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Farm Radio Weekly is a news and information service for rural radio broadcasters in sub-Saharan Africa. It is published by Farm Radio International.

Farm Radio Weekly

1. Democratic Republic of the Congo: Bats leave good fertilizer on village ceilings (Syfia Grands Lacs)

A villager from Bandundu recalls the day a group of youths arrived at his door. They wanted to negotiate a price for bat droppings, also called bat guano. At first, he thought they were crooks. But the youths reassured him, and soon they were climbing up to his ceiling. The youths collected 10 litres of guano that day. The villager pocketed 1,000 Congolese francs (about 1.3 American dollars or 0.95 Euros).

The sale of bat guano is no joke in Bandundu, a town in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. For two years, farmers have been gathering guano from their ceilings. Some people earn money by scraping ceilings and selling it in the market.

It all started when women arrived at the local military base two years ago. They found their ceilings covered with bat droppings. It may not have been a pleasant sight, but the women soon learned that guano is an excellent fertilizer.

The practice quickly spread around the military camp. It’s now the most popular fertilizer for kitchen gardens.

Elysée Mitinso used to fertilize with dead leaves. Her harvests were good. But with bat guano, they’re even better. She used to harvest four baskets of vegetables. Now it’s six.

But those who use bat guano have a warning to other farmers. Since guano is such a strong fertilizer, it must be used carefully. Otherwise, it can burn your crops.

Begas Edgar Tanza teaches agricultural science at the university in Bandundu. He explains how to use bat guano safely. First, you must leave the guano on the soil for at least a week, watering it regularly. Next, you must thoroughly mix the guano into the soil. These steps reduce the harmful acidity of the guano.

2 Responses to “1. Democratic Republic of the Congo: Bats leave good fertilizer on village ceilings (Syfia Grands Lacs)”

  1. Farm Radio Weekly » Farm Radio Weekly Archive » In this week’s Farm Radio Weekly: Says:

    […] 1. Democratic Republic of the Congo: Bats leave good fertilizer on village ceilings (Syfia Grands Lacs) […]

  2. Farm Radio Weekly » Farm Radio Weekly Archive » Notes to broadcasters: Bats Says:

    […] of the Congo was published by Farm Radio Weekly in May 2009 (issue #67). You can find it here: http://weekly.farmradio.org/2009/05/25/1-democratic-republic-of-the-congo-bats-leave-good-fertilizer… and the Notes to broadcasters are here: […]

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