Bokashi: A Fermented Organic Matter

Bokashi is a Japanese term meaning “fermented organic matter” which was first advocated in 1935 by the Japanese philosopher Mokichi in Okada, Japan. Aside from providing nourishment to the plants, it also helps in restoring and enhancing the nutrient content and essential microorganisms in the soil.

Organic fertilizer in one of the most important inputs in sustainable agriculture. Aside from providing nourishment to the plants, it also helps in restoring and enhancing the nutrient content and essential microorganisms in the soil. This idea is very well established in the local organic System of Rice Intensification (SRI) farms in Capiz, Iloilo and Negros Occidental where they use an effective natural soil amendment in their farms called Bokashi.

Bokashi is a Japanese term meaning “fermented organic matter” which was first advocated in 1935 by the Japanese philosopher Mokichi in Okada, Japan. It focuses on the preparation of farm-based and locally derived organic materials that include rice hull, animal manure, carbonized rice hull, garden soil, ash, molasses, Indigenous Microorganisms (IMO), Fish Amino Acid (FAA), Fermented Plant Juice (FPJ), Fermented Fruit Juice (FFJ), Fermented Seaweeds (FSW) and water. This process takes 14 days of preparation, which is way shorter than the process of traditional compost lasting six months.

Mr. Christopher Enate, resident of Brgy. Nasunogan, Dao, Capiz and Mr. Edwin Loreno from Brgy. Bonbon, Lambunao, Iloilo are two of the best rice farmers in terms of yield in the organic System of Rice Intensification (SRI) project of iRelief Foundation. They are both convinced of the beneficial result of applying Bokashi in their SRI farms. Mr. Enate said, “Through Bokashi, we do not just reap high yields but also incur lower cost of production compared to commercial fertilizers.” It is also an easy substitute for chemical fertilizers which requires fairly little training. Mr . Henry Orbino, also an organic SRI farmer in Calinog, Iloilo said that Bokashi is a great help for farmers like him who are transitioning from conventional to organic agriculture.

The following are the procedures in producing Bokashi fertilizer:

1. Preparation of the place. Look for a place that is shaded or away from direct sunlight. Put a lona/tarpaulin in the selected place, this will serve as a floor and cover of mixture.

2. Mixing of dried materials. Mix thoroughly the rice bran, animal manure, garden soil, carbonized rice hull (CRH) and ash.

3. Adding of liquid materials. Dilute IMO, FPJ, FAA, FSW, coconut water, beer, and molasses together into non-chlorinated water.

4. Adding of diluted Solution. Pour the diluted solution gradually onto the Bokashi mixture while checking the moisture content. Mix well. The moisture content should be 30-40%. To check the proper moisture, squeeze the Bokashi until it forms into a ball and with a slight push of a finger it will simply crumble. When you squeeze it and it doesn’t form a ball add more liquid and mix it well.

5. Decomposition process. After mixing all the materials cover it with a plastic or cloth and place a heavy material on top of it. Always avoid direct sunlight. Mix the pile twice a day to add aeration, mixing will be done in the morning and in the afternoon for seven days. After seven days mixing of the pile should be done once a day until the 14th day.

6. Harvesting of Bokashi. After 14 days spread a thin layer of bokashi on concrete floor and let it air dry on shaded area for 3 sunny days. Put the dried Bokashi in a bag then seal it. Store it in room temperature, away from direct sunlight. Bokashi can be store for 6 months.

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