Rumphi famers say goodbye to chemical fertilizer

Farmers in Rumphi district have slowly started to abandon application of chemical fertilizer in their farms opting for the organically made.

This follows the wonderful performance of various crops in their fields thereby giving hope of a bumper yield ever.

Farmers who are mostly in cooperatives said apart from reducing cost of farming while buying chemical fertilizer, the organic “Mbeya fertilizer” has doubled and in some instances tripled their produce.

Jane Chihana, a maize and tomato farmer from Mulongoti cooperative said before adopting the use of organic fertilizer, she used to have limited proceeds from her farm.

Chihana said from her one hectare of land she could only manage to harvest 15 bags of maize and 10 baskets of tomatoes which is never the case today.

“Since I started applying organic fertilizer in my farm, I have been able to produce 30 baskets of tomatoes and over 30 bags of maize. This has improved food situation at home and at the same time increased our financial base through the sale of our two commodities,” explained Chihana.

She further said instead of buying 4 bags of fertilizer at Mk23, 000 each, she only spent Mk5, 000 to buy 5kilogrames and UREA and NPK which she added to the organic manure she made.

“There is no reason for me to continue applying chemical fertilizer in my farm when I can make my own of which I am assured of high yield,” said Chihana empathizing that farming has been made simple.

According to farmers, Mbeya organic fertilizer is working miracle to many. The fertilizer is made by mixing 5kgs Urea or 5Litres of urine and NPK, 10kgs of ashes, 20kgs dung, 20kgs of maize bran and 5liters of water.

Among others, Mbeya fertilizer is believed to help in keeping moisture for the crop, releases nutrients slower and consistently while at the same time improve soil structure.

Saviour Nkhonjera of Mahenga Cooperative in Traditional Authority Mwahenga only applied 4 bags of Mbeya fertilizer on her 2 hectare of land and expect to harvest over 80 bags of maize.

“My crop is green and promising and this is my first time to apply Mbeya fertilizer,” said Nkhonjera while commending Cooperative enterprise pathways for environmental sustainability Malawi Project (CEPEESM) who offered the training on manure making.

She said at the beginning of the farming season she had a small amount of fertilizer which if not for the organic fertilizer was not going to be enough for the land.

“It was few days after sleepless nights that we were advantaged to attend a training on manure making. I did not hesitate to make my own manure knowing that the training was an indirect way God was speaking to me.

“Today I am a free and proud farmer because I can make my own fertilizer at my own time,” she said.

John Mulangeni, Project Manager for CEPEESM said one of the four components of their project is to encourage communities the use of renewable energy and manage their waste properly.

Mulangeni said the making of Mbeya fertilizer was one way of managing waste.

“In our programme we look at a number of issues such as youth involvement in cooperatives, women empowerment particularly encouraging them to take a leading role in decision positions and championing the activities of cooperative’s federal body.

“It is worth to note that under the renewable energy and waste management, good fruits are coming out and as an organization we are proud of that,” Mulangeni explained.

He said the increased yield of farmers would improve their food situation and provide a window for a fast and profitable agriculture.

“We are assured of food security in households and opportunities for business,” Mulangeni explained.

Chihana and Nkhonjera have since appealed to farmers in the country to utilize their manure and never wait for the chemical fertilizers.

Source: Malawi News Agency – MANA