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KHIDMAT FOUNDATION

AGRI/ HORTICULTURE

DEVELOPMENT
CONSTRAINTS.

PERMACULTURE
ALTERNATIVES

1, GULISTAN COLONY, COLLEGE ROAD, ABBOTTABAD: (0992)


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Chapter

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TECHNOLOGY RECEIVING & TRANSFERRING
CENTERS
THE COMMILLA APPROACH

The Comilla Approach was the Late, Lamented, Akhter Hameed Khan’s method of
tackling Rural Development in Former East Pakistan. To cut down upon Establishment
Expenses, Centers were established in Police Stations. The original design envisaged
Centers wherein Professionals could get together with Farmers to explain the aims and
impart the methods of the GREEN REVOLUTION. After Practical Research in the field,
we have developed MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS based upon this Approach.

KHIDMAT MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS


The Khidmat Approach involves the Establishment of Technology Receiving,
Demonstrating & Transferring Centers. These Centers are established on leased
land. The Centers are called Khidmat Marakiz and are of two types. The Agri/
Horticultural Center is preferably of at least 40 Kanals (2 Hectares). The
Technical Center should be at least 8 to 10 Kanals. Low Cost and Appropriate
Technology, selected to suit the area, in both Agri/ Horticulture and Technical
Fields is initiated. Secondly, Research is launched to determine which Crop/
Technology is most suited to that particular environment. Interns are selected
from amongst the local populace and a Profit Oriented, Agri/ Horticultural or
Technical Venture is launched. Technical Experts are invited to share their
knowledge and a Core Group of trained and experienced individuals who are
drawn from existing Centers imparts Training. The Management Systems, that
have been evolved by the Foundation, are fine-tuned to suit the area and are
imparted to firstly the Interns and secondly to the surrounding populace.

Chapter

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QALANDAR NAGAR CENTER
DEVELOPMENT CONSTRAINTS

1. BACKGROUND: The Intervention program for Hazara Division was initiated


from Haripur District in July 1999. The Site selected was near Village Mung,
11 Km from Haripur towards Khanpur, on the Haripur – Khanpur Road. The
Site is approximately 1.5 Km of the main and on the Mung – Kot Najibullah
Road. It consists of 65 Kanals of depleted Barani Land. It is felt that a brief
review of the problems faced by the Foundation and the Development
Constraints in the area will go a long way towards resolving these issues.
Thus making for more, and better development.
2. PROBLEMS FACED:
• RESISTANCE: Repeatedly the Foundation as a Private Organization
has had to face resistance from Local Landlords. This was especially true
for Mung. The Human Psyche is ingrained with resistance to change. This
factor has to be given due consideration.
• SEDANTARY VERSUS PASTORAL: It has been found that Cattle,
sheep and goat grazing, by settlers and refugees, is causing a lot of
damage to an already fragile Eco-system. Secondly, they do not hesitate
to cause damage and financial loss to the local agricultural efforts.
• NON-ORGANIC SOILS: Closely linked to the above two points is the
serious problem of lack of Organic Material in the soil. Soils are depleted
of Nutrients due to erosion; Where no organic material is inculcated into
the soil; Where harmful substances have killed all Biota present in the soil.
All curtail produce tremendously. Humic content and Friendly bacteria are
practically non-existent.

• POOR WATER RESOURCE MANAGEMENT: There exists a lot of room


for improvement in Water Resource Management. At present the farmers
are either totally dependent upon rainfall (Barani) or are employing flood
irrigation.
• LACK OF CROP RELATED RESEARCH: Farmers are engaged in
following time honored cropping patterns. There is no research what so

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ever relating to new and better crops and timings. What little that has
been done, such as the introduction of Canola, is sabotaged by supply of
poor quality seed. My farmers from the Haripur Region have faced a total
lack of germination of Canola Seed supplied in 1999/ 2000.
• CREDIT: A local bank was approached for credit for establishing Off-
Season structures for vegetables. Despite enthusiastic agreement by the
bank officials, funds have not been released even after a lapse of four
months. The amount requested was in the Micro Credit Range. Delay in
releasing funds for time sensitive crops is not the correct method of
Credit Disbursement. Even a few days delay can cause severe loss in
yields. This, in turn, lowers profit margins and even wipes them out. Lack
of finances creates a situation wherein the best use of land is not
possible.
• SEED: Upon four occasions, over a period of 6 months, seed
purchased proved to be sub-standard. This causes a lot of loss to the
farmers. Time, effort and money is wasted, as returns from poor seed are
not sufficient to make the effort cost effective.
• POOR CULTURAL PRACTICES: The tractor is a specialized tool. It
has been found that mechanical skills in cultivating the land are sorely
lacking. Lands are badly leveled. Contour Farming needs to be improved.
Soil erosion is being aggravated by not catering for drainage. Freshly
plowed land is subjected to torrential rain, the topsoil falls prey to sheet
erosion. Deep plowing is carried out in the wrong season and too often.
Crop rotation and green manuring is not practiced. All these factors have
led to sorely depleted soils. Orchards too, face many problems. Pruning is
hardly ever carried out. Secondly, cultivation around Fruit Trees is
carried out in a harmful manner, i.e. too deep and not restricted to the Drip
Line of the tree’s foliage. Thirdly, efficient systems for irrigation are not
adopted. Fourthly, fertilization with organic and stabilized nutrients is
sorely lacking. All these factors curtail yields severely as well as produce
unhealthy fruits; diseased and Pest-Prone trees.

• USE OF UNSTABILIZED FERTILIZERS/ DANGEROUS PESTICIDES:


Both Urea and DAP contain Nitrogen that rapidly converts to Nitrate Form
or is already present in that form. Pesticides are causing irreparable
damage.
• INEFFICIENT FERTILIZATION: Broadcast fertilization is wasteful
and can actually lead to encouraging competition between crops and
weeds.
• PLANT NUTRITION: The concept of plant nutrition seems to have
escaped our attention. The fertilizer regime as recommended by our

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Agriculture . Department is outdated. There is no recommendation for
Potassium. Secondary and MicroNutrients are not used.
• LACK OF TECHNICAL SUPPORT: The Extension Service of the
Agriculture Department leaves much to be desired. They are either under-
qualified or do not have enough facilities to be able to carry out their jobs.
• ABSENSE OF CROP INSURANCE: Being totally at the mercy of
nature is not conducive to encouraging Farmers, Investors or Credit
Institutions. Uncertainty engendered by changing weather patterns leads
to extreme caution on the part of the farmer.
• LACK OF STORAGE/ COLD STORAGE/ PROPER TRANSPORT
FACILITIES: This factor obviously effects Horticulture tremendously. The
farmers are almost blackmailed into selling their produce at the lowest
possible rates.
• POOR MARKETING ATMOSPHERE: Here as in other sectors of our
Economy, there exists a Buyers rather than a Sellers Market. For
development, this situation needs to be reversed. The seller should not be
blackmailed when he attempts to sell. The prevalent market situation
discourages change from extensive to intensive farming.
• DIFFICULTIES IN EXPORT: The number of difficulties and delays
that an exporter has to face discourages many from attempting to export.
Loss caused by these factors leads to a turning away from this most vital
aspect of a Nations economy.
• LACK OF INFORMATION: Crop specific information is sorely lacking.
Planting methods; densities; spacing; fertilizer and cultural requirements
and timings are usually quite obscure.

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21 CENTURY AGRICULTURE

SOLUTIONS

• OVERCOMING RESISTANCE: This factor is readily removed with actual


results on ground. Seeing is indeed believing! Once the locals see the
difference with their own eyes, they are more amenable to change. Indeed
the miserable economic conditions that prevail in the Rural Areas, makes
them eager to adopt demonstrably profitable methods.
• SEDANTARY VERSUS PASTORAL: Solutions must be found to restrict grazing.
Confined feeding with nutrient supplements will better the quality of milk and
meat. This alternate is expensive in the short term but extremely cost
effective in the long term. We have but one Eco-System. That too has been
severely damaged. Secondly, refugee and settler problems have to be
resolved on a priority basis.
• ORGANIC SOILS: Composting with Effective Microbes can greatly speed up
the process. Secondly Organic matter is increased four fold, by using this
technique. The resultant quality and abundance in yields is a great incentive.
This makes farming sustainable.
• WATER RESOURCE MANAGEMENT: Production of Sprinkle Systems needs to
be increased. Secondly, inexpensive Drip and Sub-Soil Irrigation can be
practiced as demonstrated in the Centers.
• CROP RELATED RESEARCH: Viable alternatives should be found and pursued.
Khidmat Marakiz are admirably suited for such efforts. The process takes
many years and is not profitable in the short term. When linked up with
Universities and Agriculture Departments the efforts costs can be
underwritten or offset. A system of reward and recognition for Research that
yields positive results will prove to be sufficient incentive to take on this
task.

• CREDIT: To disburse credit solely through Finance Specialists is not effective


for Agri/ Horticulture. Specialists should be associated with the process. This
would ensure timely disbursement for viable efforts.
• SEED: Certified seed is essential to Agri/ Horticulture. Strict penalties should
be imposed on the sale of sub-standard seed. Viable seed and resultant
increase in produce will encourage the farmers.
• CULTURAL PRACTICES: Institutions that impart training need to be
encouraged. Secondly, we need to develop visual training material. Thirdly,
education programs can be run on Public Radio and TV.

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USE OF STABILIZED FERTILIZERS/ SAFE PESTICIDES: Advances in Research
have revealed the viability of Stabilized and thus safe mineral fertilizers. We
need to adopt the forthwith. Despite ban on certain Pesticides, they are
available in the market (Heptachlor etc.). Secondly, our Agricultural
Departments need to be educated about modern and safe products. Once the
concerned Authorities are convinced, the sale of unstabilized fertilizer can
also be banned.
• FERTILIZATION: Again, this aspect can be practically demonstrated.
Banding; deep banding and foliar application need to be introduced. Training
in this regard needs to be imparted. Not only does it result in great savings
and also increases yields.
• PLANT NUTRITION: We have much to learn about this field. The world has
made great advances in this field. When the very latest in CDs and Videos
can be instantly imported into the Country. The latest techniques and
methods should also be transferred.
• TECHNICAL SUPPORT: The Agri Extension Service is badly in need of
overhaul. One method is to encourage Technology Receiving & Transferring
Centers.
• CROP INSURANCE: Crop insurance through Community Based Associations
will prove to be a positive step forward. In this manner, many mal-practices
can be avoided and the livelihood of the small farmer can be protected.
• STORAGE/ COLD STORAGE/ PROPER TRANSPORT FACILITIES: At first sight,
this problem seems to demand expensive remedies. Fortunately, there exists
a Low Cost method of construction that will provide these facilities as far as
storage is concerned. By-Products of this technology can be used for tiling
drains; channels and canals. The technology is called Earth Sheltered;
Ceramic Adobe; Passive Solar Construction
• EXPORT: This factor can be resolved by opening up channels and avenues.
Procedures can be simplified. The concept of Export Houses can be
considered.

• MARKETING ATMOSPHERE: Not everyone is suited to marketing. Secondly,


the poor and suppressed classes find it almost impossible to be aggressive in
this regard. This and many other problems can be readily resolved by forming
Farmers Cooperatives. Many of the existing Community Based Organizations
can be converted to this type of Organization. Specialists can be appointed
to take on various Technical and Marketing aspects of Production. Imparting
skills can also be facilitated by selection of persons with the requisite
aptitudes.

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• INFORMATION:. Computer Technology should be used for Agriculture. The
first step would be to prepare an Agri Data Base. All relevant information as
pertinent to our environment should be collected.
• EXPERT SYSTEMS: Expert Systems can be deigned to retrieve information
from the DataBase as required on a User Friendly basis.
• ACCREDITED TRAINING: Training imparted in the Marakiz can be Accredited
to Institutions. The combination of Hands-On Training (HOT) and Formal
Examinations should produce first class skilled workers. Diploma holders
would be able to improve their employment chances both within and outside
the Country.
• POLYMER COATED SEED: The quickest and least complicated method of
achieving increase in the realization of the Genetic Potential of viable seed is
by Treating them with safe Systemic Pesticides; Chelated Secondary and
MicroNutrients and Natural Rooting and Fruiting Hormones registered and
passed by the Environment Protection Authorities.
• PROVISION OF AGRI/ HORTICULTURAL SERVICES: Employment of Marakiz
Internees by provision of Agri/ Horticultural Services to the surrounding
populace can prove to be effective as well as generate funds to make the
Marakiz self-sufficient.
• COMMUNITY BASED FARMERS AND MARKETING ASSOCIATIONS: The
extensive and growing CBOs Network can be made more effective by
organizing them as Farmers Associations for growing crops and receiving
Credit. Secondly, experts or individuals with aptitude can handle the
Marketing of Produce. The individuals can receive specialized training in this
regard.

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LOW-COST; INTENSIVE HERB &
VEGETABLE GROWING UNDER
CONTROLLED ENVIRONMENT CONDITIONS

THE WAH GARDEN

The Khidmat Foundation is in the process of fine-tuning a Poor Man’s Bouquet.


Organic Soil; Vermiculture; Sheet & Spot Mulching; Sub-Soil Irrigation; Companion Herb
and Vegetable Growing; Provision of Shade/ Green House effect (as and when required);
Controlled Photo-Period and ensured low-cost yet sustainable Nutrition are all included
in a Structure called the Wah Garden. The concept is built upon the Mandala Garden and
Geodesic Dome concepts of PermaCulture. A 5-meter square Garden can be established
with all of the above facilities on any level patch. Quality of soil or its absence is not
important as the beds can be built up with Compost and Mulches. The Geodesic Dome
not only provides a frame for climbing vines, it also provides support for trailing plants
(tomatoes, Cucumbers). Thirdly, protection from birds; beasts and fowl can be readily
secured by fastening Chicken wire over the structure. The Wah Garden is very
integrated. Economics are being documented and helpful suggestions are requested for
ideas in Companion Planting to suit various Agro-Ecological Regions of the Country. The
Wah Garden can be readily prepared with locally available and inexpensive materials in a
step-by-step manner. Details are available with the Foundation.

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THE WAH GARDEN

GEODESIC DOME

Climbing
Vine ENVIRONMENT
CONTROL/
PROTECTION

COMPANION
HERBS &
VEGETBLES

SUB SOIL
IRRIGTION

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MUSHROOM STRUCTURE
KHUMBI KULLA

In order to provide a chance for small house holders to grow mushrooms either for
sale or consumption, a small mushroom growing structure or a Kulla@ has been
designed. This design is on the principle of the Fired Adobe@. The ball clay mix has
sawdust added to it. Upon firing a porous brick results. This aids the passage of humidity
when the brick is wet. The structure contains eight 1m x 0.5m trays or 4 square meters
of growing space. There is a wind catcher on the vault roof and ventilators on both sides.
These can be opened and closed as per requirement. Thus humidity and ventilation are
catered for. The one-foot thick walls act as a good insulator and a moderate temperature
is maintained inside the Kulla. In case of areas of severe cold, the growing trays can be
alternated with fresh animal dung trays that will give off heat during decomposition.
Thus a cold frame technique can be used, especially in the Northern Areas, to provide
fresh mushrooms even in the depth of winter. However the number of dung trays used
reduces the surface area. This economical and long lasting structure is low cost in
construction and trouble free in maintenance. It is fire proof and earth quake resistant.
The structure is made in 4 days from locally available ball clay.

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CONCLUSION

The preceding material should amply convey the fact that there is plenty of
room for improvement in our Agri/ Horticultural efforts. No ill will should be
generated and all findings should be examined with an open mind. To reject
Modern Methods based upon obsolete data is abhorrent to say the very least.
Unfortunately, such attitudes exist amongst the top people in Official Agricultural
Circles. They must make an effort to be in step with the times. The Khidmat
Foundation is constantly engaged in efforts directed towards ameliorating the lot
of the Rural Poor. We are well aware of the fact that the ultimate solution of our
ills lies in the wholehearted participation of ALL! No coercion can possibly result
in genuine progress! A sense of sharing and caring has to be developed. People
have to take their fate in their own hands and reshape their future. True
development cannot be imposed from above. Suggestions and positive criticism
are welcome. Participation is requested in a National Drive for Progress! The
Khidmat Foundation has made efforts in this regard. For this purpose we are in
the process of organizing Marakiz in the Hazara Region. We have targeted this
Region as it has the most potential to be developed for the growing of seed as
well as raising crops for export. For this purpose we have established a Markaz in
Mung and have taken three other Sites on Long Lease (5 years). These Sites are
concentrated mostly in Southern Hazara. Secondly we are in the process of
establishing a Markaz in the Mansherra area. Obviously expense and effort are
required. We have laid the foundations and hope to build up a permanent structure
that would be an Institution. At this stage we request support in the form of funds;
technical expertise and enthusiastic membership. This is not a task for
individuals, no matter how dedicated. The task has to be taken on collectively. We
offer a partially established platform with no vested or hidden interests. Our
guiding light lies in the following:

“FOR THE CAUSE THAT LACKS ASSISTANCE!


FOR THE WRONG THAT NEEDS
RESISTANCE!
AND FOR THE GOOD THAT WE CAN DO!