Tricho-compost gaining popularity

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An article by Arindam Bala and Kbd Md. Tarek Nasirullah:

“We have experimented with three different organic fertilizers: Mazim organic fertilizer, Vermi-compost and Tricho-compost for our demonstration plots of the Cucurbitaceae family. The production was 31 tons/hector, 32 tons/hector and 34 tons/hector in Mazim organic fertilizer, Vermi-compost and Tricho-compost respectively. It confirms that Tricho-compost gave the most profitable results not only in terms of production but also for plant and soil health. The farmers have benefited from the use of this eco-friendly Tricho-compost (fertilizer and leachate). We are working to popularize the production and use of Tricho-compost at the farmer-level (Shajahan’ s plant). The use of this organic fertilizer: Tricho-compost is appropriate for growing horticultural crops, rooftop gardening and container gardening.”- said Nilufar Yasmin Monalisa Sweety, Upazila Agriculture Officer, Sreemangal, Moulvibazar.

Tricho-compost is a value-added organic fertilizer, which is made using a beneficial fungus called Trichoderma in the compost to protect the crops from undesirable fungus. An established Tricho-compost plant produces two types of organic substances, one is fertilizer and another is leachate. Both contain Trichoderma sp. (a beneficial fungus) to add value to this product. Tricho-leachate is harvested during decomposition of Tricho-compost.

Mr. Shajahan, an elderly resident of Razapur village of Sreemangal, Moulvibazar is a venturer of this Tricho-compost plant in his area. He is a member of Razapur Sarbik Gram Unnayan Somobay Somity Limited, a village development organization (also called VDO) registered with the government’s Department of Cooperative and supported by BRAC-Chevron partnered Jibika project. This plant is a joint venture between Shahjahan and the VDO for which, Jibika project helps with finances, training and technical support. As per the joint venture agreement, the sales profit is distributed in 80-20% ratio where Shajahan gets 80% and the VDO gets 20% of the profit share. This 20% profit of the VDO is distributed among the VDO members at the end of each fiscal year. This amount contributes in promoting livelihoods for Shajahan and the other VDO members and their families.

Since November 2020, a total of 3,500 kgs of fertilizer and 184 liters of leachates have been produced. 3,500 kgs of these fertilizers and 152 liters of leachate have been sold till 15th September, 2021. Each year this 1.5 decimal areas’ plant can produce approximately 6,000 kgs of Tricho-compost and 300 liters of Tricho-leachate. The required raw materials of the Tricho-compost are cow dung, poultry waste, water hyacinth, vegetable wastes, sawdust, maize bran and molasses.

Tricho-compost is not familiar compared to the other fertilizers in our country. However, it is currently drawing the attention of farmers and agriculturists and being used in various areas in this region. Shajahan said, “The demand for fertilizer and leachate is increasing, but I cannot produce enough to meet the demand of farmers as there are many farmers (growing lemon, pineapple and vegetables) in Sreemangal Upazila, Moulvibazar.” Tricho-leachate is used as pesticides and sprayed in the plots at hill tracts & plain lands in this region.

The produced organic fertilizer and leachate have created great interest among local farmers who were previously using chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Using these for a long time resulted in an alarming decline of the fertility of the crop-lands along with the crop production rate which is making the local farmers turn towards the organic compost.

Mr. Shusen Deb, a middle-aged dweller of Esupur, Sreemangal, has used 100 kgs of Trico-compost in his 15 decimals of bottle-gourd plots. He said, “We used to use chemical fertilizer, but this year, we have been introduced with this organic compost by the Upazila Agriculture Officer (Sreemangal). We have not used any other fertilizer except tricho-compost in this land. The production of bottle-gourd was outstanding and it was perceptible. And recently, I have also used 50 kgs of this, in a 10 decimal plot to grow yard long beans” (local name Ramai).

Mr. Kader, a middle-aged resident of Daskin Lamua, Sreemongal Upazila, Mouvibazar, has been using both the fertilizer and the leachate in Cucumber and Tomato plots since Shajahan is producing the compost. He said, “After using these fertilizers and leachate, the color of these vegetables remains green, soil-borne diseases decline, and production remains standard.”

Another farmer, Mr. Shamsul has used the fertilizer in his green chili plots and lemon garden at Doluchara, Sreemangal. He said, “Not only me, but also many owners of the lemon gardens are applying these environmentally friendly fertilizers because we have learned it works as anti-fungal, promotes production and increases fertility of soil.

Afik, a young farmer and the owner of the Green Fort Nursery of East Rupuspur, Sreemangal, said, “This compost gets mixed quickly with soil. Through using this Trico-fertilizer, the seedling germination rate of Papaya has significantly increased, and the mortality rate has reduced. The compost works against damping-off which used to damage 20-25% seedling in my nursery, but after using this compost, this damage has dropped to 5-7%. Beside this, the growth & strength of the seedlings is catching eyes.”

50 Common Interest Group (CIG) farmers (male-35, female-15) from Sreemangal and Komolgonj Upazila have visited Razapur Tricho-compost plant led by the Upazila Agriculture Officers. While visiting the plant, they observed the production process of the compost.

At present, organic Tricho-compost is being produced commercially at the farmer-level (at Shajahan’s plant) and its use is becoming very popular. Shajahan also supplies this compost to a shop. The shop owner, Mr. Surjo explained that the demand of the Trico-compost and leachate is increasing in that area due to the abundance of the lemon and pineapple gardens, and vegetable plots.

Finally, composting is good for the environment. Tricho-compost is contributing to eco-friendly farming as it is made by recycling organic resources. Any compost encourages healthy root structure, and helps to control soil erosion. In addition, Tricho-compost improves soil structure, water retention capacity, helps regulate soil PH and assists to maintain soil temperature. Compost also protects plants from drought resulting in healthier growth and decreases need for chemical fertilizer.

** Arindam Bala and Kbd Md. Tarek Nasirullah work at Jibika Project, IDP, BRAC.