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One man's bid to let go of costly chemical fertilisers

By John Githinji
Nicholas Njoroge explains how he makes the fertilizer. (John Githinji, Standard)

Increasing yields is one goal every farmer strives to achieve. Mr Nicholas Njoroge, a farmer in Kinangop, Nyandarua County, has found what works for him.

Having lost his father to throat cancer, Njoroge decided to venture into ‘clean farming’.

Through a unique formula, Njoroge uses plant residue and animal waste to make his own fertiliser.

Dubbed Agroculo, which is a combination of the word agriculture and an Italian phrase Culo which means food for plants, the product works as a booster for crops and a soil remedy as it increases humus content while protecting crops against pests.

He says he underwent training on soil science and how to keep soil healthy.

“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 adds.

Njoroge says he prepared several plots and tested the product on different crops before he could arrive at the right composition that gave best results.

“I use rabbit urine and a host of locally available plants and molasses and the result was amazing,” says Njoroge.

To maximise on the benefits, this product is fed on the soil before planting and on the crops after planting. The process can be repeated throughout the growing period.

“The reception for this product has been amazing. Farmers have been eager to grow food free of chemicals and the cost of this product is by far cheaper than what is sold in agrochemical shops,” he adds.

He sells a litre at Sh400

The product, he claims, is loaded with vitamins and organic acids that provide crops with essential minerals like iron manganese, zinc, and copper.

The product, he further says, has proved efficient in protecting plants from attacks from pests.

“From my experience, I raised potato yields from 40 to 60 bags from an acre piece of land,” he adds. He says the fertiliser should be sprayed in ratios of 300ml per 20 litres of water. An acre will take 20 litres of the Agriculo mix.

The procedure should be done on the soil two weeks before planting then repeated once every fortnight after the crop reaches two weeks of germination until maturity.

The procedure might look expensive but the benefits outweigh the cost. Consistent use of the fertiliser ensures the soil remains in good health for a longer period.

Besides improving the soil, Njoroge says spraying the organic fertiliser on crops reduces the cost associated with preventing pest attacks as well as boosting the immunity of crops to withstand common diseases attacking crops like potato bright.

He says he has taken samples to KEPHIS for testing and approval so as to acquire certification. Right now, the product is in circulation in his locality but farmers who have used it are reaping high benefits.

John Njuguna, a farmer who has engaged in organic farming using the product, says he wouldn’t go back to chemical fertilisers.

“Before I started using Agriculo in my farm, I would harvest 35 to 40 bags of potatoes after I started using this product, my one-acre farm now gives me a minimum of 55 bags of potatoes,” he says.

Njuguna says the effects of the product are most evident on the soil texture and on crops like cabbages whose size doubles and becomes noticeably heavier.

Josyln Mukami, who works with International Fertiliser Development Centre, says that after observing the results from Nicholas’s product, they included him in their farmers training programmes in Nyandarua County where they have tasked him with introducing the product to farmers while training them on standard farm practices.

“Nicholas has a unique product that is reversing the effects of continued use of chemical fertilisers,” says Josyln Mukami.

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