We eat many kinds of food every day in our lives. A lot of food is produced through agricultural activities. Agriculture relies on natural resources. We should preserve the natural environment and respect agricultural workers. In this section, I will introduce various kinds of agribusinesses and effective approaches to sustaining income-generating activities related to food and agriculture. You will see how rural people are (Be) Empowered with Available Resources. Let’s BEAR!
Corn or maize is one of the most popular grain products in the world. I guess that in your country there are a lot of corn fields. What do corn farmers do with corn in your country? Do they produce a lot and sell the corn in bulk to wholesalers? Or do some of them process corn into powder and sell the value-added product to private companies?
Mr. Abraham Akilit, who used to work for the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) of the Philippines, started organic farming and agro-processing at home after his retirement. He constructed a small processing facility and purchased the machinery and equipment he needed with the money that he had saved for the purpose of doing something good for the environment after his retirement.
Look! What are the two women making? They are making religious ornaments which are used for Buddhist ceremonies in Laos. They are made of banana leaves.
After farmers harvest agricultural products, what do they need to do? To whom do they sell their products? When they sell agricultural products, what factors do they need to pay attention to?
One of the major challenges that farmers’ groups face in developing countries is packaging and labeling. Proper packaging and labeling is a must in order to sell processed food. Generally speaking, however, packaging machines are too expensive to buy. It is very often the case that local people do not know how to package food, what kind of material should be used for the packages, or what kind of information the labels should carry. I would like to introduce an effective approach to address these issues that one of the provinces in the Philippines has adopted.
If you are a government officer, an extension worker, or a staff member of an NGO or an international donor, you may have an opportunity to plan or implement a food-processing training program for farmers. When you provide a training program on food processing, you need a clean training venue which is equipped with cooking equipment. In rural areas of developing countries, however, it is quite often the case that there are very few training facilities which meet the hygiene standards and are well equipped with kitchen equipment. Nevertheless, if you had to conduct a food-processing training session in a rural area, what would you do? Here is a good example of how to manage such a situation.
In your country, I guess there are a lot of women’s groups which are doing income-generating activities. On average, how many members are there in one group? According to a survey conducted by the Ministry of Agriculture of Japan, in 2010 there were 5,284 women’s groups which were doing income-generating activities in rural Japan.
In the northern part of Japan, there is a town called Nambu. One of the specialties of the region is Nambu Sembei or wheat crackers. The crackers are made of wheat flour, salt, baking soda, and water. They taste simple, but they are delicious. Local people have enjoyed the crackers for a long time in various ways. They eat them as a snack during a break while they do agricultural work, or cut them into pieces and put them into soup, which is called Sembei Jiru. But is that all there is for the local people to do with Nambu Sembei?