Organic Fertilizer Production with Integrated Community-Based Soil Fertility Management System

Restoring degraded farmlands and increasing microbial biomass for healthy soils and soil biodiversity conservation.

Photo of Fanka A Yenah
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Eligibility Criteria

  • I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria and terms of the Act for Biodiversity Challenge and that I am eligible to apply.
  • I am 18 years old or older.

Initiative's representative name

Fanka Christa Marie A Yenah

Initiative's representative date of birth

14/08/1986

Initiative's representative gender

  • Woman

Headquarters location: country

  • Cameroon

Headquarters location: city

Jakiri

Where are you making a difference?

Bamenda, Ber-Jakiri, Ndop , Kumbo, Foumbot, Bangante, Obala in Cameroon

Website or social media url(s)

https://www.facebook.com/RADI4life/

Date Started

05/10/2014

Project Stage

  • Growth (have moved past the very first activities; working toward the next level of expansion)

Yearly Budget : What is your current yearly budget for the initiative?

  • €10k - €50k

Organization Type

  • For-profit

1. Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this project to succeed.

In May 2008, after completion of my Bachelor's degree in geography, I had to assist my parents in their farms for 2 years before proceeding with my Master's degree in Sustainable Agriculture.During my voluntary service at my parents farms,I observed that my father used only cow manure from his ranch in his farm, no tilling of the soil but only paid for clearing of the farm. While my mother was into slash-and-burn which is the normal traditional farm practice in Ber-Jakiri, applied chemical fertilizers from their self-help group.The difference was in the output from maize and beans from the various plots.My father had more yields than my mother.I was so inspired to start soil test activities and engage in the promotion of organic agriculture

2. The problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

More than 25000 farmers in the North West Region of Cameroon still practice slash-and-burn ,which is a traditional farm practice despite sensitization by some Non-Governmental Organizations on the destruction of soil micro-organisms and obstruction of the soil structure and texture.More than 10,000 rural farmers in West region use chemical fertilizers supplied by distributors of companies like YARA and SOLEVO without user guideline and this has caused ground water pollution around watersheds.

3. Your solution: How are you working to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

Firstly, in August -September 2014, we organized 32 workshops in collaboration with the municipal councils across Cameroon , 10 workshops in the North West , 5 in the South West, 7 in West , 8 in Centre and 2 in the littoral regions respectively; to sensitize rural farmers on the negative effects of slash-and-burn farm practice on the soil micro-organisms and the long-term reduction of yields if farmers continue to use this method.During these workshops, we created awareness on the importance of soil test for all farmers every 2 years to determine the soil fertility level. We also emphasized on the importance of using eco-friendly fertilizers like our organic fertilizers {Super-Limax and Winox} to increase microbial biomass which is essential for the fertility of the soil. Furthermore, We have partnership with the local councils to work with farmers on soil fertility tests and organic fertilizer credit programs where farmers take fertilizers on credit and pay after crop harvest to promote organic agriculture.

4. Innovation: How are you innovating or using unique approaches to solve the problem?

From our baseline studies at Ber-Jakiri in November 2014, RADI started a free soil test with 300 smallholder farmers. We selected Community-Based Soil Fertility Workers{CBASFW} with help of farmers groups and trained them .After a month of training, we started our free soil test trials with the Ber-Jakiri community.With the Slogan "one village at a time".Results from the field proved that 80% of farms were too acidic with a soil pH of 3.0-4.5. The reason was because of slash-and -burn farm practice and overdose of chemical fertilizers . Our eco-friendly fertilizers {Super-Limax and Winox} development took 4 years.We produced them from plant-based materials like moringa leaf extract, eggshells, cottonseedmeal, biochar and tea extracts

5. Collaboration: How does your initiative seek to bring key players together to preserve biodiversity?

Before developing our organic fertilizers {Super-Limax and Winox} in 2018, we had collaboration with the Cameroon Rice Development Corporation {UNVDA} to test the organic fertilizers in their rice plot at Ndop plain. A comparative study between rice cultivated using chemical fertilizers {Urea,N,P,k} and organic fertilizers {Super-Limax and Winox } and a control plot in the middle.Based on the study in November 2016, we had 200kg extra from organically cultivated rice. We have established partnership with the University of Bamenda on soil fertility management and organic fertilizers in relation to climate smart agriculture and soil biodiversity conservation. We also work with non-profit organizations as The Greens and SIRDEP that encourage farmers in their target communities to use only organic fertilizers to preserve the environment. Moreso, we are looking forward to international collaboration with other organizations interested in soil fertility and agrobiodiversity conservation.

6. Impact: how has your project made a difference so far — in terms of both business outputs and social impact? How do you plan on measuring progress?

From May 2018 till date, more than 15,000 farmers across Cameroon have used our organic fertilizers and testified of increased yields.For example, 97% of 1000 rice farmers that collected our organic fertilizers in Ber Jakiri and Ndop plain testified that they had extra 200kgs compared with yields from chemical fertilizers in the previous years. A feedback statement was given that most of them had to be engaged in smoked fish business with their extra income while others send their children to school in different regions admist the Anglophone crisis. Since the start of the RADI Project, we have employed more than 120 workers both temporary and permanent. In December 2019, our annual report stated that we employed 55 rural youths and 20 women in Ber-Jakiri where the headquarter is located for soil fertility tests and organic fertilizer production.Furthermore, we have 30 workers in the West and Centre regions.Then 15 in littoral and south west regions respetively.

7. Growth strategies: what are your main strategies for scaling your impact?

Firstly, we are using a geographical strategic expansion method to scale our business. We target mostly communities in different regions where access to organic fertilizer is difficult to obtain and areas where unsustainable farming practices are carried out. We train community-based individuals and they sell our products under supervision of sales agents. Direct approach known as B2B is used. We have direct contact with customers who need our products from retail stores across Cameroon through our advertisement and village by village sensitization. We are looking forward to engage more retailers and distributors through this direct approach. We are looking forward to scale the business across the world with investors.

8. Creating shared value: How does your initiative create value for society? Or different stakeholders?

We have been creating shared value with target communities through our outreach programme called "Bio-fertilizer Credit Scheme". Through this program, farmers are willing to take fertilizers on credit and pay after harvest. Most farmers who were afraid of cultivating certain kind of crops due to fertilizer shortages are now capable. This is helping poverty-stricken farmers to be food self-sufficient. Through this program, most farmers can send their children to school without stress and engage in other businesses to sustain their family needs. The program creates rural employment and gives shareholders the will to engage in rural developmental projects in the longrun such as water projects

9. Financial sustainability plan: can you tell us about your plan to fund your project and how that plan will be sustainable in the short, medium, and long term?

In the short term, we would keep sustaining the company through sales from organic fertilizers. Also, money from soil fertility tests would contribute greatly in running the company and grants from donors. In Mid 2020, we are planning to open a 70 hectare farmland that we acquired in Foumbot, West region of Cameroon to serve as a base for our sustainable agricultural trial fields such as organic agriculture, agro-forestry systems with native tree species that are beneficial to the environment and humans. We want to set up a foundation that trains rural youths in agro-forestry practices with beekeeping, wax and candle production. Also, we want to set up a food processing factory like coffee ,rice and cassava which are high in demand.

10. Team: what is the current composition of your current team (types of roles, qualifications, full-time vs. part-time, board members, etc.), and how do you plan to evolve the team’s composition as the project grows?

1.Professor Tim Depp-Visiting Scientist on soil fertility and seed development{University of California,USA} 2. Professor Regina Birner-Technical Adviser, University of Hohenheim,Germany 3.Dr Ngufor Lorimore Atanga-Chairman of Board, Walden University,USA 4.Dr Tatah Eugene-Team leader at crop protection development,University of Bamenda, Cameroon 5.Dr Patrick Ngufor-Head of Business Development, Microfinance, Douala, Cameroon 6.Mrs Fanka A Yenah-CEO/Founder

11. How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Search engine
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Attachments (2)

Soil-Nutrient-Analysis-for-Plot-A.xlsx

Soil sample test of unfertilized Plot before addition of our Organic fertilizer {Super-Limax} and 2 years after application.

Procedure for soil sampling and analysis.docx

The guide we use for our soil test activities

2 comments

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Spam
Photo of Alberto

A wonderful initiative that addresses sustainable soil management

Spam
Photo of Fanka A Yenah

Thanks alot Mr Roberto.