LTRP 5 – Semiannual report: Agroforestry and sustainable vegetable production in Southeast Asian watersheds
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Summary: Men and women farmers provided with plant material found that based on yield and farmer reactions, katuk, in Indonesia, and Cu nang, in Vietnam, had good prospects for vegetable agroforestry systems. In the studies of trees underplanted with vegetables, vegetable yield was higher in the second year than in open systems. By the third year, when the trees were mature, vegetable yield declined for all but cucumber and eggplant.
Farmers provided with drip kits and seed found that yield of their vegetables was higher with drip irrigation than with rain fed systems, even with frequent rainfall. The drip kit developers are experimenting with low cost pressure regulators which the experiment indicated a need for in sloping land applications.
Results of tests on perennial peanut (Arachis pintoi) as a cover crop showed good prospects for taller fruit vegetables, but not for low-growers which the perennial out-competed. While A. pintoi showed no signs of reducing pest numbers, it did cut down on weeding and irrigation needed.
Experiments were conducted to find the best soil cover under cashew trees. Cacao and weeds under cashew gave the highest soil quality, followed by just weeds. Clear weeding resulted in poor soil quality and a reduction in the yield of the cashew trees.
The Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) model was validated in the Philippines and showed good prospects as a tool to predict environmental impacts of changes in land use and management practices over watersheds.
Drag force tests on reduced tillage implement prototype has focused on the coulter and opener. It was found that a 12 tooth-round coulter and an opener with a larger rake angle with plastic siding and spiked sides had the least drag forces.
Having identified Katuk (Sauropus androgynus) as a priority vegetable in the Jakarta area, in year 3 SANREM distributed 60,000 cuttings to farmers in three villages. By producing and redistributing cuttings to other farmer groups as a form of social commitment, the original farmers increased the number of participants to 100. Disappointing prices spurred farmers to identify an alternative market that offered better prices.
A ‘knowledge to action’ approach will help improve the efficiency of the research and development systems which in Vietnam and the Philippines have been found to have weak linkages and coordination among institutions and universities. Some evidence of the success of ‘knowledge to action’ can be seen in a closely coordinated partnership of SANREM researchers, local government politicians and men and women farmers, which has promoted the adoption of a sustainable farming system in a municipality.
Researchers have found that women benefit more from informal networking than in formal networks for which they have little time. SANREM women partners are developing their own katuk marketing system to bypass the middleman. The women were provided katuk seedlings which they like because they give a year round crop providing food security. They wer also given vermicomposting technology as a means of getting cheaper farm inputs with a benefit to the environment. Socio-economic impacts of the experiment and its adoption by men and women farmers are being studied.
Several workshops and an international conference were held with good attendance. A SANREM sponsored book made its debut at the SWAT-Southeast Asia Conference.