Appropriate Technology Asia

The Problem

Agriculture practiced in many mountain areas is increasingly influenced by western agricultural techniques. This has led to a gradual introduction of monoculture cropping techniques.

These practices reduce resistance to pest damage and increase evaporative water losses from the soil. In many mountain areas, where water availability is a severe limiting factor, this has significant effects on overall productivity. ATA seeks to develop new interpretations of traditional practices, to develop integrated, sustainable farming systems that meet the aspirations of local communities.

In many of the areas where ATA works, farming communities are under ever-increasing pressure: dwindling agricultural productivity, increasing population and shifting climatic patterns. In China for example, most families in Hualong County produce only 6 months of their annual food requirements and rely on loans and shifting migratory labour to make up the balance. In the very high Himalaya of Nepal and India, local farmers rely on often insecure handouts of government grain.