Local companies intend to ramp up their push for the use of organic fertilisers. This is despite the government promoting the use of chemical fertilisers as evidenced by the subsidised prices they offered farmers during the rainy season.
One local company, Organic Fertiliser Manufacturers Botswana (OFMB) has taken a step further and are now manufacturing them. The company’s Sales and Marketing Manager, Bonno Rantabe told this publication at the National Agricultural show Friday that his company’s factory is situated between two Feed lots which supply it with animal manure.
“I can proudly say our products are chemicals free. We get our fertilisers from kraals of the cattle we sell to the European Union Market; fed on chemicals-free stock feed,” said Rantabe. He said the organic fertilisers are better than chemical fertilisers in many ways.
“Organic fertiliser provides primary, secondary and micro nutrients. It increases soil microbial biomass, rebalances soil PH, increases nutrient holding capacity, nutrient uptake to plants, prevents nutrient leaching and soil erosion as well as increases water holding capacity. It also improves soil moisture conservation, leading to higher yields, is cost effective, environmentally friendly and leads to reduction of chemicals in food, thus safeguarding the health of nations,” Rantabe explained.
He said his company, which is in its fourth year of existence has employed about 30 employees, 98 per cent of whom are Batswana, adding that they were funded by the Barclays Bank. He also said the nation’s response to their products has been he said is positive.
“We ensure people understand how the soil they plant their food on works with the seeds and later plants. Many now understand that the seeds feed on the soil and that is important for the soil to keep producing food for the plants and organic fertilizers are the best in this process,” he said, adding that they provide services that help farmers chose the right fertilizers for their soils.
To the belief that chemical fertilizers are more effective than organic fertilizers he said this is not so. Rather the chemical fertilizers are not more effective but can give exact soil Kph. As for effectiveness organic fertilizers are better since they keep moisture on the soil longer even during days of heat waves. They are therefore cost effective because when farmers use them they use less water as compared to the use of chemical fertilizers.
“We have a soil testing facility and make recommendations to our customers so that they are able to get specific agronomic provisions. We offer important, easy to use products like OFMB compost, OFMB lawn dressing and several others. New fertilizers will continue to be introduced as the company sees the demand for more appropriate fertilizer suitable to local conditions,” he said.