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Managing food supply strategies to increase production:  appropriate/intermediate technology solutions.
What is Intermediate Technology?
Kukri Mukri case study
Kenya Case study

What is Appropriate or Intermediate Technology?
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The green revolution sought to bring high technology solutions to poorer nations from richer nations.  The use of Genetic modification and other biotechnology approaches are also very High Tech.  However, these are not always the best solutions for farmers working in poorer nations.  They can lack the technical expertise and know how, or finance, to get these strategies working properly.  Intermediate or appropriate technology is a middle way between high tech and low tech farming methods.  It was founded by Dr E.F. Schumacher as an alternative path for development for poorer people.  He founded his Intermediate Technology Development Group (ITDG) in 1966 and published his ideas in a book "small is beautiful" in 1973.  His argument centred around the old proverb

"Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach him how to fish and you feed him for life"

E.F.Schumacher
Think about it!
Research the
Appropriate Technology Asia website to discover;
What sorts of projects they are implementing
Where they are implementing the projects
Why those schemes are needed
Consider how those schemes can be classified as appropriate or intermediate technology.

The goal was to move away from a dependency on aid and handouts and towards self sufficiency and self respect. 

Schumacher wrote;

"If you want to go places, start from where you are.  If you are uneducated, start with some thing relatively simple.  If you live in a poor environment , and poverty makes markets small, start with something small. If you are unemployed, start using labour power, because any productive use of it is better than letting it lie idle.  In other words, we must learn to recognise the boundaries of poverty.  A project that does not fit , educationally and organisationally, into the environment, will be an economic failure and a cause for disruption".

This criticises big grandiose aid projects and advocates a smaller more appropriate form of help for the world's poorest people. In most poor countries, high tech industries are too expensive to develop and inappropriate to the needs of local people.  Appropriate/intermediate technology is usually;

A) Labour intensive - utilising and creating employment for local labour.
B) Using sustainable technology and tools/knowledge of local people.
C) Uses newly developed technology that are low cost and local which local people can manage and control rather than IMPORTED techniques and technologies.
D) In harmony with the local environment.

Some case studies:
Kukri Mukri -
  a small island in the Ganges delta of Bangladesh.  This is a rice farming subsistence area with poor access to local markets.  Action Aid worked with these people on many ways, but one of those was to provide classes in literacy, duck breeding, introducing new crops and intermediate technology pumps.  This involved drilling tube wells for villages that did not have access to fresh water.  Once the wells were drilled down to unpolluted ground water layers the technology to raise the water is simple and robust.  The pump can be run without expensive water supplies and maintenance can be done by local people.  Spares are cheap.

 


View A map of the Kukri Mukri area in a larger map
People in Kukri Mukri  

Kenya - The Intermediate Technology Development Group (ITDG) is a British Charity which has worked in Rural Kenya.  It aims to help people meet their basic needs of food, clothing, housing, energy and employment.  It use local knowledge, training and finance to help people become more self sufficient.  In Kenya the ITDG has;
Used soil as a local building source - as it can be compressed and it absorbs heat well.  It can be stabilised against erosion using lime and natural fibres.  Soil bricks stabilised with concrete are replacing more expensive industrially produced bricks.

The previously Nomadic Maasai herdsmen are being forced to become sedentary.  ITDG is helping them find affordable housing, helping them repair roofs with small amounts of cement, and by incorporating guttering and water collection jars into housing women are being spared the job of walking long distance to collect water.

Kenyan women rely on wood for cooking.  This can take rural women a long time to collect.  An improved cooking stove (jiko) has been developed that reduces the amount of wood and charcoal needed and is based on a traditional design and constructed using scrap materials.

The Jiko cooking stove