I do not know whether Maynard was being facetious when he sent me this mail:
“I found this article sitting in my “library” reading “Uncle Hohn’s Sightly Irregular Bathroom Reader” the 17th edition.
Rummy, can you verify if this is accurate information? I wonder how they plan to collect it. Rummy, you might want to run a post on this very elaborate idea. If it is accurate, I will be looking for this product in our Agricultural Stores.
What a “concept”!
He was referring to an article in one of our leading newspapers, the Times of India, published in June 2003.
I thought it fit to reply to him by email first, but on reflection decided to take his advise and write a blog post about the subject. Here is what I had drafted as a reply to Maynard.
“Yes, this is true.
Till the petrochemical industry invaded agriculture, natural fertilizers were used and they were completely made within the farms using compost pits. Since cattle were the primary means of mobile energy and for milk and milk products, cattle dung and urine with added agricultural waste was used throughout the world. If you are a fan of organic food, the chances are that similar compost fertilizers and natural pesticides like neem will be used to produce the produce.
Japan was famous for using every bit of waste in their agriculture and their productivity was the highest once. They are still doing a lot of research, but unfortunately, times have changed, and mechanized farming and synthetic fertilizers, chemicals, insecticides and pesticides have made agriculture increasingly a non viable proposition as these kill the soil over a period of time. The movement to natural and organic farming is an offshoot of this phenomenon.
In India, Hindu farmers will not slaughter cows, bullocks and bulls for meat. After their working life is over, they are abandoned and find their way to big cities like Delhi where they are a nuisance but tolerated and allowed to roam. The idea is not as bizarre as it seems. They could be rounded up, penned and their dung and urine used for composting and also for bio gas for cooking and lighting as it is done in many Indian villages. Collecting the dung and urine is no big deal as it is being done in all dairy farms all over the world. The same technique of systematic drainage and collection pits, is followed.
I do not quite know what happened to that particular initiative, but India will not export this stuff as it has a ready market within India itself. You might like to have a look here.
To the extent possible, I buy and use organically grown grain, pulses, nuts, spices, vegetables and fruit. They are more expensive but, I can afford the indulgence. The taste is far superior to the run of the mill stuff. I am a vegetarian incidentally. I voluntarily gave up non-vegetarian food in 1998. I am convinced that despite being the only one in my family to be one, I am better off with vegetarian food.
Maynard, if you find it difficult to source Indian compost, I shall be very happy to find someone who will export the same directly to you. It will however have to be in container loads.