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Excerpts from Rapid Composting Technology in the Philippines


by: Virginia C. Cuevas, PhD.
Institute of Biological Sciences (IBS),
College of Arts and Sciences,
University of the Philippines at Los Baños,

Crop Yields and Economic Benefits

Pilot testing of the rapid composting technology in different parts of the


Philippines have shown clearly the benefits farmers can get if they follow the
program…In terms of crop yields, combined use of compost + 50% inorganic
fertilizers resulted in increases in crop yields which were 13% - 16% higher
than in fields where chemical fertilizers alone were used.

A socio-economic analysis was conducted in 1996 on the impact of the rapid


composting technology. This study confirmed the increased incomes of 68
farmers (from three different provinces) who had adopted the technology.
Yield increases were up to 15% higher compared to those of farmers who did
not use the technology, but used only chemical fertilizers. In monetary
terms, the increase in income per season was up to US$169. Although, the
main emphasis in gathering data was on rice, increases in yields were also
noted in sugarcane and vegetables where compost was applied as a basal
fertilizer and chemical fertilizers were applied as a side or top-dressing

Improvement in Physical and Chemical Properties of Soil

Other benefits were also mentioned by the farmers. These perceived benefits,
and the relative importance given to them by farmers. Improvement of soil
tilth and texture, increase in soil fertility and reduced fertilizer costs were
the most important benefits that farmers got from using compost in rice
production. The decrease in nitrogen fertilizer requirements was estimated
to be about 19 kg N/ha.

The yield increases in rice and other crops can be traced to the capability of
the compost to supply nutrients needed for crop growth. The Bureau of Soils
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and Water Management of the Philippines has identified an imbalance of


nutrients supplied by chemical fertilizers alone, and a deficiency of Ca, Mg
and Zinc in soils in different parts of the country. These elements, lack of
which may limit crop growth and productivity, are present in compost
fertilizer. Fertilizer applications which included compost have a better
chance of meeting all the crop's nutrient requirements. The technology
therefore has great potential in helping Philippine agriculture attain
sustainability, not only in terms of crop yields, but also in terms of
protecting and conserving soil fertility.

High Cost-Benefit Ratio

A cost-benefit analysis of the government investment into the National


Program was carried out, using socio-economic data collected by Rola et. al.
1996. The techno-logy transfer of rapid composting to farmers was
accompanied by an increase in total rice production in the Philippines of
0.11%.

Employment Generated by the Production Units

The cost benefit ratio of 7.7 mentioned above was based only on the
contribution made by the compost to rice production. Rola et al. (1996)
mentioned the employment generation that the establishment of compost
production units brings to local communities as an additional benefit
derived from the rapid composting technology. Each composting unit
employs 2 - 23 laborers. Although employment is often intermittent, these
composting units are located in rural areas where employment is very
scarce.
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Table 3 Cost-Benefit Analysis of Rapid Composting Using Rice Straw (1989-90 Data)

Table 4 Comparative Analysis<Sup>1)</Sup> of Rice Yields, Fertilizer Use and Labor, among
Users and Non-Users of Rapid Composting Technology, 1993 and 1995 Wet Season
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Table 5 Comparative Analysis of Cost and Returns<Sup>1)</Sup> Per Hectare among Users and
Non-Users of Rapid Composting Technology, 1993 and 1995 Wet Seasons

Table 6 Farmers' Perceived Benefits from Using the Rapid Composting Technology ,Wet Season
1995.
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Table 7 Compost Production and Distribution Using Rapid Composting Technology

Table 8 Estimated Incremental Rice Production from Rapid Composting Technology (RCT) 1992-
1996

Table 9 Estimates of Economic Benefit and Cost from Rapid Composting (Us$ Million at 1996
Prices)
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