Food and Fertilizer Technology Center - publications

Dec. 01, 2005

Compost Production: A Manual for Asian Farmers

With the massive food production efforts worldwide amid rapid population growth and limited natural resource base, farmlands have continued to bear the burden of destructive and toxic chemical agricultural inputs. Toxic farming methods have led to a decline in agricultural productivity. Although the odds seem to show an irreversible trend, the upsurge of environmental awareness has sparked the drive to curb the problems and bring back the health of agricultural ecosystems. One such solution is waste recycling, and in terms of biodegradable wastes, composting. Its prospects are good as it is a natural process of decomposing and recycling organic materials. Among the materials that can be composted are food wastes, leaves, grass clippings, plant trimmings, straw, shredded paper, animal manure, and municipal solid wastes. Like other recycling efforts, composting has many benefits not only to agriculture, but also the environment, the economy, and the society. This book explores everything about composting, particularly on how it is done, and the physical, chemical, and biological changes inherent in the process. The process is tedious inasmuch as it is exacting. A case in point is that while composting is largely beneficial, some of the organic matter can produce toxic and depressant effects on plants and the microbial community. A successful composting operation, therefore, requires appropriate background knowledge and techniques, resource and equipment requirements, as well as the know-how for producing high-quality composts without creating odor and other environmental problems. All these and more are discussed in this publication. We hope this Manual will be a useful source of information, especially for small-scale farmers and extension workers in Asia, toward coming up with ecologically sound agricultural practices for the sustainable agricultural development of the region.

Table of Contents

Benefits and Drawbacks of Composting
Composting Methods
Equipment for Different Scales of Composting
Management of Composting
Raw Materials Used for Composting
Using Organic Fertilizers
What Happens during Composting?

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