Bio-capsules become popular among farmers

The use of bio-capsules, a bio-fertilizer technology developed by the Indian Institute of Spices Research (IISR), is picking up among farmers in place of traditional fertilizers. Scientists with the IISR here attest that the sale of this new product has been on the rise since the lockdown days which witnessed the entry of many young entrepreneurs into the organic-farming sector.

A report released by the IISR on Thursday confirms that the total number of bio-capsules sold to small-scale and large-scale farmers in May 2020 alone is 4,000. Between May and August, 6,000 tablets were sold to farmers in States like Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. There are also farmers from Telangana, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and other north Indian States who have started using it.

Revolutionary technology

According to IISR scientists, the positive trend continues to be a matter of joy as the average monthly sale of this product which stood at just 400 before the lockdown period is changing with its popularity among the users. Santhosh J. Eapen, Director, IISR, says bio-capsule is a revolutionary technology which ensures the successful delivery of biologically competent and beneficial microbes.

The bio-capsule priced at ₹100 uses a select combination of beneficial microorganisms such as Trichoderma, Pseudomonas and Bacillus. Unlike the traditional microbial formulations, the novel encapsulation technology developed by a team of scientists led by former IISR Director M. Anandaraj gives it the advantage of easy storage, usage and transport. The production is now being controlled by two licensed private firms with different microorganisms based on the requirements.

One of the key attractions of this fertilizer is that a capsule can be diluted in 100-200 litres of water for the required quantity of application. Researchers say 4,000 capsules are equivalent to 4,000 kg talc-based formulation of microorganisms. As the weight of the capsule is only one gram, a farmer can easily replace 4 tonnes of formulation with 4 kg of capsules.

Cost-effective method

Both traditional farmers and trained youngsters have been found exploring this cost-effective method for months which does not create any harmful residuals. The majority are exploring its scope for improving their organic vegetable and spice cultivation. According to researchers, it also suits the requirement of urban farmers who are fond of organic farming in grow bags.

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