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The Louis Dreyfus Foundation supports Micro-agriculture

Yet agriculture is the earliest, the most honest of trades, and more useful than all the rest, and therefore more honourable for those who practice it. – Jean-Jacques Rousseau

In Thailand, Indonesia and Ethiopia, the Louis Dreyfus foundation partnered with Pur Projet to support innovative agricultural projects that are testing new and better ways to produce enough whole food supplies within small surfaces.

For instance in Thailand, in the region of Surin and Chiang Mai, 3 methods were tested in 2013: the SRI rice production method (where rice can grow in drier soils and with less seeds), agroforestry (tree planting within the rice fields) and self-sufficiency activities (gardening, breeding, biogas and manure production).

This year, as the program continues, two new Japanese agricultural models are introduced:

–          Natural agriculture, based on 4 fundamental principles: no tillage, no fertilizers, no weeding and no pesticides.
According to Masanobu Fukuoka, nature, within its infinite complexity, provides all the required elements for a rich agriculture, and it doesn’t need men’s intervention on the product’s natural cycles. Fukuoka’s tests and observations on rice production and orchards in South Japan, show that his yields were equal or higher to those of traditional or “modern” agriculture.

–          Mixing rice production with duck breeding (Takao Furuno) would increase yields from the first year on, up to 20 or 50% more. They key to success, releasing the ducks on the rice fields right after the plantations. Seedlings have too much silica, which doesn’t attract the ducklings, who prefer to eat the insects, seeds and weed seedlings. Using their legs to unearth their meal, they oxygenate the water and contribute to higher rice growth and production.

All the results of these practices will be monitored over time (input and output / hectare, impact on producers’ incomes, environmental quality of the farm…) and will be compared with traditional farming methods to guarantee these models’ efficiency.

The Foundation’s activity report will be published online this month here.

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