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The Green Productivity (GP) concept is a strategy for productivity enhancement in tandem with environmental protection. Well accepted in all sectors, it is increasingly being applied to community development. Environmentally friendly farming, the practical application of the GP concept to farming models, has become an important growth factor in agriculture in Asia and the Pacific. There is enormous potential for promoting GP to contribute simultaneously to farm productivity and sustainable rural community development.
An APO workshop on GP and Sustainable Community Development was held in Jeju, Republic of Korea, 5–9 November. The focus of the workshop was introducing natural farming models that promote sustainable community development through environmentally friendly agriculture. The workshop was jointly organized by the APO and Korea Productivity Center, with the support of the Janong Natural Farming Institute (JNFI), an initiator and practitioner of natural farming in the Republic of Korea. The Natural Farming Global Village Festival 2007 took place simultaneously with the workshop. Twenty-nine participants from 14 member countries met with various guests as well as local farmers who took part in the festival.
Natural farming relies on organic materials instead of chemicals as inputs; in other words, it utilizes the ability of nature itself to achieve maximum agricultural performance as opposed to human intervention. The organic materials are locally available and inexpensive, with many inputs being produced and applied by farmers instead of being purchased from the market, thus lowering costs and converting waste into resources.
Director Han Kyu Cho, JNFI, introduced natural farming principles and practices in Korean and his lecture was interpreted into English, Japanese, and Chinese not only for the APO workshop participants but also for those guests especially invited for the festival. The participants took a short tour of the 10th Seogwipo Agricultural Exhibition, which displayed indigenous agricultural products of Jeju, an island with a temperate oceanic climate.
Hands-on practice in making natural farming inputs took place at Seogwipo Agricultural Technology Center on the second day. Participants made major materials used for natural farming such as indigenous microorganisms, Oriental herbal nutrients, fermented plant juice, fish amino acid, water-soluble calcium phosphate, lactic acid bacteria, etc. Field visits to local farms effectively demonstrated the practical usages of those materials.
A one-day intensive discussion on how to promote environmentally friendly agriculture was organized on the last day. Among the topics discussed were strategies to adapt useful natural farming methods in member countries and the outcomes and shortcomings of the project.