Published by City Farmer, Canada's Office of Urban Agriculture


Microfarming Techniques for Yak Producers in the Tibetan Area of Muli in SW Sichuan, China

Peggy Bradley1, Coralee Whitsett2 and Raanan Katzir3

1. Institute of Simplified Hydroponics, PO Box 644, Seaside, Oregon 97138, USA
2. Tibetan Conservancy for Nomadic Culture & Yak, 1320 Morningside Ln. Klamath Falls, Oregon 97603, USA
3. Sustainable Agriculture Consulting Group (SACOG), 4 Efter St., Tel-Aviv 69362, Israel

The complete paper can be read here. (PDF 408K)

Micro Farms Project - Online Design


The Pumi people of Sichuan Province are traditionally nomadic producers of the yak. Since 1949, they have relied more and more on soil based agriculture to produce subsistence crops. They survive on a diet based on cereal crops and yak products of milk, butter and yoghurt. The families graze their animals in the high Hengduan Mountains and rely on the grass produced naturally in the grazing area. This paper proposes the introduction of microfarming techniques into this region, a technology offered and introduced on a family by family basis. A microfarm is a one-hectare family farm that produces food and agricultural products using simplified hydroponics, fertigation and aquaculture. The first field of 435 m² can produce 1 ton of corn, 2 tons of corn fodder, 0.5 ton of broad beans, and a winter crop of alfalfa, wheat or other cover crops suitable for forage. This field uses gravity fed drip irrigation requiring about 500 L of water per day and an estimated 0.25 kg of fertilizer per day in growing period of 120 days. Using the rotation of a legume reduces the required nitrogen fertilizer. Rainwater should be collected to supply the system with its reliable daily source of water. Simplified hydroponics garden of 40 m² should provide an additional 5 kg of fresh vegetables per day for family consumption or a similar amount of commercial crops for local sale. The garden should require 100 L of water per day and 0.10 kg of hydroponics nutrient. A supplemental worm farm can reduce the need for chemical based nutrient. A larger garden should increase family income. A solar greenhouse can extend the growing season for daily food supply year round. A completed one-hectare microfarm with 5000 m² in fertigation and 600 m² in simplified hydroponics can produce much more animal fodder and vegetable produce. It can be diversified to satisfy individual family's preference and a more secure annual income. Establishing microfarming as an alternative form of income, the potential for higher income is present. This would allow an alternative to grazing animals as some forage can be produced in the microfarm.

Search Our Site[new]

pointer Return to Contents' Page pointer

Revised December 29, 2007

Published by City Farmer
Canada's Office of Urban Agriculture