FARMERS are reportedly turning to an age-old solution – poop as a substitute for commercial fertiliser – amid soaring prices.
According to a Business Insider report, the demand for manure has skyrocketed in recent weeks, as farmers rush to find fertiliser alternatives ahead of the United States spring planting season.
The new interest is so strong that instead of paying to remove animal waste, some livestock farmers are making side businesses out of selling manure.
Some cow farms even have future waste sold out through the end of 2022. The unusual demand for animal poo comes amid major turmoil in the global agricultural sector.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has hampered fertiliser supply and lifted prices dramatically over the past month.
The rally across nutrient prices also stands to cut down on total farming acreage for farmers unable to stomach higher costs.
That could exacerbate food shortages already weighing on the global market. The conflict powered a sharp increase in wheat prices over the past month. If the fertiliser crunch lasts, the global food supply could be hindered for years, as farm yields struggle to fill the hole.
Manure offers some reprieve for fertiliser-desperate farmers, but its use comes with serious risks. For one, animal dung cannot fully replace commercial nutrients.
Sowing crops with manure could pose serious problems for farms if it contaminates groundwater or nearby streams, they added.
The benefits might still outweigh the risks.
With the Ukraine-Russia conflict raging on with no end in sight, animal excrement is looking more and more attractive for struggling farmers.
Namibia imports millions worth of fertiliser every year. Last year, this was at N$326 million, and N$1,1 billion in the last five years.
– Additional reporting by Business Insider