Call edition 2012
A new edition of the Prize of the Belgian Development Cooperation has been launched. This call is open until March 31st, 2011. You can read in the regulations whether you comply with the criteria for participation.
Mr. Kiba's work on recovering waste from slaughterhouses and garbage dumps for agronomic purposes has the tremendous merit of tying together two fundamental concerns in developing countries in general and in his own country, Burkina Faso, in particular; that is, the management of organic waste and the crucial needs of cultivated soils. These problems are often dealt with separately, and solutions proposed as such lead down blind alleys, just the opposite of sustainable development.
What is at stake here? First of all, the management of waste, the great plague of developing countries, most of which is non-recyclable because of contamination by organic substances. The recovery of organic waste, preferably unmixed with other kinds of refuse, for soil improvement, is the solution for waste in the future. Secondly, only organic substances can improve the structure of soils subjected to gradually declining stability and fertility.
However, just putting any waste in the soil does not produce that miracle. High quality organic waste is required, and Mr. Kiba rightly recommends that waste products be composted. Indeed, if used in their crude state, those waste products do not really improve productivity and may even reduce it, owing to their phytotoxicity. Composting eliminates these problems. Mr. Kiba also clearly shows that the organic substances in waste improve plant retention of added chemical fertilizers. As Mr. Kiba so judiciously recommends, the use of chemical fertilizers should therefore be preceded or accompanied by an input of organic matter.
Enriching cultivated soil with waste products not only improves agricultural produce and stabilizes the structure of the soil, but it is also an intelligent way of managing organic wastes by returning them to the natural cycle of materials, and it therefore perfectly integrates the principles of sustainable development.
report: Prof. M. Culot, Laboratory of Microbial Ecology and of Water Purification, Department of Applied Biochemistry and Biology, Faculté universitaire des Sciences agronomiques de Gembloux, Belgium