Practical Agriculture Guide

CAN Handbook

David Saw Wah

Copyright © 2007 David Saw Wah
Photocopies can be freely made for on-commercial,non-profit initiatives.The author and contributors welcome any comments or suggestions regarding this Handbook and appreciate information of how it is being used.

“This Handbook is designed for both farmers and students to use in the field and during training. It is divided into eight sections, each one containing several topics and all illustrated with large clear pictures. The Handbook can be read from beginning to end or each topic can be read separately. Space is provided for readers to take notes and to add their own local knowledge.”

About this PDF


Food Security is defined as physical and economic access by all people at all times to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food needed for an active and healthy life.

Its essential elements are the availability and utilisation of food and the ability to acquire it. ( World Food Summit, Rome 2002)

In early 1999, Mr. David Saw Wah presented to non-government organisations his vision of a project that would enhance food security in refugee and IDP communities along the Thailand Burma border areas. This vision was based on a profound understanding of the context in which refugees in Thailand live: a restricted environment with limited options for sustainable food procurement and livelihoods.

David developed his vision of a community-based agriculture project focusing on appropriate technology to grow nutritious foods in small spaces using local materials. He conducted extensive applied research to determine methods that could be used in this environment, and that could be accessible to all refugees and IDPs.

In collaboration with several NGOs, David developed and conducted training for refugee trainers and communities in the Karenni camps in Northern Thailand. The project has flourished and now is active in most refugee camps along the Thailand Burma border. Furthermore, it is used among internally displaced persons living inside Burma.

In addition to hands-on agriculture training, David included theoretical agricultural instruction and nutrition instruction, and used a series of detailed flipcharts to guide the trainees.

From these trainings and materials the Community Agriculture and Nutrition – CAN – Handbook was born.Over the years, the CAN Handbook has blossomed into a major publication. It provides extensive instruction on how to use proven agricultural techniques for maximum output and nutritional value.

The CAN Handbook is a valuable resource for both trainers and end-users alike.

It was with great honour that David asked me to write the nutrition section for the CAN Handbook. I, and all who are familiar with his work, continue to be inspired by David’s commitment to enhance food security for refugees and IDPs.

Andrea M. Menefee, MPH RDNutritionist, Thailand Burma Border ConsortiumDecember 2006.