Amiran Kenya Agronomist Wycliffe Obwoge inspects a heap of manure in Nairobi's Karen Estate On July 9, 2016. A Kakamega farmer is feeding pigs on farm wastes as a shortcut of converting organic matter into manure. PHOTO BY LABAN ROBERT.
One Kakamega County farmer has cut organic fertiliser costs in maize production by rearing three pigs, which are helping him break down organic waste into manure.
Wycliffe Ochango said converting organic waste into manure by normal decomposition takes months, but the pigs are ‘catalysing’ the process.
“Instead of waiting for one to three months for farm refuse to decompose, I decided to use pigs to quicken the process. Pigs are non-selective feeders of any organic waste, which is dropped after 24 hours in form of dung,” Ochango said.
Apart from breaking it into small parts, the droppings have essential digestive enzyme residues and micro- organisms that hasten further decomposition in the four-feet-by-three-feet pit, which is four feet deep.
Adding wood ash increases the concentration of potassium, calcium, and phosphorus other than reducing soil acidity due to its basic nature.
“I rarely use inorganic fertiliser in maize farming. After accumulating the manure for one to two weeks, I dry and broadcast it in my one acre. I am relieved of the cost of planting and top-dressing the maize field,” he said.
He collects 10kg to 15kg of Napier and other grass remains from the shed of his Frisian-indigenous hybrid cow daily.
He also collects flour dust from his posho mill and kitchen vegetable remains to feed the pig, which churns them into dung.
The pit is lined with a polythene sheet to prevent leeching of the nutrients. The polythene sheet also covers the pit to keep off rain and surface run-off water.
On the maize field, Ochango tills with oxen to mix the soil well with the manure.
The manure is applied on Napier grass and vegetable orchard.
Ochango harvests more than 15 bags of 90kg maize from the one acre.