EM TECHNOLOGY

M.R. CHAUDHRY
Jan 28 - Feb 03, 2008

EM technology or Effective Micro-organisms technology, which is now being practiced in 55 countries of the world, was developed by Professor Dr. Teuro Higa, a horticulturist of University of Ryukus, Okinawa, Japan. He developed the mixture of beneficial micro-organisms first by accident and thereafter by diligent research to enhance productivity of functional organic farming system. The results were found exceedingly remarkable. This technology is being used even in the U.S.A., China, Japan Thailand and Brazil. Dr. Tahir Hussain, a former Dean of Punjab Agriculture University, Faisalabad has been the pioneer in introducing this technology in Pakistan in spite of negative bureaucratic attitude, impediments, procrastination and vested interests pervading in the Minfal, Pakistan Research Council, Agriculture, other concerned departments of the government and multi-national companies dealing in chemical fertilizers, medicines and pesticides.

EM TECHNOLOGY: Originally EM was developed for use in agriculture (crop farming) only as an alternative to agricultural chemicals like pesticides and fertilizers. EM technology, on the other hand, is not a conventional fertilizer and contrary to the purpose of fertilizers, EMT is meant to increase the beneficial micro-organisms in the soil. Thus this method improves the soil microbial health and promotes a healthy environment for plants. It can also be used as a tool for processing and manufacturing organic fertilizers. EMT uses a combination of micro organic cultures, as the key to sustainable agriculture is soil quality itself. Microbiologists have been trying to develop cultures soil inoculates and essentially beneficial micro-organisms to enhance the immunity of the soil against harmful organisms (Pathogens) like bacterial, fungi and nematodes. Readers would appreciate that from crop farming, its application flows naturally into livestock, so to their meat and milk and milk products. Similarly, EM environmental application throughout the world have also included cleaning polluted waterways, lakes and lagoons, in septic systems and municipal water treatment plants etc. It has been discovered that EMT gives very beneficial and useful results as an antioxidant on the digestive system of the living beings.

APPLICATION IN AGRICULTURE: EM technology application in agriculture sector is to enhance productivity as well as quality of the crops, vegetable and fruit. It also significantly reduces the input cost. For an example a DAP fertilizer bag is presently costing Rs.1860 to Rs.2000/- or so plus the cost of other fertilizers and pesticides, while the EMT costs only Rs.50/- (Bio-aab) to Rs.250/ per bag - 50 Kg (Bio-fertilizer). It is not such a small difference to be ignored. Besides in the case of EMT application, the output is and gain is tremendous, i.e. three times as compared to the conventional farming. EMT also facilitates the decomposition of organic matter, nutrients, reduces oxidized substances and suppresses soil-born pathogens and pests. It has multifarious advantages including enhancing the photosynthetic capacity of plant flowering, fruiting and ripening. EMT fermentation occurs at lower temperatures, producing nutrients such as water soluble carbohydrates.

Further details of principal micro organisms used in EM technology are given below for readers/farmers for ease of their comprehension.

PHOTOTROPHIC BACTERIA:

These bacteria are a group of independent, self supporting microbes. They synthesize useful substances from the secretion of roots and organic matter by using sunlight and the heat of the soil as source of energy. The useful substances developed by these microbes include amino acids, nucleic acids, bio-active substances and sugar, all of which promote plant growth and its development.

LACTIC ACID BACTERIA:

Lactobacilli produce lactic acid from sugars and other carbohydrates by photosynthetic bacteria and yeast. Therefore, some foods and drinks such as yogurt and pickles have been made with lactic acid and bacteria for decades. Lactic acid has been found to be a strong sterilizing compound. It suppresses harmful and unfriendly micro organisms to farming and accelerates and enhances decomposition of organic matter. Moreover, lactic acid bacteria promote the decomposition of material including lignin and cellulose and ferment these materials, as well as remove undesirable effects of un-decomposed organic matter to prepare a useful end-product in agriculture. .

YEAST'S

Yeasts synthesize antimicrobial and other useful substances required for plant growth from amino acids and sugars secreted by photosynthetic bacteria, organic matter and plant roots. The bacteria substances like hormones and enzymes produced by yeasts activate cell and root division. These secretions are also useful substrates for effective microbes such as lactic acid bacteria and actinomycetes.

VIEWS AND NEWS ABOUT EMT:

According to Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, the rapid introduction of EM technology in Pakistan was found to be effective in increasing crop yields with farmyard/green manures. EM technology is also being used to control gangrene and necrosis in buffaloes and cattle when added to their feed.

ORGANIC FARMING AND ROLE OF EMT:

Now-a-days there is great emphasis on organic farming in the world especially in the West for several obvious reasons, mainly to get organic food, fruit and crops (free from chemical residue) as healthy and harmless foods, to save the soil and farmers from unhealthy and adverse effects of synthetic chemical fertilizers and sprays used in conventional agriculture. EM technology is being used by knowledgeable and progressive farmers to get better and quality yields of vegetables, fruits and other crops at low cost and also for the up-keep of the health of soil and farmers. Some microbiologists and progressive farmers, after adequate experimentation, have recommended the application of this technology to restore and regain the lost taste of fruits and vegetables.

The scribe had the chance to visit a model horticulture farm popularly known as "Hafiz Model Farms" abutting on Jhang - Toba Tek Singh Road in Tehsil Jhang near Ganj Shakar Sugar Mills, spreading over an area of 350 acres in which EM technology is being put to use for growing vegetables like cauliflowers in different categories and colours: (white, golden and blue colours) and fruit. On the enquiry of the scribe, he was informed that these special types of organic vegetables are sent to the super-markets for use by the high gentry. It may be worthwhile to mention that organic vegetables and fruit fetch better prices than those, which are conventionally produced. Other vegetables and fruit grown included cucumber, sweet pepper (in yellow, chock late and green colours), water melon, egg fruit (green, white and purple), bitter gourd, pumpkin, lacey, strawberry, tomato and cherry tomato (a vegetable of medicinal value for prevention of breast cancer) etc. The Farm Manager was pleased to inform that tomato yield grown last year was 49 tons per acre and this year, he was expecting the yield to reach 53 tons per acre. Water melons production was reportedly 4 truck loads per acre. They were also producing citrus and other fruits and have installed processing plants to produce value added products like mixed pickle, cold drinks, namely Malta-Orange, Honey Cola, Eleven-Up and Apple Mix. Regarding use of fertilizer, he reiterated that EM technology was being used, which provides organic type of fertilization. The farm manager was appreciative of this technology. He claimed efficiency at the farm at 90 to 95 percent.

Agriculture and Animal Husbandry Universities, Pakistan Research Council, other research centres, agriculture researchers and scientists should test and try this technology and inform farmers, livestock holders, ecologists and environmentalists of the results so that they may benefit from it as much as possible by applying it in their respective areas of activity and field.