The secondary School of Arsi Negele, is testing rock dust enriched fertilizers in maize. The test consisted in the application of basalt rock dust in the farm land and the application of 2 treatments of maize with liquid bio-fertilizer. Results of this crop are compared with the performance of a plot with urea en DAP. The maize harvested in December 2nd 2013.
Maize under the test is performing good. It shows better development of the green leaves, flowering faster, is able to fill the grains better than the control. A few weeks after the sowing, maize leaves started to show signs of fungal disease, as reported from the field. The tested field was sprayed with self produced liquid bio- fertilizer. Three days after the treatment maize had restored the dark green colour in its leaves. This is possibly the reason why later the corn stalks with bio-fertilizer have shown better development. Other experience in maize in the demonstration site of Rema (northern Ethiopia) confirm these results.
Due to the low costs (self-produced fertilizer cost almost 10x less than chemical fertilizers) and the positive environmental impact, the school is inviting students and farmers to see and learn about this new approach. Between March and November 2013 the school was visited by more than 200 farmers interested in this approach.
Parallel to this project the Technical school of Arsi Negele is carrying out a similar research, in teff, a local grain highly demanded in Ethiopia. Teff under organic conditions had better germination and resulted in higher crop density. Moreover the there are more tillers per plant (up to six). The superior quality of the organic teff and the increased production has shown the students the importance of the management of the local resources to ensure high productivity with less investment.
The school farming activities generate resources that are reinvested in the school. The good financial result of the organic fertilization will allow the school to improve their facilities and curriculum. The participation of the school in this research motivate and empower the future farmers to learn this approach.
Rockin Soils works with educational centers to show the future generations that healthy regenerative farming offers a better future for them and for all.