Resting of Land in the Church Age (Christ to Rapture)
For those of us who are Bible readers and believers, God had given us a Landcare Program for the restoration of soil. But as we read further into it we find it is also a Drought prevention plan, a land succession plan, a National plan for blessing of communities and a foreign policy preventing defeat by enemies. It is also a plan with a second edge, a curse, for those who do not follow it. In the case of the Jews to whom the original was given, non compliance cost them Millions of lives at the hands of enemies, failed crops and exile on two occasions. They fulfilled its worst curse which involved the eating of their children in two sieges one by the Babylonians (606 – 599 BC) and the other by the Romans of Jerusalem in 50 AD.
Does this plan have any application for New Testament Farmers? Does it work? Do gentile nations live out the curses too? Is it meant to be followed by the letter or do we have some discretion in its execution?
Let’s look at this great plan from a New testament point of view which has Liberty as a defining factor and that begins with how we view the Sabbath.
Mk 2:27 Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.
Mk 2:28 So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”
The Jews were required to observe the Sabbath rest of the land, men and livestock in lock step 7 year cycles. That is, years 7, 14, 21, 28, 35, 42 culminating in a rest for the rests after year 49 called the Jubilee, year 50.
The verse above shows that we, in New Testament times, who want to use the Sabbath rest of the land for rehabilitation benefits have liberty in how we implement it. Indeed, on doing the maths of deficits of rests we can often find we need to rest our land much more often than one year in seven, to bring the land back into a steady state, closer to its original, post flood condition .
Cycles of Seven
The cycle of seven comes from God himself in Gen 1 from the creation week of seven days .
The seventh day is found in the Decalogue, tying it to the creation week .
Deuteronomy is rich in references to sabbatical resting. (Deut 5:6 – 12, 8:7 – 13, 11:8 – 19, 26, 28:15 – 68, 29:23 – 28). Further references include the giving of Manna for 6 days explicitly telling the Israelites to rest on the 7th day, Ex 16:23, and later, a command to sow for 6 years only and to rest the land on the 7th year Ex 23:10 – 12
Ex 23:10 “For six years you are to sow your fields and harvest the crops,
Ex 23:11 but during the seventh year let the land lie unplowed and unused. p Then the poor among your people may get food from it, and the wild animals may eat what they leave. Do the same with your vineyard and your olive grove.
Ex 23:12 “Six days do your work, q but on the seventh day do not work, so that your ox and your donkey may rest and the slave born in your household, and the alien as well, may be refreshed. r
Ex 23:13 “Be careful s to do everything I have said to you. Do not invoke the names of other gods; t do not let them be heard on your lips. u
From verse 12 we get our 7 day week, with at least one day of rest. The reason is a personal and bodily refreshing from the curse of work (Gen 3:17 – 19) during the other 6 days, and for soil rest from soil exhaustion from 6 years of consecutive crops. Contrary to what some may think even draught animals and slaves needed rest too.
The cycle of seven is tied up in the 7 Festivals or feasts (Ex 23:14,Passover Lev 23:5, Unleavened Bread 23:6, First Fruits 10 – 11, Pentecost/weeks 15 – 17, Trumpets 23:24, Day of Atonement 27, Tabernacles 39 – 43) .
We find further reference to it in the New Testament where in Mark 2:27 we are told of liberty with the Sabbath as a rest for self and the land and in Hebrews 4 where the Church is promised Heavenly rest.
Heb 3:17 And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the desert? a
Heb 3:18 And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest b if not to those who disobeyed 3? c
Heb 3:19 So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief. d
A Sabbath-Rest for the People of God
Heb 4:1 Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. a
Heb 4:2 For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith. 1 b
Heb 4:3 Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said, “So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ” 2 c
And yet his work has been finished since the creation of the world.
Heb 4:4 For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: “And on the seventh day God rested from all his work.” 3 d
Heb 4:5 And again in the passage above he says, “They shall never enter my rest.” e
Heb 4:6 It still remains that some will enter that rest, and those who formerly had the gospel preached to them did not go in, because of their disobedience. f
Heb 4:7 Therefore God again set a certain day, calling it Today, when a long time later he spoke through David, as was said before: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” 4 g
Heb 4:8 For if Joshua had given them rest, h God would not have spoken i later about another day.
Heb 4:9 There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God;
Heb 4:10 for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, j just as God did from his. k
Heb 4:11 Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience. l
Heb 4:12 For the word of God m is living n and active. o Sharper than any double-edged sword, p it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. q
Heb 4:13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. r Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
The New Testament writers while endorsing the Sabbath rest for man which includes worship on the first day of the week (Sunday), showing liberty of practice, make no reference to resting the soil when speaking to the Jews. However, the curse of disobedience is present here also, where those who choose not to be part of that Heavenly rest, are excluded.
The Levitical instruction
The injunction about sabbatical resting of land is found in Leviticus and Deuteronomy.
The Sabbath Year
Lev 25:1 The LORD said to Moses on Mount Sinai, a
Lev 25:2 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter the land I am going to give you, the land itself must observe a Sabbath to the LORD.
Lev 25:3 For six years sow your fields, and for six years prune your vineyards and gather their crops. b
Lev 25:4 But in the seventh year the land is to have a sabbath of rest, c a sabbath to the LORD. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards. d
Lev 25:5 Do not reap what grows of itself e or harvest the grapes f of your untended vines. g The land is to have a year of rest.
Lev 25:6 Whatever the land yields during the sabbath year h will be food for you—for yourself, your manservant and maidservant, and the hired worker and temporary resident who live among you,
Lev 25:7 as well as for your livestock and the wild animals i in your land. Whatever the land produces may be eaten.
So they could eat of the Sabbath fruits, in addition to stores, so as not to starve. But one year of rest in 6 was to take place for the land vv3, 4 & 5.
The 50th or Jubilee rest year
There was to be an observance of the Jubilee, or a rest for year 49 AND year 50! The Jubilee year is a year of great celebration, Family liberty and land title restoration, freeing of debtors and slaves and of course no sowing of fields as in year 49. The obvious question of “Where will the food come from if we don’t sow crops for two consecutive years?” is answered by the Lord.
Lev 25:20 You may ask, “What will we eat in the seventh year c if we do not plant or harvest our crops?”
Lev 25:21 I will send you such a blessing d in the sixth year that the land will yield enough for three years. e
Lev 25:22 While you plant during the eighth year, you will eat from the old crop and will continue to eat from it until the harvest of the ninth year comes in. f
This principle of doubling up yields in year 6 is demonstrated by God, during the Exodus (Ex16:12 – 26), with the Manna supplied being doubled on Day 6 each week in the desert.
Curses and Blessings are tied to the Sabbath as found in Lev 25 and 26.
God takes this issue seriously as we have seen in Hebrews. He first outlined the Blessings and curses associated with non compliance of the Sabbath in Leviticus 25 and 26.
REWARD FOR OBEDIENCE
Lev 26:1 “ ‘Do not make idols a or set up an image b or a sacred stone c for yourselves, and do not place a carved stone d in your land to bow down before it. I am the LORD your God.
Lev 26:2 “ ‘Observe my Sabbaths e and have reverence for my sanctuary. f I am the LORD.
Lev 26:3 “ ‘If you follow my decrees and are careful to obey g my commands,
Lev 26:4 I will send you rain h in its season, i and the ground will yield its crops and the trees of the field their fruit. j
Lev 26:5 Your threshing will continue until grape harvest and the grape harvest will continue until planting, and you will eat all the food you want k and live in safety in your land. l
Lev 26:6 “ ‘I will grant peace in the land, m and you will lie down n and no one will make you afraid. o I will remove savage beasts p from the land, and the sword will not pass through your country.
Lev 26:7 You will pursue your enemies, q and they will fall by the sword before you.
Lev 26:8 Five r of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand, and your enemies will fall by the sword before you. s
Lev 26:9 “ ‘I will look on you with favor and make you fruitful and increase your numbers, t and I will keep my covenant u with you.
Lev 26:10 You will still be eating last year’s harvest when you will have to move it out to make room for the new. v
Lev 26:11 I will put my dwelling place 1 w among you, and I will not abhor you. x
Lev 26:12 I will walk y among you and be your God, z and you will be my people. a
Lev 26:13 I am the LORD your God, b who brought you out of Egypt c so that you would no longer be slaves to the Egyptians; I broke the bars of your yoke d and enabled you to walk with heads held high.
Look at these amazing blessings! No man fabricating the Old testament as some suggest, could fabricate nor dare to make this list (cf the order of 6 days of creation which defy human logic). Surely this is worth testing?
1. Rainfall in its season v4. That means no droughts! Wouldn’t all farmers love to have a reliable rainfall program?
2. The land shall yield its increase v4. What farmer wouldn’t want guaranteed crops?
3. Trees shall yield their fruit v4. A vintage and harvest every year!
4. Food from Crops will be continuous and contiguous and you will eat your fill v5. No famines, no want!
5. And dwell safely in the land v5. No fortresses needed from enemies!
6. You will lie down in peace v6
7. No wild animals v6. In Israel’s case that included lions and bears.
8. No sword will go through your land v6. You will defeat them v7
9. Increase your numbers v9.
10. You will have to move last year’s harvest out to the store to make room for the new. Surpluses!
11. I will dwell with you and protect you .
12. I will walk among you and be your God and you will be my people. I am the Lord your God who brought you out of Egypt v12, 13. Heaven on earth perhaps?
The rhetorical question for us who might want to follow sabbatical resting of the land in the Church age is “Are these blessings available for us who practice liberty and the priesthood of believers today?” Further blessings of this kind can be found in the Book of Malachi . A look at the curses and later the Biochemistry going on in a rested soil might convince us they are. The question arising after that is “How do we implement the Sabbath of rests in a modern farming context”? But first the curses of not following the Sabbath rest.
The curses are lengthy and are therefore best summarized.
1. Sudden terror and consumption a fever and a wasting of the eyes, You will sow in vain and your enemies will eat your harvests.
2. You will be slain and defeated before your enemies.
3. Foreign rulers will humble you. That is you will be easily spooked.
4. Your heavens will be as iron and your soil as brass.
5. No yields from your field or trees. If no repentance then another 7 fold curse will follow.
6. I will become hostile to you.
7. Wild beast will return to the land and eat your children and livestock.
8. Your roads will be deserted with too few people.
9. I will send the sword among you. As you retreat to your cities I will send a plague among you. You will be delivered into your enemies hands.
10. Bread will be short 10 women to 1 oven. You will be ravaged by hunger. If no repentance then another 7 fold curse will follow.
11. You will eat the flesh of your sons and daughters.
12. I will destroy our idols and cities will lay waste.
13. The land will lie waste and your enemies appalled.
14. You will be scattered among the nations and I will pursue you with the sword.
The Prophetic result of the curses fulfilled
These curses have had their fulfillment by Israel’s 10 tribes and Judah’s 2 tribes in the Exile under Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 9, Lamentations ), and by the Romans at Jerusalem AD 70. (“The Time Chart of Biblical History” S.T. Jordan 2003 – 2011). Some might point to other pogroms against the Jews eg the holocaust of World War 2, in which an estimated 2 million died as further evidence. (References needed). Certainly more woes are prophesied in the future against Israel with the campaign of Armageddon (Rev 16: 12 – 16, 17:21 – 21, 19:11 -21.) at Christ’s return Micah 4:11 – 5:1; Zech 12 – 14, along with restoration (Ps 79:1 – 13, Isaiah 64:1 – 12, Hosea 6:1 – 13, Joel 2:28 – 32 and Rom 11:25 – 27) of Israel. (2001 Lahaye and Ice. P63)
It is certain Jeremiah (25: 8 – 14) (the prophet prior to the exile in Judah) believed the Exile to Babylon for at least 70 years was a result of disobedience regarding Sabbatical resting of the land .
Also the writers of 2 Chronicles said.
2Ch 36:18 He (Nebuchadnezzar) carried to Babylon all the articles y from the temple of God, both large and small, and the treasures of the LORD’S temple and the treasures of the king and his officials.
2Ch 36:19 They set fire z to God’s temple a and broke down the wall b of Jerusalem; they burned all the palaces and destroyed c everything of value there. d
2Ch 36:20 He carried into exile e to Babylon the remnant, who escaped from the sword, and they became servants f to him and his sons until the kingdom of Persia came to power.
2Ch 36:21 The land enjoyed its sabbath rests; g all the time of its desolation it rested, h until the seventy years i were completed in fulfillment of the word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah.
So we can see that sabbatical resting as found in Leviticus 25 and 26 becomes Prophetical regarding the future of Israel. It can be seen as a National rainfall, Food and personal welfare program as well as a National foreign policy program and a Prophetic ending of a nation. It is also a blessing when obeyed. For readers who disbelieve the spiritual blessings and consequences given in these verses, a review of the biochemistry between desserts and pristine soils might be better known.
We will look into the biochemical consequences of the rest period later.
The Maths of Sabbatical debt
Jeremiah 25:12 and 2Chronicles 36:21 introduces the concept of sabbatical debt and strongly suggests that the exile lasted as long as it took the land to enjoy its owed rests or Sabbatical debt. Therefore, If 70 years of rests were to be fulfilled, including Jubilees, for Israel during the exile, then 70 x 7 = 490 years plus say 10 Jubilees (one for every 49 years), equals approx 500 years of rests owing prior to the exile of Israel. 500 years of neglect of an ordinance also demonstrates the perseverance of God when it comes to Israel’s neglect of the Sabbath rests for the land . Could it be that with Daniels realization of Jeremiah’s prophecy in Daniel Chapter 9 , that we also have a connection with this exile and the times leading up to the first and second comings of Christ mentioned in the same chapter? Regarding relevance to modern day it would appear the Lord will carry this principle of sabbatical resting of the land into the millennium , that is, beyond our present day, into the New Heaven and New Earth.
An Example of sabbatical Debt Payback
The table below shows examples of the mathematical calculation of debt. The range of options could reflect long farmed European or SE Asian land to more recently settled and farmed Australian land. No distinction between soil type or use type is respected in the injunction to rest by Leviticus 25. This possibly because the antediluvian long term use of land is set due to its eruption and sedimentary deposition and degradation long before the chapters were written and therefore understood? So all uses from grazing to broad acre crops to intensive to horticultural cropping is included. Similarly soils from sandy deserts, through loams to fertile clays are also included as needing the same periods of rest and debt payback.
Table 1. Examples of the Assessment of a debt of rests
Age of paddock, cultivation in years1 1000 125 50 33 15 5
Subtract the known and assumed years of non use (spells)2. For example. 100 10 6 3 1 0
Adjusted Total for debt calculation3 900 115 44 30 14 5
The divisor is 7 in all cases4 7 7 7 7 7 7
Estimated Debt of rest years owed5 129 16 6 4 2 1
1. With very old cultivations this will have to be a guess if no records exist. An estimate of continuous years of use is better than none. Over paying God is not a problem simply because He does not allow man to out give Him (Lk 6:38).
2. This too may be an estimate. Legitimate years include Droughts, Wars, known spell or non use.
3. The new base line for calculations.
4. God’s number from Leviticus 25 and Genesis 1.
5. This figure is only as good as the data above and may need to be maximized, particularly as it will be argued that rests have a rehabilitative effect on land and later yields. Further, if one cannot out give God then there is a benefit to be gained anyway (Lk 6:38) .
Let’s take the example of 50 years of use (4th column above as it may more closely represent the Australian and recent Communist Nepalese experience of land use) with a debt owed of on an adjusted total of 44 years is calculated as 6 rests. We can then look at land use and rest scenarios that will achieve a payback, possibly in the farmer’s lifetime.
Table 2. A simple calculation of 6 years Debt repayment in 44 years land use.
Ratio of Rate of Years to
Spells Payback Payback
1:7 Steady state 42
1:6 Slow 36
1:5 Moderate 30
1:4 Good 24
1:3 Medium 18
1:2 Fast 12
1:1 Rapid 6
The problem is the future rests are not allowed for in a dynamic payback and need to be added to this table. NB there is no 50th Jubilee in the 44 years used in this debt calculation either.
The ratio of spells adopted by the Bible believing (Christian) farmer is really a matter of faith, particularly as God says He will be no man’s debtor Lk 6:38, a matter God wants us to test Him on. Besides, there is the miracle, mostly untested by the Jews, of double yields due to prayer, in the 6th year of a 7 year cycle . This defies the logic of man and farmers (and Agronomists and most Evolutionary and Theological rationalists in particular) to the point where they either forego prayer and subsequently the rests and the possible benefits as did the Jews. Or they opt for a slower payback period, or none at all. One will go beyond the farmer’s lifetime, the other onto the “never, never” account. A syndrome first demonstrated by the Jews, to whom the sabbatical rest injunction was given.
So what counts as a rest?
This is an area for debate in a Liberty run system where the sabbatical rest can be manipulated in a rotation of crops to gain benefits of soil rehabilitation and possible land reclamation. Some examples are given for your consideration.
Example 1. A moisture storing, weed free, fallow period, as practiced by Australian northern wheat farmers, should not be considered a partial rest of 6 months as it is part of the annual continuous 12 month cropping cycle of most annual cereals. However, a 6 month rest in a double cropping rice paddy could be allowed as it is a true rest or period of non use from a crop foregone.
Example 2. A long fallow, of say 12 months could be considered with a credit of 6 months, when switching from a winter cereal eg Wheat, Oats or Barley to a summer cereal eg Sorghum.
Could a green manure crop be considered for the spell period?
Example 3. Green manure drop. This seems to be contrary to the spirit of the rest as Lev 25:4 suggests if grazed but not where an income or use is foregone. The spirit seems to be to let volunteer grasses and plants (weeds) to grow in fields and paddocks, fruit to drop in vineyards and orchards with no pruning or grass control between rows. Again this is contrary to farmer logic, but that is what it says.
So “What about the sowing of say a perennial lucerne forage or hay crop, with the aim of controlling weeds, left for 1 year unused for the rest, and then used after the rest?” The spirit of non use would suggest that if it was an establishment year of non use anyway, it would not count, but if a production year foregone then it would count. If it was ploughed in after 1 year of non use, as a green manure crop, then it too would count. Note not much moisture or carbon is stored under growing lucerne, though nitrogen is well replenished as far as soil carbon will allow.
What about cell grazing?
Example 4 Cell grazing. Any portion of a year in a grazing system could be counted as a rest for a paddock. For example, Cell grazing as proposed by Savory and Parsons is a system which institutionalizes rest which the Bible suggests will remediate the soil. Some systems have up to 30 paddocks for one flock or herd. If only 3 days is allowed per paddock for grazing it takes up to 90 days to do one rotation with implicitly 87 days of rest for each paddock. A 16 paddock system with 6 days grazing will take up to 97 days for one rotation. This implicitly will give up to 81 days of rest per paddock. This represents a valid, rapid, rest debt reduction program .
Example 5. Set stocked grazing paddocks. For the more typical “set stocked” system in Australia, where nearly all paddocks are stocked year round, the proposition is more difficult since no paddock gets a rest or is only accidently given one. A more novel suggestion of paired paddock resting over summer has been proposed for such systems but is questionable in its results . A rotational paddock system would therefore appear to be better for management of rests and possibly the management of herds and flocks, when attempting to accumulate a debt of rests (and with it, soil remediation).
Carbon storage, the source of future fertility in the next cycle of use, accumulates best under grasses. So it would appear that volunteer grasses (and weeds) in a fallow or an existing sown pastures, left unused for 1 year, would constitute a rest in a cropping or graze and grain system. As it can take up to 12 months with poor pasture establishment for a pasture to become productive, would the establishment year constitute a rest? As it is arguably not a use foregone, it is probably not eligible?
The spirit of Lev 25:4 seems to be not just a use foregone but no profitable, commercial, or food making use, with man content to eat from storage and scavenge only what is needed for his own food. If the rest is placed in a rotation under a liberty payback system, then commercial income is not denied from other fields and paddocks and the rest is valid.
The Soil Biochemistry of resting
The “Elephant in the room” in all this discussion is “What is actually going on in the soil during the rest year that allows another 6 years of cropping in what appears to be a steady state farming system for Israel before man invented N:P:K fertilizers in the 20th century?” And “How can the miracle of double yields occur in the 6th year if prayers are offered to God about food security for year 7 of the rest and waiting for year 8 harvest as in Lev 25:21?”
It is clear if the rests are not followed their “soil will turn to brass and their skies to Iron” . Israel at the time of the exile and into recent modern times was and is desolate. By contrast, Moses and the Exodus entered a “Land flowing with milk and honey”(Ex 33:3). That is Biblical testimony of a major rundown in fertility for the land of Israel.
The rest or spell has some interesting biochemical interactions and implications which restore fertility, regardless of soil type, rainfall zone, temperature or land use.
The main volatile consumables for plant growth in agriculture are Carbon (C), Hydrogen (H), Oxygen (O) and Nitrogen (N). We could include Phosphorus (P) Sulphur (S) and Potassium (K) and other macro elements , but it is C, H and O that have a gaseous form and are used to make carbohydrates which form a Carbohydrate cycle between soil, man and animals and the atmosphere. Similarly, it is gaseous C,H,O, plus N, which form a Protein cycle between soil, man and animals and the atmosphere .
Also happening during the land rest is mineralization of less mobile elements and minerals in the soil due to time, micorhhrizal, nematode and bacterial action in the root zone of volunteer plants (weeds). There is massive mineralization of stored elements with later cultivation for weed control or tillage at sowing. There may be some control of undesirable soil organisms with break crop volunteer plants.
Further there can be, contingent with the storage of carbon, an improvement in soil structure, drainage and water holding capacity, due to root penetration and later, root senescence of soils and possible nematode activity. If a drought, then clay soil cracking with improved water penetration later. As “rain in season” is one of the promised benefits of this faith system, this latter benefit could be relied upon.
The application of sabbatical resting to a modern day Nepalese Rice Paddy
Time doesn’t allow me to deal with all the fallow examples above. Rather a more immediate client, I recently visited Jan 2013, would like me to begin with a 1 acre rice paddy in Nepal. The assumption is, it has been in use for 50 years without rest as no known history of use came with the plot in a recent purchase in 2012. Further we can assume in most years it would have been double cropped, water and dry season allowing. Therefore a worst case scenario of no rests is assumed for this example. Main staple crops here and across Nepal, include irrigated Wheat and rice.
To calculate the debts owed, it can be assumed to be 50/7 = 7 +1 for the Jubilee = an 8 years debt of rests. That’s the easy bit.
Depending upon the faith of the farmer who in this case is a Christian and is committed to a Biblical solution by faith, it comes down to how many years he elects to use to pay back the owed rest of 8 years for the whole field of 1 acre?
The number of paddies in the 1 acre plot is 22. This reduces nicely to 3 triplets of 7 paddy plots plus one plot left over to make 22. It would be advantageous to commit the 22nd field in the rotation as a 12 month rest of volunteer or sown pasture. This 22nd plot, in rotation, will be deliberately used to overpay God and therefore ignored from calculations. That leaves 21 fields for further debate and discussion. Each solution of rests elected in one or the triplets of 7 paddies can be repeated in the other two. The crops used in the rotations can change however as can be shown later. The sequence of crops moves one paddy down the slope each year with up to two crops in each paddy each year or replaced by one perennial “crop” for 12 months eg a grass pasture.
There will be a temptation to continuously crop the most valuable cereal such as rice and the spells elected will break up this sequence nicely. The spells of necessity will be calculated in 6 monthly or 12 month segments due to the bi – annual nature of most of the crops and double cropping sequences .
There will be a further challenge to introduce legumes or N producing pulse grains to the staple cereal rotations, to further improve fertility (from N) naturally (to match the extra carbon stored) and to diversify crops and cash crop possibilities such as Dahl or lentils or peas. Legume forages may be a novelty, but if introduced, may allow tethered grazing by animals (goats, sheep, buffalo, etc) for the application of natural manures and urine. These have the added bonus of being turned in as Carbon and Nitrogen (fertility) storing green manure in a cropping sequence and being more readily useable by plants than bagged fertilizers.
Rice grows best in a Loamy clay soil (See Appendices) and as the soil type (yet to be analyzed) appears from personal observation to be mostly a white, highly dispersible clay, of low organic carbon (personally visited 15/1/2013), it would appear that applications of sand , top dressed and incorporated during cultivation to make a more loamy top soil, could assist the soil’s performance, its ease of cultivation, porosity and soil structure in the top 10cm productive root zone.
The Asian practice of adding manures to rice paddies from outside land is assumed and if continued will provide a carbon and some nitrogen bonus additional to that of spelling, but not replace or substitute for it in this exercise of sacrificial giving to God. After all, if it came from an adjacent field or paddock which also needs a spell, it is robbing or “creative accounting’. Rather the more outrageous and beneficial practice of introducing tethered livestock to graze grasses and legume forages on paddies in rotation with rice and other cereal cash crops is advocated as the most plentiful and best source of recycled organic carbon and nitrogen through urine and faeces.
The more recent practice of adding proprietary fertilizers (N, P and K) advocated by Government agencies are thought to be self limiting due to the quicker run down of minerals and loss of soil carbon and soil structure in continuous cropping sequences. They also tend to increase farmer dependency and exposure to economic fluctuations of its price, which can be ruinous to incomes as well as a test of Biblical faith. They can be restricted to remedial applications , as indicated by soil test, of P and K and deficient minerals and then replaced by carbon storage by plants, cultivation for mineralization, green manure crops, legumes and grasses along with possible animal manures from outside land .
See “Rice Production In India”, Appendix 1, for detail of assumptions on this crop for Nepal.
See “Agriculture in Nepal” Appendix 2, for more assumptions on the agronomy of this crop.
Some possible Rests for a Rice Paddy
The Table below has been set up to recognize a double cropping rice and wheat rotation under irrigation, similar to that which may be found in Nepal. The paddy in question has a manmade well for irrigation which makes this an option in the “Dry season” for some of its fields.
Table 3. A typical Nepalese continuous rice/ wheat rotation under irrigation, with 3 Sabbatical rest scenarios for slow, medium and fast reclamation rates, shown as “Fallows”
In the “YEAR” column of the table, 7/10 years are shown in time from the tabulated computer software with a repetition of a cropping cycle of wheat and rice beginning again at Year 1 assumed. The second column shows W = Winter and S = Summer seasons within each year representing Annual cash cropping opportunities. A fallow in this context is an income foregone so cannot be compared to an Australian 6 month fallow, where it isn’t. The third column represents a slow soil reclamation sequence of 3 “fallows”, the fourth column with 6 “fallows”, represents a Medium rate of soil reclamation, while the fifth column shows 8 “fallows” or rests, representing a Faster reclamation of the soil. If we add the 22nd paddy as an Annual rest in a cycle of three rotations on the 1 acre field then we add .33 of a year’s rest to the rests above. So 3 fallows which represent 1.5 years of rest become 1.8 years of rest in 7, 6 fallows becomes 3.3 years and 8 fallows becomes 4.3 years in 7. Note it takes 22 years of use with rests to complete one cycle of the farm plot. For simplicity we will ignore the 22nd field which will always be a fallow credit and deal in whole numbers (eg 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 out of 7 years of rest) for ease of calculations.
Assuming a debt of rests of 8 years, as previously calculated (Page 13), is owing to the revised 21 field plot in 50 years of use without rest, the following Table 4 gives various calculations for payback in years, which are rounded from Table 3 above. Some faster options are included.
Table 4 Time in years to recover all rests and ongoing rests
Assumptions (In Yellow Cells)
Fields per Rotation & Rests owed Rests owed Insert
Triplet in Divisor of in 50 years each 7 years This Year
21 fields Rests from history Future 2013
7 7 8 1 The Year
Rate of Fallows Rotations to Years of Plus rest Total yrs to Performance When
Debt elected/ recover 8 Farming to Adjustment Achieve over 50 yrs Steady State
Repaym’t Rotation rests/ field Recover Debt for future Steady state to pay Debt 1:7 Begins
Very Slow 1 8.00 56.00 8.00 64 Never 2077
Medium 2 4.00 28.00 4 32 Half a LT 2045
Fast 3 2.67 18.67 2.67 21 Long time 2034
Very fast 5 1.60 11.20 1.6 13 Med time 2026
Extreme 7 1.14 8.00 1.14 9 Short 2022
The second column includes the “Slow”, “Medium”, and “Fast options shaded calculations that are taken from Table 3 above.
The “Net credits after 7 years” column subtracts 1 year for the future rest of 1:7. Over the next 7 years of crops. This then becomes a divisor of the 8 years owed. The years needed to complete a triplet of 7 fields is the product of one cycle of 7 years.
The problem faced by the farmer who wants to step out in faith is as mentioned before, is “Which solution do I pick?” Obviously some solutions in column 6, are beyond his lifetime of farming. A faith answer is “It probably doesn’t matter!” since you cannot out give God . But another might object “But surely, that doesn’t deliver a lot of food in the “Very Fast” and “Extreme” options which apparently deliver no food.” Well does it? Remember God promises to feed his people and wild animals scavenging from the rested fields plus food already in store from bountiful crops, some doubled with prayer.
A few will opt for the 17 year repayment period and see “Fast” rehabilitation of soils and higher and higher yields. Unlike “rational” men the Christian farmer (as the Jew) has redress to prayer when things look grim and God promises, when asked, to double yields in the 6th year of all sequences (see Lev 25:21, 22 above).
Most farmers are likely to opt for the Medium or “Slow” options (or none at all) as human rationale ( the “Jewish syndrome” mentioned above) interposes into this injunction. While this is a pessimistic view, it can be seen that 112 years takes the solution beyond the first famer’s lifetime with no guarantee his sons (or successors) will continue the father’s program to rest the land and pay back the rests owed, as happened with the Jews. So Medium , Fast and Very Fast solutions could look like those shown in Table 5 below.
Table 5: Some solutions to the debt of 8 rests owed to the 40 year old Rice paddy.
Plot number Medium (2 annual rests) Fast (3 annual rests) Very Fast* (5 annual rests) Extreme (8 annual rests)
1, 8, 15 W Fallow Fallow Fallow Always Fallow for up to 8 years
S Fallow Fallow
2, 9, 16 W Fallow
3, 10, 17 W
4, 11, 18 W Fallow Fallow
5, 12, 19 W Fallow
6, 13, 20 W Fallow Fallow
7, 14, 21 W Fallow
Plot 22 W S Always Fallow
• The Sabbatical debts owed called “fallows” (rests or spells) are placed randomly by the author in each solution above. There is liberty for the farmer to exercise in how to invoke these, depending upon his preferred solution. Fallow histories should be recorded in a book/diary, just like any other “Bank” debt repayment record.
• For ease of illustration, the fallows have been recorded above as annual events in a double crop system. They can of course be implemented on a 6 monthly basis, randomly scattered throughout the 7 year cropping/fallow sequence.
• Discretion is needed in how to implement the fallows and crop sequences. The fallow can either be a volunteer grass weed culture or a sown green manure crop turned in.
• The “Going cold turkey” or extreme option in the far column, looks more attractive when you consider it will forego the recording required and temptations and excuses that can be offered in planting another crop before the payback is completed and Steady state fallow of 1:7 with cropping is resumed. It can be invoked more easily if another 1 acre plot is bought for food, which in turn, is later rested.
Some possible Rotations for a Rice Paddy
The most extreme option of no farming for 8 years to pay back the rests owed has no rotations, no work, just discipline to execute. There will be volunteer weeds and grasses resident from seeds in the soil and flown in by birds and wind and on feet, that will germinate and grow. It does beg the question only partially answered above of grazing options during the rest.
The thorough grazing of each field, throughout the year, by tethered stock to zero height would in my view constitute a use to be subtracted from the repayment. This would not apply at the end of a sabbatical year since the field has had a full 12 months or 6 months rest or no use.
This option also opens the question of necessary alternative off farm income for the family and community from
• Own labour hire,
• Own machinery hire,
• A move to the city for work or
• A supported education or
• buying another plot for interim use while rehabilitating the other to later repeat the process. This is not an outrageous suggestion since most Australian farmers ravaged by drought have had to do all and more of the above, while their farms get a compulsory rest due to protracted droughts. This is a “drought proofing and blessings” program which should be able to “stand against the promises of God” without doubt and with assured outcomes.
If the “extreme” option of 8 straight years of rest (the preference of the author as a primary option) was elected, some supervision of the fields would be needed to prevent unauthorized use by neighbours .
However, some steady state options are considered with remediating soil fertility, grazing of livestock, and cash crops in mind. Annuals and Perennials, grain and graze products are considered. Summer and winter Vegetables can be substituted for Summer and winter grain crops as required.
A list of Crop and Pasture types and examples is in Appendix 5. To this list can be added the English and Nepalese common names and additional Nepalese crops which should take precedence over the generic crops and pastures used in these examples.
Table 6 below assumes steady state rotations which can be invoked after the period of payback of rests. Alternatively, they could substitute as a very slow payback of rests for doubters of the principle of Sabbatical resting.
Table 6. Some steady state rotations during and or after the Sabbatical payback has been achieved.
1. Rice / Wheat with Irrigation 2. Rice/Pulse/green manure 3. Rice/veges/crucif irrigation 4. Rice/Wheat/Pulse/Leg forage
Rotation Area (ha) Rotation Area (ha) Rotation Area (ha) Rotation Area (ha)
Year Season Activity Sequence Activity Sequence Activity Sequence Activity Sequence
5 39 37 37
S 18 18 18 18
2 W 5 39 21 5
S 18 18 18 24
3 W 5 5 21 5
S 18 24 18 18
4 W 27 5 21 39
S 26 18 24 18
5 W 27 37 22 5
S 18 18 18 24
6 W 5 5 35 5
S 18 24 35 18
7 W 5 5 22 39
S 26 18 21 18
8 W 42 42 42 42
S 42 42 42 42
9 W 42 42 42 42
S 42 42 42 42
Apologies for the distorted EXCEL table with which I have had no end of trouble fitting to WORD
• The principle of 7 years has been used for 7 fields, in 3 replicates down the slope of the paddy with the final 22nd year being a perennial pasture rest following any triplet of rotations.
• The Gross Margin information has been deleted with some table distortion resulting.
• The Rice /Wheat rotation assumes heavy cropping with 2 annual rests as “Fallows”. Manures would be expected to give a further lift in responses to the rests.
• The second is the first, modified to supply Nitrogen from a legume crop and Carbon from a green manure crop to feed each doublet of rice and wheat sequences. While this will give good results, the short term penalty is a crop income foregone. This option represents a step in faith to execute as the green manure crop is turned in to satisfy a use foregone to become a rest.
• The 3rd Rotation may reflect more novel and more opportune, high GM, high labour input vegetable crops, so long as markets exist nearby. It includes 1 year of pasture spell as a grass and legume mix “(G + L)” in which C and N are restored, plus a year of Green manure legume crops. Cruciferous and Vegetable crops are high users of both C & N and water. The cruciferous crops offer a livestock option for grazing or harvesting. Because of weight and consequent transport costs, I believe vegetable crops, due to their weight, should only be considered for close by markets.
• The 4th rotation offers additional legume pulse grain crops (if markets exist eg Channa Dahl) to a standard wheat Rice rotation.
Weed and Disease control of pastures and crops
Weed and Disease control in a low chemical farming system, is assumed to be mostly controlled by Allopathy and resource competition from double cropping competing. Cash crops often densely planted will compete with weeds and providing rotational crop disease breaks. Further, Weed and disease control can be controlled by the use of perennial plants of low disease susceptibility and which may control soil pathogens, through “fallows” or spells. For example, perennial grasses and legumes and green manure forage crops.
While perennial grasses and legumes, for example, might be beneficial for the plot fallowed, they may still carry disease such as Mildews which can be adverse to adjacent vegetable crops. If grasses are mowed to control these diseases, the cut residue must be left to rot on the plot or it ceases to be a fallow or an income foregone.
Low Chemical inputs (fungicides, insecticides and herbicides) may be required for extraordinary disease issues for which risk should be low. Weed chipping and pulling will be the main method of traditional weed control for such a small area of land.
Lots of variations of the above rotation suggestions are possible. The rest/spell/fallow is upper most in my composition of the rotations. If fields are left fallow due to the dry season, this constitutes a use foregone and therefore a spell. Otherwise rainfall and deep well sources of water are thought to allow double cropping in most years which means sown green manure crops will also satisfy the use foregone principle when ploughed in. Because it is a “Liberty” system, Christian men should err on the side of faith and spell ground creatively and in advance, rather than a forced spell by season and poor fertility.
Crop selection should also be done with Markets and Community needs in mind and I will always defer to the local farmer to decide crop or enterprise choice, as he should, the rest sequences.
Finally, if there is room to grow cash crops, some suggestions are made to do this, again deferring to local choices, preferably with green manure crops for rest.
Plant species options
[To be completed by an indigenous person with local farming and horticultural knowledge.]
Sabbatical resting needs to be considered seriously by modern farmers if you have a pessimistic World view of man, the world without Christ and the effects of man’s sin on the soil. Someone with an evolutionary rationalist position of faith, will see the opposite and no relevance of this to farming systems, believing that known technology can reverse and remediate degraded soil conditions. The continual rundown of organic soil carbon in farming soils and increasing dependence upon bagged fertilizers to sustain yields suggests otherwise .
Many Modern farmers will not see the relevance of resting as giving or being a gift to God, the “Land Lord” of Planet earth, but may see some virtue in soil reclamation effects. Pessimistically most will neglect this angle also and not rest land.
The author has attempted to remain faithful to the text of sabbatical resting and adapt it to a liberty rotational paddock/cropping systems where Old Testament “lock step” unison resting is avoided. This means commercial production is continuous and contiguous with spelling. Therefore this is not an endorsement of Sabbatical worship doctrines eg Jewish or Seventh Day Adventism modes.
This means discretion, creativity and liberty are principles to adopt along with full payback intentions, knowing that God is no man’s debtor. However, He will require of man that which he has promised to God (Matt 5:33, Jas 5:12).
• All quotes are from The Holy Bible, New International Version®. Pradis CD-ROM:Grand Rapids: The Zondervan Corporation, © 1973, 1978, 1984.
• Lahaye T, and Ice. T. “Charting the End Times” P70 Harvest House Publishers 2001.
• Thompson. P. “Improving Livestock Profitability with Pasture and Forage crops” P 28 – 29.Annard and Robinson & Co. 1988.
• The Savory Grazing Method Allan Savory and Stanley D. Parsons in http://ojssandbox.library.arizona.edu/index.php/rangelands/article/viewFile/8759/7811 viewed 13/2/2013.
• “The Timechart of Biblical History” Jordan, S.J., Third Millenium Press, 2003 – 2011. P X.
Rice production in India
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is outdated. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. (November 2010)
Major cropping areas in India. Rice shaded in light jade green indicates the most important and extensive growing areas in the east of the country
Rice production in India is an important part of the national economy
India is one of the world’s largest producer of white rice, accounting for 20% of all world rice production. Rice is India’s preeminent crop, and is the staple food of the people of the eastern and southern parts of the country. Production increased from 53.6 million tons in FY 1980 to 74.6 million tons in FY 1990, a 39 percent increase over the decade. By FY 1992, rice production had reached 111 million tons, second in the world only to China with its 182 million tons.Since 1950 the increase has been more than 350 percent. Most of this increase was the result of an increase in yields; the number of hectares increased only 40 percent during this period. Yields increased from 1,336 kilograms per hectare in FY 1980 to 1,751 kilograms per hectare in FY 1990. The per-hectare yield increased more than 262 percent between 1950 and 1992.
The country’s rice production declined to 89.13 million tonnes in 2009-10 crop year (July-June) from record 99.18 million tonnes in the previous year due to severe drought that affected almost half of the country. India could achieve a record rice production of 100 million tonnes in 2010-11 crop year on the back of better monsoon this year. The India’s rice production reached to a record high of 104.32 million tonnes in 2011-2012 crop year(July-June.
Rice is one of the chief grains of India. Moreover, this country has the biggest area under rice cultivation, as it is one of the principal food crops. It is in fact the dominant crop of the country. India is one of the leading producers of this crop. Rice is the basic food crop and being a tropical plant, it flourishes comfortably in hot and humid climate. Rice is mainly grown in rain fed areas that receive heavy annual rainfall. That is why it is fundamentally a kharif crop in India. It demands temperature of around 25 degree Celsius and above and rainfall of more than 100 cm. Rice is also grown through irrigation in those areas that receives comparatively less rainfall. Rice is the staple food of eastern and southern parts of India. In 2009-10, total rice production in India amounted to 89.13 million tonnes, which was much less than production of previous year, 99.18 million tonnes.
Rice can be cultivated by different methods based on the type of region. But in India, the traditional methods are still in use for harvesting rice. The fields are initially ploughed and then fertiliser is applied which typically consists of cow dung and then the field is smoothed. The seeds are transplanted by hand and then through proper irrigation, the seeds are cultivated. Rice grows on a variety of soils like silts, loams and gravels. It can also tolerate alkaline as well as acid soils. However, clayey loam is well suited to the raising of this crop. Actually the clayey soil can be easily converted into mud in which rice seedlings can be transplanted easily. Proper care has to be taken as this crop thrives if the soil remains wet and is under water during its growing years. Rice fields should be level and should have low mud walls for retaining water. In the plain areas, excess rainwater is allowed to inundate the rice fields and flow slowly. Rice raised in the well watered lowland areas is known as lowland or wet rice. In the hilly areas, slopes are cut into terraces for the cultivation of rice. Thus, the rice grown in the hilly areas is known as dry or upland rice. Interestingly, per hectare yield of upland rice is comparatively less than that of the wet rice.
The regions cultivating this crop in India is distinguished as the western coastal strip, the eastern coastal strip, covering all the primary deltas, Assam plains and surrounding low hills, foothills and Terai region- along the Himalayas and states like West Bengal, Bihar, eastern Uttar Pradesh, eastern Madhya Pradesh, northern Andhra Pradesh and Orissa. India, being a land of eternal growing season, and the deltas of Kaveri River, Krishna River, Godavari River and Mahanadi River with a thick set-up of canal irrigation, permits farmers to raise two, and in some pockets, even three crops a year. Irrigation has made even three crops a year possible. Irrigation has made it feasible even for Punjab and Haryana, known for their baked climate, to grow rice. They even export their excess to other states. Punjab and Haryana grow prized rice for export purposes. The hilly terraced fields from Kashmir to Assam are idyllically suited for rice farming, with age-old hill irrigational conveniences. High yielding kinds, enhanced planting methods, promised irrigation water supply and mounting use of fertilizers have together led to beneficial and quick results. It is the rain fed area that cuts down average yields per hectare.
In some of the states like West Bengal, Assam, Orissa and Bihar, two crops of rice are raised in a year. Winter season in the north western India are extremely cold for rice. Rice is considered as the master crop of coastal India and in some regions of the eastern India where during the summer monsoon rainy season both high temperature and heavy rainfall provide ideal conditions for the cultivation of rice. Almost all parts of India are suitable for raising rice during the summer season provided that the water is available. Thus, rice is also raised even in those parts of western Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana where low level areas are waterlogged during the summer monsoon rainy season.
Winter rice crop is a long duration crop and summer rice crop is a short duration crop. At some places in the eastern and southern parts of India, rice crop of short duration is followed by the rice crop of long duration. Winter rice crop is raised preferably in low lying areas that remain flooded mainly during the rainy season. Autumn rice is raised in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh. Summer, autumn and winter rice crops are raised in West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Assam and Orissa. Summer rice crop is raised on a small scale and on a small area. However, winter rice crop is actually the leading rice crop accounting for a major portion of the total Hectare under rice in all seasons in the country. Moreover in the last few years, several steps in order to augment yield per hectare were taken up very seriously at all levels.
Agriculture in Nepal
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is outdated. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. (November 2010)
Terraced farming on the foothills of the Himalayas is a common sight in many of the villages in Nepal
Nepali women planting rice
Cultivation in the Kathmandu Valley
In Nepal, the economy is dominated by agriculture. In the late 1980s, it was the livelihood for more than 90 percent of the population, although only approximately 20 percent of the total land area was cultivable, it accounted for, on average, about 60 percent of the GDP and approximately 75 percent of exports. Since the formulation of the Fifth Five-Year Plan (1975–80), agriculture has been the highest priority because economic growth was dependent on both increasing the productivity of existing crops and diversifying the agricultural base for use as industrial inputs.
According to the World Bank, agriculture is the main source of food, income, and employment for the majority.
In trying to increase agricultural production and diversify the agricultural base, the government focused on irrigation, the use of fertilizers and insecticides, the introduction of new implements and new seeds of high-yield varieties, and the provision of credit. The lack of distribution of these inputs, as well as problems in obtaining supplies, however, inhibited progress. Although land reclamation and settlement were occurring in the Tarai Region, environmental degradation and ecological imbalance resulting from deforestation also prevented progress.
Although new agricultural technologies helped increase food production, there still was room for further growth. Past experience indicated bottlenecks, however, in using modern technology to achieve a healthy growth. The conflicting goals of producing cash crops both for food and for industrial inputs also were problematic.
The production of crops fluctuated widely as a result of these factors as well as weather conditions. Although agricultural production grew at an average annual rate of 2.4 percent from 1974 to 1989, it did not keep pace with population growth, which increased at an average annual rate of 2.6 percent over the same period. Further, the annual average growth rate of food grain production was only 1.2 percent during the same period.
There were some successes. Fertile lands in the Tarai Region and hardworking peasants in the Hill Region provided greater supplies of food staples (mostly rice and corn), increasing the daily caloric intake of the population locally to over 2,000 calories per capita in 1988 from about 1,900 per capita in 1965. Moreover, areas with access to irrigation facilities increased from approximately 6,200 hectares in 1956 to nearly 583,000 hectares by 1990.
Rice is the most important cereal crop. In 1966 total rice production amounted to a little more than 1 million tons; by 1989 more than 3 million tons were produced. Fluctuation in rice production was very common because of changes in rainfall; overall, however, rice production had increased following the introduction of new cultivation techniques as well as increases in cultivated land. By 1988 approximately 3.9 million hectares of land were under paddy cultivation. Many people in Nepal devote their lives to cultivating rice to survive. In 1966 approximately 500,000 tons of corn, the second major food crop, were produced. By 1989 corn production had increased to over 1 million tons.
A Nepalese coffee grower
Other food crops included wheat, millet, barley, and coffee, but their contribution to the agricultural sector was small. Increased production of cash crops, used as input to new industries, dominated in the early 1970s. Sugarcane and tobacco also showed considerable increases in production from the 1970s to the l980s. Potatoes and oilseed production had shown moderate growth since 1980. Medicinal herbs were grown in the north on the slopes of the Himalayas, but increases in production were limited by continued environmental degradation. According to government statistics, production of milk, meat, and fruit had improved but as of the late 1980s still had not reached a point where nutritionally balanced food was available to most people. Additionally, the increases in meat and milk production had not met the desired level of output as of 1989. Nepal has more than 50% of people engaged in agriculture. Food grains contributed 76 percent of total crop production in 1988-89. In 1989-90 despite poor weather conditions and a lack of agricultural inputs, particularly fertilizer, there was a production increase of 5 percent. In fact, severe weather fluctuations often affected production levels. Some of the gains in production through the 1980s were due to increased productivity of the work force (about 7 percent over fifteen years); other gains were due to increased land use and favorable weather conditions. According to Statistical Information on Nepalese Agriculture (2008/2009) only 65.6% of people depends on agriculture and 21% of land is cultivated whereas 6.99% of land is uncultivated.
• Economy of Nepal
This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Library of Congress Country Studies.
1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Savada, Andrea Matles (1991). “Nepal: A Country Study:Agriculture”. Washington GPO for the Library of Congress. Retrieved September 4, 2008.
2. ^ “Nepal: Priorities for Agriculture and Rural Development”. World Bank.
2. ASIA BRIEF – PARTNERSHIP RESULTS
Potential Pastures and Crops
Perennial Pasture Grasses (PPG)
Use Selected high Dry Matter producing Nepalese Native grass spp if available. If not, Sown varieties including Tropical grasses, Buffel, Purple Pigeon, Bambatsi, Blue grasses, Panicum spp, Kikuyu, Phalaris, Paspalum spp, Digitaria spp, Rhodes grass, Ryegrass and Silk Sorghum may assist.
Perennial Pasture Legumes (PPL)
Use Selected high Dry Matter producing Nepalese Native legume spp if available. If not, Temperate legumes like Lucerne, Perennial White Clover, Sub Clovers, Medics, or Tropicals like Stylo, Siratro, Lotononis etc May assist.
Summer Annual Forages (SAF)
Forage Sorghums and their hybrids (Many Australian varieties which might be useful eg PAC SEEDS). (includes failed Grain Sorghum), Millets
Summer annual legume forages (SALF)
Dolicus Lab Lab and Cowpea
Summer annual cereals (SAC)
Rice, Corn, Sorghum, Millets
Winter Cereal Forages (WCF)
Oats, Barley, Grazing wheats, Triticale, Canary, Ryegrass
Winter Legume Forages (WLF)
Medics, Woolly Pod and Popany Vetch, White clover, sweet lupins
Winter annual cereals (WAC)
Wheat, Oats, Barley, Triticale, Canary
Winter Pulse Grains (WPG)
Chickpea, Faba bean, Mung bean, Field Peas Other Dahl seeds etc
Cruciferous fodders and crops (Cruc)
Turnips, Swedes, Rape and Kale (for sheep often planted with oats)
Vegetable crops (Veg)
This list is too extensive and reference is made to
From the Wikipedia information Summer annual cereals may include Rice and Corn (Maize), Sorghum (Jowar?) and Millet (Bajira?). Summer annual forages may include Dolicus Lab Lab, Winter annual cereals include
RESULTS OF THE NEPALI – SWISS PARTNERSHIP Vegetable seed production, as a low volume – high value commodity, offers a promising strategy to reduce poverty and the increasing food insecurity in remote areas of Nepal. Nepal is short of seeds and seed production is advocated in www.hvap.gov.np/…/Vegetable%20Seeds%20VCA%20Report%20Fi…
A Report on Value Chain Analysis of Vegetable seeds in Nepal by Government of Nepal Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, High Value Agriculture Project in Hill and Mountain Areas (HVAP) (July 2011)
VEGETABLE SEED TO IMPROVE
LIVELIHOOD IN RURAL NEPAL
SDC Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation – South Asia Division
RESULTS OF THE NEPALI – SWISS PARTNERSHIP
Vegetable seed production, as a low volume – high value
commodity, offers a promising strategy to reduce poverty
and the increasing food insecurity in remote areas
of Nepal. Switzerland helps to promote the vegetable
seed production in Nepal. In 2008, private cooperatives
with Swiss support provided more than 20% of the domestic
seed supply. Vegetable seed enterprises have
contributed to increasing production by 20-30%, and
generate 2-3 times more income than traditional cereal
crops from the same piece of land.
Nepal is predominantly an agricultural country. Agriculture
provides employment to around 66% of the population
and contributes 33% to Nepal’s gross domestic product.
Due to its hilly topography, only about 19% of the land
can actually be cultivated. Small-size farms dominate.
About 55% of the farmers posses less than 0.8 ha land
(UNDP, 2004). As a consequence, subsistence production
predominates, often with inefficient farming methods;
therefore, productivity is low. Additionally, in remote areas
agriculture is hampered by a limited supply of inputs and
a lack of access to markets.
While growth of agricultural production has stagnated at
around 2.7% during the past two decades, per-capita
food-grain production is declining, resulting in increasing
food insecurity. An estimated 43 of 75 districts were reported
to be food-deficient in 2008. According to the
World Food Programme, at least 23 districts of Nepal are
chronically food insecure, affecting more than 6 million
people. Moreover, Nepal has one of the world’s highest
rates of chronic malnutrition, affecting nearly 63% of
Nepalese children (UN Development report 2004).
To address the long-term need to improve food security
and livelihood of poor families in remote areas, Switzerland
supports the production of vegetable seeds in Nepal.
Production of low volume and high-value commodities,
such as vegetable seeds, is one of the most important
and promising strategies to promote economic growth in
remote areas for poverty reduction. Moreover, availability
and supply of quality seed is very important to improving
the agriculture-based economy, food security, and livelihoods
of poor and small farmers. The climatic diversity of
Nepal’s different ecological zones represents a comparative
advantage for the production of various kinds of
seeds with a huge potential for domestic use and even
Switzerland already recognized the importance of producing
high quality vegetable seed during the 1980s. Together
with the Government of Nepal, the concept of
private-public partnership in the seed sector was introduced.
Since then over 160 seed producing cooperatives
have been established. As a result, while in 1975, 9 mt
(metric tonne = 1,000 kilograms) vegetable seed were produced
exclusively by state-owned farms, in 2008 over 900 mt
were produced by farmers and private firms, representing
more than 50% of the domestic requirement. The annual
value of sale of domestic seed has risen to 131.5 Million
Nepalese Rupees (Nrs.; approx. CHF 2.2 million.).
Since 2004, Switzerland has been supporting the promotion
of vegetable seed production through a specialized
Nepalese Non-Governmental Organization1. In 2007,
CEAPRED contributed nearly 22% to domestic vegetable
seed production. Since the beginning of Swiss support,
more than 6200 farm families have become engaged in
seed production. Seed of 52 varieties of 27 vegetable
crops is being produced, among them pea, broad bean,
radish, cress cucurbits and common beans. In average,
each participating household annually earns an additional
6445 Nrs. (CHF 110). This might not seem to be very
significant with a Swiss salary level in mind, but in a country
with an average national per-capita income equivalent
to CHF 400, this income increase for poor farmers might
make the difference between food security or famine,
between children going to school or staying at home,
between developing villages or migration.
Switzerland also contributed to improving the policy
framework for private vegetable seed production. In 2007,
the mandate for source seed production, until then limited
to public farms, was opened to private firms. Likewise,
private firms and NGOs are now accredited for both field
and quality inspection.
Vegetable seed enterprises have contributed to increasing
production by 20-30% and have generated 2-3 times
more income than cereal crops from the same piece of
land, other production factors remaining the same (FAO,
1994). If the seed is timely sold, the income allows purchasing
three times more food grains than that which
would have been produced from the same piece of cultivable
land. Therefore, small and poor farmers in remote
areas are motivated to engage in vegetable seed and
fresh vegetable production and marketing.
1 CEAPRED – Centre for Environmental and Agricultural Policy Research,
Extension and Development
January 2009 Asia Brief | Nepal – Vegetable Seed | page 2
Vegetable seed production in government and private
Year Seed production mt
Private Sector (Farmer
and private firms)
1974/75 9 0
1979/80 12 8
1984/85 11.8 21.4
1989/90 15.3 189.5
1991/92 15.6 165.6
1996/97 19 400
2001/02 14 715
2004/05 10 810
2005/06 6.6 830
2006/07 7.0 870
2007/08 7.5 910
VEGETABLE SEED: A PROMISING ENTERPRISE IN NEPAL
The wide ranges of climate – from cool temperate in high
hills to tropical in Terai – enables Nepal to produce a wide
range of vegetable seeds. The geographical variation is
often a hindrance to accessibility and supply of fresh
vegetables to the market. However, it also creates an
opportunity to engage poor rural farmers in the seed sector:
a high value – low volume crop-based enterprise. It
helps to create market-based niche production for vegetable
seed, and also reduce dependency on imported
seed. In the subsistence agricultural economy, maintaining
demand and supply of seed is vital to enhancing agricultural
productivity for improved livelihoods.
With the objective of producing high-quality vegetable
seed to meet the national demand and expand the export
potential, the Government of Nepal started in 1975 seeking
collaboration with donors to promote seed-based
enterprises in Nepal. The vegetable seed industry of
Nepal had largely benefited from Swiss contributions
during the decade of the 80’s and 90’s in screening and
identifying improved vegetable varieties, improving seed
production technologies, developing physical facilities,
and training farmers and government personnel in seed
However, the creation of effective and functional linkages
between seed growers and traders is crucial. The seed
trade has been increasing and there is a huge trade potential
in both export and domestic markets. With the joint
efforts of Swiss support, Government of Nepal and private
entrepreneurs, source seed production at private
farms increased in the period of 1974/75 to 2007/08 from
0 to 910 mt.
During the same period, the concept of public-private
partnership in seed sector was conceptualized, focusing
the role of the state on quality control and supply of
source seed, while private vegetable seed production was
promoted. The partnership between the Government of
Nepal and Government of Switzerland thus has prepared
a very productive ground for promoting vegetable seed
production and marketing in Nepal.
Over the years, fresh vegetable production in road corridors
has been gaining popularity. This has created considerable
demand and market for quality seed.
Over the last 32 years, the area under vegetable cultivation
has increased by 2.66 percent and production by
5.38% p/a. Almost a half of the production has come from
increased area under production, and half from increased
productivity. As compared with productivity of 30 mt/ha in
other countries, there is ample room to improve productivity
of vegetables in Nepal by increasing the use of highquality
improved seeds of open pollinated crops in general,
and hybrid seeds in particular.
Farmers groups organized in Panchakanya Vegetable
Seed Production and Marketing Cooperative in Sarsyunkharka
VDC of Kavre, have produced seed of different
vegetables since 2004 under the supervision of the vegetable
seed production and marketing program supported
by the Swiss Government. With the increasing interest of
group members and the potential expansion of the seed
business, the cooperative formed a marketing committee
and started to make pre-contracts with local entrepreneurs.
It helped to ensure seed market, establish relations
with entrepreneurs, and deal for a better price. Since
2004, the cooperative has tremendously increased its capacity
to deal with the market. Currently, the cooperative
has transactions of 15 mt of seeds per year. The cooperative
charges Nrs. 1 per kg of seed from the seed producers,
and the saving is mobilized as a revolving fund to invest
mainly in agriculture inputs. With the facilitation of
vegetable seed production and the marketing project, the
cooperative received a grant from the village development
committee and the district agriculture development office
to construct an irrigation canal for CHF 6,000. The cooperative
therefore provides an institutional framework at the
local level to build collective strength, and helps the farmers
to expand the area for good quality seed production.
Area and production of vegetables
Year Area (ha) Production (mt) Productivity
1974/75 82,000 410,000 5.00
1979/80 96,000 528,000 5.50
1984/85 138,200 743,000 5.38
1989/90 140,524 967,167 6.88
1991/92 140,500 1,127,840 8.03
1996/97 146,979 1,357,435 9.24
2001/02 161,048 1,738,086 10.79
2005/06 189,832 2,190,100 11.54
2006/07 200,949 2,329,000 11.59
January 2009 Asia Brief | Nepal – Vegetable Seed | page 3
ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL BENEFITS OF VEGETABLE SEED
The vegetable seed is a lucrative sector in Nepal. The
annual turnover of the seed in 2007 itself was Nrs. 270
million, of which approximately Nrs. 132 million was the
result of the sale of domestic seed production. It shows
the tremendous potentiality of seed-based enterprises in
fulfilling the local and national requirement as well as
tapping an international market, especially of India, Bangladesh
and the gulf countries. It has changed the cropping
pattern, consumption behaviour and productivity of
per unit of land. Also due to the increased availability of
quality seeds at the local level, the expansion of area
under fresh vegetable production has registered a 2.66
percent increment per annum (VDD2, 2007).
Seed production can further be promoted with the enhanced
competence of producers, cooperatives, serviceproviding
government (and non-government) institutions
and/or private sector actors, as well as a connection with
other development supports such as road, irrigation, market
and other policy frameworks. In the current situation,
farmers are able to generate income directly from the
seed business. Indirect benefits generated through fresh
vegetable production are also huge. The experiences of
vegetable seed production programmes show that costbenefit
of indirect benefits such as fresh vegetable production,
consumption, selling and competence of groups
and cooperatives stands at a ratio of 1:6. The contribution
made towards institution building through groups and
cooperatives, linkages with government institutions and
private–sector entities are important aspects of national
development in the seed sector, agriculture development,
and poverty reduction. The increasing availability of quality
seed at the local level has increased the coverage of
fresh vegetable production and sale.
For instance, 100 mt of vegetable seeds provides enough
seed for approximately 13,000 ha. of fresh vegetable
production. In 2008, 210 mt of seeds were produced with
Swiss support, enough to produce 315’000 mt of fresh
vegetable. If only 50 percent of production is sold at the
minimum rate of Nrs. 10 per kg, farmers are able to receive
Nrs. 1575 million per annum (approx. CHF 26 million).
Therefore, the multiple benefits from the seed are
much more than the amount of seed produced and then
sold in the market.
2 Vegetable Development Directorate of Department of Agriculture
Land-based programs like the vegetable seed business
have the limitation that the landless and farmers with
smallest plots might benefit less. However, the vegetable
seed production and marketing kinds of programs create
additional labour opportunities to bring the socially discriminated
and economically poor people into the value
chain. This has also helped to reduce seasonal migration
from 20-75% in different pockets. Maintaining seed quality
requires certain pre-requisites of time and distance
isolation, which is possible only through social cohesion,
strong local institutions and mutual understanding. Likewise,
dealing with market through groups and/or cooperatives
has added value of bargaining power for the producers,
as well as assured production for entrepreneurs.
The expanded demand of quality seed has tremendously
increased the work opportunities from production to marketing.
Vegetable seed production and marketing has
helped socially discriminated and economically poor people,
especially women and dalits3, to optimize their land
and labor contribution through seed business.
It has thus created opportunities for the poor and small
holders to become engaged in the value chain. For example,
in the project area of 8 districts, where the vegetable
seed production and marketing program is on-going,
out of 6207 participating households, 2299 are from the
disadvantaged category. The case study below depicts
how Krishna feels being a member of a marketing committee:
Ms. Krishna Kumari Charmakar, a 35-year-old Dalit
woman from Kabre VDC-6 of Dolakha district, lives together
with four family members. Krishna joined the first
meeting of the vegetable seed program in 2005. When the
group was reformed in 2007, Krishna was selected as
treasurer of the group. Krishna produces seeds on her limited
land of 0,35 ha instead of producing maize and millet.
That’s how she could earn an additional Nrs. 12,000 (CHF
175) to 15,000 (CHF 240) per annum, which is enough to
become self-sufficient in food. Krishna has also started to
have some savings that she can use for the education of
her children and to buy an improved breed of buffalo.
Krishna has more nutritional security through consumption
of fresh vegetables and dairy products, and has a good
source of manure to increase productivity. In this process,
Krishna has been exposed to many training and exchange
visits, and to dealing with group members. Now, she is
proud of gaining confidence and the good acceptance of
the other group members.
3 Dalit is a self-designation for a group of people of South Asian descent
traditionally regarded as untouchables or of low caste.
January 2009 Asia Brief | Nepal – Vegetable Seed | page 4
OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES AHEAD
The seed industry is an attractive venture with tremendous
potential for public-private partnerships. There are
more than 50 species and more than 200 kinds of indigenous
vegetables that can be commercialized and most of
these vegetables have been selected and maintained by
local farmers in a particular domain. In this context, Nepal
has the opportunity to expand seed enterprises at different
altitudes. For example, in high hills cruciferous vegetables
like radish, cabbage or cauliflower; in mid-hills and
lower basins beans, peas, onions and other legumes; and
in Terai and river basin areas, cucurbits such as cucumber,
pumpkin, squash, bottle gourd, bitter gourd, and
solanacious crops like tomato and eggplant can be produced.
Still there is a huge gap between the demand and supply
of vegetable seed in Nepal. The requirement of vegetable
seed for the year 2007/08 has been estimated at 1750
mt, of which around 930 mt (53%) is supplied by domestic
production and the rest (47%) is met either by import or
by seed saved through farmer-to-farmer exchange.
The Holy Bible, New International Version®. Pradis CD-ROM:Isa 9:20. Grand Rapids: The Zondervan Corporation, © 1973, 1978, 1984.
Each will feed on the flesh of his own offspring 3:
Isa 9:21 Manasseh will feed on Ephraim, and Ephraim on Manasseh; t together they will turn against Judah. u
The Holy Bible, New International Version®. Pradis CD-ROM:Jer 9:10. Grand Rapids: The Zondervan Corporation, © 1973, 1978, 1984.
Jer 9:10 I will weep and wail for the mountains and take up a lament concerning the desert pastures. x
Jer 23:10 The land is full of adulterers; y because of the curse 2 z the land lies parched 3and the pastures a in the desert are withered. b
Hos 4:2 There is only cursing, 1lying f and murder, g stealing h and adultery; i they break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed. j
Hos 4:3 Because of this the land mourns, 2 k and all who live in it waste away; l the beasts of the field and the birds of the air and the fish of the sea are dying. m
Joel 1:19 To you, O LORD, I call, t for fire u has devoured the open pastures v and flames have burned up all the trees of the field.
Joel 1:20 Even the wild animals pant for you; w the streams of water have dried up x and fire has devoured the open pastures. y
Jer 9:12 What man is wise d enough to understand this? Who has been instructed by the LORD and can explain it? Why has the land been ruined and laid waste like a desert that no one can cross?
Jer 9:13 The LORD said, “It is because they have forsaken my law, which I set before them; they have not obeyed me or followed my law. e
Jer 9:14 Instead, they have followed f the stubbornness of their hearts; g they have followed the Baals, as their fathers taught them.”
Jer 9:15 Therefore, this is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “See, I will make this people eat bitter food h and drink poisoned water. i
Jer 9:16 I will scatter them among nations j that neither they nor their fathers have known, k and I will pursue them with the sword l until I have destroyed them.” m
The Holy Bible, New International Version®. Pradis CD-ROM:Jer 27:4. Grand Rapids: The Zondervan Corporation, © 1973, 1978, 1984.
Jer 27:4 Give them a message for their masters and say, ‘This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “Tell this to your masters:
Jer 27:5 With my great power and outstretched arm f I made g the earth and its people and the animals h that are on it, and I give i it to anyone I please.
Jer 27:6 Now I will hand all your countries over to my servant j Nebuchadnezzar k king of Babylon; I will make even the wild animals subject to him. l
Jer 27:7 All nations will serve m him and his son and his grandson until the time n for his land comes; then many nations and great kings will subjugate o him.
Jer 27:8 “ ‘ “If, however, any nation or kingdom will not serve Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon or bow its neck under his yoke, I will punish p that nation with the sword, q famine r and plague, s declares the LORD, until I destroy it by his hand.