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March 20, 2009

I met “The One straw revolution”….

Filed under: agriculture, book, Masanobu Fukuoka, the one straw revolution — neosurya @ 03:01

Sometimes, you read a book and feel that you have met in the author, a part of yourself. In my case, “the one straw revolution” by Masanobu Fukuoka is one such book. Some quotes:

==== page 74.

Modern research divides nature into tiny pieces and conducts research that conforms neither with natural law nor with practical experiments.

Even if you can explain how metabolism affects the productivity of the top leaf when the average temperature is eighty-four degrees (Fahrenheit), there are places where the temperature is not eighty-four degrees. Moreover, if the temperature is eighty-four degrees in Ehime this year, next year it may only be seventy-five degrees. To say that simply stepping up metabolism will increase starch formation and produce a large harvest is a mistake. The geography and topography of the land, the condition of the soil, its structure, texture, and drainage, exposure to sunlight, insect relationships, the variety of seed used, the method of cultivation-truly an infinite variety of factors-must all be considered. A scientific testing method that takes all relevant factors into account is an impossibility.
==== page 87.
If one farm household or one cooperative takes up a new process such as the waxing of Mandarin oranges, because of the extra care and attention the profit is higher. The other agricultural co-ops take notice and soon they, too, adopt the new process. Fruit which is not wax-treated no longer brings so high a price. In two or three years, waxing is taken up all over the country. The competition then brings the prices down and all that is left to the farmer is the burden of hard work and the added costs of supplies and equipment. Now he must apply the wax.
====

In this chapter, Fukuoka indicates how physical deformities are not indicative of the nutritional value, but are still preferred.

==== Page 97 first paragraph.
It is the same with fertilizer and chemicals. Instead of developing fertilizer with the farmer in mind, the emphasis is on developing something new, anything at all, in order to make money.
==== Page 97
The fundamental question here is whether or not it is necessary for human beings to eat eggplants and cucumber during the winter.
====  Page 115
I do not particularly like the word “work.” Human beings are the only animals who have to work, and I think this is the most ridiculous thing in the world. Other animals make their livings by living, but people work like crazy, thinking that they have to in order to stay alive.
==== Page 158
Why do you have to develop? If economic growth raises from 5% to 10%, is happiness going to double? What’s wrong with a growth rate og 0%? Isnt’ this a rather stable kind of economics? Could there be anything better than living simply and taking it easy?
====

This book does not subscribe to escapism, or suggest that one should be lazy. Fukuoka makes it very clear that the life of natural farming is very difficult, that every plant has to be studied, and significant manual labor is involved.

As for me, the current definitions of development, and the behavior of science and business are quite irresponsible, and out of balance. The book says the same in the area of agriculture.

For example, the quote from page 87 (above) describes a “Waxing” phenomena that we can see happening at several other industries. The parallel is easier to understand in the IT business where margins have become razor thin as more companies outsourced and competition increased. IT companies routinely slave their workers. The loss of quality of life was not apparent initially, but is now being seen all around.

I do not think that one should stop scientific research; I believe however that large scale experiments with untested scientific research is akin to shooting yourself in the foot.

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