Saturday, February 20, 2010

Bloggers' Multi-crop Multi-livestock Farm

How may we bloggers switch to action mode in our anti-poverty war? We use two basic tactics: conventional and guerilla. The conventional way is to persuade people worldwide to lobby their governments into passing laws that lend capital to thousand-employee groups in the 3rd World, for use in setting up new joint venture industries that will employ the poor.

The guerilla way is to set up model 3rd World business projects. The projects must be so profitable that local employee groups and their allies develop a strong desire to replicate them. Since most 3rd World employees have little savings, they will tend to adopt our conventional tactics as previously described.

Okay, now let’s go guerilla. First model project is a multi-crop multi-livestock farm with managed forest in the Philippines. Several hundred thousand of us bloggers and our friends contribute a few dollars each over some months to raise the funds for our farm. We use part of capital to hire a team of Philippine consultant experts on agriculture, animal husbandry, meat processing and forestry. Our farm sites are nearly denuded upland plots that total 500-hectares, all leased from state. An upland spring and stream net is first site requirement to insure year-round water supply. The watershed nets are first to be heavily reforested to enlarge water supply volumes.

Ninety hectares of rolling hills on the mountain base go to production of upland rice, corn, sweet sorghum, vegetables, root crops and leguminous grasses. Ten hectares go to fenced feedlots for goats and pigs by the hundred, and range chicken, ducks, rabbits and quail by the thousand. A few score turkey, cattle and sheep complete the livestock mix. Single-story buildings are located at the main feedlot corners to house workers’ quarters, a meat-processing facility, hand tractor and farm tools sheds, brown sugar production facility, grain storage barns, and offices with guest rooms and seminar halls. The buildings double as guard and dog team posts against night rustlers.

Four-hundred hectares
of denuded high-slope plots get reforested with fruit trees, forage trees, hardwoods, softwoods, bamboo, rattan, various palms and other tropical forest plants. The product and livestock mixes have a single purpose: earn good short-term income while awaiting forest harvests that begin only after 2-3 years.

How do we make livestock-raising profitable? Several ways: (1) Ground corn, sprouted sorghum grains and rice mill wastes combine with sorghum juice, high-protein forest tree leaves, lime (calcium source), vitamin-mineral premix and salt to compose an organic feed mix that is just 20% of commercial livestock feeds’ prices. (2) Upland rice cropping brings irrigation costs down by 70% compared with lowland rice. (3) Choice of mixed-breed chicken, pigs and goats (all disease-resistant) saves on veterinary and disease-related costs. Such mixed-breed livestock also require no expensive housing. The animals are quite happy feeding and roaming around in alternate feedlots with mere sheds for shelter. Animal wastes on a used (post-transfer) feedlot are simply covered with a soil/ash/char mix on the spot for hygienic drying and later shoveling and piling in compost pits. Savings in waste treatment are tremendous. (4) Use of organic pesticides saves 60% on pest control costs. (5) Use of foliar fertilizer and compost instead of commercial soil-applied fertilizer saves 40% on plant food costs. (6) The farm uses a crops dryer fueled by rice hull and corn cobs and other farm wastes. (7) The farm converts sweet sorghum juice into brown sugar for sale to makers of sweets. The procedure is traditional and costs very little. (8) The farm’s strip-cropping operations with cost-saving hand-tractor cultivation ensures endless production of livestock feed for continuing sales of assorted meat products. Labor is maximized with no idle time between strip plantings and harvests. Strip-cropping also ensures regular salaries to workers. Trained workers stay with the farm for good. The farm avoids further recruitment and training costs. (9) The farm slaughters, cuts, pre-cooks, flavors (depending on what’s to be sold), and freezes its livestock harvests. Meat products, rice, root crops and vegetables get retailed via urban food booth operators and the farm’s delivery teams all recruited from the jobless of city slums. No middlemen means maximum profit margins. Additionally, scores of slum families earn regular income with low-cost food as incentive.

After 2-3 years, profits further shoot up thru our farm’s managed forest operations. Reason: forest products require very low operational costs yet their prices are highest everywhere. Examples: (1) orchids and ornamental plants grown under forest canopies; (2) Black pepper (3) Cashew, mangoes, fruity palms, cacao (for chocolate), avocadoes, mangosteen, longkan, rambutan, jack fruit, star apple, assorted berries, chico, soursop, root crops for sweets, etc. (4) Honey; (5) Various types of mushrooms (6) Softwoods, hardwoods, bamboo and rattan; (7) Fibers for paper; (8) Leaves and saps for medicinal preparations.

All these promise dividends to investors that are way above average corporate returns. Most profits get recycled to set up more farm modules with help from more blogger contributors and investors attracted by our high dividend rates. But what’s most satisfying are the social effects. Our farms’ high profits should encourage the 30 million-strong Philippine employee mass to copy our model. Lacking capital, they will pressure State to pass a law that lends capital to thousand-employee groups that set up reforestation-related agribusinesses. The law should require foreign joint venture partners so as to quadruple local investments thru equipment loans. Pacific Rim restaurant chains and meat products sub-contractors are priority partners, for they contribute capital, equipment and export markets as well.

A good law exists forever, so our ‘loans for mass entrepreneurship’ law keeps creating large agribusinesses, supplier industries and millions of jobs each year, for all eternity. Translation: all local poor (there are over 50 million of them) eventually get employed in regular jobs. Additionally, fortunes in stock shares and corporate dividends flow among local employee masses (who currently earn just $200-$500 monthly). Eighteen million hectares of currently bald Philippine uplands eventually transform into forests that absorb tons of greenhouse gases every second. As the profit-making Philippine model gets copied all over the tropics, billions of poor get employed in all manner of agribusinesses even as global warming gets tamed. Now that's blogger power forever!

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