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Bokashi Fertilizer - farmers edition

Harvest more from your field

Done in 14 days
Skill level basic

Bokashi is a very effective, economical and easy to make fertiliser. It is mostly made from agricultural wastes. With this organic method you can improve your soil and have much better harvests than before. Bokashi is a remedy for your soil. It re-introduces nutrients by adding micro-organisms. These are usually locked up because of the use of chemical fertilizers which poison the soil. Treat the soil well and the plants will produce bountifully even in harsh conditions.

Testing the moisture - mixture stays in shape
Testing the moisture - mixture stays in shape

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RODI Kenya

What you need

You can, of course, make more or less bokashi than indicated in the recipe. But make sure that you keep the same quantity ratio. The bags in the recipe are 90 kg bags, which are usually the ones used to carry livestock feed. With this recipe you can fertilise a whole field (one acre).

How you make it

Identify an open space to make the Bokashi.

Open space with roof
Open space with roof

Ensure that it is open and has a roof (polythene/iron sheet/grass) that will prevent water from reaching the Bokashi.

Make sure the space is free from water logging and livestock. Water will damage the quality of the Bokashi. Do not allow animals near the mixture or the final product.

Do not place the mixture in direct sunlight as this may increase the strength of the smell.

Pile the charcoal

Piled charcoal
Piled charcoal

Add bran and rice husks to the pile.

Piled bran and rice husks
Piled bran and rice husks

Add top soil and manure to the pile.

Bags with soil and manure ready to add to pile
Bags with soil and manure ready to add to pile

Add rock dust to the pile.

Piled rock dust
Piled rock dust

Mix yeast and molasses in a drum. Add water.

Mixed yeast
Mixed yeast

Fill half a bucket with yeast and molasses. Fill it up with water and stir it until it is mixed well. The liquid has to be brownish. Equally share the mixture into three big drums. Repeat that process until you have used up all the yeast and molasses.

Then, fill up the drums with clean water. It is important that the water does not contain any chlorine.

⚠ Chlorine will kill the microorganisms that will be vital for the fermentation process and the making of the Bokashi.

Note: Use the two remaining drums as backup to add moisture to the pile, in case it is too dry.

Pouring the mixture into drums
Pouring the mixture into drums

Water the pile

Pour the mixture of water, molasses and yeast from the drum with a watering can gradually onto the heap as you turn the mixture from one side to a second side. Mix the material with the water until the mixture is 50 percent of water.

Turn the pile until it is uniformly moist.

Testing the moisture - squeeze tightly
Testing the moisture - squeeze tightly

To test the moisture, grab a handful of the mixture and squeeze tightly. Form a ball shape and squeeze it. If it stays in ball shape it is perfect. If it crumbles apart, you must add more water. If liquid comes out, the mixture is too moist. In that case add more ash.

Testing the moisture - mixture stays in shape
Testing the moisture - mixture stays in shape

Once the mixture is ready, leave it for 24 hours. Check the temperature of the mixture. When it is around 60 to 70 degrees Celsius, the mixture is ready to turn.

Turn the mixture.

Use a spade to pick up the mixture and turn it to a second side. Let the scooped mixture drop on top of the pile that it can cool down. Continue until the mixture is turned. Better do this step with 2 people to ensure equal distribution.

Turn the mixture in the following days.

After one day, turn the mixture once. After two days, turn the mixture twice. On the second day, there will be an odour when you turn the mixture. Make sure you turn the mixture in a well-ventilated area to reduce the smell.

Repeat the process: Turn the mixture twice a day for 5 to 7 days. Once the heat goes down, turn it once a day.

⚠ Keep the mixture moist during the process. Do not place it under direct sunlight. This will evaporate the water and kill the microorganisms.

If the heap starts turning white, the Bokashi may be burnt. Therefore, it is important to turn as often as possible to reduce the heat or spread the Bokashi evenly on the ground.

After 14 days, you can use the Bokashi.

Testing the moisture - mixture stays in shape
Testing the moisture - mixture stays in shape

You can use the Bokashi immediately or store it for up to 3 months. If you do not use the Bokashi immediately, spread it on the ground to allow air to pass through and cool the mixture. Do not keep it in a heap. Turn it regularly and take care that it does not turn white.

After 3 months, you can still use the mixture to make new and fresh Bokashi. In this case you just add the old Bokashi onto your heap of rock dust, charcoal, bran and rice husks as an additional layer. You do not need the molasses and yeast mix in this case. When using the old Bokashi, it replaces the need to use top soil since it reintroduces micro-organisms to the new pile.

How you use it

There are different possibilities to use the Bokashi. Let’s start to cure your soil and to boost the productivity of your plants.

Planting in a hole

If you are planting in a hole, scoop a handful or measure 100 to 120gs of Bokashi and place it in the hole. Add top soil on top and place the seeds on the soil then cover the hole accordingly. This is to avoid “burning” the seed.

Planting seedlings

If you are planting seedlings in a hole, properly and evenly mix the Bokashi with the soil to avoid “burning” the seedling when you plant.

Planting in a furrow

If you are planting in a furrow, broadcast the Bokashi onto the soil.

Share your feedback


If you do not have a field of an acre, you can adapt the quantities of the recipe. You can also make the Bokashi together with other farmers. If people in the area already know about Bokashi, you might be able to sell the fertiliser to them and start a business.

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