Good Practices

Making compost to improve soil fertility in vegetable home gardens [Lao People's Democratic Republic]

Description of the SLM Technology

1 Short description of the Technology

Definition of the Technology:

Making compost by burned rice bran to improve the soil fertility in vegetable home gardens.

2 Detailed description of the Technology


Compost is used to improve soil fertility and increase crop production. Vegetable home gardens are generally implemented across the country as part of livelihood activity for food security and other source of household’s income for local people. In the past, local land users only used animal manure for improving crop yield and soil fertility. The amount of animal manure applied was dependent on the potential of each household to collect animal manure. In addition, most agricultural land is sandy with shallow depth and mixed with gravel which is not productive for agriculture. Most of vegetable home gardens are situated along streams or riverbanks near the village whereas arable land availability is an issue. In 2016, the Food Security and Nutrition Market Linkage Project supported by International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) has encouraged local people and provided training on how to prepare and use compost with a view to soil improvement and increased crop yields that subsequently should increase food security. Compost is a simple process where local people can use available materials from their own farm production. Materials for compost production include 10 bags of partly burned rice bran (bran burned up to 50% / 15kg/bag), 200kg of animal manure, 50 litre of water, 15 table spoons of molasses or sugar, 5 table spoons of organic extract. All those materials has to mixed together, then should be putted it in a container which is made of cement or plastic (depth: 0,5 m /width: 1,5 m /length: 2 m). After, the compost material in the concrete tank should be flattened and then covered by a plastic sheet. The decomposing process usually takes between 1-2 weeks before the compost can be applied. Buckets or bags are used to carry the compost from the container to the home gardens where - during the land preparation - it is directly spread out on the vegetable plots by fork. Then, the compost will be mixed with the soil by hoe. Now, the soil is ready for planting. Vegetable cultivation may commence from the end of December to March (2-3 cultivation cycles per year). Most people use water from boreholes for the irrigation of the vegetables. In summary, the advantages of using compost are the improvement of soil fertility by adding more organic matters to the soil, increasing of soil nutrients and activation of the organic decomposition process. These positive effects on soil promote crop growth, and finally ends in increased crop yields. The compost production is not complicated, but it needs to be emphasized that attention should be paid to the cleaning of the storage tank and a careful maintenance of tools including shovels and watering cans to keep the costs as low as possible.

Country/ region/ locations where the Technology has been applied and which are covered by this assessment

Country: Lao People's Democratic Republic

Region/ State/ Province: Attapue province

Further specification of location: Phouvong district

Specify the spread of the Technology:

  • evenly spread over an area

If precise area is not known, indicate approximate area covered:

  • < 0.1 km2 (10 ha)

For mor detials

Source: LaoCAT, NAFRI, MAF

Author: LaoCAT, WOCAT