Farmer develops organic fertilizer to protect soil and environment

Nicholas Njoroge is a farmer in Kinangop, Nyandarua County. Attempting to make a difference, he ventures into organic fertilizer production to increase his yields, a goal at the heart of every farmer. His bid is to let go the costly chemical fertilizers.

Nicholas Njoroge demonstrates how he makes the fertilizer

The need to protect soils and the environment continues to emerge even as farmers seek to improve on food production to meet rising demand and fill the shortages.

Tracing his farming journey from childhood seeing the farther buying different chemicals to spray his crops, Nicholas decided to venture into ‘clean farming’ through a unique formula.

After working for so many years in the agricultural sector and inheriting what his great Grandfather used to do to earn his living, Nicholas embraced farming.

I started farming at tender age of 15 years and literally paid for my up keep and education through farming which has been my passion and zeal since I lost my father  due to throat cancer,” he begins his story.

Nicholas did a self-audit to find answers to questions pertaining to all the chemicals farmers spray on crops while putting on personal protective equipment’s (P.P.E), and the side effects.

“In brief I witnessed how farmers would spray all these chemicals and would sometimes become sick. I then sought to find a solution to the problem.

He then embarked on an ambitious journey to sample out natural plants, roots tree and herbs that can be used for the crops they grow and at the same time healthy for the farmers and the end consumers.

After undergoing training on soil science and how to keep soil healthy he developed his own fertiliser known as Agroculo from plant residue and animal waste.  The name is a combination of the word agriculture and Culo, an Italian phrase that means food for plants.

“This took me eight good years of research on a trial and error basis and eventually was able to come up with products that is nontoxic and environmental friendly. I decided to come up with a product that caters for soil restoration and improvement using locally available components as I had learnt in the training,” he says.

He uses Agroculo as a booster for crops and a soil remedy since it increases humus content while protecting crops against pests,

Agriculo product

Alongside improving of the soil, the fertiliser also reduces the cost associated with preventing pest attacks

Before arriving at the right composition that could give out good results, Njoroge had to prepare several plots and tested the product on different crops using rabbit urine and a host of locally available plants and molasses. “The result was amazing,” says Njoroge.

The product (Agroculo) is fed on the soil before planting and on the crops after planting to maximise on the benefits and the process can be repeated throughout the growing period.

The product, he says has been received well by farmers who have been eager to grow food free of chemicals and much affordable.

“Agroculo is rich in vitamins and organic acids that provide crops with essential minerals like iron manganese, zinc, and copper. The product is also efficient in protecting plants from attacks by different pests. I sell a litre at Sh400,” he says.

Speaking from experience, Nicholas is proud that he managed to raise potato yields from 40 to 60 bags from just an acre piece of land.

“The fertiliser should be sprayed in ratios of 300ml per 20 litres of water. The procedure should be done on the soil two weeks before planting then repeated once every fortnight. This should continue from two weeks after germination until maturity. An acre will take 20 litres of the Agriculo mix,” he explains.

According to Nicholas, the procedure might look expensive, but the benefits outweigh the cost. Its consistent use leaves the soil in good health for a long time.

Alongside improving of the soil, the fertiliser also reduces the cost associated with preventing pest attacks. It also boosts the immunity of crops to withstand common diseases attacking crops like potato bright.

He has already taken samples to KEPHIS for testing and approval in order to get certification. At currently, the product is circulating in his locality with farmers who are using it reaping big.

Agriculo organic food comprises of three essentials elements targeting soil nourishment, an all-round robust growth for all crops and plants and for all pest and aphids repellant to benefit the farmer

For oil nourishment, Agriculo organic food basically feeds the soil with positive micro-organisms which are essentials for sustaining healthy crop production. These organisms are: Archaea, bacteria, protozoa, algae, and fungi, oouycetes which are present in Agriculo organic food, which provides a rich ecosystem that nourishes the soil for maximum and healthy production for all crops/plants.

“In addition to this, it increases the humus content in the soil and feeds it with essentials vitamins, organic acids and anti-oxidants that plays a crucial role in the soil nourishment and thus is capable of sustaining a healthy environment and high quality food production,” Nicholas explains.

For an all-round and robust growth for all crops and plants, the product has Phosphorous to help in the growth of the plant and hastens the maturity of the crops, nitrogen to enhance

plant growth especially in their cell tissues and Calcium-essential for the growth plants of their roots and roots.

Still on growth, Agriculo also has Magnesium which plays a major role in the photosynthesis mechanism of the plant/crop, Potassium- acting as a plant disease resistance and enable healthy growth of a plant and Zinc to help in the development of the leaves and also elongation of the stems. It basically helps in the overall growth of the plant.

The rabbit urine is also found in Agriculo organic food. It repels pests and aphids like white flies, cutworms, moths, potatoe cyte nematodes (PCN) among others.

Organic feeds works as dewormer, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial infections. It has ant-oxidant elements which works well as a repellant to all flies and fleas.

John Njuguna, an organic farmer who is using the product says he has no regrets. Before he started using Agriculo in his farm, his harvest was ranging from 35 to 40 bags of potatoes. Since he started using Agriculo, his one acre produces at least 55 bags of potatoes.

“Effects of the product are clearly evident on the soil texture and on crops like cabbages whose size doubles and becomes noticeably heavier,” says Njuguna.

Joslyn Mukami from the International Fertiliser Development Centre and independent NGO that combines innovative research, market system development and strategic partnership to spread sustainable agriculture solutions for improved soil health, food security and livelihoods says having observed the results from the product, they included him in their farmers training programmes in Nyandarua County.

The NGO has tasked him with introducing the product to farmers while training them on standard farm practices.

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