Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Explainer: How farmers can double yield without the use of synthetic fertilizers

Crops grown using vermiculture liquid get more comprehensive minerals than those fertilized with synthetic fertilizers, experts say.

According to Real IPM Smallholder Enterprise Center Manager Isaac Guda, vermiliquid supplies crops with both micro and macronutrients, which are necessary for holistic growth.

Vermi-Liquid is a liquid extract from a worm bed that is used for fertilizing, eliminating pests, and promoting healthy plant growth. Farmers rear worms and harvest the nutrients from worm waste.

Guda says the liquid has more than 15 micro and macro-elements, unlike synthetic fertilizers, which are specific in nutrient supply i.e. NPK, DAP, CAN.

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“The main benefit of vermiliquid over conventional fertilizers is that it contains almost all the nutrients required at one go to address specific crop needs,” Guda said.

According to Josphat Macharia, a farmer using the liquid to fertilize his soil, vermiliquid is more economical and has helped his cabbages grow healthy.

“All I need is a handful of earthworms, water, (and) kitchen- and farm-waste to make organic fertilizer for my farm,” said Macharia.

To get enough fertilizer for his five-acre plot, Macharia uses five 20-litre drums of worms and consistently applies the liquid. The liquid is applied as a foliar fertilizer that is readily absorbed into the plant system via the leaves.

Excessive application is not harmful to crops, as is the case with synthetic fertilizers. To have a rich mineral source, a mix of substrates from various families of crops has to be included.

For instance, legumes which are known to contain nitrogen and pumpkin quash for zinc and phosphorus, are included.

Macharia notes that his vegetables are safe for consumption after the application of the liquid, unlike synthetic fertilizers, which expose consumers to harmful chemicals.

“When I apply the worm juice in the morning, I can pick my vegetables in the evening and prepare a meal with the greens without worrying about getting sick,” he said.

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