A fantastic example of the economic benefits of using bokashi organic fertiliser has been provided by Malawian farmer Philip Banda, who grew 2,000 football-size cabbages on a piece of ground measuring less than half an acre (roughly equivalent to a seventh of a football pitch). It took Philip four months to grow his crop.
It cost Philip about 50,000 Malawi kwacha (about £40 or $48) to pay for the bokashi ingredients he couldn’t forage for free and for transporting the cabbages to the local market.
Each cabbage sells for 400 kwacha, meaning his potential sales are 800,000 kwacha with a profit of 750,000 kwacha. To put this in context, a large proportion of the households in the fifty villages that comprise the Malenga Mzoma live on only about 250,000 kwacha in the entire year.
Most farming families in rural Malawi can’t afford commercial fertiliser at the best of times and the spike in prices in the ingredients owing to the Russia-Ukraine war has pushed it way beyond their reach, even allowing for the Malawian Government subsidy that a minority of farmers can access.
The massively increased use of bokashi is good for the future, too: commercial fertilisers deplete the soil whereas the bokashi method turns dirt into soil – so for the long term, bokashi is very much the way to go. Bokashi is more productive than alternatives and is sustainable because the vast majority of the ingredients can be foraged locally.
Because bokashi can be applied to any crop and it increases yield so much, it is within families’ grasp to grow all the food they need, with a balanced diet, and to generate a surplus they can sell. That’s an economic success for the area as a whole.
The photo shows Philip Banda selling some of his cabbage crop at a local market.