Since long, I had been wanting to write about something interesting that could be effectively and economically incorporated into agriculture. Then I came across Mr. Debendra Shrestha who told me about the use of human urine for successful crop production. It was really interesting to hear what he said and I am feeling awesome writing about it.
Debendra Shrestha is a vibrant youth from Gulmi and recently works in the Department of Agriculture. Giving the answer to my question about how he got interested in carrying out the research in use of human urine in crop production, he answered that he had heard about the use of humanure in Kathmandu Valley and African countries years before. He found that to be interesting and planned to find out the way it works. With the help of funding he got from ENPHO Nepal, he carried out his research in sweet peeper (Capsicum annuum) in Chalnakhel, Sitadevi VDC, Kathmandu. He said that he got the better yield of sweet pepper with the use of human urine in combination with compost rather than using chemical fertilizers or human urine alone.
According to him, farmers are interested in using human urine as fertilizer and many of them have already started. In some of the Mahotsavs, collection and distribution of human urine had helped the farmers a lot. But he says that it takes time as people hesitate to use human urine in crops.
NUTRIENTS AVAILABLE IN HUMAN URINE
Human urine contains significant level of nitrogen, as well as phosphorus and potassium ( NPK ratio around 11-1-2.5,nearly similar to chemical fertilizers). Nitrogen is present in the form of ammonia, urea, cratine ,etc and on addition of carbon rich materials like compost help in proper and quick absorption of nutrients.
HOW IS IT ADVANTAGEOUS?
Many works have been done in promoting the use of human urine in crop production especially in developing countries like Kenya, Malawi, Philippines,etc and also on the developed countries like Finland and Sweden.
In Nepal farmers don’t get chemical fertilizers in time, price is increasing and not found in adequate amount. We don’t have enough source of plant nutrients for crop production. People are using cattle urine but as compared to cattle urine human urine is richer in nutrients.
Application of human urine in tomatoes, cucumber, pepper,lawn as well as other garden vegetables and fruits has shown high increase in productivity.
Human urine supplies variety of nutrients and can help us move towards closed-loop fertility system. As per the crop requirement the amount can be manipulated.
At the present situation, though human urine cannot replace chemical fertilizers, it will surely minimize the use of chemical fertilizers. We can hope that in the years to come, negative effects of chemical fertilizers to the soil, environment, awareness of the people to organic food, raising price of chemical fertilizers and their unavailability when needed badly will surely force us to go for other alternatives; human urine being one among many other.
Human urine is taken as waste though it is rich in nutrients and available everywhere free of cost. We can utilize this waste resource to increase crop productivity by raising valuable crops and at the same time minimize many health hazards and environmental pollution caused as the reason of unmanaged urinals.
PROBLEMS IN USE
There are some problems like people’s hesitation, higher cost of transportation and application than chemical fertilizers, people not knowing about the way to use it (urine should be applied to soil not to crops), people not knowing about dilution rate and proper time of application, etc. Similarly, people don’t have proper knowledge about those crops which shouldn’t be supplied with human urine (food that are consumed raw).
Poor economy of our country has always hindered with the development of agricultural field. People are illiterate and thus haven’t got any idea about use of waste materials in increasing crop productivity. Making people aware that human urine is not just the waste product of human body, but can be nutritious food of variety of crops will help us increase the crop productivity and quality for sure without any ill effects to human health.