First local organic manure enters market
Agriculture: Cow gives … cow dung!
This is what farmer Padam Bahadur Ghalley would say if he were a student. The farmer boasts his produce is extraordinary. He made Nu 5,000 on the first day of a marketing trial at the Centenary Farmers’ Market yesterday.
It is the first bio-slurry composted organic manure, a by-product form the biogas plant he owns. For the bio-slurry marketing trial, Padam had brought 3,500 kilogrammes of the organic manure. Each five kg bag costs Nu 100 and Nu 200 for a 10kg bag.
“It was a good sale,” the father of eight children said.
Padam Bhahadur Ghalley is one of the first two farmers to be trained in turning waste from biogas plant to organic manure. There are now 186 farmers from Sarpang, Tsirang, Chukha and Samtse trained in this technology.
Padam said that earlier they would use the remains from the biogas plant in the betel nut trees, orange orchards, kitchen garden and dump them in the paddy fields.
“Only about a year I knew that I could make money from the output of the biogas plant,” he said.
Agriculture officials said the technology could contribute to reducing poverty by improving livelihoods and quality of life of rural farmers. The National Organic Programme (NOP) has trained 54 agriculture extension officials of Pemagatshel, Trashigang, Trashiyangtse, Mongar, and Samdrupjongkhar.
Rural villagers depend on forest and kerosene for energy and lighting. The biogas plants would substitute them saving forests and emissions from burning the fuel and its transport.
Bhutan consumes about 1.2 million tonnes of fuel-wood a year, about 70 percent of that used by households for cooking and heating. The country has one of the world’s highest monthly per capital fuel-wood consumptions, burning 97.3 kilogrammes.
The country also imported 6,719.48 kilolitres of liquid petroleum gas in 2014 alone.
Livestock department’s Bhutan Biogas Project Director Dorji Gyaltshen said there are huge benefits from this technology.
“This would also help in supporting food production and livestock development,” he said.
This technology could help in realising the country’s organic dream, agriculture minister Yeshey Dorji at the launch said.
At the end of the 11th Plan the country would have about 9,000 biogas plants across the country.
“Besides the present donors’ support, we are pumping in Nu 4.5 million through the European Union grant,” lyonpo Yeshey Dorji announced. “For that the livestock department will be providing quality cattle for stall feeding.”
Since the pathogens from the cow manure are mostly eliminated and minerals become readily available for use, bio-slurry is a very good organic fertilizer, according to agriculture officials.
National Organic Programme official, Jigme Wangchuk said organic manure could replace the most preferred fertilizers like urea and safola.
Meanwhile, the NOP will train 608 farmers, 87 agriculture extension officials, set up 19 composting units, in nine dzongkhags. By December this year, farmers are expected to produce about 285 metric tonnes of the composted organic manure.
The Bhutan Biogas Project began in March 2011 has been extended to December 2016 and as of February 2016 built 2,742 biogas plants.
The Project is a joint programme of Asian Development Bank, Department of Renewal Energy, Department of Livestock, SNV, and Bhutan Development Bank.
Padam Bahadur Ghalley will remain in Thimphu until Sunday. He will go back to teach his fellow villagers the art of making bio-slurry.
“Some of my friends have already shown interest,” the 61-year old farmer said. “It’ll be good to do it together and create a business.”