The application of city compost is embedded in a full innovative package of practices developed by GIZ that includes mechanisation, drip irrigation and other technologies. This cycle creates business for urban producers and farmers’ groups while simultaneously increasing productivity and soil health on Indian farms since the compost from the urban waste stream provides better results than conventional manure.

City compost is an innovative approach that closes the loop of carbon and nutrient flow from soil back into soil. At the same time, Maharashtra makes use of the 22,300 tons of municipal solid waste emerging daily, up to 45 per cent of which is organic. A single average city in Maharashtra can therefore provide nutrient and carbon for about 14,000 hectares of land annually.

“The new compost allows our potatoes to withstand more moisture stress during the dry spell, as it increases the water holding capacity of the soil. Compared to our conventional farm yard manure it is also better decomposed and does not lead to any fungal diseases, as the compost is treated with fungicide,” says farmer Vilas Darekar Papalwadi.

Challenges – prices and upscaling

While farmers produce their own farmyard manure at a cost of 1,600 Rupees (Rs.) per ton (20 euros) or buy it at Rs.