Farm Productivity, Permaculture and First Thursdays

Hi Vijay

I am glad that you chose the article on "Pushing up Farm Productivity" to share with us. It looks as if several group interests are overlapping around the topic of food production, and eco-friendly solutions.

I am very aware of approaches to food production and methods of growing things at present because Marcus Simmons is still sharing details of his recent trip to Africa. He was in Benin and Nigeria - and the main focus of his trip was permaculture. He went to Benin to learn more about permaculture as applied in West Africa, then went to share those ideas at Fantsuam and Attachab Eco-Villlage.

I particularly like the bit in the article "Pushing up Farm Productivity" that said "It is not the farmer who makes the food: he is only a facilitator. Food is actually made by plants. Therefore it is important to understand the requirements of plants and supply them without restrictions in order for plants to deliver food. Since plants do not talk, their needs are understood through research and experimentation."

There is a difference in emphasis between the approach in the article and a permaculture approach, as the article seems to refer to artificial fertilisers, and permaculture favours natural fertilisers and composting - but there is a shared concern to be more aware of the needs of the plants.

You may be interested in this presentation about permaculture, (and how it compares with other methods)  which Marcus prepared for sharing with people at Fantsuam.

You may be interested in this video from the Songhai Centre (the place that Marcus visited in Benin). There is more information on their website.

I know that some of our friends at First Thursday are concerned with food production, so I have decided to focus on permaculture and related topics at First Thursdays for a while. I hope you will be able to join us there again sometimes.


Open Letters: 


Hi Pam,

Long time. I have been busy travelling in India on work. Haven't been able to see the blogs. Will see them now.

I would love to know more about permaculture and its role in ensuring food security and nutritional security in times of adverse climate change.

Producing foodgrains in Asia and Africa today is fraught with more challenges than just raising productivity of crops. Farmers have to (or will have to) contend with a lot many adverse factors. For instance:

  • Decline in food grain production due to shrinking arable land and water scarcity
  • Reduction in yield because of the shortening of the crop duration as temperature rises by 2-3 0C.
  • Reduction in vegetable and fruit yield due to rising temperatures and difficulty in preservation.
  • Rise in the cost of food
  • Increase in under-nutrition and micronutrient deficiencies especially in the vulnerable groups. And this will impact families of poor farmers in a big way, leading to a fall in farm labour productivity.

Any system of agriculture which aims to boost food output will have to tackle challenges triggered by climate change.




i'll be blogging more on this soon, and  it will also be on the agenda for First Thursday on February 4th, 12.00 GMT. Joining details are here. Hope you can join us.