Bengaluru

Taking urban compost to farmers

SWMRT members recently met a few farmers from Kolar, Chinthamani, Mulbagilu, Ramanagara and Anekal who expressed interest in the initiative.   | Photo Credit: V Sreenivasa Murthy

The civic body, along with residents welfare associations and non-profit organisations, has been campaigning actively for households and apartment complexes to take up composting. However, with more people turning to this sustainable method of waste management, the BBMP is struggling to dispose the huge quantum of compost currently being generated.

The Solid Waste Management Round Table (SWMRT) has stepped in to offer a solution with the launch of ‘Swachagraha Compost Connect’, a project that will connect urban composters with farmers on the outskirts of the city.

SWMRT member Savitha Hiremath said the aim of the project is to send ‘biomass back to the soil’. “While some apartment complexes are using the compost to maintain their gardens and green spaces, others are sitting on a huge stockpile. Smaller households, especially, don’t know what to do with it. We can connect them to farmers. The compost can be sold at a cost that is mutually acceptable,” she said.

SWMRT members recently met a few organic farmers from Kolar, Chinthamani, Mulbagilu, Ramanagara and Anekal who expressed interest in the initiative.

N.S. Ramakanth, SWMRT member, said that this project will help farmers who grow organic produce. Partnering with the farmers will help not just the composting communities and farmers, but also the citizens, as better produce from these areas will come into the city, he said. SWMRT will first be creating groups based on zones and roadmaps.

“We are currently collecting data on how many communities, apartments and homes in the city compost the waste they generate. Once that is ready, the zone-wise groups will be created,” he said.

While the SWMRT will be facilitating partnership between composting communities and farmers, it will not be involved in fixing a price. “The SWMRT will play the role of a ‘knowledge partner’ and monitor the quality of the compost,” he said. “The government has fixed the price of compost at around ₹1.50 per kilogram. Farmers will have to pay for transportation and labour. Communities selling compost will take this into consideration.”

Organic produce

The next step for the SWMRT will be to get growers to sell their produce to the communities they are buying compost from and, at a later stage, to promote community farming.

The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), on its part, has been selling compost generated at the Karnataka Compost Development Corporation and other waste processing units to farmers at a subsidised rate of ₹800 a tonne while the market price is ₹1,600 a tonne. BBMP Commissioner N. Manjunath Prasad said more than 500 tonnes of compost had already been sold to farmers.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2021 6:05:22 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/taking-urban-compost-to-farmers/article25692504.ece

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