AGRICULTURE -Japanese organic products maker turns cow urine into gold
Posted on June 8th, 2021

TORU OTSUKI, Nikkei staff writer Courtesy NikkeiAsia

Kankyo Daizen’s fertilizer wins over farmers in Vietnam and Cambodia

ASAHIKAWA, Japan — An organic products company based in northern Japan hopes its environmentally friendly fertilizer made from cow urine will catch on with farmers in Southeast Asia.

The liquid fertilizer, Tsuchi Ikikaeru — or “soil comes back to life” — is sold in five countries including Vietnam and Cambodia. Farmland in much of Southeast Asia faces degradation and declining fertility, the result of longtime overuse of agrochemicals.

Kankyo Daizen collects the urine from dairy farmers in Hokkaido, the northernmost of Japan’s main islands, where the company is located. In 2012, it began exporting Tsuchi Ikikaeru to agricultural producers through two Japanese trading houses.

Cow urine, which is often dumped into rivers or sprayed over farmland, contaminates water sources and has an offensive smell. Kankyo Daizen has turned this nuisance into a valuable resource for Hokkaido farmers. Now the natural soil conditioner is winning new customers abroad.

Kankyo Daizen, which also makes organic deodorizers, estimates that its overall sales rose 11% to 230 million yen ($2.13 million) for the 12 months ended in January. Its overseas business has grown and now accounts for 10% of total revenue, as the company has expanded its sales channels.

“Southeast Asia has a young and growing population,” Kankyo Daizen President Makoto Kubonouchi said. “It is a promising market as long as we can meet registration requirements in different countries.”

Kankyo Daizen’s environmentally friendly liquid fertilizer is making inroads in Vietnam and elsewhere in Southeast Asia.

Growing incomes in Southeast Asia have spurred interest in more natural farming practices in the region. Kankyo Daizen’s organic fertilizer, for example, is a good substitute for conventional agrochemicals. The company says the product, which is diluted with water when applied, is an effective growth booster for a wide range of crops including rice, vegetables, flowering plants and farmed shrimp. It also helps maintain soil fertility when the same crop is grown on the same plot of land year after year.

Kankyo Daizen also plans to sell Tsuchi Ikikaeru in Malaysia and the Philippines, but it is not limiting its ambitions to Asia. In February, Kubonouchi traveled to Brazil as part of a research tour organized by the Japan International Cooperation Agency, inspecting large farms growing crops such as soybeans and sugar cane. The company plans to explore market opportunities there after receiving a positive response from local farmers. One challenge to overcome is the shipping cost, given the distance between Japan and Brazil.

In Japan, the company works with a number of dairy farmers in Kitami and areas along the Sea of Okhotsk. The manufacturing process starts by fermenting cow urine using a special mix of microbes. The liquid is collected in a tanker truck and then fermented some more in six 18-ton tanks at Kankyo Daizen’s headquarters. The company believes lactic acid bacteria and yeast grown with cow urine inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria in the soil.

Kankyo Daizen sells 50 products in all, including a clear, colorless liquid designed to eliminate household odors. The fertilizer and the deodorizer look different but the bacteria that they contain work the same way. The company provided the deodorant free of charge to evacuation shelters and temporary toilets in areas hit by recent earthquakes in northern Japan.

Kankyo Daizen verified the effectiveness of its cow urine-derived products in tests conducted at the Kitami Institute of Technology. But mysteries remain, including how the active ingredient forms through fermentation and how it reduces odors and increases soil fertility. The company plans to work with a private research group to solve these puzzles.

4 Responses to “AGRICULTURE -Japanese organic products maker turns cow urine into gold”

  1. Nimal Says:

    My relatives are doing just that in Japan.There are other farmers in many countries have perfected their own way of producing their fertilizer. A sudda farmer from Namibia has gone to Eastern African country to find a organic way to get rid of locusts who are decimating their crops. What is happening to our balu culture where the local farmer who has a less than 1 acre of rice field wants the President come to them to pluck the weeds.’Deviyo sakki’ Why can’t he together with his family and get to the field and remove the weeds?
    I hear that person have bred a bird and a mammal that will pray on the locusts.My Aunty had 3 thambily trees in Devala Road in Mirihana and the Thamily tree nearest to the septic tank gave the best tambili and she too had a guava tree that gave better fruits than her other tree that was away from the septic tank.

    As I written before that I produced our own fertilizer at our coconut estate at Dodangaslanda which was a success.When someone in the third world tries to produce chemical fertilizers or pesticides it upset some countries that sell them to us.I was an victim where my US friend was deported with their blessings and I left the country.Mr Philip Gunawardana knew about it,was a good man and he was sad to see me leave. Before that we did a bit of rock and roll in his office with my Australian and Burgher friends. He joined in with he tapping his desk with his pencil. He got his driver to fetch my secretary who could drive me back to my office at the Cylinco building because I sacked my driver on the spot at the Galle Face where he was not happy to see me sitting at the back of my car and I was only 18 years old and his boss and there was much envy.Mr Gunawarda was very helpful to get the WB approval for the project but JR went along with the outsiders. This is why I don’t trust politicians who goes to temples, just to fool the people.

  2. . Says:

    We never use ferilizer for coconut trees. Best one is to use coconut husk right round and let it decay.

  3. aloy Says:

    I have seen they dig around the tree and apply some salt. Sometimes they use rotten dry fish that is unsuitable for human consumption. Another observation is that when coconut tree are planted near to each other the branches wont bend down and the trees become barren however much they apply fertilizer. I think those appointed to coconut board are experts like Fernando Pulles. They should know how to increase coconut production and make the country self and even export.

    Talking about Mr. Philip G. whom I have met when he came to visit my work site together with his son, I think he was a man of foresight. At that time he was worried that our country’s biggest problem will be power; he was and is right even now. It was up to MR to go ahead and build the Norochchalai amid all opposition, if not we would have been in great difficulty. I put the blame on his ministers including Patali for not making sure that we got the best equipment and not things out of junk yards. I think we should go ahead with the next coal power plant on offer, this time at Trinco (or Chiina waraya).

  4. Nimal Says:

    We could use geothermal power like the Icelandic people.

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