In many countries, the quality of the soil has deteriorated because of growing crops continuously for more than 10 years. Applying fertilizer is the way to increase crop yield and enhance soil fertility. Farmers usually apply chemical fertilizer, e.g. 46-0-0, 15-15-15, etc. While research shows that almost all kinds of plants need only 1.5% N (nitrogen), only 0.5% percent P (Phosphorus), and only 1% K (Potassium), farmers commonly over dose the soil with fertilizer, and thereby cause an accumulation of chemical residue in the soil. The soil then coagulates with the result that plant absorption of the nutrients from the soil gradually decreases.
Most farmers realize that the negative impacts of fertilizer application include not only soil deterioration, but also yield decrease. Governments then formulate the policy to promote the production of poison-free agricultural products, as well as environmental management for sustainable agriculture. Artemis & Angel Co.; Ltd. recognizes the importance of this issue, and has produced and distributed bio-products in line with such government policy. The products help to decrease costs and increase crop yield.
"It is not necessarily about producing more food, but about producing more quality nutrition through less energy use and pollution," declared Hans Herren president of the Washington DC-based Millennium Institute, a non-profit organisation promoting long-term, integrated, global thinking."We have to invest heavily into research on how to increase eco-agricultural production."The best way to mitigate climate change and gain food security is to support small-scale, ecological farming, scientists and economists said during the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Governing Council in Rome, Italy, in late February. This would be a turnaround from international agricultural strategies of the past two decades that heavily promote monocropping and the use of biotechnologies."Nobody has really thought yet about how and if we can mitigate climate change in agriculture," admitted Dr Josef Schmidhuber, head of the global perspectives study unit at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), indicating that although there is a lot of talk about averting the impact of climate change, no policies have been implemented yet to solve the problem."It starts and ends with governance, with convincing key decision makers to change strategy," said Herren. "We know what the solutions to climate change are, but they are not put into practice because governments are in bed with the biotechnology industry. They are more interested in making a quick buck than in the long-term benefits of farmers."Herren believes industrial agriculture is "bankrupt by definition", because it costs too much energy to produce: "For every calorie you produce you have to put in ten, if you look at fuel, fertiliser and labour needed."He lobbied policymakers to focus on prevention rather than fixing crises: "In agriculture, it takes a long time to rebuild what we destroy. It takes years to replenish soils and re-create diversity. We have to go back to the source and ensure that healthy soils grow healthy crops."
Chemical-heavy agriculture has been systematically destroying SOILSHerren complained, by causing mineral depletion, erosion and reducing soils' ability to retain water."For small-scale farmers, water is far more important than having a pest-resistant, genetically modified plant, which is only resistant to one particular type of pest anyway," he said.Downward spiral Agriculture is the main income source for poor rural people in the developing world. At the same time, it is the human activity most directly affected by climate change.Climate change will affect smallholder farmers (who own less than two hectares of land) through increased crop failure, a rise in diseases and mortality of livestock, increased livelihood insecurity resulting in assets being sold, indebtedness, migration and dependency on food aid. Other consequences will be desertification and land degradation, rising sea levels causing floods, diminishing natural resource productivity and, in some areas, irreversible loss of biodiversity.Climate change is expected to put 49 million additional people at risk of hunger by 2020, and 132 million by 2050, according to IFAD. In sub-Saharan Africa, an additional 17 to 50 million people could be undernourished in the second half of the century due to climate change.Generally speaking, climate change is expected to lead to a downward spiral in human development indicators, such as health and education, especially in sub-Saharan Africa."To feed the world, we will have to scale up productivity, but in an ecological way, by polluting less and making use of low-cost technologies," said Michel Griffon, executive director of the National Research Agency of France. "We need a holistic approach to the entire ecosystem, including soil, water, plants, animal management, pests and diseases. It will be an immense challenge."Change in rainfall One of the key consequences of climate change is changing rainfall patterns. This will particularly affect African countries where 95 percent of cultivated land is rain-fed. "Less than ten percent of cultivated land is irrigated and only 20 percent is irrigable," explained Ides de Willebois, director of IFAD's Eastern and Southern Africa division.In Africa alone, between 75 million and 250 million people will be exposed to increased water stress caused by climate change by 2020. Since the 1960s, the Sahel region has had a 25 percent decline in rainfall.If farmers carry on with "business as usual", productivity could decline between ten percent and 25 percent by 2020, predicts Herren. In some countries, the yields in rain-fed agriculture could even be halved, he believes. "Such trends clearly threaten the achievement of the MDGs. We need new thinking to tackle old problems."Since rural people in developing countries manage vast areas of land and forest, they could be important players in natural resource management. "Climate change will affect us for the next 30 years, even if we take good measures now, so we do need efficient adaptation plans," said Asian Farmers Association secretary general Estrella Penunia."Policymakers need to re-direct investments to small-scale, ecological, diversified farming," she advocated. "Smallholders will be most affected by climate change, yet they are the ones most likely to use sustainable farming methods, such as diversification and inter-cropping."Agricultural experts at IFAD advise farmers to adapt to climate change by altering timing and location of cropping activities and to utilise water management to prevent water-logging, erosion and nutrient leaching in areas where there is an increase in rainfall. Farmers should also 'harvest' water in areas with less rainfall to conserve soil moisture and use water more efficiently.In addition, farmers should diversify their income though additional activities, such as livestock raising, and use seasonal climate forecasting to reduce production risks. Other strategies include soil conservation, incentives for sustainable production practices and payment for carbon reduction and avoided deforestation."We need to find solutions to reduce risks and create more safety nets for smallholder farmers," explained Herren. "A most important move would be to increase crop diversity (and move away from mono-cropping) to diminish the risk of crop failure through variety."Resilience against climate change goes down with less plant variety, Herren explained, "because if one invader or disease attacks a mono-crop, everything gets destroyed".He also believes that transgenic plants do not produce a higher yield per hectare than natural plants: "They might produce more efficiently, but gains are nullified because farmers have to pay more for their seeds and buy them every year (because the seeds of genetically modified plants cannot be saved)."
· Artemis & Angel Co., Ltd manufactures two 100% organic liquid microbial bio-fertilizers called Bio-Plant and Pro-Plant, which reduce fertilizer costs by at least 30% to 40% on average. Farmers find that after about 4-5 years of use their savings have risen to at least 50%.
· They increase the yield far beyond what chemicals can achieve while producing healthy chemical-free food. In 100% organic farming usually the increase is about 15% higher than chemical fertilizers, but this increases with each season as the soil is made more fertile. They effectively make chemical fertilizer technology and pesticides obsolete, in particular regarding yield and costs.
· When Bio Plant mixed with Urea in bio-chemical farming they increase the yield by between 10% and 30% depending on how they are used, and farmers can reduce by 50% the amount of Urea and pesticides they use.
· They are the result of our own research into fertilizer bio-technology and use.
· One liter of each make 5 tonnes of effective bio-compost that restore the soil. If farmers can make the effort to use this very strong (effect), restoring bio-compost for a year, they will see their soil return quickly to natural fertility. Their fertilizer costs will go down further while the yield will increase. It is simple and much more effective than piling on more chemical fertilizer, which simply puts the farmers into more debt while making the soil weaker, thereby requiring more chemical fertilizer to be added.
· If you use Bio-Plant and Pro-Plant properly and the bio-compost, after the first year you will use less and less bio-fertilizer in the future, which means the costs will go down further.
· They immunize against pathogens and make the plant pest-resistant. Herbicides and insecticide sprays are not needed. After one harvest farmers can stop using pesticides as the plants are not attacked.
· During the first season the bio-fertilizers (which are purely organic and chemical-free) remove about 20% of harmful insects in the ground because they break their life-cycle. After a few harvests those insects have gone.
· They improve and regenerate the soil, even sandy soil, and also remove chemicals left by chemical fertilizers.
· They increase both the major and minor nutrients in the soil, and provide the essential minor nutrients that chemical fertilizers do not provide. Bio-Plant contains the micro-organisms, fungi groups, and bacteria groups of fertile soil. Pro-Plant contains the major and minor minerals of fertile soil.
· They activate and accelerate plant growth, blooming, and fruiting stage.
· They increase the absorption rate of nutrients.
· Crops are healthier, weightier and fuller.
· Even after one season the seeds are fuller and are used and sold as mother seeds.
· Rice crops grown with chemical fertilizer do not compare with rice grown with the bio-fertilizers. The stems are stronger (so the rice plants do not lean over unlike rice grown with chemical fertilizer), there are more roots, the roots are stronger and longer, the rice heads contain much more grain, the rice seeds don't fall off during harvesting, the soil is softer and has a lot of worms and insect life, there is no problem with the usual rice diseases (white spot, rust, etc.) because the rice plants develop immunity, the quality of the rice is such that the seed becomes in demand as parent stock, etc.
· The yield of rice tends to rise to 6.2 tonnes per hectare, but it depends on the state of the soil. If the soil is weak, it will rise to this level at the rate of about an extra 20% per season. The advantages for increasing rice production are quite clear.
· Fruit trees produce more, the fruit is larger, crispier, tastier, sweeter, and the vitamin C level is higher by about 20%.
· Rubber trees produce more latex and palm oil trees produce more oil. Bio-Plant can be used as a fungicide on the tapped area. It also makes the latex flow more smoothly.
· Plants grown with the bio-fertilizers usually have about 20% more roots than plants grown with chemical fertilizers.
· Vegetables grow larger and are crispier and sweeter.
· Tea contains less tannin with the result that the taste is less bitter. The plant produces more leaves and branches. The amount of leaves produced in 14-20 days equals what chemical fertilizer produces in 2 months. The leaves shine more and look fresher. There is more Vitamin C.
· Fruit and vegetables are free of chemicals at a lower price.
· The produce keeps longer after harvesting than the produce of chemical fertilizers.
· Flowers keep fresher for longer and have more scent.
· The effect on grass is that the grass and the soil become softer and the growth is better. They are very beneficial for golf courses. In addition, they lower the cost of maintaining a golf course significantly.
· After one harvest the farmers can label the produce "Chemical-Free". After 3 years they can sell them as "100% Organic" and export the produce.
· Organic fertilizers usually take 3 years to make a crop produce the same amount as chemical fertilizers. Bio-Plant and Pro-Plant surpass the yield of chemical fertilizers in one season.
· They alleviate rural poverty by making agriculture more profitable, successful, and by increasing income. They prevent the drift into urban areas by rehabilitating the soil and reviving agriculture where it has failed due to over-use of chemical fertilizer and pesticides.
· Unlike with chemical fertilizers, the price of these bio-fertilizers pretty well stays the same each year as they grow naturally and are not oil products. In the short term and long term, they make a much better proposition for developing agriculture throughout a country than chemical fertilizer.
· Desert soil can be transformed with them.
The Technology Behind the Bio-fertilizers
Bio-Plant and Pro-Plant are the result of advances in bio-technology, which the company President, Somkiet Panjanapongchai, has made over many years. Somkiet spent 18 years researching microbiology and bio-technology to create over 100 chemical-free prawn farm products, which enabled Vietnam to create its very large chemical-free prawn farm industry. He then applied the science over 7 years to create bio-fertilizers with the aim of making farmers wealthy. Bio-Plant and Pro-Plant are the result of his patented discoveries in the area of bio-technology.
He discovered new processes that make it possible to put the micro-organisms, fungi groups, bacteria groups, and major and minor minerals of fertile soil into a very concentrated liquid form to create a pair of synergistic microbial 100% organic bio-fertilizers that restore the fertility of soil within about 2 years - even soil beaten to death by 20-30 years of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. In bio-chemical farming the micro-organisms make Urea much more effective that on its own and enable farmers to halve their use of urea, while at the same time increasing their yield by 10% - 30% depending on whether bio-compost and Pro-Plant are used too or not.
The Choices of Farming They Allow
The main market may not be 100% organic farming, but rather bio-chemical farming where mixing the bio-fertilizers with Urea give much better results than Urea on its own. The brochure and PowerPoint presentation explain the reasons for this. You will see the financial comparison in Part 6 of the brochure. Of course, the 100% organic farming path will also result in a profitable business and benefit the people of any country. You find it fairly easy to introduce the bio-fertilizers by showing the farmers how much they will save and how much the yield will increase when they mix them with chemical fertilizer.
Our two bio-fertilizers have proved very effective in showing that they can eradicate chemical fertilizers and pesticides from an entire country. The main list of benefits is in the attached brochure on pp. 3-4. Crops are different after being grown with the bio-fertilizers while the soil becomes fertile again in about 2 years; unlike with chemical fertilizers, which simply leaves more and more chemical residues that harden and deplete the soil further.
When used for 100% organic farming, the bio-fertilizers increase the yield compared to chemicals by about 15% and reduce costs significantly. When mixed with chemical fertilizer for bio-chemical farming, farmers can reduce the number of bags of chemicals by half and still increase their yield by 20% (if Pro-Plant is also sprayed on the leaves). Within 3 years the crops can be classified as 100% organic, and this opens up another market for the farmers.