Feature: Beninese entrepreneur produces organic fertilizer to help farmers raise output

  • World
  • Thursday, 01 Jun 2023

ABOMEY-CALAVI, Benin, May 31 (Xinhua) -- Amid challenges of fighting food insecurity, organic fertilizers can be an economical solution to increase agricultural production, said Arnaud Bonou, who sells his version under the Magi-Ko brand to farmers in his native Abomey-Calavi, in southern Benin, and beyond.

"Backed by strong demand from farmers, we have just put on the market an organic fertilizer to complement the existing industrial fertilizers in order to promote large-scale agricultural production," said the entrepreneur in his 30s.

His product, a liquid fertilizer, is obtained after 21 days of aerobic biological decomposition of a mixture of organic materials, such as moringa leaves, soybeans, ground beef bone powder, various fermented composts and other locally available elements.

"From 2020 to the present day, more than 1,000 liters of this organic liquid fertilizer have been manufactured and sold not only on the markets of Benin but also in the countries of the sub-region, such as Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Niger and even Mali, where it is prized by their cotton growers," said Bonou, who received training during a short trip to Israel in 2018.

This product promotes the natural growth of plants by helping them better absorb nutritional elements and trace minerals in the soil that allow the plants to grow normally and bear fruit sufficiently, he said.

Bonou said his organic fertilizer costs less and is of better quality than industrial fertilizers, and won praise from farmers.

"Magi-Ko provides the soil and the plant with the dose of nutrition necessary for its enrichment without causing damage to the environment or to local biodiversity," said Clement Amedome, president of village cooperatives in Come, about 100 km southwest of Cotonou, Benin's commercial capital.

Jereme Guede, a farmer in Abomey-Calavi, said the Magi-Ko organic fertilizer has helped him raise the output of maize, cassava, potato and other crops.

"The Magi-Ko organic fertilizer ... makes the plants in my field grow at record speed with a satisfactory yield," he said. "I harvest ... three times more than what I harvest with chemical fertilizers."

Agriculture is Benin's second-most important economic sector, contributing to almost one-third of the country's gross domestic product, three-fourths of its export earnings and 15 percent of its revenues, and providing about 70 percent of the jobs on offer.

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