Organic Composting in Ethiopia
Due to extensive use of artificial fertilizer the soil of many farmers in Ethiopia has become exhausted. The result is decreasing yields for the farmers which they try to compensate by using even more intensive farming methods. In such arid climates, poor soil fertility is a growing concern for all farmers. This is a negative spiral which, at the end, will cause negative results and potential bankruptcy for thousands of farmers and related companies within 5 to 10 years.
The solution is using the right compost. Soil health is vital for sustainable farming where no or less artificial fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides will be used. In order to retain and increase soil fertility it is important that good compost is applied along with sound rotations. Compost not only puts nutrients back into the soil but also improves soil structure, disease suppression and increases pest tolerance. Soil & More Ethiopia encourages controlled microbial composting systems as prevention or in response to plant health problems associated with soil borne issues.
Soil & More Ethiopia (SME) will develop a composting site near Ziway, Ethiopia. Ziway is located in the province of Oromia close to the available input materials of rose farmers. This will be combined with other input materials from the area. The rose farmers have a huge problem with their (green) waste. Every day 50 trucks drive to a land fill to dump the green waste. This causes a large environmental problem which is a perfect starting situation for a composting facility. With all rose farmers there are contracts where they commit themselves to bring the waste to the composting facility for free.
SME will be the first company in Ethiopia to produce compost on the proposed scale. The applied know how and technology is new for the country; there is no other project, similar to this level and scope so far in the country. As there is no similar project known in the country and the project area, this project will create large synergies with the existing agricultural and commercial activities in the area of Ziway. It is expected that the compost will enhance further productivity and efficiency of the farmers who will use the compost.
SME will be the first company in Ethiopia to produce compost on the proposed scale. The applied know how and technology is new. This project will create large synergies with the existing agricultural and commercial activities in the area of Ziway. It is expected that the compost will enhance further productivity and efficiency of the (estimated 1.500) small holder farmers, rose farmers and others who will use the compost.
- 1,500 small holders farmers through cooperatives as clients to improve their productivity
- 40-60 jobs created: 35-50 low level jobs; 5-10 medium/ high level jobs
- Introduction of sustainable farming methods. Many farmers (fruit / vegetable / flowers) have problems with their soils due to extensive use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Many farmers are in a negative spiral since prices of chemicals and pesticides continue to increase while yields are declining. Furthermore the use of pesticides & chemicals are causing environmental problems in the surroundings of farmers’ locations. In addition many farmers (and municipalities) produce enormous amounts of waste which are dumped and will start emitting methane, a greenhouse gas 21 x stronger than CO2. Another big problem is the increasing water scarcity. When using compost farmers can save significantly on their irrigation water.
SME is a Joint-Venture between the Dutch Soil & More International and Farm Organic International PLC, a local company in Ethiopia which promotes organic sustainable farming. Farm Organic International PLC (FOI) is a private company founded as a diversified marketing company, specializing in sustainable and environmentally friendly farming for socio-economic welfare of the smallholder farmers. Farm Organic International is founded in the 2006 with the vision of bridging the gap between the local organic producer and global consumers in a sustainable and equitable way.
Soil & More International (SMI) is active in the setting-up and management of large scale composting sites in developing countries as well as CO2 emission reduction and sustainability assessment projects (foot printing). SMI was founded in 2007 on the principle that economy and ecology are inextricably linked. The company’s corporate objective is to create commercial value through ecological and ethical innovation.