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Our Waste, Our Food!

By ADMIN, 04/15/2015 - 19:35
by - Swathi Muralidhar (Guest Blogger at SankalpTaru Foundation)

Ever since the advent of globalization and green revolution, there has been a booming expanse in the growth of agriculture with increase in productivity- but at what cost? Over years, have we not only seen a series of soil erosion/barrening of land/pesticide-insecticide related issues, but a serious heightening in adverse climatic changes affecting the flora and the fauna of the world!

We cannot blame the green revolution systems as our ever-exploding population needs a system of agriculture that provides ‘fast yet large’! Under such periods of crisis does the concern of environment management arise! To meet the increasing population’s demands as well as to save our environment is certainly a challenge for us!
Another issue that has been given a lot of importance off late is the matters of ‘safe’ waste disposal. As the waste produced is large, ways to manage that kind of large quantity without harming the environment is a challenge again!

Keeping in mind these crises, we at SankalpTaru came up with a two in one solution where we will be able to recycle our waste as well as maintain our soil’s integrity- saving it some the savaging synthetic pesticides/insecticides.

Under such circumstance does the idea of revival of our traditional framing practices arise. Here, we suggest and encourage people who do kitchen gardening or small-scale farming to use biodegradable fertilizers instead of the synthetic ones.

When we speak of biodegradable fertilizers, the first thing that pops in our head is the use of cow’s waste in farming. Keeping aside its (cow’s urine) medicinal characteristics- along with rotten milk, unqualified butter, ghee, dung- urine provides the best bio fertilizer as it contains agriculture-friendly microbes, 95% water, 2.5% urea, 2.5% of minerals, hormones, salts and enzymes required of the normal development of the plant. Not only is it eco-friendly but it is also ‘farmer-friendly’ as it costs far lesser than the synthetic fertilizers.


Requirement of Inorganic fertilizer in one Acre of Land

Urea (50 kg) = 285 Rs.
DAP (25 kg) = 500 Rs
Total Cost = 785 Rs

Requirement of Cow Urine in one Acre of Land

Requirement for 1 Acre =100 lts
1 Lt Cost = 2.5 Rs
Total Cost = 250 Rs

Net Savings for production in 1 Acre is = 565 Rs

NOTE: - If cow urine is used in field continuously for three years then there will be no need of chemical fertilizer.

Impacts of using cow’s urine for farming:
1) After analysis of soil it is found that there is no any deficiency of micro nutrients.
2) Color of leaves is more greenish other than the use of urea application.
3) Residual effect of cow urine is more pronounced in next cropping
4) Changes in Soil Texture
5) Creates good environment in soil for earthworm growth
6) Due to use of cow urine in the crops up to 10-12 days after spraying it works as a insecticides.
7) It helps as growth promoters of plants
8) During this year due to use of cow urine in groundnut crops, leaves didn’t show yellowish discoloration which is seen every year
9) As compare to previous year farmers have got good returns in both the side as yield and income also.
10) They have found that chili production has increased up to 10%.i
11) Maize which was cultivated in waste land showed 15% increased production

(As observed in the case study conducted by the Club Kali Talavali Farmers)

Faeces of not only cow, but several other animals such as: horses, cattle, pigs, sheep, chickens, turkeys and rabbits, have proven to have a lot of various enhancement properties to the soil and the soil-residing fauna. Not only can the cow’s manure be used as a fertilizer, but its productivity as ‘gobar gas’- a form of fuel that can be used for cooking and (now-a-days) source of electricity has also been studies.

If we see the pattern of bio-farming in other countries, USA, France, Japan and Singapore rank the highest.

When we come down to a small scale- kitchen gardening- since the availability of cow dung and urine is less, waste such as vegetable peels, tea/coffee waste, leftover food, fruit peels, plastic paper, packaging, etc. can be used as manure to our garden plants. The method of composting household waste will be explained in our next article. This way, our waste is recycled and scattering of waste on roads is also stopped preventing the various disease that it causes. The amounts of Zinc, Potassium, Phosphorus and Nitrogen is seen to be more in the soil that uses organic manure rather than the synthetic ones which needs extra supplementation of minerals rendering it even-more-expensive.

Our next case study is not only surprising but very revealing too! Rajanna Uganawadi, a farmer from the outskirts of Bangalore uses human faeces and urine as organic manure for his farming of papaya, Mexican grass and tomato- with the required modern sanitary safeguards. He collects all the sewage water from the nearby apartment complex and composts it in a very secure way so that no pathogenic effects are seen and later it is used as manure and the workers are also provided with safeguarding precautions. He says,” one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Every man is a moving fertilizer tank. In one year, a person produces the equivalent of about 13 pounds of nitrogen fertilizer as well as a lot of phosphorus. That’s enough to replace a big chunk of the world’s synthetic fertilizers.”

Other wastes at home, such as plastic and glass bottles, plastic bowls, plastic plates, etc. can all be used for plantation purpose in our backyards. For aesthetic purposes, the bottles can be designed and painted in accordance to our needs. (This is fun too!)

As a conclusive statement, we propose that usage of recycled products as bio fertilizers is not only eco friendly and good for the environment but also a small step towards a better generation and future for this earth and its beings!

“If it cannot be reused, recycled, repaired, rebuilt, resold, recycled, refurbished or composted, then it should be redesigned, restricted or removed from the production”

-Pete Seeger.



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