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close this bookAmaranth to Zai Holes, Ideas for Growing Food under Difficult Conditions (ECHO, 1996, 397 p.)
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View the documentAcknowledgements
Open this folder and view contents1: Basics of agricultural development
Open this folder and view contents2: Vegetables and small fruits in the tropics
Open this folder and view contents3: Staple crops
Open this folder and view contents4: Multipurpose trees
Open this folder and view contents5: Farming systems and gardening techniques
Open this folder and view contents6: Soil health and plant nutrition
Open this folder and view contents7: Water resources
Open this folder and view contents8: Plant protection and pest control
Open this folder and view contents9: Domestic animals
Open this folder and view contents10: Food science
Open this folder and view contents11: Human health care
Open this folder and view contents12: Seeds and germplasm
Open this folder and view contents13: Energy and technologies
Open this folder and view contents14: From farm to market
Open this folder and view contents15: Training and missionary resources
Open this folder and view contents16: Oils
Open this folder and view contents17: Above-ground (urban) gardens
View the document18: What is ECHO?
View the documentAdditional ECHO publications
Open this folder and view contentsECHO development notes - issue 52
Open this folder and view contentsECHO development notes: issue 53
Open this folder and view contents28 additional technical notes about tropical agriculture
Open this folder and view contentsPrinciples of agroforestry
Open this folder and view contentsGood nutrition on the small farm

About this book

This is a book of practical ideas. It is written for people who help those who live and make their living under difficult conditions in the tropics and subtropics. What should a development worker do to assist a community? There are no simple answers, but there are many possibilities-plants, techniques, and technologies-which hold potential. For fifteen years, ECHO has sought out information on these ideas for the quarterly networking bulletin ECHO Development Notes (EDN). Many people have contributed their insights to share with our network of over 4000 people in 140 countries. If you are interested in improving the lives of small farmers, we welcome your active participation in our network.

This book is based on the first fifty-one issues of EDN. The ideas in EDN come from questions or experiences of field workers, the scientific research done in support of their work, and many newsletters from around the world which ECHO's staff monitor for worthy items. This collection is not intended to be a complete handbook. There are important topics which are not mentioned, and in many cases you are referred to other resources for background information or specialized details.

Since no innovation can be guaranteed success in any location, ECHO encourages development workers to be experimenters. Trying ideas which have worked elsewhere and testing plants which are appreciated in another part of the world are first steps toward discovering something valuable for your own situation. As you read these chapters, some ideas will strike you as promising for your region, while others will not be applicable in your site. What is accepted in one area will be rejected in another. Keep in mind that the world is a very, very large place, and often discovering the right niche for a new plant or technique can make a big difference. Visionary open-mindedness and a critical eye can together help you define which ideas to consider for experimentation and adaptation.

ECHO's primary focus in the field of agricultural development is with little-known tropical plants or improved varieties of common plants. Our seedbank has selected vegetables, fruits, grains, cover crops, and trees with potential to produce well in challenging environmental conditions. EDN also includes information on other topics of importance to the small farmer. This book lists many organizations which specialize in various areas, and we can direct you to them with questions related to their fields of expertise.

All organizations, publishers, and many individuals mentioned in this text were contacted during 1995 and 1996 to confirm current addresses, prices, and services. Every effort was made to update the information wherever possible. However, books go out of print and prices change, so after 1996 you should confirm availability and prices before ordering any items mentioned. Please let us know of any changes you find so we can stay updated.

We sincerely hope that this information will assist you in your work, and we encourage you to write ECHO with your questions and experiences. If you are not already a member of ECHO's network, write for an application for ECHO Development Notes. We look forward to hearing from you!