Composting using Indigenous Microorganism (IMO) [Philippines]

technologies_1317 - Philippines

Completeness: 76%

1. General information

1.2 Contact details of resource persons and institutions involved in the assessment and documentation of the Technology

Key resource person(s)

SLM specialist:

Penaranda Melijoy

Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Soils and Water Management


SLM specialist:

Bernardino Renel

Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Soils and Water Management


SLM specialist:

Magno Beatriz

Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Soils and Water Management


land user:

Ambrocio Acosta

Master's Garden


Name of the institution(s) which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Technology (if relevant)
Bureau of Soils and Water Management (Bureau of Soils and Water Management) - Philippines
Name of the institution(s) which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Technology (if relevant)
The Master's Garden - Philippines

1.3 Conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT

The compiler and key resource person(s) accept the conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT:


2. Description of the SLM Technology

2.1 Short description of the Technology

Definition of the Technology:

Composting is the natural process of decomposition of organic matter by microorganisms under controlled conditions.

2.2 Detailed description of the Technology


Composting is the decomposition of grass and weeds as fertilizer with the aid of indigenous microorganisms (IMO). This technology is practiced to produce compost used in the farm. Compost is a rich source of organic matter which improves soil tilth. Its decomposition slowly release available nutrients for plant uptake.Material used in the production are weeds and bio waste available in the farm which include Agetarum houstonianum, Dentella repens, Setaria palmifolia, Ipomea aquatica, Echinochloa crusgali, Helianthus annuus and Digitaria ciliaris. The compost is applied in the organic vegetable production of the farm. Vegetables planted include lettuce, herbs, kale and others that are used for garden salads.

Purpose of the Technology: The purpose of composting is to produce compost that is utilized as fertilizer for the soil. It is done to reduce the input cost of using chemical fertilizer and to avoid lasting harms to the soils and the environment (e.g. formation of impermeable layer "hardpan", affection of micro-organisms, and upsetting of pH).

Establishment / maintenance activities and inputs: The initial step in making compost is gathering of raw materials such as weeds and grasses available in the farm. Then, these are shredded and sprayed with IMO to hasten the decomposition. IMO is produced by mixing one tablespoon of forest soil and one tablespoon of sugar/molasses in one liter of water. A portion of the mixture (250ml) is extracted and diluted in a 16 liter knapsack sprayer. The diluted mixture is sprayed to the shredded grasses/weeds and left to decompose for 14 days. For a 1 ton of shredded grass and weeds, 16L of diluted mixture is needed.

Natural / human environment: Master’s Garden of Mr. Ambrocio Acosta is located at Barangay Puguis, La Trinidad, Benguet. The province is under Type I climate by the Coronas system of classification with distinct wet and dry seasons with an average annual rainfall of 3,879 mm. The dry season is from November to April while the wet season is from May to October. The farm has an elevation of 1,342 meters above sea level with less than 40% slope. The farm was manually terraced and arranged into beds with UV treated plastic shed. The production system is managed and cultivated by Mr. Acosta and his two farm laborers.

2.3 Photos of the Technology

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



Region/ State/ Province:

La Trinidad, Benguet

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)

2.6 Date of implementation

If precise year is not known, indicate approximate date:
  • 10-50 years ago

2.7 Introduction of the Technology

Specify how the Technology was introduced:
  • through land users' innovation
Comments (type of project, etc.):

Composting was practice since they started developed the farm on year 2000.

3. Classification of the SLM Technology

3.2 Current land use type(s) where the Technology is applied



  • Annual cropping
  • Perennial (non-woody) cropping
Annual cropping - Specify crops:
  • medicinal/ aromatic/ pesticidal plants and herbs
  • root/tuber crops - sugar beet
  • vegetables - leafy vegetables (salads, cabbage, spinach, other)
  • tomatoes, cucumbers
Perennial (non-woody) cropping - Specify crops:
  • medicinal, aromatic, pesticidal plants - perennial
Number of growing seasons per year:
  • 2

Major cash crop annual cropping: lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, sugar beets, salad pe
Major cash crop perennial (non woody) cropping: Thyme, mint, tarragon and chives
Major food crop annual cropping: lettuce and tomato

Major land use problems (compiler’s opinion): Since the farm has steep slope, soil erosion was prevalent resulting to low fertility of the soil

Major land use problems (land users’ perception): Soil erosion caused by rainfall leaving them nothing but an exposed subsoil layer.

Future (final) land use (after implementation of SLM Technology): Cropland: Ca: Annual cropping

3.3 Has land use changed due to the implementation of the Technology?

Has land use changed due to the implementation of the Technology?
  • Yes (Please fill out the questions below with regard to the land use before implementation of the Technology)
Grazing land

Grazing land

  • Extensive grazing

3.4 Water supply

Water supply for the land on which the Technology is applied:
  • full irrigation

3.5 SLM group to which the Technology belongs

  • integrated soil fertility management

3.6 SLM measures comprising the Technology

agronomic measures

agronomic measures

  • A2: Organic matter/ soil fertility

Main measures: agronomic measures

Type of agronomic measures: manure / compost / residues

3.7 Main types of land degradation addressed by the Technology

soil erosion by water

soil erosion by water

  • Wt: loss of topsoil/ surface erosion
chemical soil deterioration

chemical soil deterioration

  • Cn: fertility decline and reduced organic matter content (not caused by erosion)

Main type of degradation addressed: Wt: loss of topsoil / surface erosion, Cn: fertility decline and reduced organic matter content

Main causes of degradation: Heavy / extreme rainfall (intensity/amounts) (Average annual rainfall is 3,879 mm), other natural causes (avalanches, volcanic eruptions, mud flows, highly susceptible natural resources, extreme topography, etc.) specify (extreme topography(steep slope >40%)

3.8 Prevention, reduction, or restoration of land degradation

Specify the goal of the Technology with regard to land degradation:
  • reduce land degradation

Main goals: mitigation / reduction of land degradation

4. Technical specifications, implementation activities, inputs, and costs

4.1 Technical drawing of the Technology

Technical specifications (related to technical drawing):

Compost piled in a cemented box.

Location: Brgy. Puguis. La Trinidad, Benguet

Technical knowledge required for field staff / advisors: moderate

Technical knowledge required for land users: moderate

Main technical functions: increase in organic matter, increase in nutrient availability (supply, recycling,…)

Secondary technical functions: improvement of topsoil structure (compaction), increase of infiltration

Manure / compost / residues
Material/ species: Grass and weeds available in the farm( Ageratum houstonianum, Dentella repens, Setaria palmifolia,
Quantity/ density: 500kg
Remarks: the pile to be converted into compost should be under a shed protected from rain to prevent the avai

Agronomic measure: Indigenous microorganism (IMO) solution
Material/ species: forest soil, sugar/molasses, water


Patricio A. Yambot, Bureau of Soils and Water Management

4.2 General information regarding the calculation of inputs and costs

other/ national currency (specify):


If relevant, indicate exchange rate from USD to local currency (e.g. 1 USD = 79.9 Brazilian Real): 1 USD =:


Indicate average wage cost of hired labour per day:


4.3 Establishment activities

Activity Timing (season)
1. Procurement of sprayer, shredder, seedling pots and trays
2. Establishment of composite chamber (shed)

4.4 Costs and inputs needed for establishment

Specify input Unit Quantity Costs per Unit Total costs per input % of costs borne by land users
Equipment Sprayer ha 1.0 22.22 22.22 100.0
Equipment Shredder ha 1.0 2222.22 2222.22 100.0
Other Compost chamber ha 1.0 155.56 155.56 100.0
Other Seedling trays ha 1.0 55.56 55.56 100.0
Other Seedling pots ha 1.0 2.22 2.22 100.0
Total costs for establishment of the Technology 2457.78
Total costs for establishment of the Technology in USD 54.62

Life span of sprayer and shredders more than 20 years

4.5 Maintenance/ recurrent activities

Activity Timing/ frequency
1. Hauling of grass and weeds available in the farm Once a month
2. Shredding of grass and weeds Once a month
3. Spraying the shredded grass and weeds with indigenous microorganisms (IMO)
4. Leave for 14 days to decompose
5. Application of Compost

4.6 Costs and inputs needed for maintenance/ recurrent activities (per year)

Specify input Unit Quantity Costs per Unit Total costs per input % of costs borne by land users
Labour Labour ha 1.0 55.57 55.57 100.0
Total costs for maintenance of the Technology 55.57
Total costs for maintenance of the Technology in USD 1.23

Machinery/ tools: shredder

The calculation is based on the initial establishment cost (e.g. machine and tools) spend by Mr. Acosta on 2003.

4.7 Most important factors affecting the costs

Describe the most determinate factors affecting the costs:

The determinate factor affecting the cost is the cost of mechanical shredder. This machine is considered as important investment to those who is serious in engaging and practicing organic farming in a sizable farm like Mr. Ambrocio Acosta.

5. Natural and human environment

5.1 Climate

Annual rainfall
  • < 250 mm
  • 251-500 mm
  • 501-750 mm
  • 751-1,000 mm
  • 1,001-1,500 mm
  • 1,501-2,000 mm
  • 2,001-3,000 mm
  • 3,001-4,000 mm
  • > 4,000 mm
Agro-climatic zone
  • humid

Thermal climate class: tropics

5.2 Topography

Slopes on average:
  • flat (0-2%)
  • gentle (3-5%)
  • moderate (6-10%)
  • rolling (11-15%)
  • hilly (16-30%)
  • steep (31-60%)
  • very steep (>60%)
  • plateau/plains
  • ridges
  • mountain slopes
  • hill slopes
  • footslopes
  • valley floors
Altitudinal zone:
  • 0-100 m a.s.l.
  • 101-500 m a.s.l.
  • 501-1,000 m a.s.l.
  • 1,001-1,500 m a.s.l.
  • 1,501-2,000 m a.s.l.
  • 2,001-2,500 m a.s.l.
  • 2,501-3,000 m a.s.l.
  • 3,001-4,000 m a.s.l.
  • > 4,000 m a.s.l.
Comments and further specifications on topography:

Altitudinal zone: 1001-1500 m a.s.l. (1,342 meters above sea level)
Landfroms: Mountain slopes (the technology was applied at the farm with > 25 ° or >40 % slope and in concave situation)
Slopes on average: steep (31-60%) (the mean slope is 40%)

5.3 Soils

Soil depth on average:
  • very shallow (0-20 cm)
  • shallow (21-50 cm)
  • moderately deep (51-80 cm)
  • deep (81-120 cm)
  • very deep (> 120 cm)
Soil texture (topsoil):
  • medium (loamy, silty)
Topsoil organic matter:
  • medium (1-3%)
If available, attach full soil description or specify the available information, e.g. soil type, soil PH/ acidity, Cation Exchange Capacity, nitrogen, salinity etc.

Soil fertility is medium
Soil drainage/infiltration is medium
Soil water storage is low

5.4 Water availability and quality

Ground water table:

5-50 m

Availability of surface water:


Water quality (untreated):

for agricultural use only (irrigation)

5.5 Biodiversity

Species diversity:
  • high

5.6 Characteristics of land users applying the Technology

Market orientation of production system:
  • mixed (subsistence/ commercial)
Off-farm income:
  • less than 10% of all income
Relative level of wealth:
  • average
Individuals or groups:
  • individual/ household
Level of mechanization:
  • manual work
  • men
Indicate other relevant characteristics of the land users:

Land users applying the Technology are mainly common / average land users
Population density: 10-50 persons/km2
Annual population growth: 3% - 4%
100% of the land users are average wealthy and own 100% of the land.
Level of mechanization: manual labour (Vegetables and herbs were planted at beds which were cultivated manually)
Market orientation: Mixed (subsistence and commercial) ( Harvested vegetables and herbs were for the subsistence of his family and were sold commercially at leading groceries and supermarket through a private marketing corporation known as KIAS Organic Gree)

5.7 Average area of land used by land users applying the Technology

  • < 0.5 ha
  • 0.5-1 ha
  • 1-2 ha
  • 2-5 ha
  • 5-15 ha
  • 15-50 ha
  • 50-100 ha
  • 100-500 ha
  • 500-1,000 ha
  • 1,000-10,000 ha
  • > 10,000 ha
Is this considered small-, medium- or large-scale (referring to local context)?
  • medium-scale

5.8 Land ownership, land use rights, and water use rights

Land ownership:
  • individual, titled
Land use rights:
  • individual

5.9 Access to services and infrastructure

  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
technical assistance:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
employment (e.g. off-farm):
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
roads and transport:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
drinking water and sanitation:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
financial services:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good

6. Impacts and concluding statements

6.1 On-site impacts the Technology has shown

Socio-economic impacts


crop production

Comments/ specify:

Increase in yield was observed as response to compost especially as a source of N and P on the soil

Income and costs

expenses on agricultural inputs

Comments/ specify:

Grass and weeds are free and readily available in the environment thus reducing the expenses.

farm income


Socio-cultural impacts

health situation


cultural opportunities


recreational opportunities


Improved livelihoods and human well-being

Comments/ specify:

Composting is the decomposition of organic matter into compost which is the alternate for chemical/inorganic fertilizer as source of nutrients for crops. The use of compost prevents the farmers from exposure to harmful effects of chemical fertilizer and protects the consumer on the adverse effects of chemicals on the farm produce. Increased awareness and market demands including premium price for organic crops makes the Organic Farming an impressive source of livelihood and business.

Ecological impacts


soil compaction

Comments/ specify:

Soil aggregation was enhanced because of the added organic matter from compost

Biodiversity: vegetation, animals

biomass/ above ground C


6.3 Exposure and sensitivity of the Technology to gradual climate change and climate-related extremes/ disasters (as perceived by land users)

Gradual climate change

Gradual climate change
Season increase or decrease How does the Technology cope with it?
annual temperature increase well

Climate-related extremes (disasters)

Meteorological disasters
How does the Technology cope with it?
local rainstorm well
local windstorm well
Climatological disasters
How does the Technology cope with it?
drought well
Hydrological disasters
How does the Technology cope with it?
general (river) flood not well

Other climate-related consequences

Other climate-related consequences
How does the Technology cope with it?
reduced growing period well

The pile of shredded grass and weeds that will be decomposed into compost were housed under a shed protected from rain and exposure from heat of the sun.

6.4 Cost-benefit analysis

How do the benefits compare with the establishment costs (from land users’ perspective)?
Short-term returns:


Long-term returns:

very positive

How do the benefits compare with the maintenance/ recurrent costs (from land users' perspective)?
Short-term returns:

very positive

Long-term returns:

very positive

6.5 Adoption of the Technology

Of all those who have adopted the Technology, how many did so spontaneously, i.e. without receiving any material incentives/ payments?
  • 91-100%

100% of land user families have adopted the Technology without any external material support
1 land user families have adopted the Technology without any external material support
Comments on spontaneous adoption: Voluntary adoption of the technology was observed since the land owner, Mr. Ambrosio Acosta , was a member and a previous officer of a small group of organic farmers, the La Trinidad Organic Producers (LATOP) and was also an accredited resource speaker/ trainer for Organic Agriculture-related events/forum.
There is a moderate trend towards spontaneous adoption of the Technology
Comments on adoption trend: It was observed that there is an increased awareness on the harmful effects of chemical inputs on the soil and its negative impact on human health. There is also an increase in demand for organically grown vegetables in the local market.

6.7 Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities of the Technology

Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the land user’s view
Compost increases the organic matter of the soil thus improving soil tilth. Also, it contributes to prevent incidence of plant pathogens,and insect diseases, infestation.
Compost as fertilizer provides nutrients to the crops
Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view
Application of compost increases soil organic matter that promotes soil aggregation and improves soil condition.
Decomposition of the compost slowy releases nutrients like N, P and K that were readily available to plants.
It reduces farm production cost.

6.8 Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks of the Technology and ways of overcoming them

Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view How can they be overcome?
High initial investment cost in the purchase of equipment, tools and other supplies to start the technology. Equipment and materials purchased are used for long term.

7. References and links

7.1 Methods/ sources of information

Links and modules

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