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Inventory of Peasant Innovations for Sustainable Development an annotated bibliography

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Kees Stigter, 1987: 11, op cit
Water Conservation/Region Unspecified

  1. In low input tea growth, small farmers deliberately use mulches for protecting from erosion to conserve water to suppress weeds and supply nutrients.

  1. In Tanzania, farmers adopted various way for mulching of cash crops:

    1. Tree leaves, dried or green banana leaves, grass and straw are commonly used.

    1. Chopped maize stalks and stems, intercropping residues tree branches, pruning remains weeded grass and other weed residues, cut down trees, ash, animal dung and household rubbish.

    1. Use of sisal waste, coffee pulp, saw dust, wood shavings and non traditional polythene.

    1. Shed leaves, grazing and other grasses, creeping plants and short intercropped plants are specifically mentioned as having natural mulch effects.

    1. Rock mulches in some places because of their potential to absorb daytime heat and release it in the night.

    1. Tillage of the soil under dry climate conditions. This is practised in rainfed production of rice (MOROGORO), tomato (DODOMA) and maize (many places). Some farmers combine weeding and tillage deliberately but non-tillage is advised for areas mulched with residues.

    1. Flood water is reported o be used to suppress weeds in rice growing, for soil protection on sugarcane plantings and over artificially hardened soil in some coffee farming areas with heavy rainfall (ARUSHA).

    1. In wetter and colder areas or seasons, ridges promote good drainage and root growth. Quite often dark rotten used residues are placed on the top of the ridges. They are believed to absorb more heat because of their colour and thereby help to increase the soil temperature.

    1. Creeping cover crops are believed to trap dew under certain conditions in addition to other mulch benefits. (In gram fields, the clod mulch created through ploughing without following it by planking is now acknowledged to be scientifically valid –ed.).

Emilio Moran, 1977: 202, op cit
Water Erosion/Arid Region
“WADIS” are constructed in Niger desert, which control the erosion of flood and also wets the soil to lease the fertility.
Anil Gupta, 1988a: 83D, op cit
Moisture Conservation/Arid Region
In dry land areas, the practice of keeping kharif fallow for Rabi and moisture conservation methods followed by farmers are very scientific. Farmers sow of Bajra crop at the time of pre-monsoon showers wherever it occurs in the month of June. Gram is sown with specially designed traditional plough called NAI is a good practice.
Vasumati Shankaran, 1988: 7, op cit
Moisture Conservation/Semi-Arid Region
Mixed cropping and strip cropping is practiced by Bhil Grasia tribe in Gujarat so that water is tapped at different levels by different sizes of root length.
Katin Srimongkal

Traditional Agriculture in Northern Thailand

FSR-A5-1987m pp.1-21
Water Conservation/Semi-Arid Region (p.18)
Farmers in Northern Thailand plough their fields many times to make t he soil muddy which forms a hard pan. The reason is to prevent water loss by percolation to the subsoil.
Abedin and Haque, 1987: 2, op cit
Water Erosion / Humid Region (p.2)
Planting of sugarcane sets in individual pits rather than in furrows allows a better grip against high current flooding.
Gupta Anil K

Survival Under Stress: Socio Ecological Perspective on Farmer’s Innovation and Risk Adjustments (Working paper no , IIM, Ahmedabad. Paper presented at International Congress of Plant Physiology, New Delhi, 1988)

LTK-G1-1988, pp.1-30
Moisture Conservation/Humid Region
Practices observed by colleagues in on farm Research Division, BARI, Bangladesh:

  1. In N.W. Bangladesh growing a banana between four betel nut trees helps in the moisture management. The suckers apparently conserve moisture during monsoon and release it to the roots of betel nuts during dry winter month.

  1. The practice of taking a rope or even a bamboo pole through the nursery of paddy in early hours of day was noted in Bangladesh. This was essentially to protect from the frost and provide dew so harvested to the roots of the plant (Some suggest that it could also be a way of stirring the leaves so that eggs of the insects may fall down –ed.).

Anil Gupta, 1988a: 84E, op cit
Moisture Conservation/Region Unspecified
Tied ridging, harrowing as a part of inter culture operation to conserve moisture of maize crop.
Shenghan Shih

An Agriculturist Book of China of First Century, B.C. Science Press, Peking

LTK-S1, 1963, pp.68
Water Erosion/Region Unspecified

  1. Drawing upon the work of Yao Shu who compiled a sort of agricultural encyclopaedia in sixth century several suggestions have been given for linking the type of bone decoction to be used for treating the seeds, vis-à-vis t he type of soil. For instance for red hard soil, the decoction of oxen bones has been suggested, whereas the decoction of bones of hogs has been suggested for sowing in clay soil.

  1. To prevent frost injuries in spiked millets, it is advised to look at the night temperature 80-90 days after sowing. If frost or white dew is expected, two persons facing each other could drag a rope horizontally right through the crop to remove the frost. This should be stopped only after sunrise.

Jhunjhunwala, A and Deshingkar, P. 1984: 3 op cit
Animal Erosion/Arid Region
Farmers in Korategere taluk in Karnataka protect their tamarind saplings from grazing animals. Tamarind seeds are germinated in small pots in their backyard. The saplings are encouraged to grow fast by constant removal of lateral leaves and stems. The crown of the plant is never touched. Within 2 years the plants are at least 6ft high. They are then planted just before the monsoons safely out of the reach of animals.
Shih Shang-han, 1982: 43, op cit
Animal Erosion/Arid Region
In China, cereal fields abutting on thoroughfares are violated by passing animals. To prevent this, sesame or female hemp is planted on the boundary. Cattle will never touch sesame. Female hemp when browsed grows profusely. Both plant yield oily seed, oil of which is good for illumination.
Carlier Hans

The Moon and Agriculture

ILEIA, May 1987, 3(1)-22
Livestock/Arid Region (p.22)

  1. The new moon period is used to treat animals with vermicides because parasites are more active at that time.

  1. Sheep are sheared during the first quarter of the new moon.

  1. The new fleece grows quickly at that time and become long and sturdy.

  1. If one shears sheep, when moon is new or full, one may count on great deal of trouble with spring curly wool that grows only slowly.

(There is a growing international movement on Biodynamics Agriculture natural rhythms underlying various biological processes form the basis of planning agricultural calendar operation. In India, there is very long tradition of such beliefs. ed).

Bayer-Waters and Bayer

Building on Traditional Resource use by Cattle Keepers in Central Nigeria

ILEIA, December 1987, 3 (4)-7-8
Livestock/Sub-Humid Region (p.7)
‘FULANI’ cattle keepers’ in the sub humid zone of Nigeria practice herding techniques of letting the cattle graze within 5-6 km form their homestead. They may be moved for short period to more distant areas to exploit localised grazing resources. The technique permits them greater flexibility using seasonally available and very localised foliage.
Mc Corkle Constance M

Ethnoveterivary RD in the Andes

Annual Meeting of American Association for Advancement of Science (Paper presented at Symposium Putting Local Knowledge to work: Application for Agricultural Development in Natural Resource Management), January 1989, pp.1-11
Veterinary Practice/Humid Region (pp.4-5)

  1. The ‘quechua’ Indians of highland Peru, treat Q’icha (diarrhoea) by drenching (force feeding liquids) the affected stock (sheep, cattle, lama, alpain) with a mixture of herbal infusion and decoction mixed with other ingredients like lemon juice, human urine, salt and oil. An adjunct therapy is to rub such preparations into the sick animal’s body especially in the area of liver or an alternative cure is to feed handfuls of salt.

  1. Artichoke leaves, squash seeds and various herbs which are employed to combat Ovine endopa rasitism.

Sharma, Kumar and Sridhar

Historical Background and Analysis of Scientific Content of Ancient Indian Literature on Practices for the Treatment of Diseases of Domestic Animals

Indian Journal of History of Science, 1987, 22(2)-158-163
Veterinary Practices/Region Unspecified (p.161)

  1. ‘Tympanities’ is a common infection in cattle. Western veterinary medicine requires large doses of drugs like nuxvomica, asafoetida, ammonium carbonate, magnesium sulphate, etc. to treat it. In village conditions this treatment becomes useless because of its cost and the difficulty f having it dispensed. An ordinary villager has his own remedy for tympanitis. A couple of rhizomes of ginger, a few seeds of pepper, a handful of salt, a little asafoetida and a few shavings of the bark of the drumstick tree, are all well pounded and the juice extracted. The juice is then diluted in a bottle of warm water to which at times a little country liquor is added, if available, and the liquid is poured down the throat of the animal. The joint to be emphasized here is that t he ingredients are easy to procure, most of them from one’s own household, while the cost too, is a trifle.

  1. In many parts of India where it grows, the ‘Bael’ fruit is widely used to check the diarrhoea that accompanies rinderpest. It acts most effectively. There are several other simple remedies with reputed curative properties like ‘Bran’ in the treatment of brittle feet, the infusions of certain pods and herbs as anthelmintics and tonics, fruits as galactagogues.

  1. Crude vegetable purgatives are often as effective as their finished products, e.g. ‘Aloes’ as a purgative for equines, if not more, is as effective as its crystalline active principle, Aloin.

  1. Powdered ‘Arecanut’ is as effective a purgative and vermifuge for dogs as its alkaloid arecoline, if given in adequate doses.

  1. The total alkaloids of Ipecacuanha may be even better than its chief alkaloid Emetine in canines as Emetic, expected in the treatment of dysentery and intestinal form of distemper.

  1. Crude preparations from the bark of Hollarrhena antidysenteria may be equally beneficial as purified conessine, in cattle dysentery.



(Quoted in the Monograph ‘Agriculture in Ancient India’ edited by S.P. Raychaudhri, published by Indian Council of Agricultural Research, New Delhi, 1964, Chap. xiv, pp.144-151)
Veterinary Practices/Region Unspecified
Oil in which (a) the pounded mass of ginger, Bata and Jatamamsi has been cooked, and (b) to which rock salt and honey are added. This should be applied to the roots of the horns of the cattle.
(There are eighty-six such practices mentioned in the above chapter of the Monograph. Practices from another text ‘Vishnudharmottara Mahapurana’ are also stated. They have been divided into three categories, viz., Nasal Applications, Oral Affections, eye Diseases)
Verma and Singh

A Plea for Studies in Traditional Animal Husbandry

The Allahabad Farmer, March 1969, XLIII (2)-94-98
Veterinary Practices/Semi-Arid Region (pp.95-96
The Gujjars enjoy a reputation for dairy husbandry practices, which were investigated in fair detail with the help of a few simple tools of observation commonly used in social research. It was found that while most of their practices meet the propriety of animal sciences a few fully violate it. Some of such practices re listed below:

    1. Do shakkar, biul leaves (Grevia oppositifolia), mustard soaked in water, rye fed for a few days after service help in implantation of foetus? The nomads feel these prevent abortion.

    1. Is there any relationship between linseed, ban leaves (Quercus incane) mohru leaves (Quercusdilitata) fed to milk animals and quality f butter produced form their milk? The nomads feel this cause softness in the butter produced.

    1. Does gud, methi, tamarind, sarson (mustard) oil, cake, dudi, zeera, alsi treacle, bran, bieul leaves (Grewia appositifolia) chall leaves (Anogeissuslatifolia), behera leaves (Terminaliabelerica) increase milk yield when fed to lactating animals? These nomads feel so.

Besides the above practices various scientific questions regarding the above practices emerged. Some of the questions for example are, what makes Maljan (Bauhinia vahili) effective in healing leeches in water? Can the toxic property of this plant be harnessed for some medical use? Has the milk test employed by the subjects for pregnancy diagnosis any scientific base? The test comprises stripping milk from the pregnant animals (three months and above) and forming a thread with the help of index finger and thumb with a drop of milk. Should thread formation occur t he animal is supposed to be pregnant. How can the particularists (the animals who get accustomed to a particular milker) be converted into generalists so that they can be milked by others? Is there any relationship between the age of castration, hump development and draught ability of the bullocks? Is there any relationship between colour of buffalo skin (brown) and average length of its lactation. Are the grey coloured buffaloes deaf? Has deafness any relationship with the sexual sensitivity and potency of the buffalo bulls? How can fly nuisance be controlled on the grazing field? Is there any relationship between feeding ghee to bulls and its service potential? Can it be substituted with something economical? The subjects dichotomie the concentrates as Garam and Sarad on the basis of their supposed effect on animal physiology. Is there any scientific rationale for such classification or is this merely a local superstition? Does lassi (buttermilk) cause cold and cough to calves in winter? Should lassi be refused to calves below three months of age. Do cotton seed, gud, oils, ghee, mohru leaves (Quercusdilata), ban leaves (Quercus incane), cause abortion and produce any harmful effect on the pregnant animals? What is the nutritive value f different fodder trees and trailing plants being fed by the nomads to their animals? How can rock leeches be controlled in grazing fields? Does a mixture of milk and hakkar help in letting down the milk of animals? ?Does mash (Phaseolusmungo) help in expulsion of placenta? What drugs can be advocated to kill leeches in water pools and while in the nose of the animals?

Verma, M. R.

Dairy Husbandry of Nomadic Gujjars in Six South-East Himachal Forest Ranges (A Thesis submitted, to Punjab Agricultural University, under the Guidance of Dr. Y.P. Singh) 1967, Chap.2, pp.36-93
Veterinary Practices/Sub-Humid Region (pp.37-38)

  1. Navel Cutting Process: Among the Zamnalta, Nuppar and Gaba groups navel is not cut. These groups do not see any merit in navel cutting as this itself falls off within a few days. This, according to them, also escapes the risk of serious bleeding that may be associated with navel cutting. A variation has been recorded in the navel cutting process in Chabhar community that as soon as the calf starts breathing the navel is cut by a sickle or a scissor at the distance of 3” from the skin, tied with a thread and dusted with powdered charcoal to prevent bleeding.

  1. Disposal of Placenta. After calving, placenta locally called as Matrayandi comes out and is immediately disposed off to avoid ingestion by the cow. It is collected in straw and is then thrown at some distance or buried as is convenient, to avoid ingestion by other animals. The animals are closely guarded against ingesting the placenta, because of the dangers that the ingestion of placenta will reduce the milk yield for the whole lactation, and that the cow may die of choking and may suffer from indigestion. Several preventive measures are followed to check ingestion of placenta. Placenta is removed as soon as it falls on the ground. The animal is strictly watched and tied with a rope to avoid access to its own placenta. No other animal is kept near the parturition animal for fear of its eating the falling placenta. Animals which are black listed for ingesting placenta are either kept confined for a few days ahead of parturition or are kept out in grazing fields.

  1. Therapeutic Measures against Placenta Ingestion: Native therapy has various recommendations for treatment against ingestion of placentas. The subjects located at Chabdhar and Zamnalta reported that administration of one fourth seer of each of methi and shaker mixed in milk given for a week slightly raises milk yield. A kade (decoction) of Ajwain, Song, Soya, Powdered, ginger, Gud, Methi and Taramira is given for a few days to raise milk yield.

Khanna B.M.

A Study of the Indigenous System of Veterinary Medicine as Practised by the Farmers of Hissar I Block.

(A Thesis submitted to Punjab Agricultural University under the Guidance of Dr. Y.P. Singh)

1967, Chap. VI, pp.89-96
Veterinary Practices/Semi-Arid (pp.80-90)
The author had interviewed and observed various practices of the pastoralists of Hissar I Block. His observations regarding the treatment of various diseases by the pastoralists are enumerated below:

  1. The condition of the abscess was treated by half of the pastoralists. A majority of them attributed this condition to the blood impurities. Extract of different plant parts, Sarson oil and cow dung are used for fomentation of the abscess till it ripens. Sixteen prescriptions of poultices were reported to be in use. Firing was done by some pastoralists.

  1. Most of the pastoralists treated wound. Most of them wash the wound before applying any medicaments, like the solution of Neem leaves, potassium permagnate or simple water. Poultices containing various ingredients like Haldi, Desi ghee, wheat flour, Moong, etc. are applied to the wound, which bled profusely. A plug of cloth soaked in human urine was also applied to the wound. Mobile oil, cow dung ash, sheep wool ash, Guar seed ash, carbon obtained form used torch cells, a paste prepared from the root of Santhi, Karu leaves, Bhang, Ask bark, Kandu leaves, Asgandh leaves immersed in Sarson oil, powered burnt human bones and Kalai, etc. were also used for the dressing of the wound.

  1. Contused wound was treated by applying poultices of Haldi, Desi ghee (butter oil), black Til (sesame), Sajji khar Til oil, Kalibziri, cow urine, oil Gur, etc. Some of them also fomented the condition with heated piece of brick, Chikni matti, (clay soil) Bambee ki matti, saline water, etc., and few of them used paste of Khurand, Halim, Haldi (turmeric) and Karak maida.

  1. Maggot wounds are treated by all pastoralists of the block I of Hissar. A majority of them believed that it is caused by sitting of flies. Phenoel, application of Khusbudar booti followed by closing the mouth of the wound with Chikni matti, powdered camphor, an extract obtained from Arni leaves, Kachri leaves, Mathira leaves, Kalai, Marwa leaves, gamaxene, an extract obtained by boiling the lizard in oil, Naswar and Sarson oil, Aak milk and semi fired peacock feathers were used for dressing of maggot wound. The water strained from soaked leaves of Aak was drenched to the animal to kill maggots in the wound by few pastoralists.

  1. All the pastoralists treated broken horn by applying clean hair of women dipped in Sarson oil. The hair dressing thus applied prevents sticking of bandage to the wound and stops bleeding….

  1. Phale ka lag jana is treated by all of them. The animal is made to stand in a pond or any other water pool, human urine, country liquor, powdered alum and Ama Haldi, Colostrum, crushed jal leaves mixed with oil, heated to form a paste and poultice of the Ask bark, Bhang and Haldi, etc. are applied to stop haemorrhage. Desi ghee is also administered in the condition by half of the pastoralists. Few of them inserted red hot phale at eh site of injury.

  1. Yoke gall is treated by all the pastoralists. Application of red hot iron on the yoke gall, fomentation with hot water or heated brick or with a vessel containing hot ash, drawing a line on the neck by means of a thread dipped in milk of Aak, swine lard, an ointment prepared from the ash of Lasura leaves, ash of Kikar bark, a paste prepared from Gur and Til, dust carried by the shoes and puncturing of the ear, etc., are also some of the remedial measures undertaken.

  1. The limited opacity of the cornea spurting of saline water to the eyes is done. For the larger corneal opacity, sixteen treatments comprising of dusting powder and five liquid drugs are administered.

  1. Most of the pastoralists treated lameness in an animal. Majority of them fomented the affected site of the animal. Aak mil, Guar seeds, a poultice of Desi ghee, Haldi and Sarson seeds, tieing Sutli and administration of Karanja were some of the remedial measures undertaken by them.

  1. Few of them treated gangrene of tail, by dipping the tail of the animal in boiled Sarson oil and one of them treated this, by incision on the upper eyelids of the animal.

  1. All the pastoralists of that area treated Tympanitis, amongst the animals. The treatment differed according to the fields and village conditions. Tobacco and Aak are used in the former situation, while Sarson oil exclusively or mixed with other indigenous medicine, kerosene oil, Kachri and common salt, Kartumba green/dry fruit, copper sulphate mixed with butter, mango pickle, common salt mixed with Lassi asafoetida, a soap cake dissolved in water, a mixture of milk, Gur and Desi ghee, a decoction of Methi, Ajawain, Satyanashi, Guarpatta, Neem and common salt, etc., are given and when al the remedial measure fail rumen is punctured with unsterilized sickle or a knife, or a piece of cloth immersed in kerosene oil tied to the horn is set on fire.

  1. A decoction or a mixture of Kartumba, Ajawain, Methi, Kaliziri, Gur, Guarpatta, black pepper, Harar, etc. is given by the pastoralist to treat indigestion.

  1. Most of the pastoralists of this region treat impaction of rumen. Decoction of Kartumba root, common salt and Pipal bark, Satyanashi, Akashbel, Asgandh root, Ajawain, Gur and Methi, Desi ghee, sugar, either alone or mixed with some other ingredients; a mixture of fired Ajawain and common salt, grounded Amaltas fruit mixed with warm water, fried Sohaga mixed with warm water, Karu leaves and a power of Methi, Ajawain and Kaliziris are used to treat the above disease.

  1. A few of the pastoralist treat diarrhea cases. Flour of Bajra and Jowar, a porridge of Moth, strong tea liquor, grounded Anarkachilka mixed with curd, ask obtained by burning bone of camel head, extract obtained by soaking Mahendi leaves in water, Baelgiri, a decoction of Kikar bark, extract of Khurand and Katira are given to treat diarrhea.

  1. Colic is treated by more than half of the pastoralist of the region. Common salt, a decoction of Kartumba, common salt and kachri, Methi, Gur, and Lasan, old Gur and Ajawain, Methi, Neem ke kopal were given.

  1. Bronchitis was treated by a few of the pastoralist. A decoction of ginger, Ajawain and Gur, a bolus containing asafetida and Gur, country liquor and a bolus of ginger and common salt are given.

  1. The condition of pneumonia is treated by more than half the pastoralist. Rubbing of the ash of cow dung cake on the body of animal, administration of Ajwain, Methi and old Gur, Ajwain and Gur and Lasan, and Methi, Kaliziri and Rang root bark are remedial measures undertaken. An incision given at the tip of the ear or any one of the two horns of the animals is ignited after tieing a piece of cloth dipped in kerosene oil to it by few pastoralist if the condition does not improve with the above said medicines.

  1. The treatment of manage is done only by few pastoralist. Sulphur mixed in either Sarson oil or butter is applied to the body.

  1. The various indigenous medicines used by the pastoralist for treating lice infestation are tobacco dust, gamaxene mixed with equal parts of ash, ash of cow dung cake, Taramira oil massage after bathing with water, Charu, and drenching of Halim seeds to young animals.

  1. In case of tick infestation the pastoralist resort either to the manual removal of ticks or exposure to wild birds, to let them pick up ticks. External application of kerosene oil, Mathira oil, Satyanashi oil, Dhumasa and common salt, etc. are applied.

  1. Most of the pastoralist undertook some kind of indigenous treatment to induce heat in cows/buffaloes. Bhilawa, porridge of Bajra, Methi seeds, Guar seeds, Chirmatti, seed, Mainphal, pigeon droppings and Mehandi are given to the animal to induce heat.

  1. The treatment of retained placenta is undertaken by more than half of the pastoralist. Colostrum and decoctions of dried bamboo, green leaves of bamboo, Methi and Gur, old Gur either mixed with Til or Til cake or Neem leaves or soap cake, mango leaves, Kartumba, Karsan root, Khip and old Gur, San fibres, Moong is given by the pastoralist. There are few pastoralists who feed pulses of Moth, gram and urd respectively to expel retained placenta. Inserting of scorpion’s spine in hanging portion of a placenta or dipping it in Aak milk is also practiced by a few pastoralists.

  1. Pastoralists treated ascariasis, with Halim seeds, Neem leaves, red chillies, Kamila, Rabrang, Charu, Gapdar and Make.

  1. Foot and mouth disease is treated by most pastoralist. For the treatment of mouth lesions Gur wrapped in a Poti of Bajra or Moth were given. Some of them wash the mouth of the animal with potassium permagnate and saline water. Lasan is given to eat by few pastoralist. In case of foot lesions the pastoralist wash the foot with extract obtained by boiling Rang root bark, Kikar bark, phenyl solution or the animal is made to walk on sand at noon time.

  1. A limited number of pastoralist treat the condition of rheumatism. Decoctions of Asgandh root, Kandai, ash obtained by burning the head of camel, and ash of Aak plant are administered. Local application used by the some of the pastoralist are Khurand and warm Sarson oil.

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