Hope for Nepal assists farmers through teaching principles of integrated organic farming.
Integrated farming has revolutionised conventional farming of livestock, aquaculture, horticulture and the agricultural industry in some countries, especially in tropical and subtropical regions. Conventional farming methods often require high investments of time and energy and result in less than optimal yields. Expensive imported materials are also often required.
The integrated system can remove all these constraints by not only solving most of the existing economic and even ecological problems, but also providing the needed means of production (fuel, fertilizer and feed). The system also increases productivity. It can turn disastrous farming systems, especially in the poorest countries, into economically viable and ecologically balanced systems that alleviate poverty and protect the environment.
The ancient combination of livestock and crop activities enabled farmers to use manure as fertilizer for crops and the crops as feed for livestock. However, as farms grew in size, the supplies of manure and crops proved inadequate for small farmers. The more recent integration of fish with the livestock and crops has helped to improve both the fertilizer and feed supplies and to provide additional income through fish sales. In addition, the important addition of a second cycle of nutrients from fish wastes has benefited crops.
The first of the two cycles of nutrients from the livestock is used to fertilize the growth of various natural plankton in the pond. These plankton are consumed by fish. The fish, after consuming the plankton, produce their own wastes that are converted naturally into the second cycle of nutrients, which are then used to fertilize crops.