Nitrogen bio-fortified and pelletized commercial-grade organic fertilizer made from urban bio-waste to improve soil productivity

Nitrogen bio-fortified and pelletized commercial-grade organic fertilizer made from urban bio-waste to improve soil productivity

Preamble

Soil infertility in Sub-Saharan Africa, alongside soil organic matter depletion, soil nutrient depletion and loss of soil biodiversity, is considered one of the root causes of declining agricultural productivity. Infertility and nutrient imbalances on smallholder farms is due to more nutrients being removed from the soil than replenished from practices such as complete crop removal from farmlands, lack of fertilizer usage, and unbalanced or incorrect fertilizer application. Adoption and use of fertilizer is further complicated by prohibitive prices of the input, and low outputs in terms of yield from rampant counterfeit products. This project uses urban municipal bio-waste such as crop residues, which are produced in large quantities and currently disposed of indiscriminately. Using bio-waste for fertilizer production will also reduce environmental problems such as ground and surface water pollution, spread of disease vectors from open and uncovered dump sites, and emission of greenhouse gases including methane.

The technology

The nitrogen enriched biofertilizer is produced using an improved aerobic composting procedure. This innovative process uses local low-cost steel bio reactors, enclosed and equipped with sensors for optimal temperature and humidity control during composting. This method reduces the production cycle from eight to three weeks. The final product is moulded into cylindrical pellets of between 5-7.55 millimetres diameter.

Project partners

University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM), Tanzania
Makerere University (MAK), Uganda
Tursam Investment Limited (TIL), Uganda
Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA), Tanzania
Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH), Tanzania
Guavay Company Limited, Tanzania

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