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I question the need for a tractor. I suggest that the farmers use organic, no-till in beds.

Workshops: USA - TX, MS, FL [ECHO], CA, AR, NM;
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Workshops in organic, no-till, permanent bed gardening, mini-farming and mini-livestock farming,
using bucket drip irrigation, worldwide, in English & Español

Organic, No-till Farming

The solution to world hunger is to teach farmers organic, no-till farming and there is unlimited, documented proof it is the best way to farm. “The hungriest people grow food for a living: 70% of the developing world’s extremely poor people are in rural communities and work in agriculture. They barely produce enough food to survive, which is why they’re referred to as subsistence farmers.” The farmer does not need to buy anything, from anybody, at any time except seed for new crops.

These are ecologically sustainable, environmentally responsible, socially just and economically viable. These practices can feed the world regardless of how high the population goes. UN Report Says Small-Scale Organic Farming Only Way to Feed the World. [2014] My experience is that there are farmers in every country farming this way already but no way to find them.

Poor, unhealthy soil is the reason for low yields. Soil is unhealthy due to chemicals and low organic matter. The solution is to stop using chemicals and increase organic matter.
Organic, no-till farming, in permanent beds, with permanent paths, using only a machete, doubles or triples yields, reduces labor 50% to 75%, reduces inputs-expenses to nearly 0, creates healthy soil with high fertility, stops soil erosion, rain water runoff, soil compaction and eliminates most weed, disease, insect problems.
SRI – system of rice intensification: 50%-100% increased yields, up to 90% reduction in required seed, up to 50% savings in water. SRI has been adapted for rain-fed rice. in 70+ languages.

With no-till, organic matter [green manure/cover crops, weeds, crop residue] generates the following results:
 The mulch gradually rots into the soil providing a constant supply of nutrients while eliminating composting.
 Moisture retention due to the mulch layer means reduced need for watering; saving both resources and labor.
 Mulch prevents weeds from growing, reducing another laborious chore.
 Because of greater nutrients, plants can be positioned twice as densely as normally recommended.
 The combination of denser spacing and healthy soil means a fourfold increase in yield. Josef Graf

Roland Bunch has promoted green manure/cover crops, worldwide, since 1982. In Honduras, it made farming profitable and stopped migration to the city. Singing Frogs Farm, USA, since 2010. Fukaoka Farm, Japan, organic, no-till [rice, small .grains, vegetables] since 1947. Farmers, Yilou, Burkino Faso, mulching since 1965, At the time of my visits the following were organic, no-till: an Indian farmer [vegetables] for 5 years, a Malawi farmer [vegetables] for 25 years [model farm], Ghana farmer, 3 years [only one farmer knew it out of 385 farmers in the association] and Honduras farmer [vegetables & fruit] on permanent beds on the contour (73° slope] for 8 years. Reduced cost by 30% the first year and tripled profits in five years [Argentina]. I was on a farm [Honduras] where the farmer, alone, farms 4 hectares using a machete. In Uganda, farmers average 73 days weeding but only 5 days when using no-till. USA, farmer has been no-till since 1985 using tractor. 262,000,000 acres in no-till and 85,000,000 acres organic, worldwide.

No technique yet devised by man has been anywhere near as effective at halting
soil erosion and making food production truly sustainable as 0-tillage (Baker)

1. Financial: no tractor, no implements, no chemicals, no fertilizers.
2. Healthy soil produces healthy plants which resists pests & diseases, for high yields.
3. Healthy soil is made by increasing organic matter using green manure/cover crops [mucuna/velvet beans but many others, legume and non-legume]
4. Soil always covered. Crop, mulch, cover crop.
5. Weeds; never let go to seed. Cut and leave as mulch
6. All insect pests and diseases have natural enemies that will control them.
7. Broadcast crops: alternate with seasonal cover crops
8. Intercropping and/or crop rotation
9. Leave all crop residues on top of the soil for mulch.
10. No-till: no plowing, no digging, no cultivating
11. Permanent beds: used since 2000 BC in Guatemala, Mexico. [1-2 m. wide; any length; paths between. Run beds north & south or on contour]
12. Permanent paths [15-20% of the land is in paths and that saves 15-20% of the seed, time and labor. If drip irrigating, saves 15-20% of the water.
13. Winter: hoop houses, high tunnels over beds.
14. Support for climbing plants: cages, trellises
15. Tools-hand: machete, planting hoe, scythe, double blade weed cutter, pruning saw, hula hoe, pruning shears, cart.
16. Seed - Open-pollinated No hybrids, No GMOs.
17. Transplants: start seed indoors as needed.
18. Seed for new crops: More interest in this than anything I do. Edamame soybeans, tomatillos, popping sorghum, sweet sorghum [syrup], spaghetti squash, stevia [sugar], Chires baby maize, sweet maize, popping maize, broomcorn, buckwheat, Sea-rice 86, Artemisia annua [malaria control]
19. Irrigation: Use drip or bucket drip. The farmer makes the dripline [US$5]. One, 33m, will irrigate a row of crop using only 40 liters of water every other day. 20L bucket 1m above ground connects to dripline. A line can be moved to irrigate several rows per day. Water: stream, pond, well. A drip kit returns US$20 per month to the farmer [FAO study]. Request instructions
20. Moscovies: Should be on every farm. Eats bad insects, roosts in trees, needs little purchased food. Good eggs and meat.
21. Imitate nature. Most farmers fight nature.
Nature always wins.

B. [OM is the key to soil fertility]

I volunteer my time to teach workshops, worldwide, in English or Spanish, when expenses are paid.

Ken Hargesheimer,

The agriculture corporations, farm supply stores and garden centers promote the use of chemicals, inorganic fertilizers and GMOs for profit; not because it is best for your garden or farm. No one profits promoting organic, no-till gardening/farming: nothing to sell.
"Plowing the land damages the soil almost as much as chemical weed killers do. It kills nitrogen-fixing bacteria." Onmivore's Dilemma “No one has ever advanced a scientific reason for plowing. It can be said with truth that the use of the plow has actually destroyed the productiveness of our soils.” Edward Faulkner Plow to kill the weeds; that brings to the surface more seeds to sprout; more weeds to plow up.

Dear Ken, Thank you for the info. I am applying it in my own vegetable patch. It is working. Got about 10 pounds of potatoes per square yard. This off previously dead low, carbon soil. Your advise is so simple. People do not believe me when I tell them. I am so excited about growing things now. This coming from a commercial plum farmer. Jeremy Karsen, South Africa

We have already started several gardens in Jinkfuin community and the people working on them have benefitted from the DVDS we received from Ken. We watched the DVDs and got so many lessons and women and men already running gardens, good ones! Lia, Kimilili

I confirm Ken's advice. I've been using mulch and no-till since the late sixties. It works. It really works. I now manage a 5,000 ft² community garden in its fifth season. It started on hard clay with turf grass using cardboard and mulch. Leaves are added to the beds every fall and it has never been tilled. It's a beautiful, fruitful garden. I have friends who have sand and advised them to do the same. They've been very successful as well. It will work anywhere. Judith Hainaut

Uganda: We have been working on improving farming techniques for almost a year. The farmers are planting small plots that only feed their family. There is no other choice but to try new techniques to improve the output of their plot. Ken suggested the "no till" farming techniques as well as the "drip system". Both have proven effective at increasing production by at least 5 fold. The time is now for Kyomya to become a model agricultural village. []

Ken has instructed us by introducing cover crops to improve the organic nature of the soil. This involves less work than the previous method and has resulted in double the yield from crops where this method has been implemented.’ Busukuma,

Appropriate Technology:

1. Bicycle trailer [cargo, passengers, tank]
2. Clothes washer [saves hours of work; ]
3. Composting toilet [inside house;]
4.; i4@org/surv/solarbox.htm
5. Sola
6. Hydroform blocks: soil-cement, interlock with no mortar between blocks.


I am wondering why you need a tractor. What work do you need it for? I grew up driving a MF but others in the family had JD.



Matibi Hospital is a mission hospital in Mwenezi District of Masvingo,Zimbabwe.A Catholic hospital serving three districts.The hospital is looking how it can get a donation of a land-cruiser ambulance.The rural terrain needs a vehicle of that caliber to access the service area.


Dear Friends,

My draft Budget has been loaded into Resources.




Dear Friends,

I have written another piece of the puzzle while drafting the newsletter. Using data that I have received from Moses, I have written a draft budget around the concept of Naigobya selling a portion of its crops each year to support the purchase and running of a tractor. This has not yet been viewed by Moses and therefore I do not have his input to this idea. However the yields he has quoted me for maize and the selling price would enable the village to generate its own income assuming that they have help in marketing and sales. The early purchase of a tractor would enable expansion of the cultivated area each year.




Dear Neighbours,

While writing my newsletter to inform you of my actions, I made a Break-Even Analysis of the ownership of the tractor. We can use this as part of an Application for Funds document which I am writing about at the moment. The idea behind this analysis is that, using as much information from Naigobya as possible supported by reasonable assumptions, we calculate the amount of land required to support the running of the tractor assuming that the village sells 100% of the grain on that land. Naigobya grows a crop mix of 1/3 Maize and 2/3 Rice. The value of maize on the market is much higher than rice. Adopting the crop mix as the sales mix the analysis shows that the running of the tractor could be supported by sales from approximately one Hectare of cultivated land. This, however, means that these crops must be marketed locally and they are not available to feed the villagers. But with the tractor, the villagers have the immediate opportunity to increase the area of cultivated land.

The analysis has been uploaded to the Resources page. may I ask everyone to look at the Resources now uploaded, particularly the Break-Even Analysis. I am not a farmer and I might well have made errors in the analysis that you could help me with.




Dear Neighbours,

I am writing a Newsletter for this project which I hope to publish within two days.

As part of this task I have uploaded a number of planning documents into the Resources area of our site for those of you, like me, who have had trouble piecing everything together.




Dear Graeme

It is a major problem of Nabuur villages that the system brings forward proposals which are unlikely to secure support. I am not trying just to be difficult, but it does mean a difficulty for the local representative, but I do think that it is important for the question to go back to the local community, not just out to some other outsider.

I have written here:
and I do not personally believe the best start point is 'what is best tractor' ... the point Moses has made is that the problem is food production and they are have thought modern agrciulture and a tractor... I have asked a number of questions and rest with those.

Over to you - if you want to talk some time we are at 02 4443 4499 - can call back for 10c untimed. Very busy this week, next week have foot operation so will have some days with foot above heart, appropriate for phone more than computer.





I am sorry that I didn't reply before, but I have been struggling with learning enough to be useful and how to best aid Naigobya in their quest for mechanisation.

I think that your questions are excellent with a balance of human and agricultural issues. Since I am not a farmer by training, I find it quite difficult to frame the questions that we should be asking Moses and his village members.

It is my intention to re-frame the tasks and to attempt to find an agiculturalist or farmer who can help with determining the real benefits of tractor ownership. I have a concern about over-buying a tractor that may not be appropriate although I understand that there is probably a limited variety of tractors available. Since I have lived in Asia for many years I have never seen a tractor of this size used in villages. The machines are usually small, many walk-behind, and most leave a sustainable footprint (except for 2 strokes of course).

Do you have any ideas on who we might approach or how we could obtain some more specific details regarding the proposed purchase?




Hi Graeme

My questions reflected my concern about hastening to the question of the tractor when the criteria for its acquisition are so unclear. So, no, I'm not in a position to offer advice on tractor type.

The core question seemed to be how to enable women to achieve the feeding of families. My other questions are about possible work sharing and also, if there is a real need for a tractor, what implements are proposed, for what purposes? Who is to own the tractor? How maintained? How deal with its impact on soil health and productivity? Havoe communities with tractors produced more? How do they manage tractor ownership? Is there any information available about long term effects of tractors on productivity of the soil? Does soil become compacted or exhausted and do input costs increase - fertiliser, etc. What about work arrangements and food costs? Who drives the tractor, how are tractor hours/work paid for? How will maintenance be paid for.

I hope all is well in Naigobya with flooding in much of Uganda. If there has been heavy rain, what has been the effect on land [a] where tractors have been used [b] where tractors have not been used.

I have owned a tractor when farming near you, Graeme (close to Murwillumbah, near Billinudgel). I know the passionate need to have a tractor.

I think that if a community wishes to consider asking for assistance for a tractor it needs to show concern for the kinds of issues above.

best wishes



Hello Dennis,

Thanks for your greetings, I live in a rainforest remnant at Teven in the Northern Rivers.

I have seen your comments and would like to ask your help in choosing the tractor. The choice of tractor is limited, at present, to a reconditioned Massey Ferguson MF 290 imported from the UK. The technical spec appears excellent but we need to collectively assess the suitability of such a tractor. I have attached a file for you to view.

Up North here we are mainly John Deere people and the Massey Ferguson franchise is rather limited although I will go to see them. Do you have access to other farmers/agriculturists who could help us review this machine for village agriculture in Uganda?

Could you let me know if you could help.




Welcome Graeme!

Delighted to 'meet' you. I am 200km south of Sydney, with bits of rainforest, etc ,etc.

best wishes



Dear Neighbours,

It's our pleasure to introduce Graeme as your new Facilitator. Graeme brings with him a lot of agricultural experience and know-how, and he'll be an excellent match to your skills and enthusiasm here!

To learn more about Graeme, please click on his profile (

On behalf of Naigobya, welcome Graeme! :-)



Dear Moses,Teresa & all


Best Wishes- Shahid


[b]Here is a description of the village's vision:[/b]

For the members to decide on the project at hand , food and nutrition needs assessments were carried out and the following were realized :

- Average household size was found to be 8 persons with a range of 7-9 persons per family in 63% of the household .

- Male headed households constitute 81% while 19% were female headed . Illiteracy rate among the households heads was 40%.

- Of the children under five years, who were examined 47% were stunted , 16.5% underweight and 2.3 wasted .

- About 59% of the house holds reported their children to have been sick in the previous two weeks and the main disease they complained of were cough, malaria, fever and unidentified diseases.

- 19.5 of the children get their meals at most twice a day. Reason for not giving frequent meals include:
Food shortage in the households ( 46.9 % ).
Mothers working in the field for long hours ( 24.8 %) this is because of the poor agricultural implements which necessates long hours of working in order to get what to eat.

- Activity status indicated 91 % of the households lived on crop production, 1% on animal husbandry , 2% on trade and 6% on other activities.

- About 73% of the households use their land for cultivation practicing subsistence agriculture using rudimentary tools thus rudimentary agriculture .

- About 85% of the farmers were getting information on agriculture from their neighbours and 15% got information from extension workers.

- While 84% of the members were experiencing food shortages .
During periods of food shortage, 75 % of the households sell their labour for food and 2.4% secure wild food.

- 98% of the women receive less than 5% of the of the extension services

- 80% of food is produced by the women and 98% of them work full time in the gardens to get what to feed their children.

It was realized that ” feminisation” of agriculture is at the increase. This means that as men are becoming increasingly absent from rural areas and agriculture because of the rudimentary tools which are tiresome, no agricultural extension services. This makes the agro-business not interesting hence massive rural urban migration.


Strategies are a means to attaining set goals . They describe key policy areas and decision points, taking into account identified goals and the operational circumstances of a system in a manner which warrants ease of accomplishment . The underlying consideration in evolving strategies is the desire to depart for the business - as - usual or status quo approach to a strategic approach to development management . The strategic approach is holistic in scope, long - term in objective, and dynamic in its policy and decision - making outlook.


The basic strategies are indicated in the sequence of strategic issues noted below :

Issue one:

How to promote sustainable improvement on the sufficiency of food supplies and create a Resilient, Dynamic , Integrated , Diversified and Competitive Economy .
A dynamic economy provides the basis for availing resources for the fulfillment of major national objectives like human development and poverty eradication among others .

Therefore, the starting point for Naigobya has to be a growing economy that is resilient, diversified , integrated and competitive .
The strategies that can foster the attainment of these goals must revolve around these concerns.

- Realizing production and productivity gains, food security in order fight famine, hunger and to break the vicious circle of
- building a sustainable domestic community economic base .
- Promoting competitiveness and stimulating savings and investment growth.

Issue Two :

How to Eradicate Mass poverty and ensure Rural Community Transformation ( RCT).

Poverty eradication is fundamental to human development . It constitutes a major premise for measuring the benefits of economic growth and development of Naigobya Village . It enhances the productivity and advancement of the individual, and lays the foundation for overall development of Naigobya . In addition , capacity to participate in national affairs .

The strategies identified below underscore policy actions that must be pursued by Naigobya Village in the interest of increasing food production and eradicating mass poverty.

Establish a frame-work for Rural Community Development and transformation.

- Implement long term planning to set the direction , pace and goal for Naigobya community transformation.
- Increase food production per hectare of maize and beans .
- Foster community participation in decision making on development issues to tailor plans and programmes according to their needs .
- Transform attitudes of the youth and women so as to build initiatives for higher development targets .
- Strengthen research - extension, farmer to farmer linkages and promote training programmes in business skills , farm management , project analysis and evaluation for the entire community.
- Improve collection, compilation and dissemination of information on target groups and areas in order to facilitate the design of focussed progrmmes and activities.
- Institute special training programmes so that the community members acquire employable skills .