I belonged to village Talihalla, 35 kilometers away from Haripur. I am a housewife and have two children. In addition to household work, I work with livestock and help my husband in the field. My husband has a shop. He is also a general counsellor of our village. The people of the village come to discuss their issues with him and in the village, any of the development work will be conducted so he is the focal person for those. Through my husband, RSP Iffat Kalsoom visited us and conveyed the message of IC/IFOAM. The message focused on subtle actions mainstreamed into daily family life in the household that can prevent negative health effects such as hand washing, kitchen cleanliness, food handling, self-cleanliness, low external input farming practices to ensure healthy crops and healthy environment for agriculture. We liked the message of IC/IFOAM and took interest in organic farming.
I am working in the field as a farmer with my husband but I have no knowledge of organic farming and had never heard of it before the compost-making training. The purpose of taking part in the compost-making training is to get knowledge about it for making our own source of income.
Through the baseline survey and focus group discussion it was noted that in our village training in organic farming and kitchen gardening was needed. The women were willing to learn and were sensitized on how to use the waste materials from their houses to make compost and grow vegetables in their own garden without chemical inputs, which also saves money.
When we heard this message we created a group of 20 women and RSP Iffat Kalsoom. Ms. Fouzia Naheed (Agriculture Officer, Agriculture extension department District Haripur) gave us training on compost-making. I was selected as a group leader of the group. Before the training, I purchased manure for 4000 rupees per field, which was too expensive for me as I was not able to purchase this directly, but through a loan we purchased it and paid back the loan by selling the crops. After training I made compost by myself through which the expense of 8000 rupees for two fields manure was reduced to 1000 rupees. When I saved 7000 rupees the women requested me to give training. So I provide training to 35 beneficiaries of the village. I also distributed manure to the women in the village for kitchen gardening. The women discussed about compost making so I briefed them about it in family events.
The resource person Ms. Fauzia Naheed briefed us about compost making and asked some questions to see what we knew about compost and organic farming. When she asked us these questions, we did not know anything and remained silent. She described compost making in the following way: Compost is a mixture of e.g. leaves and manure that has been decade by microorganisms and improves soil structure and provide nutrients to the plants. Composting is a natural biological process carried out under controlled aerobic conditions (requires oxygen) in this process various microorganisms, including bacteria and fungi, break down organic matter into simpler substances. She told us that compost is a key ingredient in organic farming. It offers slow release of major crop nutrients, including phosphate potassium, magnesium and sulphur and improves soil structure for better work ability and better crop establishment, which helps the plant also to overcome some pest and diseases. Next to that it increases water infiltration and retention in the soil. At the simplest level composting can be made by: making a heap of wetted organic matter known as green waste, leaves dry bushes, dry leaves, animal waste materials. She told us that, if we consider to become organic farmers, compost making results in many benefits: it is a simple methodology, save in its application and can be made at home. Compost is like a humus fuel for plant growth and brings vitality to depleted soil, because it brings organic matter to the soil. It is also free, easy to make and good for the environment. Composting offers a natural alternative to chemical fertilizers. Composting can divert as much as 30% of household waste away from the garbage can.
Pictures: Compost training
Two months after the training:
I have made compost for this season and used it and will do it again in the next season. I am so happy that the waste materials, which we did not use before can now be used it and reduce our expenses.