BENGALURU: For all those households which segregated waste in Bengaluru and helped the Karnataka State Compost Development Corporation (KSCDC) prepare organic manure, here is some good news.
As much as 4,306 tonnes of compost processed from 600 tonnes of segregated wet waste in the city have been sold in under five months, paving the way for a bigger market for farmers to get a better yield at much cheaper price.
Such has been the demand that, if the agriculture department and minister Krishna Byre Gowda are to be believed, the government is now considering opening up the waste-tocompost opportunity for private players to explore.
B Byregowda, a middleaged farmer in Bagalur, reaped the benefits of wet waste segregation in the city, which reached him as compost. "Three months ago, I requested for 10 tonnes of compost for my one-and-halfacre land. While the entire quantity couldn't be procured, I did get eight tonnes of compost. Today, at Rs 800 per tonne, which is one-fourth the price of inorganic fertilizers, I'm able to get a much better yield," the farmer said.
Gowda has planted millets (ragi) on his land and is expecting a much better yield through drip irrigation.
From Kolar to Tumakuru and Begur to Bagalkunte -similar success stories resonate in the farming community that has subscribed to the city's compost.
According to the agriculture department, which is providing compost at a subsidized rate to farmers and sharing 50% of the cost, the KSCDC has seen a surge in demand for compost in the last five months. "Such has been the demand that there is zero stock of compost with KSCDC now. We are looking at more segregated waste which will help make compost on a regular basis," said Krishna Byregowda.
The government is considering opening up the market for private players for a consistent supply of organic compost.
Currently, the government has allowed IL&FS Environment Infrastructure and Services Limited to start operations in the city to provide compost to farmers in Bengaluru and adjoining districts.
"We intend to expand these operations to provide farmers with a consistent supply of compost. This will help in quicker disposal of segregated waste and also ensure quality manure," the minister said.
The government intends to negotiate the rates with farmers on behalf of the private firms which are willing to set up plants in the city and also guarantee pricing, collection and distribution of compost to both farmers and the companies.
However, scepticism remains among farmers over the quality of compost and they hope segregation is done better at the municipal level. "If we get better quality compost, it'll help get more farmers buy the manure. Now, plastic and glass can be found in manure provided to us," said Byregowda, the farmer.