On this International Women’s Day, we are proud to celebrate three young ladies: Catherine Mckinley, Emily Martinez and Mariana Rosero. These High School Seniors took the initiative to start the International Development & Innovation Club (IDIC) at their High School. During a busy year, with college applications, SATs and all their schoolwork, they engaged fellow students to discuss global challenges and think of ways to mitigate them. They chose to support some of the programs currently being developed by Seamless Management Solutions as one of the challenges. Their research and ideas are a very valuable resource for us, and so we are very grateful for their hard work; but more importantly, these three young women and their fellow club members have planted a seed to create a positive impact!
IDIC Proposal for Sustainable Agriculture Production in Colombia
For the past 8,000 years, farmers have been using fertilizer to help strengthen their crops. It’s necessary to include fertilizer in the farming process because it has essential nutrients such as phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium that are necessary to grow the crops to be strong and healthy. With fertilizer being such an essential for farmers, it’s detrimental when supply chain issues lower the supply and increase the price of it.
Since the pandemic, one of the many industries that endured supply chain issues was the fertilizer industry. In addition, supply chain issues increased after the Russian-Ukrainian war began. One location that was especially affected by this supply chain issue was Colombia.
As a result of the decrease in supply and increase in price of fertilizer in Colombia, many farmers have turned to eliminating the use of fertilization, which is negatively affecting the production of a variety of essential crops.
There is a substantial need for not only fertilizer, but bio-fertilizer. Colombian farmers were using chemical or synthetic fertilizers, which, although quicken crop growth, can be harmful for the soil. Chemical fertilizers are also a large source of CO2 emission, accounting for 1.4% of annual CO2 emission. Bio-fertilizers will solve these issues by creating a safe environment for crops to grow while simultaneously reducing environmental harm.
While maintaining the same functions as a chemical fertilizer, bio-fertilizers will contribute to more positive environmental and agricultural outcomes. Natural fertility in the soil will eventually restore, allowing for the essential nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus to be produced, which is another contributing factor to minimizing the emission of CO2. None of what's naturally produced by the soil creates nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas. Additionally, by giving crops the natural nutrients they need, the growth will continue at its fast rate. Organic fertilizers will increase plant yield by 16-60%, and there is no concern on waiting for chemical substances to be imported or the rate of production to be decreased due to supply-chain conflicts. Most importantly, chemical fertilizers may contain heavy amounts of metals such as Lead, Mercury, Cadmium, and Uranium, which can be detrimental to human health.
With the decrease in production and increase in environmental risks, it is crucial to take this opportunity to introduce bio-fertilizers to the farming community in Colombia. This natural alternative will not just help farmers' production, but it will also save the environment.
The actions we suggest can give incentives for farmers to adopt bio-fertilization:
- Create programs that will financially support or reduce the cost for farmers to switch.
- Engage farmers in education activities.
- Closely follow participating farmers and advertise results!