Saturday, January 29, 2011

Terra Preta - Biochar Rice Farm Demo

The Philippines is not sufficient in rice production which is the staple of Filipinos. With rising cost of commercial fertilizers and the unintended effect it gives to the environment and the soil, organic fertilization using Terra Preta - Biochar might be one of the simple yet sustainable solution.

My demo on how to do this is the first in the Philippines (if not the whole world)!

My Papaya Plantation Powered with Terra Preta-Biochar

Papaya is called "Fruta de Bomba" in Cuba because papaya is a bomb of vital nutrients, it is packed with a cornucopia of enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial elements.

Terra Preta - Biochar fertilizer is basally placed during planting of the seedlings, then side-dress from time to time. Urine is also poured near the plant and worked in the soil.

How is this for food security!

Simple urine collection technique

Urine is very rich in nitrogen and according to the WHO, urine is sterile and can be used directly to the plants. I encourage every household to collect their urine and use it for the plants and at the same time saving valuable water that will be used to flush urine in the toilet bowl. For instance, in a family of 4, daily water savings can amount to 216 liters (average 3 urination per day x 18 liters water to flush x 4)! Now compute this for the whole year!!

Use of Human Waste in Terra Preta Biochar?

We lead in the implementation of dry toilets that dehydrate feces (to kill pathogens) and divert urine to containers. The human waste is then mixed in our Terra Preta - Biochar initiative. Why? This is to re-use human waste in agriculture and close the loop between sanitation and food security. Urine contains nitrogen and feces contains phosphate, major elements for the plants. Excellent solution to poverty, poor sanitation and malnutrition in the rural areas!

What is Terra Preta Sanitation - Biochar?

Ralf Otterpohl of the Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH) explained that "Terra Preta do Indio is the anthropogenic black soil that was produced by ancient cultures through the conversion of bio-waste and fecal matter into long-term fertile soils. These soils have maintained high amounts of organic carbon even several thousand years after they were abandoned. One of the surprising facts is that this soil is highly productive without fertilizer addition.” He further added that “ it is believed that in deriving terra preta from feces and bio-wastes the first sanitation treatment steps used in this culture were lactic-acid fermentation and vermi-composting with the addition of charcoal… “it is possible to convert in a hygienic and sustainable way bio-waste and fecal matter into highly fertile humus-like material. TPS makes use of lacto-fermentation of feces followed by vermi-composting in a two-stage process.”