For my MSc. research I worked on the use of Silicon (Si) as fertilizer to increase rice plant resistance to the most harmful virus in rice, RYMV (Rice yellow mottle virus). Results have showed that if from quality source and abundantly available in the soil solution, Si significantly improve rice plant tolerance to RYMV by reducing its incidence and severity. Consequently, it decreased damages but also improve plants’ productivity. Many scientists have also demonstrated that Si improves resistance to abiotic stresses, bacterial and fungal diseases in rice, tomato and others (Houndjo et al., 2019; Ma, 2004; Datnoff, 2005; Zellner et al., 2011).
As we are facing climate change effects and promoting the use of organic fertilizer in replacement of chemical ones, my innovative idea is to produce a highly nitrogenous organic fertilizer (about 40% of Nitrogen, easily and sustainably available to plants) which also contain about 30% of Silicon (an important and neglected element in agriculture). The fertilizer is made with three principal raw materials: Chicken poultry manure, Mucuna pruriens and Silicon powder. The fertilizer is very lightweight what facilitate its transportation and application, for it is pretending to replace or to significantly reduce the use of Urea (46% N) and synthetic pesticides in rice production. The effect of Si to protect crop has been demonstrated by more than one and there is currently no organic fertilizer with such nitrogen content (almost the same results as urea) and at the same time sustainable. This fertilizer is going to revolution our agriculture in many countries since farmers themselves are aware of the negative effects of chemical fertilizer as well as synthetic pesticides and are looking for ways to change practices while making the same or more profit. This innovation is a good solution to increase soil fertility and protection, reduce the use of pesticides, promote ecological agriculture and ensure more incomes. It will then impact farmers’ lives and the whole agricultural world.
Production process and qualification
The Silicon powder Wollastonite (CaSiO3) also known as Calcium Silicate is used as source of silicon while the others two primary inputs are used in two formulations: (1) dried Chicken poultry manure + dried Mucuna pruriens leavesand (2) wet or fraiche Chicken poultry manure + fraiche Mucuna pruriens leaves. Although both formulations are of great effect on soil fertility we are going to assess which one is the best. In process (1), dried inputs will be grinded and mixed with the Wallasonite. This process directly ensure the lightweight of the product and its easy transportation and application. Mixed product is treated with biological antifungal and through thermal process and all gross particles removed. As the final product is in granular formulation, some adjuvant product are added to the mixed powder to make it granular. In (2) fraiche inputs are first composted with other vegetable biomass and some sand. At the end of the composting cycle, the fertilizing part of the nitrogenous compost is mixed with the Silicon as in the first case. The mean steps of this project are:
- Production of the fertilizer following the two formulations
- Assessment of nitrogen content and laboratory effect of the produced fertilizer
- Evaluation of Real effect through field experiments on rice plant and other crops
- Improvement and Extension of the innovation.
At CEAD-Afrique (Centre pour l’Environnement l’Agriculture et le Développement de l’Afrique) I am involved in the production of biological products (BIO_MYCO and BIO-PLUS) using combination of plants extracts with anti-fungal and anti-insecticides effects to control fungal diseases and pests in horticulture. Also during my internship at IITA-Cotonou I assessed the laboratory anti-bacterial effect of plants such as Moringa, Azadirachta and Jatropha while working on the seedborne rice diseases. All these motivated me and finding solution for crop protection and sustainable agriculture becomes part of my life. Those products I worked on, have good effect but pathogens still develop resistant to them as there is the case in RYMV where we have resistant breaking isolate. This innovation ensure the soil fertility for a well development of plant, the improvement of plant resistance to diseases and abiotic stresses and good yielding.
Motivation for the production of this innovative fertilizer
Drought and flood are destroying more and more rice production areas and they can only be controlled either by the development of highly resistant varieties or the construction of big infrastructures. In addition to those climatic constraints farmers have to face the pressure of diseases and pests which at least can be controlled by good practices and/or the use of naturals and cost effective product available in abundance. When I read a paper on the importance and the effects of Silicon in rice production I realized that it can be using to control diseases or to reduce disease impacts while waiting for environment adapted resistant and high yielding varieties. It will also be used to support resistant varieties. Furthermore, the intensive use of chemical fertilizer are badly affecting health and ecosystem and farmers express the need of efficient easily applicable organic fertilizer for sustainable production. Urea is widely used because its efficiency and high nitrogen content. Since Chicken poultry manure and Mucuna pruriens have high nitrogen content easily available for plants when applied, these two elements can be used to produce a very high nitrogenous organic fertilizer to contribute to the agricultural revolution. I have been working with farmers and really want to provide them with efficient solutions. To be able to solve many problems with one product, combining the Silicon with the Chicken poultry manure and Mucuna pruriens is the innovation I thought about.
Missigbe Joel Angelo Houndjo, Benin