I’ve picked up a few bits of news recently from the Philippines about the inroads being made by Bokashi and EM. Partly I think they can be put down to someone somewhere being on the ball and getting the information out to the press, but that doesn’t always have to be such a bad thing. So many silly and downright poor things get a lot of airspace, its great to see that something genuinely good like Bokashi also gets some promotion.
Anyway, here the Manilla Bulletin Publishing Corporation is writing about how the Department of Agriculture in the Philippines is promoting organic farming throughout the Philippines — like everywhere else the challenge is to produce enough food — now — without jeopardising the environment. Apparently the project involves a huge investment in solutions for soil inoculation. Thus far, they say, the most effective they’ve found is produced locally using the Bokashi method developed by Dr. Teruo Higa that creates fertilizer out of organic materials, including kitchen waste.
I don’t know the details, but Bokashi in an agricultural setting in Asian countries is sort of the same, same, but different to what we do here in our homes. In Indonesia, I believe they take production leftovers (banana waste) and make huge piles on the ground which they then make into Bokashi compost, in other words ferment it using EM (Effective Microorganisms). Much as we do in our little kitchen bins but on a scale big enough to spread out onto the fields.
The effects have been reported as impressive in applications where they’ve got the balance right. The microbes are spread across the land where they set up camp and start breeding, gradually improving the microlife in the soil with all the benefits that brings. The carrier (be it food waste, banana stuff, leftovers from wine production (as used in NZ) helps feed the microbes while they do their work.
The US Department of Agriculture has recently done some research into whether this works or not and came up with a positive result — yes, EM improves productivity, provided it is added in conjunction with organic material.
It’s a fantastically positive sign — in times like this where land is being destroyed by chemical mismanagement or unable to produce the required yields through traditional organic farming, it’s a relief to see there are some strong forces propagating for change. Yes, we can do this better! Yes, we can get it right!
Read more here on REAP Canada’s website, REAP stands for Resource Efficient Agricultural Production. It’s an independent, non-profit organisation working to help the world produce more food more efficiently.