How We WorkBringing the soil back to health in a natural, low-cost way, accessible to everyone – from trained agronomists to subsistence farmers
Our multi-tiered approach
We provide initial training to groups of trainers in sustainable agricultural practices, based on microbial science and the best-practice findings of agricultural research bodies working in the region. We work with established organisations in each country interested in rolling out this sustainable change through their projects.
The trainers learn how to make four main inputs for soil enhancement: organic compost that is ready in 18 days using the Berkeley method of hot composting, serums of lactobacillus, fish hydrolysate and cow dung. The products are made from low-cost, readily available materials, such as grasses, animal dung, milk, rice and fish.
The training covers the whole project life-cycle, including project management, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation. Our aim is to equip the trainers to successfully embed the techniques in the farming communities they support. Our trainees go on to train groups of farmers, typically setting up demonstration plots within the communities for evidence of impact. They provide ongoing support so the farmers can go on to train others.
One of the key benefits of using Lifeworks’ microbial fertilisers is increased access to premium local and export markets – due to the low minimum residue levels (MRLs) associated with our organic inputs.
Exceeding MRLs is a common reason why fresh produce from developing countries is rejected by export markets in EU, USA, and Asia. These residues principally come from use of chemicals and inorganic fertilisers during production.
Using Lifeworks’ organic microbial technologies instead of chemical inputs and inorganic fertilisers means there is no risk of exceeding MRLs levels.
Organically-produced crops also attract a premium price, compared to those grown using conventional chemicals and inorganic fertilisers.
Once certified as being organically produced, all crops produced using Lifeworks’ microbial fertilisers can attract premium prices in the markets, both local and international.
Low-cost microbial fertilisers offer smallholders an exciting opportunity to increase their income and access premium markets.
The organic microbial fertilisers and 18-days hot compost have the potential to contribute to sustainable agriculture through the following impacts:
Direct impact on growth vigour and subsequent enhanced yields through use of microbial fertilisers on crops
Direct impact on growth vigour and subsequent enhanced yields through availing of soil macro and micro nutrients from 18-days hot compost
Enhanced diversity of microbial and macrobial activities in the cropping soils due to enhanced health that supports macrobes such as earth warms and applied microbes through microbial fertilisers
Enhanced soil water retention capacity for sustained high yields due to high soil organic matter and improved soil texture and structure occasioned by use of 18-days hot compost
Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation
The LWG technologies have the potential to contribute to climate change adaptation and mitigation through the following impacts:
The demonstrated enhanced crop resilience to vagaries of climate change with use of organic microbial fertilisers
Enhanced soil water retention capacity due to improved soil organic matter content occasioned by the increased use of 18-days hot compost
Reduced pests and diseases infections to crops due to use of microbial organic fertilisers for enhanced adaptation to climate change
Increased forests cover for reduced Greenhouse Gasses (GHG) emissions due to use of LWG technologies in forest restoration activities
Enhanced soil carbon sequestration due to additions of soil organic carbon to the soils through use of 18-days hot compost
Promoting Regenerative Agriculture
The LWG technologies have the potential to contribute to regenerative agriculture through the following impacts:
Nurturing and Restoring Soil Health through enhanced soil organic matter from 18-days compost
Contributing towards climate change mitigation and protecting and biodiversity
Enhancing farms’ productivity and profitability through their actions as biostimulants
Minimizing soil disturbance through support to conservation agriculture that entails minimum or no tillage
Forests and Landscapes Restoration
The LWG technologies have the potential to contribute to Forests and Landscapes Restoration through the following impacts:
Use of microbial fertilisers as germination enhancing agents for tree seedlings through soaking of the seedlings overnight before planting. This has proven to enhance germination rate from the average of 73% to over 90%
Use of microbial fertilisers as bio-stimulants for rapid growth of emerging and young seedlings in the seed bed
Use of microbial fertilisers as bio-stimulants for transplanted seedlings in potting bags
Use of microbial fertilisers as bio-stimulants for seedlings transplanted in forest fields
Use of 18-days hot composts source of required nutrients in management of young tree seedlings in potting bags
Use of 18-days hot compost as source of required nutrients in management of tree seedlings in forest fields
Use of microbial fertilisers as bio-stimulants for regeneration of trees, shrubs, and grasses in degraded landscapes
Use of 18-days hot compost as sources of required soil nutrients for regeneration of shrubs, trees, and grasses in degraded landscapes
Use of 18-days hot compost as source of required nutrients in rehabilitation of denuded soils with grass and forests cover.
Embed and scale up
The trainers that we train provide on-going support to farmers, co-ops and communities. They give tailored advice and information to embed and sustain new agricultural practices. Many of the farmers trained are supported to travel and train other people in nearby communities.
Monitoring and evaluation
The trainers also train farmers to test the techniques against their normal approach, and to record their methods, gather data and measure impact. Farmers are encouraged to experiment, refine their methods and increase crop yields and soil health over time.
Our cascade model
Our cascade training approach – to train trainers to train farmers, who go on to train other farmers – means that the learning can travel widely at low cost. Our estimate is that our training typically costs $1 per farmer trained – and doubles farmers’ yield and income.
We aim to work with programmes that support farming communities, or farmers’ unions with a large number of members. This way our training reaches as many communities as possible.
Expectations after one season
Increased crop yield
Based on the results from our projects, farmers can expect a 50% to 150% increase in crop yield, and healthier, nutrient-dense plants.
Farmers can expect significant improvement in animal health, reduction in mortality as well as reduced veterinary costs.
The community will see improvements through greater opportunities for commerce, employment and income generation, and better health.
With a minimum 50 per cent increase in seed germination, significant reduction in the cost of soil enhancement and higher quality produce commanding better market prices, farmers will see their incomes significantly improve.
The Lifeworks microbial approach brings together the best in environmental sustainability and humanitarian vision to meet the current challenges responsibly and effectively.
Our solution directly improves soil health while providing a business model that addresses a community’s basic needs, develops long-standing relationships of support, as well as building prosperity and partnerships.
Communities are being empowered to build sustainable futures, based on their own strength and resilience.