One of Fiji’s leading ginger exporter Ranadi Plantations is leading research in organic technologies that focuses on soil regeneration rather than just plant nutrition.
Bio Vitals involves taking common farm waste and turning them into high value nutrients that creates a high level of microbial biological activity.
Plantation manager Jodi Smith said; “We want to revolutionise the way people farm in Fiji because vibrant soil is crucial to plant health. Rather than putting in a solid mineral fertiliser that feeds the plant we are putting in microbes that inoculate the soil and works faster to create the nutrients needed by both.”
“What’s really great about this system is that farmers can make the compost themselves, it’s free and it’s completely organic.”
Smith said a four-step process is followed in producing the compost.
The Inoculant compost
Firstly various wastes (brown, green, & cow manure) and seaweed are gathered, placed in layers and over a ten week period reduces into a solid compost (regularly monitoring temperatures throughout). Second, the compost is placed in water, aerated with molasses added that feeds microbes and helps them multiply.
PHOSICAL (Phosphorous, Silica and Calcium)
Thirdly, the bones of an animal is turned into ash through a burning and crushing process to obtain phosphorus, cilica and calcium that is largely lacking in tropical soil.
The fourth step involves creating a bio-fertiliser from mixing cow manure, water, yeast; seaweed and raw cow’s milk in a 300 litre drum with holes pricked on top to facilitate a two months fermentation process.
Products from all steps are then mixed in equal proportion in a large drum of water and sprayed
onto soil. “I have seen mining sites turn into lush valleys in just three months from applying this organic mix,” Smith said. Smith will carry out training with farming communities in Fiji this year to replicate the use of the technology.
“There are no expensive tools used or complex ingredients allowing farmers to easily make it,” she added. “In this way we promote organic farming through Fiji and it also huge potential in helping farming areas that have been ravaged by the overuse of chemicals, recover.”
She’s also promoting organic farming with her own staff at Ranadi, where they set up Indian style Mandala gardens as part of their work agreement to grow food for their own homes.
“The garden is just about 10 square meters in size and where they plant a variety of crops and apply organic principles.”