Some months back, I went to visit a friend of mine on her farm and she offered me some fruits as a kind a gesture and as I was about to take a bite of the good looking cucumber when I noticed her workers spraying a liquid substance on the cucumber farm. I beckoned on one of them to confirm what they were spraying and I was told it was an insecticide. and he went further to confirm that was the reason for the fresh looking fruit.Before I left the farm, four market women came to purchase the products.
I went home bittered thinking about the number of people that would be consuming the fruits that day or the next. I wanted to scream what about the withdrawal harvest period people but I realised they were only working on the knowledge they had. I made it a life mission to inform them of the harm and damage caused by inappropriate use of these chemical and not observing the withdrawal period for harvest on the human body and how it even sometimes affect the taste and shelf life of the vegetables or fruits.
The starting point of residue management in crop cultivation is creation of strong PPUs (Proposed Pesticide Usage) list.
The most important parameter is the matching of the Pre Harvest Interval (PHI) (in days) of the chemical with the Natural Harvest Interval (NHI) (in days) of any crop. Where, PHI is also known as the Waiting Period.
PHI is the period that starts on the day the chemical pesticide is sprayed up till the time the chemical residue remains on the crop/fruit. In that duration the chemicals on the plant breaks down through the biological process while the fruit/vegetable is attached to the ground or the plant. Only after the lapse of the PHI will the crop/fruit be free from any chemical residue and will be considered fit for human and animal consumption.
kindly recall my last post titled sustainable agriculture ; small steps to bigger tomorrow. I was able to explained what sustainable agriculture is, what to do to achieve it and how it benefits us all.
In this post I will be sharing my personal experience using sustainable farming techniques to achieve sustainable agriculture. the month of June was a time of planting for rice farmers in Birgi Village, Minna, Niger state in Nigeria while harvesting started in the month of October. After drying the rice plant was threshed and the grains were removed leaving only the rice straw. the rice farm of about 20 hectares with so much waste a type of agricultural waste that poses a huge environmental and health burden on rice farmers who burn it as a means of disposal if not probably managed. as an agriculturist i was saddled with the responsibility to profer an economical solution that would channel this waste turned resources for better usage.
In the quest for knowledge, I started making enquires on what rice straw can be used for and its benefit. The straw mass corresponding to 1 ton of sun dried paddy rice is 1.5 tons which contains about 9 kilos of nitrogen, 2 kilos each of phosphorus and sulfur, 25 kilos of potassium, 70 kilos of silicon, 6 kilos of calcium and 2 kilos of magnesium based on a study by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) of 1984.
Rice straw is thus a good source of macro-nutrients. Burning rice straw, a usual practice in most farms destroys most of the nitrogen, sulfur, some of the potassium and makes silicon less available.To return the nutrients of rice straw to the soil, cut rice stalks higher during harvest time. More stubble are then incorporated into the soil during land preparation. Threshed straw can be fed to animals or can be used for feeding livestock during fodder shortage. Some of the rice straw nutrients are subsequently returned to the soil as animal excreta.
I started moving rice staw for the farmland piling them up a ventilated room as temporary storage for size reduction by a forage chopper. Some of the chopped straws were treated with biofertilizer ( molasses) and wrapped in plastic so that it is not exposed to air or water( under anearobic condition), and then stored away from the sun for 21 days before been used as livestock feed. The leftover after chopping were used in making compost. I was able to kill not two birds with one stone but three. I got rid of the so called waste for the farmers, produced fodder for my ruminant animals and also compost for my crops,
all these for no dime.
There is one thing I have come to realise in Agriculture EVERY WASTE COUNTS. Don’t lose sight of your resoures.