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.