16.9 C
Harare
Friday, July 19, 2024
spot_img

๐™๐ˆ๐Œ๐๐€๐๐–๐„ ๐Œ๐”๐’๐“ ๐†๐Ž ๐Ž๐‘๐†๐€๐๐ˆ๐‚ ๐…๐€๐‘๐Œ๐ˆ๐๐† ๐Ž๐‘ ๐ƒ๐ˆ๐„

 

๐™๐ˆ๐Œ๐๐€๐๐–๐„ ๐Œ๐”๐’๐“ ๐†๐Ž ๐Ž๐‘๐†๐€๐๐ˆ๐‚ ๐…๐€๐‘๐Œ๐ˆ๐๐† ๐Ž๐‘ ๐ƒ๐ˆ๐„

Article by Rutendo Matinyarare

๐—›๐—ผ๐˜„ ๐—˜๐˜…๐—ฎ๐—ฐ๐˜๐—น๐˜† ๐——๐—ผ๐—ฒ๐˜€ ๐—ง๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ก๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป ๐—š๐—ผ ๐—ข๐—ฟ๐—ด๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ถ๐—ฐ?

The first step in going organic is changing the mentality of our farmers and citizens by reminding them that farmers are curators of life.

Their responsibility is to nurture living soils that support healthy, nutritious crops and livestock in a thriving ecosystem that produces quality food and drink to foster a healthy and prosperous nation.

Farmers need to be reminded that they are the doctors, pharmacy and economic engine of any nation. Once good farming practices are employed, we have a thriving environment that supports healthy crops, animals, and minds that can build prosperous and sustainable economies.

๐—ก๐—ฎ๐˜๐˜‚๐—ฟ๐—ฒ ๐—›๐—ผ๐—น๐—ฑ๐˜€ ๐—”๐—น๐—น ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ฆ๐—ผ๐—น๐˜‚๐˜๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป๐˜€ ๐—ช๐—ฒ ๐—ก๐—ฒ๐—ฒ๐—ฑ.

From this follows the elimination of synthetic fertilizers, chemicals, plastics, hybrids and GMOs from the farming cycle, to a reliance on open-pollinated variety [OPV or heirloom] seeds; healthy living soils; organic manure, and a stable ecosystem.

๐—ช๐—ฒ๐—ฒ๐—ฑ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐—–๐—ผ๐—ป๐˜๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐—น.

Weeds must be managed by natural methods like mulching with grass or intercropping with ground-covering crops like the world-renowned threesome of maize, pumpkin and beans.

In some cases we have seen mulching done by plastic, however, itโ€™s doubtful that non-biodegradable plastics made from synthetic petrol chemicals form part of a natural or organic farming cycle.

Itโ€™s also important to note that many plants that we consider as weeds today are actually very nutritious traditional spices and herbs that need to be rediscovered and reintroduced into our diet.

This way we can improve our diet and health by cultivating these herbs for consumption and establishing a natural control for them.

๐—ฃ๐—ฒ๐˜€๐˜ ๐—–๐—ผ๐—ป๐˜๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐—น.

Pests and parasites can be managed sustainably by reintroducing natural predators of common or exotic pests. These may come in the form of wasps, ladybirds, mice, mosquitos, rats, snails, millipedes, worms and other such insects.

This is why itโ€™s critical for farmers not to fumigate ponds or fields holding mosquitos, insects and rats that are natural predators to many pests and parasites.

With that, itโ€™s important to promote the development of colonies and hives of insects naturally found in the region to develop a natural ecosystem for balance.

Bigger creatures like guinea fowl, pigeons and chickens should be allowed to free-range on the property as they eat weeds and make good predators of parasites and insects that normally feed on crops.

๐—ข๐—ฟ๐—ด๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ถ๐—ฐ ๐—™๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐˜๐—ถ๐—น๐—ถ๐˜‡๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป.

Itโ€™s important to create natural sources of fertilizer on the farm by building composts upon which organic material and kitchen waste are thrown to decompose over time. Thus developing rich manure for fertilizing smaller gardens.

Animal urines and bird droppings or guano are some of the most effective forms of organic fertilizers and pesticides suited for large-scale farming projects.

Note that animal manure can only be organic when the animals are not inoculated, given steroids and only when fed organic feed.

๐—•๐—ฎ๐˜ ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฑ ๐—•๐—ถ๐—ฟ๐—ฑ ๐—š๐˜‚๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ผ ๐—ผ๐—ฟ ๐——๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐—ฝ๐—ฝ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด๐˜€.

Inherent in bat droppings are greater benefits than synthetic fertilizers which are infamous for killing insects and soil microbes, burning root systems, leaching nutrients, nitrites causing algae in water bodies, deconstructing soil structure, weakening the immunity of crops and making them susceptible to disease.

Guano is a plant super food consisting of bat or bird droppings, broken eggs and urine thatโ€™s rich in the major NKP: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium elements which are found in synthetic fertilizers.

These major elements aid in stem, flower, root, fruit, and yield development and are accompanied by the trace elements calcium, zinc, magnesium, copper and manganese. These aid in the absorption and processing of the major elements to make plants strong and immune to parasites.

In it are also microbes that feed on parasites, pests and bad bacteria in the soil. They also diet on the bird droppings, digesting it and releasing their own excretion which provides the mineral salts required by plants. In the process increasing soil life, improving soil structure, water retention and fertility.

๐—•๐—ฎ๐˜ ๐—š๐˜‚๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ผ ๐—œ๐˜€ ๐—ก๐—ผ๐—ป-๐—ง๐—ผ๐˜…๐—ถ๐—ฐ.

Unlike synthetic fertilizers, bat droppings are not toxic and do not burn plants like the petrol chemicals found in synthetic fertilizers that are associated with ever-increasing health issues in humans and animals.

Even when too much droppings are applied on crops, the manure is degraded slowly by microbes that ingest them and excrete mineral salts in quantities that can be absorbed by the plant.

This makes bat guano (droppings) a slow-release nutrition mechanism that benefits the crop with just enough minerals without overdosing the plant.

As a result, the natural benefits of organic fertilizer produce healthy, wholesome crops, and when coupled with organic open variety seeds it can produce food with nutritious and medicinal benefits for both animals and humans.

๐—–๐—ผ๐˜€๐˜ ๐—˜๐—ณ๐—ณ๐—ถ๐—ฐ๐—ถ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐—ฐ๐˜†.

From a cost perspective, a farmer needs anything from 6-12 bags of top and basal fertilizer to cultivate a hectare of maize at a cost of anything between US$270-$790/hectare. This is before adding the cost of hybrid seeds that have to be bought every season.

The result is a non-organic, substitutable harvest that will fetch low market prices, influenced by the volume of the product available from local and foreign markets.

Whereas with bat or bird guano, one only needs 50-150kg/hectare, which works out to about $20-$60/hectare. This produces an organic crop that will collect twice or three times the price of a generic product.

Not to mention that if it’s an heirloom seed, you don’t have to buy it once you have inherited seeds from neighbors or your family because the seeds can be replanted.

๐—–๐—ฎ๐˜€๐—ฒ ๐—ฆ๐˜๐˜‚๐—ฑ๐˜†.

A study in the Academia Journal in 2017 showed that using 20kgs of bird manure on a hectare of wheat improved the yield by 6% in the first year and up to 50% in comparison with synthetic fertilizers over periods of 5 years. The land where synthetic fertilizers were used became less fertile over time, while that where organic bat manure was used improved over time.

๐—–๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ณ๐—ถ๐—ฐ๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป ๐—™๐—ผ๐—ฟ ๐—˜๐˜…๐—ฝ๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐˜.

More importantly, using this organic fertilizer on a field without any other chemicals for three years, can clean up a field and qualify it for organic certification. This opens the door for preferential export licenses of organic produce to other African countries, Asia, Japan, Singapore, and Europe, where high prices of up to four times the prices paid for generic produce are attainable.

๐—Ÿ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฑ ๐—ฉ๐—ฎ๐—น๐˜‚๐—ฒ ๐—”๐—ฝ๐—ฝ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฐ๐—ถ๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป.

Additionally, as bat manure is used in conjunction with other sustainable farming techniques like crop rotation, it improves soil quality, water retention, water quality, increases plant immunity, fosters living micro-organisms in the soil, enhances fertility, bolsters insect populations, and boosts yield. In turn, this reduces the cost of growing crops and increases returns in the long run and in turn this increases the value of the land.

Organic farming is Zimbabweโ€™s niche to leapfrog it back into making farming profitable and sustainable for wheat, maize, horticulture, cotton, meat, and cash-crop products.

๐—ฆ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฐ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป๐˜€ ๐—•๐˜‚๐˜€๐˜๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด.

It is also a very smart means of busting sanctions, which have mainly targeted Zimbabweโ€™s fertilizer and chemical industries, rendering Zimbabwean farmers uncompetitive because of high input costs.

With a hectare of maize costing anything from $370-$1200 to produce today, it has become unattractive for most Zimbabwean farmers to produce maize and cotton, as they canโ€™t compete against industrial farming nations.
However, organic farming aided by organic fertilizers will be a game changer for local farmers, holding the propensity to position Zimbabwe as a leader in producing quality organic animal feed, meat, dairy, horticulture, aquaculture, and cash-crop products at a competitive cost.

We can also become leaders in downstream industries like organic fertilizer production, pest and herbicide control, while we turn our weeds and herbs into power foods and medicines.

Letโ€™s start on the journey of this organic farming revolution now as nations like Zambia and Malawi are all working on strategies to position themselves in this niche.

If anyone is interested in this organic revolution and wants to start using organic manure, please get in touch with me in my inbox.

Written by Rutendo Bereza Matinyarare, Chairman of ZASM and CEO of Frontline Strat Marketing Consultancy.

Related Articles

[td_block_social_counter facebook="tagdiv" twitter="tagdivofficial" youtube="tagdiv" style="style8 td-social-boxed td-social-font-icons" tdc_css="eyJhbGwiOnsibWFyZ2luLWJvdHRvbSI6IjM4IiwiZGlzcGxheSI6IiJ9LCJwb3J0cmFpdCI6eyJtYXJnaW4tYm90dG9tIjoiMzAiLCJkaXNwbGF5IjoiIn0sInBvcnRyYWl0X21heF93aWR0aCI6MTAxOCwicG9ydHJhaXRfbWluX3dpZHRoIjo3Njh9" custom_title="Stay Connected" block_template_id="td_block_template_8" f_header_font_family="712" f_header_font_transform="uppercase" f_header_font_weight="500" f_header_font_size="17" border_color="#dd3333"]
- Advertisement -spot_img

Latest Articles