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Badilisha Lugha KISWAHILI

New farming method touted to nourish soil

14th May 2012

A new farming technology, which involves injecting tractor exhaust gas into the soil to reduce costs of buying fertilizer, is coming in Tanzania.

The technology, which is pro-‘Kilimo Kwanza’ initiative, has been invented by a Canadian farmer — Gary Lewis, who heads NC Quest in Alberta, Canada.

NC Quest is the parent company that license’s the Bio-Agtive Technology Method to farms around the world.

Lewis said: “We have started carrying out a countrywide campaign on the new technology and we’ll use all available opportunities including annual farmer’s fair to encourage Tanzanian farmers to adopt the technology.”

Lewis was speaking here over the weekend at the farmers’ information night which attracted over 50 farmers from across Tanzania.

He stated that Tanzania is one of the ideal places in Africa and the world at large for adopting the technology, because of its unique climatic condition.

“We target at helping farmers to understand and practice a new way of Nitrogen and Carbon cycle management,” he said, adding that farmers in Tanzania need to capture more sunlight energy on their farms. The technology captures carbon energy into the soil where it helps to grow roots.

Lewis said that food security and climate change are some of the biggest issues facing governments and societies in both Tanzania and other countries.

The technology, according to the investor, is friendly to the environment as it discourages the application of chemical fertilizer in farms and reduces cost of production.

There are some farmers in northern Tanzania, who have started carrying out trials of the new farming technique.
Lewis has teamed up with Denis Mick, a field master for the company to adopt and market this new technology in Tanzania.

The new technology, currently applied by farmers in Canada, USA, Australia, Jamaica, South Africa, Kazakhstan and Japan.
The inventor said: "Exhaust gas places active soluble nitrogen into the soil, but, more importantly, also carbon and nitrogen at the ratio of 30:1, which is perfect for the development of nitrogen-fixing, free-living bacteria," he said.

While, the chemistry is fairly involved, the result, he claimed are plants that create their own nitrate, develop better root systems and have much less reliance on fertilizer.
“Soil acidity is also reduced due to the action of carbon dioxide in acidic soils.”

According to Lewis, the benefits list continues with extra elements such as phosphorous, potassium, calcium and manganese and a drop in carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere.

Gillian Hoops, a large-scale farmer from Simanjiro District, Manyara region revealed that the technology, in addition to saving the environment by removing carbon fumes from the atmosphere and converting them into fertilizers, was also very useful in drought-prone areas like Simanjiro.

 “Other fertilizers can be useless in sun scorched, drought smitten grounds but the Bio-Agtive, being gas based can easily penetrate the soil and work wonders for the crops with or without the rain,” she revealed.

And as the issues of global warming continue to raise concern around the globe, the Bio-Agtive technology, according to experts, is bound to earn Arusha farmers as well as Tanzania, carbon credits.

But the technology is already earning a local farmer here bumper harvests; having started to use it in his farm last January. Dennis Mick said his 2000 acres of grain and legumes in Hanang have recorded major boost in crop production ever since he adopted the Bio-Agtive tech.

The Bio-Agtive method involves cooling the tractor exhaust emissions then injecting the condensed gas into the air cart or directly into the soil while sowing or cultivating.
When seeding with Bio-Agtive Emissions Technology (BAET), the cooled exhaust emissions are directed firstly into the air cart.

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