Makerere makes organic pesticide from agricultural wastes
The Makerere University research team and that of University of Kentucky USA applying the organic pesticide to red ants in an anthill at Kabanyolo
- The pesticide was made from eucalyptus saw dust
- Has no human health and environmental effect
- The research break through presents business opportunities for organic farming and export
Researchers from the Department of Agricultural and Bio systems engineering have manufactured an organic pesticide from agricultural waste that can be easily used by farmers to control pests like the red ants which are common menace to Ugandan farmers.
The organic pesticide was tested and sprayed on various insects and red ants at the Makerere University Agricultural Research Institute Kabanyolo, where results were impressive on 27th July, 2016.
The project is a partnership between Makerere University’s Department of Agricultural Bio-systems engineering which falls under the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and the University of Kentucky USA.
The research team pose for a group photograph with the organic pesticide at Kabanyolo
The Makerere University team is made of Prof. Noble Banadda as the Principal Investogator (PI) and Co PIs namely Dr. Nicholas Kiggundu and Dr. Ahamada Zziwa with a team of 7 Masters students. The partners from Kentucky University USA are Assoc. Prof. Jeffrey Seay and a team of 5 Masters students undertaking a course in chemical engineering.
The process known as Pyrolysis involves heating the bio degradable wastes such as banana peels, maize stovers and saw dust (forestry waste products) in the absence of oxygen at a temperature of 300-500 degrees celicius to produce the main product which is vinegar - the organic pesticide.
Makerere University Principal Investigator Prof. Noble Banadda said this is part of the research work being conducted by Masters Students from Makerere University and University of Kentucky, of the United States.
The organic pesticide before it was applied to the red ants
Prof. Banadda said, in March 2016 the Ugandan and American students were tasked to make comparative studies of the raw materials from America and Uganda and the results were amazing.
‘” We have seen that products from Ugandan Maize and American maize are similar so are the products from Pine but there is significant differences in products from Uganda’s bananas and Bamboo and those of America”, Prof. Banadda went on to explain that:
“The difference is which one kills more. The beauty of the organic part of it is that when sprayed on the body there is no effect because there is no cancer of the skin. Chances of dying when using in-organic pesticides are higher than using organic pesticides”. The Professor said.
Prof. Banadda observed that most farmers in Uganda use inorganic pesticides which are not only expensive but also cannot break down in the soil hence an environmental and health hazard notably causing diseases such as anoxia ( people shaking their bodies)and cancers.
Students searching for insects to test the organic pesticide
He was optimistic that with the research breakthrough in the production of organic pesticides presents enormous business opportunities for farmers in Uganda.
‘” If we can convert all organic wastes into organic pesticides, how much money will the country generate? Organic farming requires organic manure and organic pesticides to remain in organic farming and export”, Prof. Banadda observed.
Kiiza Ronald, a Masters student from Makerere University explained that the chemistry of using agricultural wastes is aimed at finding ways of reducing wastes and adding value to farmers’ products. He said other products from this process include biochar used to increase moisture in the soil and gas for cooking.
Master student Kiiza Ronald (R) explaining the process of making the organic pesticide to a journalist (L)
A student spraying some red ants
Some of the red ants that were sprayed with the organic pesticide died
“We tried vinegar from saw dust and tried it on termites and it was an effective organic pesticide. This is important for the farmer as it adds value to the farmers’ products and increase income” He said.
Kiiza also said that other experiments were going on to try to produce bamboo vinegar following success stories in Japan where bamboo vinegar is used to make a variety of expensive health products for weight loss and others.
Astudent chopping bamboo for more experiments
Report compiled by:
Communication Officer CAES