To protect the environmental and reducing global warming!
The objective of this project is to promote LISA concept (Low Input Sustainable Agriculture) to farmers for the goal to combat environmental issues caused by conventional fertilizers. This LISA project is intended to help farmers to follow a sustainable farming method that can offer protections not only towards crop yields, but can also bring better protection of environmental quality and conservation of resources. Consequently, LISA concept is an agriculture system based on the principle that we must meet the needs of present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
Similar to the recent plastic waste issues voiced by environmentalist groups in various Asian nations, conventional fertilizer practices is posed to cause severe environmental impact to the environment. Fertilizers are substances used to add nutrients to the soil to promote soil fertility and enhance plant growth. Today, fertilizer is very essential to modern agriculture in order to feed the growing population. Used of fertilizers, especially the chemical fertilizers had brought in blessings on humanity, which helped contain hunger and death in many corners of the world. Fertilizers used in today’s farming are mostly of the traditional/conventional chemical fertilizers. Though chemical fertilizers increase crop production, their prolonged use has proven to lead to harden soil, decreased soil fertility, strengthened pesticide resistance, polluted water, and released greenhouse gases (especially the nitrogen oxide). Therefore bringing hazards not only to human health but to the environmental as well.
The released greenhouse gases cause the temperature to rise on global scale and it is expected to result catastrophic shifts to the weather, agriculture and even the habitability of some areas. Consequently, there is this immediate need to identify an alternative fertilizer that is effective to achieve sustainable agriculture - not only to provide good plant growth but must also be truly green to our environment. The good news is, we do have an immediate solution to this issue as there are now fertilizers equipped with significantly improved efficiency and it can help farmers to easily achieve LISA (low input sustainable agriculture). Therefore, we’re not waiting for a solution, we’re simply waiting for the politicians and the general public to understand the solution is here. LISA is not a matter of waiting, it’s a matter of implementing.
As most conventional chemical fertilizers affect soil pH, any prolong use will cause acidic soil that kills soil friendly micro-organisms. This leads to dropping soil fertility and eventually making it barren. In their larger threat to the environment, animals and human health, chemical fertilizers will ultimately end up leaking into our water bodies, i.e. ponds, stream and ground water. These contaminated water supplies can lead to numerous short term and long term hazardous chemical effects on the health of both human and animals.
As to the marine habitats, fertilizers run-off (rainwater) into nearby water can cause an increase in water nutrient levels. This excess nutrient can cause phytoplankton to grow and reproduce more rapidly and resulting in algal blooms. This bloom of algal disrupts normal ecosystem in the marine habitats and causes many problems. The algae may use up all the oxygen in the water, leaving none for other marine life (e.g. diminishing fish stock). The bloom of algae may also block photosynthetic marine plants from receiving sunlight, therefore stopping them from performing the necessary photosynthesis.
We can no longer afford to ignore these issues or to sleepwalk to disaster and completely letting down our grandchildren and their children. Consequently, a project is initiated here to educate farmers to better understand of the environmental impacts from their current use of conventional fertilizers and helping them to achieve LISA practice through the use of high efficient slow release fertilizers.
By controlling the nutrient release into the soil, slow release fertilizer is a proven high efficient fertilizer that offers a very reliable and effective way to make the availability of nutrients to coincide with plant requirements. Below are just some of the benefits to show why slow release fertilizer is right for LISA:
- Optimal plant development: With the characteristic of being a slow release fertilizer, the release rate of each nutrient will not be adversely affected by high temperature and moisture condition. Therefore allowing the essential nutrients to be absorbed by the plants within the duration of 6-8 months per application (i.e. significant less fertilizer application rounds as compared to conventional fertilizers). This ensures the farmers to achieve optimal yields from their crops.
- Less fertilizer: as slow release fertilizers release nutrients at a rate matches plants uptake, substantial saving is possible with the use of slow release fertilizer as the fertilizer requirement can be reduced to just about 10-20% of those required when using conventional fertilizers. These high efficient slow release fertilizers have bee successfully tested to perform very well in many crops such as rice paddy, banana, reforestation trees, maize, pepper, cocoa and many others, providing good growth rate and high yield.
- Saves time and labour: As the fertilizer can last 6 month or longer, this saves labor and costs associated with fertilizer application, freeing them to concentrate on other tasks.
- Simple application: fertilizers are applied directly into the soil, requiring no sophisticated equipment or tools.
- Environmentally friendly: there is near zero fertilizer losses through wastage or leaching, thus preventing environmental contamination to the soil and water source. Also, as significantly less fertilizer is required when compared to other conventional fertilizers, this means significant less greenhouse gases emission during the production and transport of slow release fertilizers. Furthermore, natural resources are better protected for our next generations as significant fewer amount of materials are required in the production slow release fertilizers, therefore less mining is needed.
The goal of this project is to assist farmers in the Southeast Asia regions to not only practise sustainable farming through LISA but also making them aware of the various environmental issues resulted from their current traditional farming practices. The 1st stage of this project would start by helping farmers living in the Eastern states of Malaysia (on the Northern part of BorneoIsland with total land size of approximately 200,000 square km and population approximately 7 millions). The Island of Borneo is geographically located at the centre of Southeast Asia at the equator line. It has some of the world’s most poverty stricken farmers who are also not well educated, where some are still practising the slash and burn farming technique causing severe haze pollution in the region. So it is important for them to start practising sustainable farming and protect the natural environment and water sources before the environmental issues become too severe to be reversed. Once we can accomplish the goal set up in this 1st LISA project, we’ll then gradually expand this LISA programme to all Southeast Asia Nations. Consequently, a crowd funding exercise is initiated here to seek financial help from international communities to help kick start this LISA project.
This campaign is aiming to fundraise USD2.0Millions. Fund collected in this funding exercise would be used to fund the purchase of the high efficient slow release fertilizers. These fertilizers will then be distributed as free samples to farmers such that they can immediately start LISA practice at their farms. Free samples are needed here as the farmers and the local government are often slow to accept new technologies and practices. These free fertilizers can help the farmers to immediately start individual farming fertilizer trial. Seminars and dialogues with farmers will be conducted to educate farmers of the potential environmental issues resulting from their current traditional farming practices and teaching them to learn the many advantages of LISA. Partnership with relevant community groups would be used as an effective platform to easier deliver LISA messages to farmers in remote areas. Efforts would also be spent on planters of industry-scale as they are equally the big culprit of these environmental issues in the region. Crop monitoring efforts will be carried out to check progress and feedback from farmers. Should this LISA project be successful, there is an opportunity to see a significant drop in annual fertilizer requirement (from the estimated 4 millions tonnes to 0.5 million tonnes) in East Malaysia!
This project is aiming to reach out to 15k -20k farmers and we are highly optimistic that these farmers can become the LISA advocates after they themselves realise the simplicity of to practise LISA. We’re also hopeful that the successes from this LISA project can generate significant impact to push for reform in government policies to better protect our environment.
So no more waiting! We need to start now to protect the environment and resources before the environmental issues getting worse. So let us all work together for better environment for our grandchildren and their children.