Today we had the privilege of an agricultural technical assistance professor to take us around to the Padi fields. SYO has the very important job of imparting the knowledge of going ‘ organic’ to reduce cost of farming and also to better make use of their farmland. It is a humongous challenge to persuade these farmers to take up sustainable farming practises. It is obvious how these farmers are merely living from hands to mouths. What matters more to them, evidently are the short term gains. As depicted on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the lower level needs have to be satisfied first before they are able to move on to think about making peace with the earth they are living in.
SYO taught the local famers (using the ‘pay it forward’ model) to be the voice of the movement to teach other farmers the know-how of organic farming. We were also shown the various ways of insects control without the use of pesticide. They showed us the compost they made using layers of vegetables scaps and dung. After letting it sit for 10-15 days earthworms are added to eat up the remaining organic matter. This kind of compost does not harm the crops when too much is added.
We were then brought to Machapur village and saw an organic sustainable set up initiated by SYO at one of their resident’s vegetable gardens. They have a facility to rear 7 fishes in a well of 1 m diameter; on the top deck is a chicken coop. Chicken faeces will fall through the grating in the chicken coop which will serve as meals for the fishes. The spent water for rearing these fishes will be used to water the vegetable plots. Quite a simple yet ingenious set up and COULD POSSIBLY be implemented at those communal food gardens around the HDBs.
The last stop was to Kondaparthy Village where I saw Singapore 50 years in the past. Breyton taught the Tribal clan on the selection of the best goat for mating. Brendon educated them on the importance of de-worming for their pet dogs running stray around the village. Will showed them how to use thimbles when they sew (the description of HOW TO USE was accurate except he demonstrated it on the wrong finger).
As we embarked on this understanding and assistance mission, it did creep into my head if we were being intrusive into the tribal communities; telling them what is right and what is wrong. Do they really need to de-worm their dogs and where else could they get these supplies after the box runs out?