Costa Rican Farmers Learn to Use Natural Inputs for Replacing Agrochemicals

    Producers have reduced costs by up to 40% thanks to the use of this alternative on their farms

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    “Some 5,500 Costa Rican farmers learn to use natural inputs from the same organic waste from their farms and other microorganisms that inhabit virgin forest soils, it is an easy-to-implement and low-cost home technology,” explains the agronomist Rolando Tencio.

    The initiative, which came a little over a decade ago in Costa Rica, is being taught jointly by the extension offices of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG), the National Institute of Learning (INA), and the State Distance University (UNED) in various regions of the country.

    Among the main benefits that farmers have developed with this technique are natural pesticides for the elimination of insects and other pests that affect crops. In addition, it has been effective in the extermination of external parasites that pets harbor, which, without harming their health, completely kills fleas and ticks.

    Organic fertilizer

    It has also been proven that this technology dissipates odors, works as a natural repellent and, of course, they are applied as organic fertilizer to crops. “The soil has been degraded by so many chemicals,” said Tencio, who is also the regional coordinator of Sustainable Production of the MAG Central Eastern Region. “The essence of this technique is to bring the soil back into balance. Excellent results have been obtained such as improving the quality and presentation of the soil and with zero chemical residues,” he said.

    He added that with this initiative what is done is to imitate the cycle carried out by the forest. “The leaves fall, the microorganisms decompose them, the roots absorb it and they feed the microorganisms, existing a symbiosis; a balance”.

    40% reduction in cost

    Agrochemical costs have been reduced by more than 40% “because beneficial microorganisms make soil nutrients more available, significantly reducing the use of granular fertilizers,” he added.

    Allan Chavarría, a researcher at the Distance State University, said that this technique is applied to various crops such as vegetables, fruit plants, and coffee plantations, among other crops, which have seen a considerable decrease after replacing agrochemical with bio-inputs.

    “This week we started training in San Carlos with a group of producers who are happy to have started this training process,” said Chavarría, while detailing that some 500 farms throughout the country have managed to obtain the Ecological Blue Flag. Many of these products harvested throughout the country under this technique can be found in organic fairs organized by farmers.

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