As record high fertiliser prices continue to threaten farm profit margins, experts weighed in on how farmers can cut costs during a recent session of Food For Mzansi’s Gather To Grow on Twitter.
To organic fertiliser specialist Thapelo Phiri, organic fertilisers are the way to go, however, he also advises farmers to try their hand at recycling organic waste as fertliser.
In the session, he explains why and how food waste, decaying plants, and animal waste can all be recycled to be used as fertiliser.
“I think the space within organic fertilisers will be the next big thing for farmers, and looking into soil health as well,” he says.
Phiri was flanked by Stephanie Mullins, programme manager at urban farming organisation SEED. According to Mullins, switching from chemical to natural processes can be daunting, however, it is beneficial in the long haul and farmers save on costs.
She explains why natural fertilisers are a game changer. “Once you add that to your soil, you are building for success [and inviting] all the good micro-organisms that make your plants healthy.”
Farmers need help
The session was also attended by Thabile Nkhunjana, agricultural economist for the National Agricultural Marketing Council (NAMC). Nkhunjana says farmers need government and corporates to get involved.
“The issue is not necessarily the failure of the state, but it’s also not to invest properly. The investment is not necessarily done by the state or the governments, it is done by the corporates, the same guys that are producing the fertilisers that we’re using now.”
Nkhunjana believes collaboration between government, private sector and farmers is possible. The signing of the Agriculture and Agro Processing Master Plan (AAMP), was prove of that, he adds.
During the session, experts also unpack:
- Costs comparison between chemical fertilisers and natural fertilisers;
- Reasons behind the fertiliser price hikes; and more.
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