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Book of Abstracts

11th IFOAM
Scientific Conference
11-15 August 1996
Copenhagen, Denmark

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Low-input and low-cost technologies used by resource-poor farmers S26

Poswal, Maxwell Amlai Todi

Department of Agronomy, University of Fort Hare, Private Bag X1314, Alice 5700, South Africa

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The agricultural production system in South Africa is dichotomized, with a well developed commercial sector characterized by monoculture and a high dependency on such inputs as chemical fertilizers and pesticides. The small-scale sector is very underdeveloped and forms a majorarea of emphasises for development, under the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) of the post-apartheid Government of National Unity, aimed at enhancing and revitalising the quality of life of most rural communities in South Africa. The RDP considers the development of small-scale agriculture as a vehicle for raising the level of incomes, and to mitigate the nutritional and other socio- economic conditions of rural folks. Most rural, peri-urban and urban small-scale farmers are resource-poor, and are engaged in the production of indigenous and improved vegetables, in home and community gardens, and under small-scale foodplot programmes, field crops in both sole and intercropped systems, and in citrus production. The current low level of high cost technology utilization, such as chemical fertilizers and synthetic pesticides, amongst the small-scale and emergent farmers in South Africa provides an opportunity for the development of the culture of organic farming and other tecnologies that are relevant and suitable for these group of farmers. Resource-poor farmers should be encouraged to adopt many of the low-input and low-cost technologies for sustainable production, and that are economically and ecologically safe. The paper will highlight and discusssome of the appropriate horticultural, agronomic and natural plantprotection technologies: the trench-bed production method for vegetable and other crops, use of organic mulches, composts and manures (poultry, kraal/cow, and digested sewage sludge), crop rotation and strip cultivation, intercropping systems, use of plant-derived smoke for seed germination, the bottle/can irrigation technology, biological control and integrated pest management systems, and the use of other non- chemical methods and natural plant pesticides for pest and disease management.

Havinga, C. (1995): Biodynamic Farming can aid Emergent Young Farmers. South African Farmer's Weekly February 3, 1995, p.10

Poswal, M.A.T., Akpa, A.D. and Alabi, O. (1993): Cultural Control of Pests and Diseases: Prelude to Integrated Pest Management Practices for Resource-poor Farmers in Nigerian Agriculture. Journal of Sustainable Agriculture, vol. 3, p. 5-48

Poswal, M.A.T. (1995): Contribution of Folk Medicine in the Evolution ofNatural Plant Protection in South Africa. Papar Presented at the 13thInternational Plant Protection Congress, 2-7 July, 1995, The Hague,Netherlands