Compost Heap Impact on Habari Maalum 2015-03-24
Except of an original story provided by Oliver Mhilu; Lily Albert and Odemari Peter Mwenda
The Habari Maalum Tree Nursery, outside of Arusha, Tanzania, provides over 200,000 tree seedlings per year to the surrounding villages. Until recently, HM has relied upon forest soil collected from the Olmotonyi Forest on the lower slopes of Mt Meruto replenish their nursery.
Increasingly, there is opposition and expense to travel the 10km up into the forest to obtain this soil. While the nursery has permission to harvest this soil, the Forest Department frowns upon this activity, and it interferes with other farmers who are interplanting their farm crops under the early canopy of the plantation forest, a method called "Taungya."
Since 2013 the HM Tree Nursery has decided against returning to the Olmotonyi Forest, and is now able to rely on compost heaps to provide the necessary nutrients for its trees.
"...we learned the value of compost and that instead of collecting forest soil from Olmotonyi forest we can prepare our own Compost heaps using leaves that fall within our compound which we used to burn before. This knowledge we are transferring to other community members so as to conserve the environment and to add fertility to their soils.
- Japhet Tuwati
Persons desiring to produce and use soil-restoring compost enriched by beneficial indigenous microorganisms might be interested in the Textbook in Natural Farming - Principles, Concepts & Appropriate Techniques in [sic] Tropics by Dr. Arnat Tancho which is available through ECHO's on-line bookstore.
Additionally, a chapter on composting from Keith Mikkelson's Sustainable Agriculture book can be accessed on ECHOcommunity.