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Posts tagged ‘Food security’

A little further with agricultural design : the solar barn this time a little more grungy

November 7th, 2009

What the hell can a cow dream about?
Simple : about this
And this
But here in the Argentinian North West, in summer you cant dry tadalafil no prescription it, it rains too much, it rots.

We already made the design of a solar barn to dry it up. But who wants to put a dime on grass.

What a weird idea? Grass? It is not serious.

Can’t smoke it.

So we reviewed the copy of our report and came back with a new one : the barn is less glamourous, less techno, it lacks this space shuttle look that farmers like so much, with buttons, computers, noise… now it works with absolutly no machinery, only sun and some small tricks of course :
The hay is thrown on a big rolling walkway, made of recycled farm nets, actioned by a pedal and simple machanism which makes it go 2meters by 2 meters, just enough to spray the hay evenly. The barn is 30m by 10m. Once the sort of pathway is totally covered, the barn is shut the more hermeticly possible. The sun heats the roof, and the air flies away through special chimneys, which look like metallic chef whirling hats; a bit like the mad whirling dervich cook. By doing so it creates a depression, which attracts the air coming from apertures under the hay. The hay is relatively close to the roof so it gets the heat from it, but the air coming from under and passing through, prevents it from cooking. A piece of cake.


The trick? The air coming and going is accelerated by a vortex-like system of cones continuously renovating the air at a fast pace to dry it up quickly. The interior of the barn is cleverly organised to reenforce the whirlwinds, avoiding dead angles which could create counter streams and with small devices to gear humid condensations at the right places. Done, the rabbit is in the hat. The barn is 100% controled by the sun.

It was crucial for us to persevere in this project and insist with it instead of letting it be immolated it on the altar of GMO progress. Just look at what will happen to the cattle in winter if we dont react… new born calves and pregnant cows forced to eat the ground ; just like the people starving in Haïti, you would say?
No, not as bad, here the cows are more lucky than human beings… engineers are taking care of them. All around the world, young agronomists have been taught that you need to feed cattle on corn. You would not even think to give them grass, would you? You cant get a better value than with corn; and it is so easy to grow with GMO technologies; you dont have to think, just buy the seeds, the herbicides, pesticides, fertilizers that go with them, machinery to spray everething on your well compacted and flat field. If you cannot afford all this, you will easily get a loan. Good boy, you are now sustaining a whole economy. Yes you can.

Hopefully, things are changing, slowly. One thing: just remember that corn produces more fat than meat, which is very good when your cow does not move; if not, it will loses it. It is probably why we have created feedlots, sort of concentration camps in which animals are stockpiled to be force fed without moving. 60 to 80% of Argentinian meat is produced this way, same with Brasil, same in France.
The dream team is with the GMO soy cattle-cake. You press the soy oil for cars and give the remaining to the cows. 70% of the cows in France are fed on this. France is now number one importer of GMO soy cattle cake from Brasil. GMO crops are forbidden in France, but the cows which are eating GMO soy in their barn without being able to move, are they GMO? Of course not, logic.

“Colonizar a Amazonia pela pata do boi” “conquer Amazonia by the hoof of the ox”, the great motto of the Brasilian politicians since the seventies is more hype than anytime. To feed each French you need 458sqm of Amazonian soy, according to Greenpeace. And it goes on, the consumption of meat in this year of crisis has risen by 28% in France and since the seventies soy production in Amazonia went from 0 to 21 million hectares. Progress never stops.

But back to our cows; here once the corn has grown, in order to keep food for winter, you let it dry up on its’ pod or you convert it into silo bags; the big black plastic bags laying with big old tires on top, a bucolic neat countryside. The corn is crushed and put to fermentate until the next winter. This method works perfectly in a laboratory, but in nature it is not always easy to control and sort the bacterias which are going to produce the lactic acids and the yeast which are going to produce alcohol. Oh, sweet little devils.
The young calves you see here are totally drunk, loaded, not a single one can walk straight, “they dont need to drive, its’ not too bad” Would you say? In fact alcohol hits directly on the liver which is the place where the immune defenses are constructed, a sort of control tower of your immune system. Not the best thing to do do when you start in life, isn’t it? These calves are going to spend the rest of their life at the vet. To avoid spending a little more today, you will spend a lot more later.

The key problem in Argentina is here : the price of meat is blocked by the government; 20 cent euros a kilo. You cant make a living anymore by producing meat, everybody abandons. “Only the ones on natural pastures can cope”, tells me an agronom engineer. But everybody carries on with corn and soy. Argentina just announced in November 2009 a deficit of 3 million calves. No you are not dreaming, we are talking about Argentina and agronomers… a famous French comic used to say “You put them in a desert, 3 weeks later they come to clame for more sand.”

To produce 1kg of meat you need 7 to 10 kg of food. Quite a carbon footprint; here, according to the calculations we made, on the yields we got this year 12t/ha i.e. 8t/ha dry of GMO corn; I cant say if it is due to the seeds or local conditions. On the other hand well managed pastures can provide 20 to 60 tons/ha. Once it is sown, it comes back every year. No use to buy more seeds, to plant, just harvest. Between this and corn, what would you choose? Corn of course. Logical?

Argentina 8 : to plant trees is fine, but to use them to guaranty food security is better

July 7th, 2009

How to plant trees for food security ?

In order to diversify the revenus of the estancia, the agronome engineers came with the great idea of planting wallnut trees.


Wallnuts are sold a good price and have a fair market in Argentina. Then, in 20 years, you ill be able to sell your wood if you choose so. So why not participate in the general fight against global warming by planting trees.

But to plant 8500 wallnut in a go, in the short term, it will become forest which will take 60ha of pasture from the cattle. The dense foilage and the low architecture of the wallnut empeaches any kind of plant to grow under it.

Without speaking about the proliferation of uncontrolable foreign plants it can cast, ready to put an end to the original balance of the ecosystem, with high levels of cyanidrides and all the dejections of the wallnut cork which will act as herbicides.

To palnt trees can be much more profitable, and here we come :

You must make the tree an ally of your plans and use it to reenforce your strategy of sustainability.

Waht brings the wallnut tree ?

  • It can fix up to 200kg azote/year from the air to the soil.
  • it keeps up a mycelial network, which distributes directly to the roots all the water, the minerals and nutrients a tree needs.
  • It takes care of the life of the soil by maintaining the good bacterias which the plant needs to grow.
  • It fixes and retain the soil from erosion, stop the progression of canyons, the main menace of the domain.
  • It can be a true climatic shock absorber against the current climate change, protecting from the wind, frost, and attracting rain by the mollecules they cast in the air.
  • Trees are vital to horse alimentation chevaux; dont forget that the primary biotope of horses is wood.

What are the priorities of the domain?

We need azote to make nitrates to accelerate the growth fo the pastures.

We desperatly need to reenforce the vegetal web and the deep and surface root web to stop erosion and the progress of the canyons.

We need to settle Sylvo-agriculture :

Experience has shown us that the ideal density of trees for this is 50 trees by hectare. This number allows the passage of the machinery while letting sufficient light for the crops.
8500 trees will cover 170 ha.

How to plant these trees ?

The distance between trees :
To know the distance between each tree you should calculate :

d = √A/n

d, for distance, A for the area, n the number of trees. This is how used to do Braun-Blanquet, the inventor of phytosociology.

So for our 50 trees hectarewe need to 1 a plant 1 tree every 14m.

The type of soil :

The wallnut tree does not like water in excess. It must be well drained, with little clay as possible. If you do not pay attentionto this it will catch deseases and parasites. In Argentina the most commun parasite is the mushroom Phytophtora. It takes up the base of the tree and the roots. The only remedy known here is amputation, which does not help to the growth of the tree. So better avoid any kind of drop to dop irrigation, etc.

Dont work on the soil before planting. If you tile you will create a tilage sole, by destructuring the soil which will create blocks of clay, hindering the water absorbtion. Tilage is the best way to put your trees vulnarable to parasite mushrooms or insects.

To plant them you only have to dig a hole the size of the clod of your tree you need to plant. Punto y basta.

To make shure our tree will get a quick and steady growth we go for mycoforestation

Two techniques according to the site :

chenesIf you have an old forest close by, you will link it with your young trees by a path of wood chips which will make a web between all the trees, which will make the mycelium run.

Or you proceed directly to the inoculation with mycelium raised in a lab, which as soon as it runs will provide directly to the trees all the nutrient they need. One must always use the help of nature in agriculture, it is the most efficient way.

This is another reason to avoid tilage around trees, it is the best way to break all mycelial and mycorhizal relationships, the symbiosis trees and mushroom have creates for their mutual health and benefit. A work the man is ready to distroy for the false purpose of letting the soil breathe, while he is destructuring its profound nature, and distroying the dynamic of the beings which maintain its’ balance. Nobody has had the idea of tiling a forest to make it grow yet…

Trees for agriculture.

With a density of 50 trees hectare, one tree every 14m, food plantations as well as pastures can prosper… and above all each year you have your crop of wallnuts and in 20 years you get your share of wood if you want to timber.

Organise the biodiversity

dont plant only wallnut trees … when you want to succeed with you graminees crop, rice, wheat, or pasture you need leguminous trees: acacias mimosaceas, here we have the fabulous pink lapacho a great medicinal tree to cure cancer; another leguminous like the caroub tree, which will provide fourage with its leaves (attentionwith the excess of azote) and nutritional complement by its beans.

control pollution.

8500 wallnut trees produce wallnut… at least 12 000 tons/year. Among these 12000 tons, 7000 tons rubish filled with black cyanidrides and carbon. Pollution ? Not really, it can be the ideal raw material to produce biodiesel thanks to micro algaes

The “Tika Papa” project : 3 international medals for food security and development

March 18th, 2009

Since 2004 we are consultants for the T’ikapapa project in the Andes to support

fao-med-filteredin  Peru, the origin of the potato and its’ biodiversity. We are working on its’ dvelopment, its’ organic agriculture, fairtrade, the creation of product lines, design and esthetic, its’ distribution.

Tika Papa has been granted with 3 international awards for the environment and development among the most prestigious in the world.

The 2006 Gold Medal of the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation) for food security.

The SEED AWARD 2007 from the United Nations, the UNDP and the UNEP (UN Programmes for Development and Environment)seed award

The NEWSWEEK & BBC WORLD CHALLENGE 2007 elected by the viewers best development project of the year.

bbc_world.news_week-filteredbbc world challenge