Chemical fertilizers have been the go-to choice for farmers seeking improved yields. However, the continuous and unabated use of chemical fertilizers destroys soil fertility, cause environmental pollution and cause an imbalance in the soil microbial activity. It has adverse effects on the soil physico-chemical properties whereas application of bio-fertilizers improves the soil structure and nutrient status and helps in keeping the soil fertile.
Also, extensive usage of synthetic pesticides during the last century is a concern of environmental threat worldwide.
Moreover, pest resistance to pesticides and consequently the increased costs of production have also aggravated the drawbacks of these chemicals that are not eco-friendly.
Bio-fertilizers eliminate these identified drawbacks of chemical fertilizers and countries around the world are increasingly charging their researchers to innovate in this direction.
Researchers at the National Research Institute for Chemical Technology (NARICT) have not only produced bio-fertilizers successfully, they have also gone ahead to granulate this important farming input for ease of use and better application, leading to higher yields for farmers.
This innovative research at NARICT is a silent revolution that is helping farmers in no small measure. It is also saving the Nigerian environment, soil and the eco-system. This because bio-fertilizers are substances which contain active living micro-organisms that colonize the rhizosphere or the interior of the plants and promote growth by increasing the supply or availability of primary nutrients to the target crops. These potential biological fertilizers are cost-effective, eco-friendly and renewable source of plant nutrients to supplement chemical fertilizers in sustainable agricultural system.
Bio-pesticides are safe for both the pesticide users and consumers of treated crops. The emergence and spread of increasing resistance in many pests, concerns over environmental pollution, and the ever-increasing cost of the new chemical insecticides, make it apparent that pest control can no longer be safely based upon the use of chemicals.
The development of resistance in pest and vector population, the damage caused to non-target organisms and the realization of other environmental hazards of chemical pesticides have led to an increasing interest in biological control methods.
Synthetic chemical pesticides provide many benefits to food production but they also pose some hazards to human health. It has been observed that chemical pesticides are not all safe as often touted. They are not biodegradable and come with health hazards. Besides, they kill not only the harmful, but also the
beneficial as well as other organisms present in the field, thus affecting the natural balance of the ecosystem.
This achievement by NARICT researchers in producing bio-fertilizers and bio-pesticides is therefore laudable in many respect as it puts Nigeria in better stead to sustain food security, save arable land from chemical degradation, protect the environment, create jobs and safeguard farmer’s health, among others.