and bringing water from outsides. She cares the home and the kids for all necessities (Raziq, 2006, 07).

Conclusion

The study concluded that organic farming still provides safe and secure food to the majority of the people residing in the region, especially the pastoral people. The better health status of the people of the area is due to this precious food which is produced without the deleterious residues of chemicals and pesticides. There is need to save this system as the increasing commercial agriculture and vegetable production is a threat for that system. For more vegetable production, heavy use of pesticide and fertilizers is practiced which results in the adulteration of the food chain. The old and organic system is not only a production system but also the part of the heritage and culture of the area. So there is need to conserve this system, their crop verities and animal breeds according to their own needs and perspectives.

The future of Mongolian nomadic lifestyle under debate! Same situation of other nomadic societies in the world


The report is self explainatory. The situation of other Nomadic societis is almost the same.

Listen and download: Dr Caroline Upton talks on the issues facing Mongolian nomadic herdershttp://soundcloud.com/university-of-leicester/the-future-of-mongolian/s-aYEoy

 Geographers from the University of Leicester are involved in research on pastoralism, environment and livelihoods at a critical juncture in decision making over the future of Mongolia’s rural areas.Image

 The two year study, Community, Place and Pastoralism: Nature and Society in Post-Soviet Central Asia, funded by the Leverhulme Trust and involving work in both Mongolia and Kazakhstan, led to a meeting in Ulaanbaatar in September 2012, organised by the University of Leicester team and their Mongolian colleagues. At this meeting herders were able to discuss key land and livelihood issues directly with ministers, donors and government advisors.

 Dr Upton, the Principal Investigator for the project, said: “Mongolian herders are facing multiple pressures on their livelihoods, traditionally based on nomadic pastoralism, from climate change, mining, desertification and new policies on land. Through our project, national decision makers were brought together with affected parties and local stakeholders to debate some of the vital issues pertaining to nomadic culture, livelihoods and identity in modern Mongolia. They were also able to draw lessons from the Kazakh context, based on our project results.”

 Dr Moore, the project Research Associate, who spent 5 months conducting fieldwork in Mongolia, said: “The herders that I met were deeply aware of climatic and environmental change in their pastures that are affecting their lifestyle. They often have to move further and more often to find good grazing for their goats, sheep, horses and camels. Therefore many are concerned that any moves towards privatisation of pasture will reduce their ability to maintain their livelihoods and nomadic culture.”

 In recent years, Mongolian herders have been encouraged through government policy and donor interventions to form herder groups. These groups are designed to collaborate in pasture management, labour sharing and environmental conservation, as well as marketing of their livestock products, thus improving local livelihoods and resilience.

 A long-debated draft pastureland law, to be considered by the new Mongolian government in the next session of parliament, seeks to strengthen rights to key seasonal pastures for families and herders groups. Although this law focuses on possession rather than ownership rights, for some herders it has raised fears over the ultimate privatisation of pastureland and reduction in the ability to move, particularly in times of need.

 Government policy is also promoting intensification of livestock production. Thus, there are tensions between mobile and more sedentary livestock production in rural areas and questions are raised over the place of nomadic culture and identity in modern Mongolia.

 Dr Upton said: “This is a critical moment in decision making about the future of Mongolia’s rural areas. Enhanced rights of herders’ groups to key seasonal pastures have the potential to make positive contributions to local livelihoods and to conservation. Increases in mining activity also make the recognition of land rights especially important, so that herders’ voices may be heard in defending and seeking compensation for land loss and displacement.

 “However, centuries old traditions of mobility, flexibility and reciprocity should not be lost. As other pastoral cultures have found, ‘modernity’ does not necessarily equate with sedentarisation or privatisation. Nomadic heritages and practices retain great value”.

 The Leverhulme team are finalising detailed reports and articles to share with herders, international donors, and government policy makers, as part of their contribution to these vital, ongoing debates. Results of the work have also been presented at this years’ Royal Geographical Society (with Institute of British Geographers) annual conference in Edinburgh.

 

The Donkey~ Also a Good Riding Animal


The Donkey~ Also a Good Riding Animal

This donkey belong to Shingharri breed from Daman area of Kohe Suleiman. This breed of donkey is unique of its kind. Very well adapted to mountainous ecosystem and carry up to 120 Kg for more than 25 KM. Also a good riding and docile animal.