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Excerpts from "An Agriculture Testament" by Sir Albert Howard published in 1940

These notes form a part of sanjeev shankar's research, which is summarised in his research report

Orient_ China/India/Japan

  • System of peasant farming for centuries. Agricultural practices are as permanent as those of the primeval forest
  • Comparable to systems found in Costarica, Guatemala and other parts of Latin America

Chief characteristics include:

  • minute holdings
  • dominance of food and forage crops
  • mixed crops are the rule with cereals being the main constituent
  • a balance between livestock and crops
  • use of animal waste (especially in china, even the human waste found its way back to the land), Nothing is waste
  • leguminous plants are common(indo gangetic plains have pigeon pea which is also a sub soil cultivator)
  • absence of soil inversion ploughs( soil inversion for the destruction of weeds in hot climate is unnecessary in hot climate since the same work is done by the sun for free! Also preserving the level of fields is essential for surface drainage and to prevent water logging )
  • adequate suppply of labour
  • regional variables a common feature

Occident

* Satisfy three hungers: hunger local rural population with the livestock, hunger of urban population and that of machines which need raw materials * Holding tends to increase in size (from small family units of france and switzerland to collective farms of russia and ranches of US and Argentina) * monoculture is the rule, even rotations are unknown and no attempt is made to create natural humus or manure or waste recycling * dominance of the machine * artificial manure used widely * diseases and hence pesticides on the rise * food preservation processes is a norm * science a dominant force to help production * loss of soil fertility highlighted by the growing menace of soil erosion