“Free” Fertilizer is Saving Rural Farmers

Revitalizing dead soil can be done in just one planting season, thanks to Shivansh farming. Rural farmers can use whatever materials are available to them to restore their livelihoods – lowering their costs and increasing their yields.

The majority of the world’s poorest farmers use a nitrogen fertilizer called urea. The chemical was initially produced to serve industrial agriculture, but many small-scale farmers were swayed by the fertilizer’s promise of increased productivity. However, the fertilizer begins to wreak havoc once absorbed into the soil, destroying the precarious balance of microorganisms the soil needs to provide plants with enough vitamins and minerals. The ecosystem is destroyed.

As a result, crops are left vulnerable to disease, produce lower yields, are less nutritious, and even require more water. This kicks off a chain reaction that leads to farmers using more fertilizer, herbicides, and pesticides in an attempt to remedy these issues. Producers begin investing more money in chemicals, and have to start purchasing seeds to replant their failing crops – resulting in farmers earning only a 2 percent profit, intensifying their food insecurity and ongoing poverty.

Shivansh fertilizer can allow farmers to break this cycle and reduce their dependence on the chemicals that are doing more harm than good. To create their own free fertilizer, farmers need only gather whatever they have lying around – fresh grass, dried plant materials, animal manure, or crop residues – and incorporate an easy layering technique to create a shoulder-high mound.

The rest is all up to nature. After 18 days, the pile has reduced down to a nutrient-rich fertilizer, full of the microorganisms that soil needs to grow healthy crops. This powerful fertilizer can bring damaged soil back to life within the very first planting season – meaning it has the capacity to completely revolutionize the farming industry for impoverished producers worldwide.

This technique helps bring farming back to basics, using natural materials to improve the most fundamental element of agriculture – the soil. With healthy soil, producers can grow healthy plants with sturdy immune systems, plentiful and higher-quality yields, and even more viable seeds. Farmers will see increased revenues, reduce their dependence on chemical fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides, and generate more nutritious outputs to combat the pressing issue of food insecurity and malnutrition.

In 2016, 50 farms in India began field-testing Shivansh fertilizer – and over the course of just one year, the practice had spread virally to nearly 40,000 farms. Almost immediately, farmers have started seeing results. After reinvigorating their soil using their homemade Shivansh fertilizer, producers are able to make a living again.

The benefits extend beyond just financial returns, however. With producers using farm waste to create fertilizer, they’re not burning it off, which reduces the amount of pollution in the air. As producers start earning more revenue, they’re able to send their children to school, purchase basic necessities, and even begin to experience an increased quality of life – none of which would be possible if they were still dependent on damaging chemical fertilizers.


    1. I found an instructional video on YouTube. The only difference I can see is they don’t credit Sir Albert Howard for the idea.

  1. this is the same as composting. and as described here, borders on fantasy. a ‘shoulder high’ pile of compost, of unknown, not-mentioned other dimensions, is a thick pile. and handling such a large pile is hardly ‘free’. the physical effort to handle the sheer volume, not to mention the cost and effort required to ‘harvest’, or gather the material, and transporting the volume to a place where it can be used, also has a ‘carbon footprint’. a ‘shoulder high’ pile of compost, even if made of some relatively innocuous material such as grass clippings or corn cobs or other ‘agricultural’ material otherwise not used for human consumption, also takes more than a single year to decompose to a point where it can be used as fertilizer. the pile is excessively thick. this ‘article’ does more harm than good, by promoting a fantasy. the intent is admirable, but the actual amount of useful information transmitted is zero. reading this is a waste of time. user beware: ‘agricultural waste’ can also contain pesticide and/or herbicide residues such as roundup. this fact alone, if it had been mentioned in the ‘article’, would have been the most useful information included. i am speaking from my own personal experience of using this exact same method for at least the last 20 years. the ‘article’ is long on fantasy and short on useful facts. a ‘shoulder high’ pile of compost will heat from micro-organism metabolic processes to the point of burning in the center. beware the fire hazard. this fact is also not mentioned in the ‘article’.

    1. This is Geoff Lawton’s 18 day compost recipe. The turning every 2 days (they didn’t mention in the article) is what accelerates the decomposition so dramatically, akin to fanning the embers of a fire.

      An interesting side effect of this method is the negligible loss of volume in conversion from raw material to compost. Therefore you get 6-8 inches of coverage over 80 square feet or 15-20cm over 8 sqare metres from a 4ft/1.2m pile.

      You can make 4-5 piles a season on the same space so an area of about 3 sq m or 30 sq ft will give you enough compost to cover 320-400 sq ft (32-40 sq m).

      The compost is too hot to strike most seeds in (especially if you’re using chicken poo as I do) but seedlings go great in it. I put one lot on the garden twice a year and use the rest when potting up or planting out.

      I mulch over it with 10cm/4inches of wood chips because a local arborist brings me heaps of them. I make a seed raising mix from 1 part this compost to 4 parts wood chips that I let decompose for a year and everything goes nuts in it. My only external input is a bit of lime for the alkaline lovers.

      Another interesting thing is the effect putting compost this fresh has on the soil biota beneath the garden. I’ve only been doing this for 2 years and I recently dug a 2 foot deep hole to plant a mature tree in. My shovel glided in like a hot knife through butter and the sides of the hole didn’t colapse in at all. My garden’s only about 4 inches above the ground after 5 applications of about 10 inches so all that compost and wood chips has blended in to the clay below and given me stunning soil as far as I care to dig.

      Ultimately the terms might have changed a bit but the results of this “Shivansh Fertilizer” are more fantastic than fantasy. You should give it a go. It’s really not hard to turn a pile this size all you need is a pitch fork and about 10 minutes. It’s great exercise.

      You know what they say, don’t knock it til you’ve tried it 😊

  2. Bill Mollisons teaching of “composting in place” is practiced here at the Phayao Permaculture Center in Northern Thailand. We mix in and stack composting materials in and around each tree planted including cardboard, animal manures, bio-char, coconut husks, wood chips, rice hulls and top it off with rice straw mulch. Our soils are typical lousy tropical soils however, it is a one time work and nature takes its course in time.

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