Podcast: ‘Organic fertiliser won’t break the bank’

Organic fertiliser specialist Thapelo Phiri encourages farmers to go natural for the health of soil and for the sake of sustainability. He is among the guests featured on the latest Farmer’s Inside Track podcast episode

This week's podcast features Bertie Hamman, Thapelo Phiri, Raesibe Kekana, and David Fincham. Photos: Supplied/Food for Mzansi

This week's podcast features Bertie Hamman, Thapelo Phiri, Raesibe Kekana, and David Fincham. Photos: Supplied/Food for Mzansi

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”.

Thapelo Phiri, organic fertiliser specialist. Photo: Supplied/Food For Mzansi

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.

“Also, organic fertilisers are rich in organic matter, which enhances the biological activity of the soil, thereby also improving and sustaining the biodiversity.”

Thapelo Phiri

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.”

ALSO READ: Fertiliser from urine? Winning researcher says yes

Other podcast highlights:

This week’s Farmer’s Inside Track also has other highlights from the agricultural sector:

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