Farmers in Meket district embrace improved organic fertilizers
Organic fertilizers play an essential role in maintaining soil health by influencing nutrient availability, enhancing the soil's structure, and supporting its water retention capacity. Traditional organic fertilizers, such as manure and compost, have been a choice for many farmers albeit in limited quantities.
Increasing the use of organic fertilizers is crucial in the context of regenerative agriculture, especially in light of the recent drastic rise in the cost of fertilizers, which has raised concerns among farmers.
In its soil fertility initiative, SAA-Ethiopia educates farmers on composting's advantages, emphasizing both increasing volume and improving quality. Techniques such as vermicomposting (using earthworms) and the application of Effective Microorganisms (EMs) are highlighted. These EMs expedite the decomposition process and notably reduce the compost's odor by minimizing the release of toxic gases, one of the deterrents for many farmers. Consequently, composting has gained traction among farmers.
In areas like Meket District, Taguba Meskel, and Kokit Kebeles, the enthusiasm for composting is evident. A majority of the 48 host farmers have prepared their compost. Some have explored vermicomposting, while others have chosen methods like traditional manure. These farmers are now equipped with diverse composting techniques and are looking forward to the next crop cycle.
Habtam Tadde, a 32-year-old farmer from Taguba Meskel Kebele, has embraced the benefits of composting. She has produced both traditional and EM-enhanced compost and intends to use it in the upcoming season, anticipating improvements in soil health and crop yield. Additionally, Habtam has shared her composting insights with neighbors, emphasizing the economic advantages. By using compost, she saved approximately 74 USD on purchasing 25 kg of urea, meeting half of her plot's urea needs.
This practice will empower farmers in treating the soil and promoting environmental well-being and sustainable farming.