Harnessing plant, animal and human waste as effective inputs

Mr. Nagesh in his vermicompost unit. Photo: Special Arrangement

Mr. Nagesh in his vermicompost unit. Photo: Special Arrangement

The waste generated in a village, if properly utilised,
can help a farmer save some money by not having to buy fertilizers and
generate income.
“The main concept is to integrate
the animal, plant and human wastes into useful components for the
manufacture of crop inputs such as vermicompost, pest repellents and
biogas, thereby reducing input cost for farmers.

goes waste. If farmers start practising this type of cultivation it can
definitely assure them cent per cent self sustainability,” says Dr. P.
Alagesan, Programme Coordinator, Myrada Krishi Vigyan Kendra,
Gobichettipalayam, Erode district.

Best example

the several farmers who have been introduced into this concept by
Myrada, Mr. M. Nagesh, from M. P. Doddi village of Talavadi block is
considered the best.
“Apart from adopting this nearly
10 years back, the farmer has followed all the instructions carefully,
interacts with us on a regular basis and tried to set up maximum
interventions in his farm,” says Dr. Alagesan.
Initially he set up a biogas unit to replace the demand for firewood.
used to carry 45-50 kg of firewood daily from a nearby reserve forest.
But after the unit installation the farmer’s drudgery has been reduced
and he is able to save about Rs. 500 a month by not buying LPG gas.
family requirement is about 15 kg of cow dung daily to produce the gas
and once every 2-3 months the cow dung slurry is recycled through a
vermi-compost process unit. Farm wastes like leaves, crop residues etc
are also added to the slurry.

No external dependance

the amount of vermicompost I generate in my own unit, I can easily
supply the inputs for my three acres. I do not depend or buy outside
inputs for my crops. Beyond being a farmer’s friend earthworms have
become our family friend,” he says.
The farmer grows crops likes potato, onion, turmeric and garlic.
20 kg of cow dung and 10-15 litres of cow urine are collected
effectively in a modern cattle shed he has constructed from which 40
litres of Panchagavya and 20 litres of pest repellent are produced.
A unique feature in the farm is the rain-water harvesting component.
it is rare for a farmer to adopt rain-water harvesting structures since
many opine that their open fields are natural rain-water harvesting
units but Mr. Nagesh has built a cement tank (ten thousand litre
capacity) which he keeps open during the rains.
The water is later used during summer (April- July) for feeding cattle, cooking, washing and other household purposes.
water tank is fitted with an airtight lid to protect water from direct
sunlight exposure thus preventing algae from growing on them.

Further experiments

farmer has further experimented with the implementation of eco san
toilet as an alternative approach to safe and efficient management of
human waste. The waste converted into manure from the toilet is used for
growing his fodder crops.
“We started an awareness
programme for eight families nearly a decade back on the importance of
harnessing the wastes as useful inputs. Initially it was met with a
lukewarm response with many shying away or expressing their
unwillingness to do it. But today nearly 60 villages and 800 families
are using this concept.

Better awareness

we find them to be more aware on the subject and the most encouraging
sign is those who practise it goad others also in their area to adopt
it,” says Dr. Alagesan.
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