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Effective micro-organisms April 9th, 2014 by

Mr Sawart Jaimetta lives in the small village of Nonemakharpom near Khon Buri in northeast Thailand. While he earns his living mainly from growing cassava and rearing crickets, chicken run freely around his house and a variety of plants are grown for food, medicine and spice. Like many farmers in developing countries, Mr Sawart creatively uses all resources available to him.

When Mr Sawart said, he also had pigs, pointing to a shed just behind my back, I just couldn’t believe it. In Europe you can smell pigs from quite a distance, but here I stood two meters from the pig house and hadn’t even noticed them.

“Last month a farmer in Uganda told us that he uses micro-organisms that he mixes in water and sprinkles on the bedding of saw dust to get rid of the smell,” I told Mr Sawart.

“I do the same. I sprinkle a solution with micro-organisms on rice husks on which I keep my pigs,” Mr Sawart replied smilingly.

“How amazing,” I thought, “within one month I have met two farmers in countries as far apart as Uganda and Thailand who apply micro-organisms in their pig house.”

The technology of effective micro-organisms (EM) was introduced to the world through an international conference held in Thailand in 1989, following extensive research by Dr Teruo Higa, a Japanese professor.

Nowadays, the Ministry of Agriculture in Thailand produces EM and distributes it freely to farmers  via the more than 700 community pest management centres across the country.

While probiotics seem to be hard to sell to the agricultural community in Western countries, which are dominated by a strong antibiotic lobby, the technology is making headway in Africa and Asia.

Sustainable technologies have a much higher chance of spreading in countries where the agrochemical industry is less well established. Governments like the one in Thailand who promote EM technology are to be applauded and could serve as an example to other countries across the world.

To read more about EM, read Farming And Gardening With Effective Micro-organisms

Related blog stories: Smelling is believing

Other stories about Mr Sawart: Six-legged livestock; Killing mealybugs with bananas

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