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The rise and fall of humankind 2

There is a 'marvelous, rather than 'great', farmer named 'Masanobu Fukuoka', well-known among particular people, in a corner of the Shikoku Island in Japan. It is still a big question whether we can call him a so-called 'farmer'.

Mr. Fukuoka is really famous for a lot of books such as 'Natural farming: a revolution by a straw', introduction through a documentary program of the NHK (Japan's BBC) Education Television, a lot of prizes awarded by international organizations such as the Ramon Magsaysay Award, practice of his unique tree-planting in a desert, and so forth.

 

As I wanted to see him at any rate, ten years ago I once called on his house in Iyo city in Shikoku without notice, however immediately after I met him I was admonished flatly by him talking that;
'What have you been doing? Have you been farming? A lot of people come to see me from a city like Tokyo saying proudly "I have been supporting the natural farming, and eating organic vegetables only", however they themselves are the biggest 'enemy'. Seeing, with their own eyes, a farmer spraying an agricultural chemical in a paddy field adjacent to my "natural farm", they ask me unconcernedly "Mr. Fukuoka, why don't you give advice to them?" I answer them saying "The said farmer spraying an agricultural chemical seriously understands its danger through their own body not brain like you, however in order for them to send their children to a respectable university as you were graduated from, they cannot help raising productive efficiency by utilizing an agricultural chemical and drawing their cash income. My farming is just a game." However they cannot understand what I say at all, even they won't to heed it from first.

I was impliedly asked 'Aren't you one of them?' but I couldn't find any words to reply at all, because I came to see him after having read several of his books.

From early childhood until graduating from high school I had severely helped in farming at my parents' home and still remember I keenly realized the fierceness of 'weeding in a summer paddy field', however I felt 'silent heaviness' from him to which I could not answer by them. I walked around his 'natural farm' myself and took a bus to the Iyo station.

Fukuoka's 'natural farm' was better to be rather called a 'natural garden' where Japanese radishes or carrots grew, rather than being planted, in a mixture of other weeds. Unless we carefully observed them, we could not tell whether were 'weeds' or 'vegetables' at all. As it was winter when I visited there, I was unable to see his 'paddy filed', if we are allowed to call it so.

Mr. Fukuoka has been practicing his 'natural farming' based on the four fundamental principles, 'no cultivation' 'no fertilizer' 'no chemical' and 'no weeding'. The 'productivity' such as rice is incredibly so high that based on such achievements he says definitely 'It is said that agriculture based on science and technology is highly productive, but according to the efficiency calculation of energy necessary for production, the efficiency of farmwork conversely falls in proportion to its mechanization'.

It is a common view that humankind has developed through 'three great revolutions i.e. the agricultural revolution, the industrial revolution and the information revolution', however can it really be so?
Though Mr. Fukuoka declares that 'having cultivated' is one of the biggest mistakes by humankind.

The attached illustration is a cover of 'Natural farming: a revolution by a straw', one of his representative books, which has been translated in various countries. I strongly recommend you to read it through.

(5/1/2006)
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