1997 to 2001, ESCAP, through its Fertilizer Advisory, Development
and Information Network for Asia and the Pacific, assisted five of
its members (Pakistan, Philippines, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Viet Nam) in
the introduction of Integrated Plant Nutrition Systems in their
or more years of intensive, green-revolution-type agriculture with
emphasis on chemical farm inputs did little to reduce the poverty of
small and landless farmers. On the contrary, dependence on
commercial plant nutrition and protection often increased poverty.
Even farmers who had benefited from the green revolution because of
land size and soil productivity noticed undesirable changes in soil
structure and water-retention capacity, resulting in declining
yields, despite increased application of chemical fertilizers.
reverse this trend, the programme aimed at introducing the use of
on-farm-produced organic material (e.g., compost, farmyard and green
manure and other low cost elements) to improve soil structure and
sustainable production capacity. The programme had a noticeable
impact on poor farmers, particularly in Nepal and Sri Lanka.
of compost proved especially effective in high-value vegetable
farming, an activity predominantly carried out by rural women. The
simple techniques that were taught to selected farmers in the
participating villages were adopted and replicated by other farmers,
using their own funds and labour to prepare the basic installations
for compost production.