The price of chemical fertilisers have gone through the roof. This is why organic fertiliser specialist Thapelo Phiri encourages farmers to “go natural for the health of soil and for the sake of sustainability”.
Phiri, who joins us on the latest Farmer’s Inside Track podcast, explains that organic fertilisers are the remaining byproducts of animals and plants, whereas inorganic fertilisers are essentially chemicals.
“When we use inorganic fertilisers, we use [them] depending on the needs of the plant. Unlike when we use organic fertilisers, [which] we use to enrich the soil and the plant as a whole. [With organic fertilisers] we [are] developing the whole ecosystem from the soil to the plant,” he says.
“With the use of chemical fertilisers, the focus is only on the growth of the plant. That’s why we need specific fertilisers [to address the] specific needs of a certain plant.”
Sustainability is key
The animal byproducts and plants that make up organic fertilisers range from animal manure like cow manure or chicken manure, and also include earthworms, fish bones, compost, and egg shells, says Phiri.
“The application of all the named fertilisers will differ depending on the type of fertiliser in use and either if the fertiliser is in the liquid form or in a granular form.”
In today’s farming climate, sustainability is critical. That is why, according to Phiri, organic fertiliser needs to be prioritised.
“When it comes to sustainable agriculture, organic fertilisers take centre stage as they work with nature, not against nature. The nutrients that are provided by organic fertilisers follow the natural cycle of nitrogen release in the soil and that works well [in] different climatic conditions and different crop growth patterns.
He adds that organic fertilisers help safeguard the surrounding ecosystems, thus reducing the environmental impact of farming. By using organic fertilisers and paying attention to their soil, Phiri says farmers can produce in such a way that it benefits themselves, their customers, and the environment.
“Moving to sustainable agriculture and the use of organic fertilisers can help us all in playing a huge role against the food crisis, the health crisis, and the climate crisis. [It can also] ensure that [a] sustainable world is built for the future generations, one farm at a time.”
Other podcast highlights:
This week’s Farmer’s Inside Track also has other highlights from the agricultural sector:
- Farm finance 101:: Finding funding for your farm can be a nightmare. Bertie Hamman, senior manager of agribusiness at Standard Bank, gives us some insight into your different finance options.
- Aquaculture:: The fascinating and potentially lucrative world of aquaculture is notoriously difficult to crack in South Africa. David Fincham, director of David Fincham Aquaculture in Gauteng, explains the different variations available to aspiring fish farmers.
- Book of the week:: Our book of the week, which deals with inspiring others, is Leaders eat last by Simon Sinek.
- Farmer’s tip of the week:: Our farmer’s tip this week comes from Dr Raesibe Kekana, technical veterinarian for ruminants at MSD Animal Health
How to listen to Farmer’s Inside Track
Option 3: Click here to listen on Google Podcasts.
Option 4: Click here listen using this player. Just click “play”.