Tag Archives: Japan

Sustainable farming requires nutrient-rich soil with a complex organic structure

Receiving news of the extensive research undertaken by Mark Measures and the forthcoming workshop led the writer to remember Winin Pereira and Rashneh Pardiwala who recognised the importance of good soil structure.  

Winin Pereira’s paper Energy & Lifestyles was originally prepared for the Traditional Science Congress, held at Varanasi in October 1998 (updated November 1998).It noted some causes of soil acidification adding that sustainable farming requires that all crop ‘wastes’ be returned to the soil. If this is not done, soil erosion will increase, the soil’s nutrients will be mined and the land will require additional synthetic fertilizer. However, the soil organic matter, soil biota, and water-holding capacity cannot be replaced by applying fertilizers. This may result in serious degradation of fertile farm land which will ultimately make the land barren. soil erosion and water runoff, which would ultimately reduce the overall productivity of the land forest clearing erosion flooding (water runoff)

From Western Science to Liberation Technology he notes that Warli farmers tried synthetic fertilizers.out but soon abandoned them. They said that the fertilizers damaged the soil and that larger amounts were required each year. In consequence, they use very little, and then not every year. use of Sesbania bispinosa, and later ref to rui (Calotropis gigantea) leaves as a green manure. The leaves have very small percentages of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus they use it widely and it is evidently effective in improving crop productivity.

A couple of years later another colleague, Rashneh Pardiwala, completed her doctoral research with distinction at Edinburgh. Professor Grace wrote: “She has worked on the loss of carbon dioxide from heather-moorland soils, using a site near Edinburgh which is fairly typical of the peaty spoils which are widespread in northern Britain. The context of her work is the impact of climate warning on the flux of CO2 from the soil to the atmosphere (11.10.00).

And today soil-related references in an article from the Shenzhen Daily caught my eye

When landscape designer Wang Xin, with a degree in landscape botany, realized he could no longer stand being an office drone, he left his job, rented two plantation sheds in the suburbs and started farming from scratch. After a rough start he has learned valuable lessons going back to his university and visiting colleagues in Tochigi Prefecture, Japan, to study the most modern organic farming techniques. In July he prepared all-natural organic matter to enrich the soil. his fertilizing formula has been perfected through years of research in collaboration with Beijing University of Agriculture to simulate the formation of the fertile dark forest soil in Northeast China, known for its high crop productivity.

Logically, the true foundation of organic farming lies in soil content: if the soil is right — if it is a living organism with a complex organic structure — the outcome is safe and tasty food farmed without the need for fertilizing chemicals, according to Wang. But that is not the only objective. Wang hopes to build a production model that rehabilitates the soil itself. On regular plantations, the soil can degrade within a matter of years after being over-exploited. “For organic farming to become truly sustainable, revitalizing the soil is key. I am certain that in three to four years, the soil that I have been reviving will only be healthier,” he said.

The strawberries from his organic plantation in the southern outskirts of Beijing are believed by his clients to be “the best in China.”

As part of Mark Measures’ Churchill Study Fellowship (Soil Management for Sustainable Production and Environmental Protection), he travelled to the US and Europe in 2017-18, visiting researchers, advisers and farmers. His final report (January 2019):”Soil Management for Sustainable Food Production and Environmental Protection” can be downloaded here (pdf).

In the next post, farmers, growers and advisers are invited to his one day workshop

Shortage of butter, shops who have supplies are rationing their customers to one packet each

News of this continuing shortage was heard whilst on webcam to Tokyo on Sunday; soon British supplies will dwindle as the exit from dairying continues.

milk farmers leaveAs global markets fluctuate and speculators profit, dairy farmers wonder why British prices for liquid milk should drop as they are supplying the domestic market.

The graphic opposite refers to December 2014; it would be worth seeing a record of perishable fruit and vegetable producers who are also being held to ransom by layers of middlemen.

in 1985 about 82,000 Japanese dairy farms had a combined 2.11 million cows, according to their ministry. Now there are 19,000 and 1.4 million animals. The Japanese government scaled down Japan’s dairy herd in 2007 but miscalculated demand and two years later the country was confronted with its first serious butter shortage.

Soon British supplies will dwindle as the exit from dairying continues

The British government is also scaling down its dairy herds by refusing the justice of a fair price covering living and production costs to dairy farmers – hiding behind a toothless ombudsman whom they admit cannot even deal with most of these farmers.

neil parish mp smallerSome senior politicians say airily ‘we can import all we need’. MP Neil Parish comments that the previous Government, for much of their final period in office, did not encourage food production: “In fact they said, ‘We can import as much food as we like’; our home production did not matter . . .”

We need fair trade for food producers worldwide

Cornish farmer Michael Hart wrote to Mr Parish advocating:

  • better contracts governed by law,
  • government regulation and control of supermarket power
  • and acceptance of the fact that food produced to a high standard costs more than world market price will pay.

Address the balance of trade by importing less, not by trying to export more

MH 2We should supply our own market at a fair price for producers and cut down on imports before we worry about exports. As a nation we import more than we export, in general. We could, with milk, supply our own market and redress the balance  by importing less, not by trying to export more.