November,23,2022 | News

Training in composting for backyard gardeners


There is a growing movement to use more environmentally friendly inputs in agriculture. Compost – a nutrient rich organic soil amendment is being more widely used among farmers especially home gardeners as they embrace more environmentally friendly and sustainable food production practices.


Through IICA’s Bio-economy Program in 2021, three composting bins with a collective capacity of 92 cubic feet were constructed at CARDI’s Field Station in Westerhall. In September, 22 members of the Grenada Backyard Gardeners Network Initiative (BGNI) were trained in compost making. These sessions were facilitated by Reuben Raymond, CARDI Technician and Derek Charles, National Specialist, IICA. The group benefitted from both practical and theoretical training sessions on the importance of compost and compost making. The group learnt about the best types of materials to use as feedstocks and importance of timely turning and monitoring to ensure the production of high quality compost. It was emphasized that farmers must use the organic material that is readily available on the farm thus minimizing the cost of operations. Reuben noted that “While the benefits of using compost are immeasurable, it is important farmers learn to do it the right way to achieve the maximum benefits from it.”


For this initiative, the materials used for composting were crop residues from the CARDI’s Field Station and neighboring farms and bagasse from the Cane Co. Sugar Cane factory. The compost is used in CARDI’s vegetable seedling production program and coconut nursery.


The benefits of compost are many: It recycles organic materials and reduces waste. Food Loss and Waste remains a challenge for sustainable development. According to FAO’s State of Food and Agriculture (2019) report, around 14 percent of the world’s food continues to be lost after it is harvested and before it reaches the shops; while UNEP’s Food Waste Index Report shows that a further 17 percent of our food ends up being wasted in retail and by consumers, particularly in households. Therefore, compost is an excellent way to recoup some of the nutrients that are locked up in food waste.


Compost also helps replenish depleted soils by improving soil health and water holding capacity. Once properly made, compost increases beneficial microorganisms and reduces the soils pathogen load and weed seeds.


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