A great percentage of rural farmers the world over are still practicing an antiquated way of farming. They still resort to age-old methods of preparing the soil by way of making a group of work animals like caribou or water buffalo, cows, donkeys, horses, etc. walk through the field back and forth for the purpose of trampling down under the soil grasses, weeds, etc. This is a crude way of cleaning and preparing the soil for planting. Grasses and weeds are trampled to die and decay. They don’t use farm machines even simple ones. This is gospel truth and a common sight among third world countries.
Compared with the farmers of long ago, our farmers of today are brimful with knowledge, skills and technologies in agriculture. Yet they do what they ought not to do. It is very ironical to think that some countries like the Philippines, for instance, has been exporting agricultural experts to other lands yet the kind of agriculture in their countries are still wayward. Why?
I repeat farmers the world over are too far advanced with skills and knowledge in farming. This fact can be attested by their respective agricultural departments. The various agricultural departments are complete with records that time and again they have conducted seminars, workshops, demonstrations, briefings and meetings on the when, what, how and why of modern-day agriculture. These same sectors of government can produce attendance sheets to prove that these same strategies to educate farmers were well attended by them. On this score, the role of the schools in equipping pupils and students with vital farming lessons cannot be overemphasized.
Then why are other countries lagging behind in agricultural output? Why are other countries importing rice from other countries? Why are farmers reverting to the crude method of farming despite their stocks of farming techniques. The answer is very simple. Majority of farmers are too poor to apply their agricultural expertise in their farms. The price of insecticides and fertilizers are not within their reach. The possession of even simple farm machinery are more of a dream than realities. Transfer of technologies will not happen with farmers having hungry and empty stomachs.
Lazy? Are farmers that kind? No. They aren’t. Can we blame them for their few and poor produce with only a bolo as a farm tool? You may suggest, why not buy a caribou or hire one to assist them till the soil. How can they when they can barely eat three square meals a day. Very lamentable indeed is the lot of most farmers but let’s face it squarely for it’s a fact.
There is silver lining over the dark clouds. There is hope for third world countries to attain self-sufficiency in agricultural crops. There is enough rooms for lowly farmers to improve their economic status in life. There will come a day when all the acquired skills of farmers will be put to optimal use if given the opportunity.
Here are practical ways to improve farm practices of marginalized farmer. Introduce to them the proper use of the following simple agricultural machines: rice transplanter, pedal thresher, rice mill, dryer, corn sheller, peanut sheller, cassava lifter, manual weeder and forage cutter. Other farm tools unique in a particular country and not mentioned here can likewise be introduced and discussed in this forum. Government of respective countries especially their agriculture departments should do their level best to find ways and means to equip marginalized farmers with all of these vital farm tools named above so as to improve farm practices and products as well. 9034331-2″);