||USE OF RESIDUES TO FEED ANIMALS
Definition characters description and diffusion
The rainwater harvesting techniques, the areas with the walled gardens, the use of organic remains for the production of humus, the passive architecture methods and climate control for food conservation and for energy saving and the practices of recycling production and food residues have been integrated and perpetuated in the very structure of the ancient Mediterranean centres.
General characters description and diffusion
Manure has been the mainstay of soil improvement efforts since the 1930s and 1940s, when it acquired a commercial value. Adoption is widespread. However, supply constraints (number of livestock or working capital available) restrict its application on most farms to levels well below those desired for optimal nutrient supply. Farmyard manure is available on most farms where there are livestock but the quality is often low due to poor methods of preparation and utilization. Some farmers in dry areas have been reluctant to use manure because of the risk of burning the crop if the weather is dry. But many farmers have realized that this problem can be overcome by using more bedding to increase the quantity but lower the strength of the manure, as it matures after removing it from the boma (farmyard manure), or using it together with crop residues and other materials to make compost. Farmers generally build their houses outside the farming area, usually in a site considered to be of marginal agricultural productivity. Animals are kept in shelters close to the houses, with concomitant accumulation of manure and enhanced fertility in the site. The animal shelter is subsequently shifted to a new site near the house, leaving the fertilized site for gardening. Sometimes the oxen are fed inside the farms and the place for feeding is moved annually to in less fertile spots. The farmer gradually cultivates the fertilized land around the house, often starting with pioneer crops such as spices including garlic, basil, peppers, onions and vegetables like kales, cabbages, cucurbits, potatoes and medicinal plants. Soleri and Cleveland (1989) have observed that this assemblage of crops in time constitutes an important source of staples and cash crops for the family. Such household gardens have significant promise in bringing about sustainable development by improving family and community well-being and promoting environmental upkeep. The home garden may be used for a few years but when the soil gains fertility, the house and the garden are shifted to a less fertile location while the original garden site reverts to cultivation of major field crops.
Advantages and sustainability
This practice is particularly important for resource-poor communities as it recycles nutrients efficiently through application of manure and crop residues, crop rotation and intercropping. On the Ethiopian highlands, on the slopes of the Rift Valley's ridges, there are thousands of villages, where unchanging practices and knowledge are handed down. Waste from the village, animal carcases and manure end up as well in the deep ditches surrounding the underground monumental complexes of Lalibela. In this way, when irrigated, the fields are also fertilized.