Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Is there such a thing as non-cash farming technology?

Abe V Rotor

“It is technology farmers do not have to pay cash for a non- cash input.”

This definition by Dr. H. T. Chang of the World Bank actually refers to good basic farm practices which is small farmers can carry out themselves- first, to save on production cost; and second, to improve production efficiency.

Non- cash technology, however, should not be regarded as alternative to cash input per se, but can be a substitute to some costly items. What is significant in the concept is that good farm practices can maximize the value of cash input.

The best examples are found right in all fundamental steps of good farming. Good seeds generally produce more yields under any condition. These means farmers must practice seed selection, and plant only certified seeds. Grains produced from poor seeds are not only few; they produce low milling recovery due to admixtures of different grain shape, size and maturity.

The labor-intensive characteristic of typical farms in Asia ideally provides for greater attention to enhance proper farm management. After all, the progressive farmer is one who prepares is land more thoroughly, manages his nursery better, water his field more cleanly and has better water control, mainly through his effort and those of his large family.

Non-cash technology extends further from mere saving on direct expenses. It is also based on innovative approaches. A rice-garlic combination has these components; the garlic crop “rides” on the remaining soil moisture and on the tillage of early rice crop; and rice straw is used to mulch garlic in order to reduce water loss and weed population.

Other popular examples of non-cash inputs are:

1. Use early maturing varieties to allow a second or third cropping.
2. Make use of solar energy in drying palay, corn and other farm products.
3. Follow precise timing of land preparation to turn up weeds to dry up. Plow them under to be decomposed to save on herbicide and laborious weeding
4. Prepare rows parallel to East-West direction to allow more solar exposure to enhance growth and yield.
5. Practice green manuring in place of or supplement to, commercial fertilizers.
6. Recycle farm residues like corn stovers, rice straw and peanut hay for livestock, and farm wastes for organic fertilizer.
7. Practice intercropping to reduce the spread and occurrence of pests and diseases, and to maximize the utilization of an input like fertilizer..

The revival of non-cash technology is generally recognized as a Third World innovation. It may lack the glamour and sophistication of modern agriculture, but it holds the key in solving many problems of small farms.

1 comment:

Matutina Biglang-Awa said...

The revival of this technology would be very useful for farmers. This would enable them to somehow maximize the value of their cash input.

I believe that this is very much needed, especially in third world countries such as the Philippines because we need something that would keep people going.

- Paola Jenine Alvarez