West Timor Permaculture ideas : Some raw notes on Aquaculture, agroforestry and livestocksteemCreated with Sketch.

in #permaculture4 years ago (edited)

This is a brainstorm/ Lit-search on behalf of the non profit NGO, Emas Hitam Indonesia after communications with them several days ago
These are my friends and i love their work


They are currently in West Timor in remote villages and doing some training and agroecological assesments with the view of improved practices for certified organic farmers that produce Moringa leaf products as a means of economic advancement and sustainable land use
Emas Hitam are teaching organic farmers how to integrate Vetiver grass use for erosion control as the farmers are cultivating on land that is quite steep. The vetiver grass is an excellent tool to stop erosion and to provide other useful materials such mulch, roofing thatch and fodder for animals, which increases the supply of manures for gardens and fields
They also came across a village that has ample water and where people cultivate freshwater fish, but the yields are very low and the fish take a long time to reach harvestable size. So we started discussing nearby resources that may be able to increase the ponds productivity, and therefore greater food security.
While Emas hitam are in the field in West Timor, I am several islands away and giving feedback on topics such as Fencing systems, Aquaculture and animal forage systems as they communicate with local people
When they asked if I put it together in a Steemit post I thought, why not?
So for your benefit here’s some collated information as raw notes . It’s not as smooth as if I spent more time on it but I’m providing it as raw material to assist pathways to solutions.

A new foundation of the Aquatic food chain, from the surrounding forest

Trees > livestock > insects> Fish
The forest is a powerhouse of Photosynthesis and a huge store of energy and nutrients. By integrating livestock more thoroughly into this system through enriching it with plants that they can eat, the livestock can speed up nutrient and energy cycling in the forest to produce by-products that can be used as fish foods. These can be directly or indirectly produced

Im sure you're familiar with this diagram from School science. It shows the different levels in an ecosystem starting with the primary producers - plants , that turn water, sunlight and CO2 into stored energy via photosysnthesis. It is correct , however it doesnt show the relative importance of the decomposers. The indication of them returning just nutrients ignores the return of usable energy to the foodweb

The primary productivity , the annual amount of carbohydrate production from photosynthesis that is available for growth, pales in comparison the the stored reserves in and established forest , or indeed a perennial grassland. Of course the primary productivity is behind it all, but the amount built up in reserve is ten or a hundredfold the annual gains

This is the real motor, or you might say the flywheel that keeps it all moving by evening out the ups and downs in food availability from the primary production. In a lean year the animals fall back on foods from the detritivore food web, like Insects, fungi and worms
The same is true of many aquatic ecosystems, they rely on carbon inputs from outside the stream or pond ecosystem to fuel the aquatic food web

This diagram shows the inputs from terrestrial systems that feed into freshwater systems. Leaves in particular contribute digestible energy, protein and minerals like Iron that are not very water soluble. They support a food web of shredding and grazing invertebrate animals

Which fish are used or can be used in West Timor Aquaculture ?

The locally grown fish are mostly Tilapia
There are main species grown in Indonesia

Mujair - Oreochromis mossambica

This fish is extremely fertile and will quickly overpopulate its habitat. This results in stunting of the fish size and a harvest that is unmarketable in most of the world
However in south east asia the preference is for relatively small fish and so a program of feeding with frequent harvesting and the stocking of some predatory fish to eat the juveniles and assist in controlling the overpopulation tendency
Despite its drawbacks this fish is very important to millions of poor peopel for whom it is a tasty and affordable/ accessible source of protein
Excess Tilapia of any size are an excellent source of concentrated protein, fats, calcium and phosphorus for Pigs and poultry

Nila - Tilapia nilotica

Nile tilapia is larger than the Mozambique tilapia and will also overpopulate a pond, although not as fast.
Both types of Tilapia are omnivorous and will consume plankton, insects and aquatic plants as well as a range of agricultural byproducts , most often rice bran

Giant gourami (Osphronomeus gurami)

This fish is very tasty and the fish is mostly vegetarian as it matures and can be fed on a very low cost or free food supply of leaves and vegetables.
This is my own favourite freshwater fish to eat In Indonesia

Lele (Clarias sp)

These catfish are extremely hardy and will consume manures directly. They can breathe air and survive very well in low oxygen water. They are very fast growing reaching marketable size in 2 months when the water temperature is high enough and food supply is abundant.
They will breed in ponds although without shelter from the adults they are likely to be eaten
Lele consume a wide variety of foods and are scavengers in the wild

Patin (Pangasianodon hypophthalmus)

This fish is the source of Basa fillet from south east asia. It's a useful fish to include to help control the numbers of Mozambique tilapia as they will eat the juveniles

Common carp (cyprinus carpio)

Indonesian races of carp are not well characterised but they are a common component of pond aquaculture. Though not the most popular eating fish they are useful in boosting pond productivity as they mix the sediments through the water column. This increases the cycling of nutrients and increases turbidity which is favourable to other species as they are less stressed when they have this cover
Carp is not the best eating fish. Its flesh is soft and there are some floating bones. However it suits soups, processing into fish balls, fish crackers and any waste is good for feeding back to the pigs and chickens as a concentrated source of protein .
Carp will directly eat both duck and pig manures and so rapidly cycle these nutrients into the water column

Bawal merah


an Amazonian fish now popular in Indonesia. It is omnivorous and can feed on both invertebrates and also on vegetable feeds

Freshwater crayfish (Cherax quadricarinatus)

An Australian freshwater crayfish becoming popular in Indonesia

This is a non burrowing type that is safe for use with irrigational canals or ponds. They are omnivorous and able to eat scavenged carrion and also aquatic plants, periphyton, detritus and invertebrates.
They are delicious and worth including in the system. Check firsts to see if the locals recognise any native Freshwater crayfish that can be used instead

Plant based Aquaculture feeds

What about the direct route? Trees > Fish
Not great for most fish
• Low in fat, mostly short to medium chain triglycerides and high levels of omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids
• Low in protein compared to Fish diets
• Low in complete protein (unbalanced amino acid profile)
• High in fibre and indigestible substances, which fish don’t need and can't digest
• High in carbon = High Biological Oxygen Demand. They foul the water very easily as they decompose

most need a conversion to render them suitable
There are some Plants that can be used directly, they tend to be leaves, as leaf protein is a more complete protein source
Examples - Kangkong, Aroids like Taro and Elephant ears , Moringa, or Leucaena leaf meal mixed with rice bran
These are the more uncommon exceptions to the rule, most require some secondary processing such as by feeding to livestock and then using manures of the livestock to feed to fish. Many cultivated herbivorous and omnivorous Fish will consume manures directly. They are richer in bacterial protein and reduced in fibre and carbohydrate

Useful Livestock for secondary processing


Pigs are kept locally and their manure is an ideal resource for increased productivity in ponds. A lot of info further on relates to pigs
Pigs are supreme converters of excess carbohydrates ito a storable, tradeable asset. They can convert seasonal excess to fat and meat to be eaten during festivities or lean times, or traded at such times for a large amount of other foods
Especially in the tropics, when a pig is killed its a time for sharing , trade and ingratiation of other members of the community through gifting via the gift economy, debts are repaid and social alliances strengthened through sharing meat.

you dont win friends with salad


Ducks are locally uncommon, because of a lack of familiarity with effective ways of keeping them. They are considered expensive to feed
However this is not actually the case, it is more that systems that both provide for and benefit from their needs don’t yet exist. Ducks are quite capable of harvesting a lot of their own food from ponds and pond margins when these systems are set up to cater to them.
Also where supplemental food is given, their manures are a direct source of fish food. Ducks activity in stirring up pond sedimnets also boost the nutrient cycling within ponds by returning phosphate rich sediment to the photosynthetic zone

Raising ducks over fishponds fits very well with the fish polyculture system, as the ducks are highly compatible with cultivated fishes. The system is advantageous to farmers in many ways:

  1. Ducks fertilize the pond by their droppings when given free range over the pond surface. Ducks have been termed as manuring machines for their efficient and labour-saving method of pond manuring, resulting in complete savings on pond fertilizer and supplementary fish feed which accounts for 60 percent of the total cost in conventional fish culture.
  2. Ducks keep water plants in check.
  3. Ducks loosen the pond bottom with their dabbling and help in release of nutrients from the soil, which increase pond productivity.
  4. Ducks aerate the water while swimming; thus, they have been called «biological aerators.»
  5. Duck houses are constructed on pond dikes; hence, no additional land is required for duckery activities.
  6. Ducks get most of their total feed requirements from the pond in the form of aquatic weeds, insects, larvae, earthworms, etc. They need very little feed, and farmers normally give kitchen wastes, molasses and rice bran, for the purpose.

    Planning the annual cycles is important to fit tohether the components and time it alongside availability of food resources from external harvests

    Ducks can be contained within a certain part of the pond using netting

Geese and Muscovy ducks

These are even easier to keep than ducks as a lot of their food, almost all of it in the case of Geese, is grass.
Vetiver grass is enjoyed by Geese and can be planted in ther enclosures for them to self harvest.
They can be kept around ponds and in orchards with their night pens located overhanging ponds. Their manure inputs are a fantastic and regular source of fish food and pond fertilizer. The gut passage time of a goose is about 30 minutes, only half an hour between eating herbage and depositing a pellet of fish food for the pond. The predigestion leaves residual enzymes that assist further decomposition by the ponds fish and invertebrates

Domestic geese are extremely low maintenance animals that feed primarily on grass

Muscovy ducks are a type of goose with intermediate diet between geese and ducks

Cattle/ goats

These animals eat of lot of fibrous food and their manures are less useful for direct fish food pond fertilization, however it is still very useful as they are able to convert coarse plant matter into manures that would otherwise be inaccessible to the pond food web
They produce large amounts of manure that can be processed into fish feeds and pond fertilizer through tertiary processing such as raising compost worms, Black soldier fly or conversion to soluble fertiliser as biogas slurry

Forest crops to increase manure production

By integrating gardens and forests towards a greater food supply for livestock, the amount and quality of manure is increased

We have a problem, the earth has not enough forests and perrenial grasslands left, and not enough animals to service them. We can plant back the forests but without the animals they quickly build up excess carbon that will stagnate the productivity in those vegetation communities
Grasslands without grazers change to fire dominated communities, Forests without leaf and fruit eating animals become simplified and quiet
Fallen leaves do decompose, in days, weeks or years, but none so fast returned to the soil food web as by the passage through the guts of an animal in a matter of hours.

Earth has a problem: not enough poop.
The extinction of megafauna both at land and at sea has led to a shortage of mega manure, new research finds. As a result, the planet's composting and nutrient-recycling system is broken.
"This broken global cycle may weaken ecosystem health, fisheries and agriculture," study researcher Joe Roman, a biologist at the University of Vermont, said in a statement.

So in our design systems we need more animals and more plants to feed them, especially deep rooted perennial plants

This conventional food web is missing the deep rooted trees that can pull back up the leached nutrient from the deeper soil layers and access water out of the reach of shallow rooted annual plants

Trees and perennial grasses deep root systems access deep water and nutrients from the soil profile and return them to the surface

These are some species that can assist in this under the conditions described

Forage trees

There are many trees that can be used to feed animals. Often these are known locally but sometimes they are not
It is not uncommon to go to one area and see a set of trees being used, and then to another where a different set is used, although all trees are common to both areas.


Leucaena leucocephala is a good example of the difficulty of using fodder trees and shrubs as pig feed. Leucaena leucocephala contains mimosine, a free toxic amino acid. Practical methods of detoxification aimed at reducing the mimosine content of the leaf meal have been studied by researchers in Thailand (Kassumma, 1987). Since mimosine is a water soluble amino acid, water soaking and washing the leucaena leaves for one day before sun drying and grinding was reported as an economical way to improve their nutritive value (Table 2.22). Interestingly, however, the best performance was obtained by simply sun-drying the leaves prior to use.

An attempt to increase the level of soaked leucaena leaf, dried and prepared as a meal, from 15 to 25% in the diet, by adding 0.2% ferrous sulfate was unsuccessful. Pig performance tended to decline when more than 15% of treated, soaked meal was fed (Sanchisuriya, 1985, cited by Kassumma, 1987).


Trichantera gigantea

Im nt sure if this plant is in Indonesia yet but it has been introduced into Vietnam and the Philippines from Colombia. It is one to search for as the benefits to sustainable livestock production are quite profound
One could cut out most of grain use which would have astounding benefts for economics of livestock as well as on the sustainable land use around rearing operations

Trichantera gigantea, perhaps the most promising fodder tree from the point of view of yield, palatability, and source of protein (Gómez and Murgueitio, 1991) contains 18% crude protein in dry matter (leaves) and can produce, annually, from 40 to 60 t/ha of fresh foliage. Sarria et al. (1992) reported a decrease in the growth rate of pigs when Trichantera gigantea provided up to 25% of the dietary protein in a sugar cane juice/soya bean meal feeding system, and it was suggested that performance was related to the lower nutrient digestibility or an imbalance of the essential amino acids in the foliage. This result was in contrast to an earlier observation that, as a source of protein for gestating sows, the use of up to 75% fresh Trichantera gigantea leaves was possible (Mejia, 1991, cited by Preston and Murgueitio, 1992).

Recently, Sarria (1994) concluded that there were no significant differences in the productive parameters of weaned piglets when the sows, during gestation, were fed a restricted amount of sugar cane juice, either soya bean meal or cooked soya beans, and up to 30% of daily protein requirements in the form of fresh Trichantera leaves, about one kilogramme per day.

Trichantera gigantea is the scientific name of Madre de Agua. A small tree that is usually used as fodder. Madre de Agua is one of the best protein sources in preparing feeds for chickens,turkeys, pigs, goats, carabaos, sheep and cows etc.

The multi-purpose tree Trichantera gigantea (Preston T R and Murgueitio E 1994), introduced into Vietnam from Colombia in 1991 has adapted readily to a wide range of ecosystems throughout Vietnam (Nguyen Ngoc Ha and Phan Thi Phan 1995; Nguyen Thi Hong Nhan et al 1996). The crude protein content of the foliage (leaves and the thin stems, which are also consumed by the animals) varies from 18 to 20 % in dry matter and apparently most of that is true protein and has a good amino acid balance (Rosales M, personal comunication). According to some early work there are few secondary plant compounds and the calcium content has been found to be particularly high compared to other fodder trees (Galindo et al 1989). Water spinach is another potential source of leaf protein and carotene (Naren Toung et al 1994) and is widely used by farmers in the Mekong Delta as a supplementary feed for their animals.

This plant has been known as a good feed source for swine. In fact, at the Southern Mindanao Integrated Agricultural Research Center (SMIARC) of the Department of Agriculture-Regional Field Office 11, a techno guide was developed that teaches swine raisers to use Trichantera as feed supplement. Its young leaves are offered fresh to pigs replacing about 20-30 percent of its required commercial diet. It can also be processed into leaf meal and use as ingredients in mash.
According to SMIARC, six kilograms of fresh leaves consumed by pigs per day is equivalent to one kilogram of mixed feeds saved.
Although proven effective for commercial swine production, Dr. Etis’ study is looking into the feeding value of Trichantera as feeds on native pigs particularly, for the production of its organic meat.





Fruit and seeds

Jackfruit treess are highly productive, yielding between 250 and 800 Kg of fruits from managed mature trees. The fruits are rich in carbohydrate while the seeds are higher in protein
Pigs love them

Jackfruit leaves

Jackfruit trees are common but what is less commonly know is how good their leaves are as forage. They are suitable food for Elephants, rabbits, pigs and other monogastric animals. And they are good for ruminants, they can act as the sole food to maintain goats.
As jackfruit are easy to establish and eventually yield a useful wood for carving, they suit a Zone 4 placement where farmers have land that is beyond the fields and in need of a good perennial crop
Grafted selections with higher quality fruit can be used in orchards and townships while cheaper seedling trees are planted further away



Apparently theres no breadfruit there. What a shame
Breadfruit trees are extremely productive where they grow well. They are auseful human food but perhaps in this context even more useful for production of large amounts of feed for pigs

We could access stock from nurseries in North Bali for about $1.5 per plant, and they can easily be boxed up to ship to West Timor. This is much cheaper and easier than trying to propagate your own from root cuttings.

Timbul/ breadnut

This is the wild seedy ancestor of breadfruit and Kadek said he saw one
Its almost as good for pigs as the cultivated form. The seeds are a good source of protein and some types are very hardy, even being able to tolerate waterlogging in Papuan swamps. This is very easy to propagate and plant out along field margins

Artocarpus camansi

Cultivated Breadfruit and its two close seeded relatives

Other Artocarpus

The whole Artocarpus genus has potential there

Peach palm (Bactris gasipaes)

The Peach palm is not commonly used in Asia however in South and central America it is very common both as human food and feed for pigs

Oil palm / Sawit

The Oil palm is a suitable plant for agroforestry smallholdings as part of a mixed planting where the fresh fruits can be fed whole to pigs. Oil palms are very productive and this could provide a high energy addition in the form of fats to pig rearing throughout the year

Oil palm has a fruit rich in fat and vitamin A , and a seed rich in fat and protein, Pigs eat both

Though Oil palm is at the centre of a global ecological tragedy through its monoculture on lands cleared of primary forest, it remains a rainforest plant that is very suitable in mixed agroforestry for tropical smallholders. It integrates well into food forest and livestock production systems


Whole fresh palm fruit
The chemical composition of the flesh (mesocarp) which surrounds the palm nut, and interior kernel, is presented in Table 4.13. The whole fresh palm fruit constitutes a potential energy feed resource for the small-scale pig producer without access to factory produced palm oil derivatives, such as, crude oil or oil-rich fibrous residue. In an experiment to determine the performance of pigs from 27 to 90 kg, fed twice daily with a restricted amount of protein, and whole fresh palm fruit as a partial or complete replacement for sorghum, Ocampo (1994a) surprisingly found that, apart from consuming easily the fibrous material adjuring to the nut, the pigs often ate the entire fruit including the palm nut and the interior kernel. It was observed that first they ate the fibrous material surrounding various nuts, accumulated the nuts, then procceded to crack and extract the kernel within the nuts. One interesting observation was that when the fresh fruit was stored for more than seven days, palatability, and therefore voluntary consumption, was noticeably affected.
For the low income farmer in the tropics, the possibility to fatten a pig with one's own fresh palm fruit, and perhaps purchase only 60 kg of a high-quality protein supplement, or even use some rice polishings, is definitely an example of an alternative feeding system for pigs. This same author also emphasized that if a feeding system based on the whole fruit was used, there would be approximately 100 g/day of protein available to the pig via the kernel, and that this fact merited even further study. Obviously, the African oil palm has definite potential as a feed resource for pigs in the tropics. Perhaps, its utilization might be improved if more basic information related to its nutritional value was available.


They already use banana stems as pig food, thats great. Banana circles and pit gardens all the way

Bananas are a key component in tropical food forestry. Not just the seedless fruiting species but also the wild species that can be conserved in gardens as a source of starch filled trunks

Banana trunk can be eaten by humans or fed to livestock

Banana trunk is a staple in traditional pig rearing. It can be fed fresh or fermented first

Starchy plants and understory crops


Taro, colocasia esculenta , is an ancient crop that preceded rice cultivation in the Asia pacific region. It comes in many cultivars that are adapated to varying levels of moisture, and these have varying levels of palatability. Some can be consumed without processing while others are “cheeky” and contain levels of calcium oxalate crystal that make them inedible without processing

Taro (Colocasia esculenta Schott), which originated in India and South East Asia, is presently cultivated in many tropical and subtropical countries. The starch grains of the corms are very small which makes taro highly digestible. The level of crude protein, although slightly higher than that in yam, cassava or sweet potato, contains low amounts of the amino acids: histidine, lysine, isoleucine, tryptophan and methionine.

If an excess is grown then they are suitable for feeding to pigs and other livestock as a carbohydrate source. The leaves are also useful for aquaculture of Giant Gourami (Osphromomeus gourami) which is a vegetatian fish. The planst can be grown around ponds and when harvested for their roots the leaf wast is cast into the pond where the fish will graze on it

Taro and its relatives are often grown around ponds for feeding to gourami
*Gurami can feed on the leaves of Taro, patchouli, Cassava and papaya as supplemetal feeds especially for broodstock and larger fish

Cocoyam (Xanthosoma saggitifolia)

This is a South american relative of the Asia-pacific Taro and used in a similar way. It is shade tolerant and relatively frees of pests and diseases. It makes a very useful understorey in moist agroforests where it acts as food security for human, or pigs.

The plant is often interplanted within reforestation areas to control weeds and provide shade during the early stages of growth.
Like Taro its leaves can be cast into ponds to feed herbivorous fish, and also to pigs

In Colombia the root has been used traditionally to feed chickens and pigs and it is usually chopped and cooked. Some farmers use the leaves to feed chickens and fish. In the mountainous areas in Colombia the New Cocoyam is part of the farming systems and since 2003 it has been used in the TOSOLY ecological farm as part of the pig diet combined with other leaves such as cassava (Manihot esculenta Cranz), aro (Trichanthera gigantea), water spinach (Ipomoea aquatica) and whole bean foliage. The proportion of leaves in the diet was dictated mainly according to the availability of the leaves. In this period of observations, the New Cocoyam was found to be one of the most promising forages for its re-growth capacity, high yield and palatability. In the beginning, the petioles as well as the leaves were fed but since 2005 the strategy was changed with the leaves being used for the growing pigs, while the petioles were considered to be more appropriate for feeding to pregnant sows, which need lower levels of protein in the diet as well being able to deal with bulky feeds.
Sugar cane and New Cocoyam have a high potential for forming the basis of pig production within an integrated farming system in tropical latitudes. The juice from sugar cane, which contains neither fibre nor protein, is easily expressed from the stalks and is an ideal complement for protein-rich forages such as New Cocoyam. Both are perennial plants with high biomass yield and are therefore good "sinks" for carbon. New Cocoyam grows well in association with tree crops such as cocoa, coffee and citrus, which adds another dimension to these farming systems.

Growth curves of pigs fed sugar cane juice and either 500 g/day soybean meal or 3.8 kg/day New Cocoyam leaves and 250 g/day soybean meal

Garut (Maranta arundinacea)

Arrowroot is mainly cultivated for its starchy tubers. Tubers must be processed within 48 hours of harvest because they are prone to rotting. After being soaked in hot water, they are peeled to remove their fibrous covering in order to prevent a bitter taste and discolouration in the final product. They are then cut into small pieces and grated into a coarse pulp. Macerating the pulp breaks down the tough cells surrounding the starch. The pulp is then washed on screens to separate the starch from the fibrous material. The settled starch is then centrifuged or filtered to further separate it from fibre fines and other soluble material. The separated starch must be quickly dried and ground to powder. The root contains about 20% starch, and 17-18% can be extracted (Cecil, 1992; Kay et al., 1987). Arrowroot starch is one of the purest natural carbohydrates, with a high maximum viscosity. It is used in food preparations and confectionery, such as jellies and pastries. Since it is highly digestible, it is fed to infants and to people with specific dietary requirements. Industrial applications include cosmetics and glue (Göhl, 1982; Ecocrop, 2015). It has several ethnomedicinal applications (Kay et al., 1987).
Production of starch from arrowroot yields several potential feed resources. The aerial biomass of arrowroot that is left in the field can be processed into silage (Erdman et al., 1984). The residue of starch extraction, called "bittie" in the West Indies island of Saint Vincent, has a high fibre content and can be fed to livestock (Erdman et al., 1984; Göhl, 1982; Valdes Restrepo et al., 2010).
Arrowroot starts flowering about 90 days after planting, and the rhizomes are mature after 10-11 months (Kay et al., 1987). Harvesting operations can start when foliage starts to wilt. Successive crops are usually grown on the same land for 5-6 years (Ecocrop, 2015). Root harvesting is usually done manually. The plants are dug up and the tubers separated from the leafy stems (Kay et al., 1987). Mechanical harvesting was reported to be difficult (Erdman, 1985). Yields range from 10 to 35 t/ha of rhizomes, from which 2.5-7.5 t/ha of starch can be obtained (Ecocrop, 2015).

Canna edulis

Put Queensland arrowroot (Canna edulis) in your top five fodder/ composting crops for livestock – in the subtropics this is my substitute for comfrey.
Queensland arrowroot rhizomes are useful as stock fodder, their rhizomes are carbohydrate rich, and their fresh leaves contain up to 10% protein. In a good year, I can cut them down two or three times during the warm seasons, harvesting stems and leaves for mulching and compost making.
Plants only need occasional watering, but if you want a good crop of rhizomes for human consumption, plant rhizome sections 45cm apart at Christmas. Keep them watered in dry weather and harvest them in May. I get around 45 kg of rhizomes from 10 square metres soil.
Queensland arrowroot flourishes in damp to moist conditions, so I wouldn’t recommend planting them around dams or waterways. My guinea pigs eat young leaves. I also use the leave as alternatives to disposable plates for picnic food.
For human use, rhizomes are picked when fully formed – about half the size of a fist. Fresh rhizomes are the best quality, they will have a shiny, purple outer layer. Peel, then slice thinly (like potato crisps) and soak them in water for six hours, ideally overnight. This leaches out the excess arrowroot starch, and makes them palatable.
Slow roast or simmer sliced rhizomes until soft. Their flavour and texture is reminiscent of water chestnut.


Cassava leaf meal is a good feed source for animals because of its high protein, carotene and ash content. Fresh cassava leaves contain high HCN which can be eliminated by processing such as drying or ensiling.
After harvest, cassava leaves should be chopped not only because it helps to reduce cyanide, but also it shortens the drying time. Simple sun drying alone eliminates almost 90 % of the initial cyanide content. When combined with chopping, cyanide in the dried meal is reduced to levels which are safer for monogastric animals. They are then naturally dried in the sun by uniform distribution on concrete floor and turned over regularly as necessary. Once the moisture content reaches 14 % or lower, they become crispy and become easier to break by hand. Drying takes two days in sunny and dry weather. After that they can be preserved in completely tight nylon bags for later use. The bags can be kept in the kitchen under the roof or in a high, dry and cool place. This procedure of preservation risks little chance of molding and insect infestation. Dried cassava leaves need to be ground on 1 mm sieve before feeding to pigs.

High protein groundcover legumes

Pinto peanut (Arachis pintoi)

*Pinto peanut suits the understorey in forest gardens and plantations of coffee

Animal production
Feeding value
Similar to that of lucerne, with 13 to 25% crude protein and 60 to 70% dry matter digestibility, depending on age of forage.

Pinto peanut is well eaten by all classes of animals, including chickens, ducks and pigs. It is selectively grazed by cattle, particularly if animals have been exposed to the legume previously.

Production potential
Annual liveweight gains of up to 200 kg/head and over 900 kg/ha, as well as significant increases in milk production have been recorded.

Livestock disorders/toxicity : None recorded.

Butterfly pea (Clitorea tenatea)

A widespread Indonesian native legume

Feeding value
Nutritive value
Excellent nutritive value with high protein and digestibility (up to 80%) with nitrogen concentrations of 3.0% N for leaf and 1.5% N for whole plant. Leaf had consistently low ADF (c. 20%) and high N (c. 4%) in Queensland.
Very palatable thus requiring grazing management to persist.
Animal production
Liveweight gains of 0.7-1.3 kg/ha/day recorded for steers grazing pure Clitoria pastures in central Queensland, Australia. In northern Australia, cattle grazing para grass (Brachiaria mutica ) and C. ternatea pasture gained 0.68 kg/head/day, a higher gain than for stylo (Stylosanthes) or centro (Centrosema ) mixtures with para grass .

Indigo (Indigofera sp.)


Indigofera reportedly was first introduced, propagated, and promoted in Bansalan, Davao del Sur by the Mindanao Baptist Rural Life Center sometime in the 80s. Only few ruminant raisers then took notice and valued in it as forage.

Indigofera is a forage tree/shrub with many shoots bearing pinnate bright green leaves. Some plant the legume just to be part of a vast landscape, while others plant it for shade and windbreak.

As feed, farmers initially cited the unpalatability of the feed material due to toughness of the leaves. Hence, the material remained unknown and was neither promoted nor popular in the countryside.

Recently, the popularity of the lowly indigofera soared when Rene Almeda, an innovative commercial raiser of dairy goats, discovered the nutritional potential of the feed material.

Indigofera has 27─31% crude protein, which is relatively higher than any of the locally available leguminous forages. > Leaves and twigs are harvested every 30 days to maintain their succulence.

At the AGF in Alaminos, Laguna, indigofera was initially planted as shade and windbreak beside the dairy shed. However, out of curiosity and dire need for additional feed resource, Rene tried feeding it to goats.

The animal’s initial resistance broke down eventually and consumption improved.

With the continuous use of indigofera, milk production increased to 150 liters per day up from120 liters. Rene attributed the dramatic increase to the nutritional value of the forage material.

Moreover, adding 30 percent indigofera in the diet lowers the feed cost by 25 percent.

Tertiary processing

Feeding plant based feeds or manures of animals to more palatable food sources such as aquatic plants or invertebrates converts a very low grade feed resource into a very high grade feed resource

Biogas digesters

Biogas is evolved from the conversion of carbon rich materials into Methane gas through anaerobic fermentation. This reduces the carbon content of the material greatly but concentrates all the other plant nutrients.
Biogas slurry remaining after digestion is a great plant fertilizer and a rich source of yeast and bacteria.
This surry can be used directly to fertilise the pond which boost algal and protozoan production, the Plankton of the ponds, which is a food source to the fish
Or, It can be used to grow other aquatic plants first which can be fed to both livestock and fish
Creation of protein or fertiliser from waste

Biogas slurry fertiliser resources


Biogas slurry is the ideal fertiliser for aquatic plants



Duckweeds have received research attention because of their great potential to remove mineral contaminants from waste waters emanating from sewage works, intensive animal industries or from intensive irrigated crop production. Duckweeds need to be managed, protected from wind, maintained at an optimum density by judicious and regular harvesting and fertilised to balance nutrient concentrations in water to obtain optimal growth rates. When effectively managed in this way duckweeds yield 10-30 ton DM/ha/year containing up to 43% crude protein, 5% lipids and a highly digestible dry matter.
Duckweeds have been fed to animals and fish to complement diets, largely to provide a protein of high biological value. Fish production can be stimulated by feeding duckweed to the extent that yields can be increased from a few hundred kilograms per hectare/year to 10 tonnes/ha/year.
Mature poultry can utilise duckweed as a substitute for vegetable protein in cereal grain based diets whereas very young chickens suffered a small weight gain reduction > by such substitution. Pigs can use duckweed as a protein/energy source with slightly less efficiency than soyabean meal.
Little work has been done on duckweed meals as supplements to forages given to ruminants, but there appears to be considerable scope for its use as a mineral (particularly P) and N source. The protein of duckweeds requires treatment to protect it from microbial degradation in the rumen in order to provide protein directly to the animal.
The combination of crop residues and fresh duckweeds in a diet for ruminants appears to provide a balance of nutrients capable of optimising rumen microbial fermentative capacity. These diets can, therefore, be potentially exploited in cattle, sheep and goat production systems particularly by small farmers in tropical developing countries.

Two types of duckweed – these can likely be found locally by exploring swampy areas and backwaters of local rivers


Wolfia – the worlds smallest flowering plant

Invertebrate protein

Manures and wastes can also be processed to very high quality insect feeds. These are high in protein and very acceptable to fish as a food source

Black Soldier Fly (Hermetia illucens)


Compost Worms


Giant African snail ( Lissachatina_fulica)

This is certainly not a species that should be introduced where it does not occur as it is a ravenous feeder on hundreds of cultivated crops. However it is already widespread and where it occurs it is a useful source of protein and converter of horticultural wastes to concentrated protein
Collected from the fields and kept in covered concrete rings on a bed of coconut fibre and fed on young papaya leaves and overripe fruits they are a good at-hand source of protein for ducks, fish and pigs

And get ready for the next crazy cosmetic thing.. snail slime

Guedon preferred not to give details of his industrial slime extraction process. But he said the system, developed by an independent engineer, involved placing the snails in two large containers.
After the mucus is extracted, sensitive filters purify the product, which is then refrigerated. Salt is used, but the snails are not killed.
Guedon's 130,000 euro ($170,200) investment in the project was partially financed by small business subsidies from the French government and the European Union.
Snail mucus has already cropped up in beauty products sold in Asia and South America, but has yet to catch on in Europe. For the truly adventurous, a spa in Tokyo offers facials using real live snails.
Earlier this year Katie Holmes even attested to using snail mucus-laced skincare products, and reports say that creams with snail ingredients have tripled their sales in the the last few months.

Using Manure as fertiliser in ponds

humanure is commonly used over fishponds. Many fish will directly eat human faeces
However with this method comes dangers of transmission of water borne diseases so this is not reccomended
It is better to send human wastes to vermicomposting toilets or biogas units where pathogens are inactivated

It is better to use Livestock manures for this purpose

The most commonly used organic fertilizers are chicken, duck, pig and cow manure. The N:P ratio and NPK content of these manures are listed in Table 10, while Table 11 shows several application schedules. It is important to note that the application rates are not absolute and only serve as a guideline. If an adequate phytoplankton bloom is not achieved within 6–8 sunny days, then more should be added. Plankton levels are adequate when the water has a green colour and a Secchi disk reading of around 20–25 cm. The biological effect of organic fertilization is improved if the manure is spread evenly over the water surface in a liquid or semi-liquid form (Tacon, 1988). It should be noted that fish ponds can only assimilate a certain amount of manure per day. Hence to prevent de-oxygenation in manure-loaded ponds (due to unchecked peaks in bacterial growth and phytoplankton blooms), manure should be added frequently (daily, if possible) and in small amounts and during mid-morning when oxygen levels are rising (Hepher and Pruginin, 1981). http://www.fao.org/fishery/affris/species-profiles/north-african-catfish/pond-fertilization/en/


To use a secchi disk to asses the phyoplankton density . Lower it into the water til the black and white lines become blurred (measurement A), lower it further then redraw slowly till the lines become visible again (measurement B). A + B/ 2 = the average C . C should equal about 20-25cm. If the value is less then cease manure inputs, if it is higher thne increase manure inputs.

Increasing susbtrate for Periphyton

In lakes and ponds the only areas that support primary production are those that have light and access to sufficient nutrient and oxygen. The bottom of ponds is very rich in nutrients but lacks light and sometimes oxygen
The margins of ponds and lakes are usually the most productive
One way to increase productivity is by elongating the pond margins

if you can do this then its a permanent positive for the productivity of the earthen pond, however it may not be practical

The other way is to use movable or impermanent means to increase the surface area in the photosynthetic zone


Periphyton aquaculture technology (PAT)

Our initial approach was to formulate fish food using locally available plant material (leaves from cassava and from calliandra, moringa and leucaena trees). These efforts were successful and the formulation was capable of growing fish. However, the method was too burdensome on both human and plant resources. The science behind making fish food is complicated, but as we found out, not nearly as complicated as making the whole process fit with the culture of Haitian life. Life in rural Haiti is a day-by-day challenge. Families spend most of their waking hours hauling water, tending crops and gathering food; they simply do not have enough time to devote to growing and making feed for livestock that takes six months to be harvested. Thanks to advice and collaboration with colleagues who have worked in aquaculture in developing areas around the world, a decision was made to use a fish culture technique better suited for rearing fish in Haiti. The method involves using what has been termed periphyton aquaculture technology (PAT). Periphyton is the green slimy material that grows on the surface of almost anything submerged in water ( Figure 1). Depending on the nutrients available in the water, periphyton can contain 100% of the essential amino acids necessary for fish to grow. Tilapia, the species of fish being grown in Haiti, are especially adapted to feed on periphyton and are extremely efficient at converting periphyton into high quality fish flesh. The quantity of fish produced using the PAT technique is directly proportional to the quality of the fertilizer (compost) added to the pond and to the availability of special surfaces that the periphyton need to grow on. If done properly, the growth rate of fish reared using the PAT technique can equal that of fish being fed expensive commercial fish food.

Method Our initial approach was to formulate fish food using locally available plant material (leaves from cassava and from calliandra, moringa and leucaena trees). These efforts were successful and the formulation was capable of growing fish. However, the method was too burdensome on both human and plant resources. The science behind making fish food is complicated, but as we found out, not nearly as complicated as making the whole process fit with the culture of Haitian life. Life in rural Haiti is a day-by-day challenge. Families spend most of their waking hours hauling water, tending crops and gathering food; they simply do not have enough time to devote to growing and making feed for livestock that takes six months to be harvested. Thanks to advice and collaboration with colleagues who have worked in aquaculture in developing areas around the world, a decision was made to use a fish culture technique better suited for rearing fish in Haiti. The method involves using what has been termed periphyton aquaculture technology (PAT). Periphyton is the green slimy material that grows on the surface of almost anything submerged in water (Figure 1). Depending on the nutrients available in the water, periphyton can contain 100% of the essential amino acids necessary for fish to grow. Tilapia, the species of fish being grown in Haiti, are especially adapted to feed on periphyton and are extremely efficient at converting periphyton into high quality fish flesh. The quantity of fish produced using the PAT technique is directly proportional to the quality of the fertilizer (compost) added to the pond and to the availability of special surfaces that the periphyton need to grow on. If done properly, the growth rate of fish reared using the PAT technique can equal that of fish being fed expensive commercial fish food.

Types of substrate for growing periphyton. Bamboo seems to be the best substrate. [In this context, the word “substrate” means “whatever surface is chosen on which the microscopic plants will grow.”] Palm or coconut fronds work well also. It is very important to position the substrate so it remains submerged and gets maximum exposure to sunlight. Many methods can be used to accomplish this goal: bundles of sticks can be stuck in the muddy bottom of a pond; pieces of substrate can be hung from wires strung across the pond; or large branches can simply be placed in the ponds. To facilitate the ease of harvesting fish, the substrate should be installed so that it can be easily removed if a seine is used to harvest. If the substrate begins to rot prior to fish harvest, additional substrate should be added. Providing nutrients to enhance periphyton production. Construct simple submerged compost bins within each pond. The compost bins can be made of woven sticks, concrete blocks, or other material. There are some key criteria to keep in mind: the bins need to be permeable to water, strong enough to loosely retain several hundred pounds of organic matter, placed in an area with easy access for filling and mixing, and constructed to occupy approximately 1/20th the surface area of the pond (Figure 3). The compost bin basically serves as a giant “teabag,” oozing nutrients while retaining the solid materials. If inorganic fertilizers are available, the compost can be reduced in size or eliminated [though in this case the fish you harvest would no longer be considered “organic”]. Regardless of the source of nutrients for the periphyton, the optimum nitrogen to phosphate ratios appear to be about 6:1. In our experience using submerged compost in Haiti, keeping an equal balance of green (non-woody) plant material, non-meat food scraps and fresh (non-human) manure has worked well. Poultry manure is best for the latter component. The compost bins need to be kept full and stirred or mixed at least three times per week if possible.

A Low Resource Method to Raise Fish in Haiti (PDF Download Available). Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/265125038_A_Low_Resource_Method_to_Raise_Fish_in_Haiti [accessed Aug 13, 2017].


  • Using bundles of Alang alang grass or palm fronds layed around pond margins semisubmerged will increase surface area for Periphyton growth*


Fish in this pond were raised using the PAT technique. Manure, leaves and minimal human labor were the only inputs. Approximately two pounds of small fish were stocked into the pond and 25 pounds were harvested! A harvest of 25 pounds is only a fraction of what the pond was capable of producing, but it was a great start. The harvested fish were sold, traded, and eaten by many people. It was inspiring to see many people reap the benefits of a nutritious meal and to see the ponds generate some income, but what was most inspiring was the enthusiasm expressed by the farmers to repeat the process and try to do it even better! Ponds (rearing units). The ponds can be earthen, concrete, or built using a liner. The depth should be less than a meter, and water exchange rate should not exceed one turnover every two weeks. Every effort should be made to build the ponds in areas where they receive maximum sunlight. Types of substrate for growing periphyton. Bamboo seems to be the best substrate. [In this context, the word “substrate” means “whatever surface is chosen on which the microscopic plants will grow.”] Palm or coconut fronds work well also. It is very important to position the substrate so it remains submerged and gets maximum exposure to sunlight. Many methods can be used to accomplish this goal: bundles of sticks can be stuck in the muddy bottom of a pond; pieces of substrate can be hung from wires strung across the pond; or large branches can simply be placed in the ponds. To facilitate the ease of harvesting fish, the substrate should be installed so that it can be easily removed if a seine is used to harvest. If the substrate begins to rot prior to fish harvest, additional substrate should be added.


Amisah, Adjei-Boateng and Afianu (2008) demonstrated the beneficial combined effect of pond fertilization and the use of bamboo poles for the development of periphyton. In their study, bamboo pole density was 4 per m2 and ponds were fertilized with pig manure at an initial rate of 20 kg/100 m2 and then every second week at 10 kg/100 m2.

Aquatic vegetables


  • Duck potato (Saggitaria saggitifolia)

  • Genjer (Limnocharis flava)

  • Lotus (Nelumbo nucifera)

Kangkong ( Ipomoea aquatica )

Water chestnut (Eleocharis dulcis)


Neptunia (neptunia oleracea)

This is a common vegetable in vietnam and thailand, used in steamboat as a vegetable
Neptunia is special. it is a nitrogen fixing aquatic plant and could greatly boost productivity in the ponds. Fish love to eat it
It shouldnt be fed to livestock in large quantities as the genus Neptunia is a known Selenium hyperaccumulator and it may lead to livestock poisoning when growing on soils rich in Selenium
Ive used it in aquaponic systems. It forms a floating raft and compost is applied on top of this floating raft . i interplanted Kangkong with it and the combination was luxuriant. I harvested leaves from above while fish grazed on the roots below

Well that’s all for now
I hope you guys at Emas Hitam find this helpful in expanding your systems design thinking for these villages

Kind regards

if you like what I'm doing

please Comment, Upvote, Share or Resteem!


Ive given it a second edit. Ill probably come back and do a third before it goes on the public record.
theres extra photos and info added

I love your post, thanks for sharing! I gave you a vote. I hope you enjoy it.

You might have the record on Steemit. For the most useful information in one post.
This will take some time to read and learn how to take advantage of what you have shown to us.
Thank you


Thankyou !

Amazing info, thanks!

Wow! What a wealth of information. I think I'm going to have to go through this a few more times. I'm learning new things every time I come back to it!

Ive added some more Info . thankyou for your kind comments

Thanks for letting me know. I've resteemed it so I can get back to it easier! 😄

Thanks for compiling all that information in one place Rev, and for your support while we were in the field. I can safely say that we couldn't have done what we did without you!

Youre welcome mate. Ive added some more info. i may do a third edit in the next 4 days before it cant be changed again .

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