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Notes to broadcasters: Composting

The farmers in this story discovered that their soils had become less fertile. Through an ingenious collaboration with a nearby local council, they found materials to turn into compost and restore the fertility of their fields.

There are many methods for making compost, and a variety of resources on the internet that describe these methods. Here is a selection:

Wikipedia has a page which highlights many examples of composting: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compost [1] [PR1] [2]

The preparation and use of compost – a booklet covering all aspects of compost-making that can be downloaded at no cost by clicking on the red pdf icon (1.6MB) on this page: http://www.agromisa.org/index.php?PageId=140&PerformAction=ShowDetail&RecordId=100&StartRecord=0&PublicationType=AD&PublicationCategory=12&PublicationLanguage=2527 [3]

Compost making for the mechanised age, a script and audio clip from Agfax: http://www.agfax.net/radio/detail.php?i=315 [4]

A video from West Africa: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Um07cEViUFU [5]

Browse these two stories previously published in Farm Radio Weekly:

Uganda: Turning trash into treasure (FRW 58, March 2009) http://weekly.farmradio.org/2009/03/16/1-uganda-turning-trash-into-treasure-by-sawa-pius-for-farm-radio-weekly-in-kampala/ [6]

Cameroon: Farmers find manure a good substitute for expensive chemical fertilizers (FRW 28, July 2008) http://weekly.farmradio.org/2008/07/07/1-cameroon-farmers-find-manure-a-good-substitute-for-expensive-chemical-fertilizers-by-lilianne-nyatcha-for-farm-radio-weekly-in-douala-cameroon/ [7]

For more information on compost, see the following Farm Radio International scripts:

Farmers Can Earn Income Producing Compost: http://www.farmradio.org/radio-resource-packs/package-80/farmers-can-earn-income-producing-compost/ [8]

Dr. Compost Talks About Compost Piles: http://www.farmradio.org/radio-resource-packs/package-61-farmer-scientist-collaborations/dr-compost-talks-about-compost-piles/ [9]

Make Compost in Pits: http://www.farmradio.org/radio-resource-packs/package-61-farmer-scientist-collaborations/make-compost-in-pits/ [10]

Make Compost as Your Vegetables Grow: http://www.farmradio.org/radio-resource-packs/package-47/make-compost-as-your-vegetables-grow/ [11]

You Can Make Compost in Two to Three Weeks: http://www.farmradio.org/radio-resource-packs/package-47/you-can-make-compost-in-two-to-three-weeks/ [12]

Where to Find Compost Materials: http://www.farmradio.org/radio-resource-packs/package-33/where-to-find-compost-materials/

Compost – A Wonderful Food for your Garden: http://www.farmradio.org/radio-resource-packs/package-47/compost-a-wonderful-food-for-your-garden/ [13] [14]

Using compost as fertilizer gives good yields and conserves soil: A Participatory Radio Campaign in Ghana: http://www.farmradio.org/radio-resource-packs/package-94-african-farm-radio-research-initiative-afrri/using-compost-as-fertilizer-gives-good-yields-and-conserves-soil-a-participatory-radio-campaign-in-ghana/ [15] [PR2] [16]

Composting is a simple way to add nutrient-rich humus which fuels plant growth and restores vitality to depleted soil. It’s also low-cost, easy to make and good for the environment. Find more information here: http://eartheasy.com/grow_compost.html [17]

An FAO document about on-farm composting methods is available through this link: http://www.fao.org/docrep/007/y5104e/y5104e00.htm [18]

The farmers in this story worked together to address the issue of decreasing soil fertility. Are farmers in your broadcast area suffering similar problems? If so, how do they improve their soils? If your soil is less fertile, is the quantity and quality of foods in your local market decreasing?

The scripts offered in these Notes would make an excellent series to present to your listeners on the value of compost as an agricultural fertilizer. Try to involve both farmers and buyers in discussions about how they can work together to solve issues about local soils, and how to improve the fertility of their gardens and fields.