Kamis, 26 Februari 2009


Oleh: Suwardi (1999)


Agriculture is still the most strategic sector in national economy of Indonesia. One of government policies to push the economy acceleration is through the improvement of agriculture production especially by application of NPK fertilizers. However, since the mid 1997 Indonesia has been facing the serious problem of monetary crisis causing the prices of fertilizers are double than before. The most serious impact of the condition are farmers. They tend to reduce the dosage of fertilizers and consequently the agricultural production are decrease significantly. To improve the lowland and upland crop production, government motivates farmers to use again as much as possible compost to substitute of chemical fertilizers. This policy is also due to environmental problems in relation to the accumulation of waste products in rural and urban areas. The arising awareness of the problems renewed interest in possibilities to improve the role and function of compost as well as the utilization of nutrients in crop production.

Application of compost has been practiced by farmers for a long years ago. In rural areas in rainy season after harvesting rice, the straw is removed and heaped in the corner of the field. The straw is slowly decomposed and was put back in the soil in due course. In the dry season, straw is burnt in situ or is taken home for source of animal food. In lowland area, compost is prepared from animal manure and crop residues and its applied to their field before land preparation. In the hilly area, vegetable growers use chicken and cattle manure for their fields. Now commercial composting plants utilizing residues of organic waste material are build in many places especially in urban areas. In Bogor Botanical Garden for examples, garages of leaves are collected and composted for supporting nursery. In Safari Garden of Indonesia, most animal waste materials are collected and commercially processed become a good quality of compost. Sieving of mature compost is done in many sizes for growing ornamental and horticultural plants. In urban areas, organic materials in garbage collection areas are composted commercially after sorting from plastics, glasses, and metal materials.

The development of composting process is introduced by researchers from universities and research centers. Researches done in Bogor Agricultural University showed the improvement of composting process by application of microbial inoculum, earthworm, and zeolites. Application of Trichoderma viride accelerated the composting of organic residues. The same results was obtained by application of earthworms for composting (vermicomposting) of mixture of organic residue and animal manure. Now, vermicomposting is very popular because besides accelerate the decomposition process, its produces earthworms for fish and ingredient of cosmetic products. Zeolites are also used to improve the quality of compost especially to reduce the odor during composting. Application of 15-20% of powdered zeolites reduce significantly the ammonia volatilization. In 1995 Natural Farming of Japan introduced the application of Effective Microorganisms (EM) that claimed as fertilizer, herbicide, antibiotic, and improve the fermentation of bokashi. However, some researches did not show such effects. As conclusion, the future trend of Indonesian farmers for increasing their crop production is by application of more compost because its reduces fertilizers cost and improves the soil properties.

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