Sunday, December 2, 2012

Use of Indigenous Micro-organisms (IMO) in Natural Farming

The use of IMO as a soil enhancer was started in Malaysia by the Department of Agriculture in
2001 through the Asian Productivity Organization. Farmers in at least three states are actively
using this technology. Some farmers claim that this technology decreases the cost of production
by 30% compared to conventional practice. However, this technology needs meticulous
preparation. Without good training, it is difficult to follow via textbook instructions. The
principle needs to be understood before one can grasp the methodology. After familiarization
with the techniques, farmers often make changes in the preparations to suit their particular inputs
and problems faced.

The basic preparation for enhancing the soil is:

i) IMO4. Indigenous micro-organisms are naturally inoculated by placing cooked rice under a tree
in an undisturbed area. Between 3 and 5 days, the rice will turn mouldy (IMO1). Add brown
sugar (1:1 ratio) to the mouldy rice and then further ferment for 3-5 days (IMO2). Add the
fermented mixture (1gm/L) to 10 kg rice bran and further ferment for 3-5 days (IMO3). This
final fermented mixture of rice bran is mixed with the farm soil in the ratio of 1:1(IMO4).

ii) Compost. Add IMO4 at the rate of 1:10 to oil palm empty bunches and compost it for about 3

iii) Fermented plant juice extract (FPJ). Add a volume ratio of 1:1 water spinach (Ipomoea
aquatica) and brown sugar and leave in a jar for 5-7 days. Cover the jar with white paper and tie
the mouth tightly with a string or rubber band.

iv) Fermented Fruit Juice (FFJ). Add chopped papaya (Carica papaya) and mix with brown sugar
at a ratio of 1:1 by volume and keep in a jar for a week. Cover as in (iii).

v) Oriental Herb Nutrient (OHN). Add cinnamon with rice vinegar at a ratio of 1:3 by volu me. Top
up with brown sugar at a volume of 1:1 of the mixture of the latter. Leave the mixture to
degrade for 7-10 days in a jar before use. Cover as in (iii).

vi) Fish Amino Acid (FAA). Mix fish heads, bones and entrails with brown sugar at a ratio of 1:1
volume and keep in a jar for 1 month. Cover as in (iii).

vii) Egg calcium phosphate (CaP). Burn egg shells and then mix with rice vinegar at a volume ratio
of 1:10. Leave to degrade for 30 days.

viii) Bone calcium phosphate PCa. The procedure is similar to (vii) but use cattle bones instead.
(Cho 1997).

In field preparation, IMO4 is added at the rate of 1 tonne/ha, four days before planting. Different
combinations of the basic formulation are applied to the soil to enhance plant growth. The formulations
known as Type II, Type III and Morning Sickness are given in Figure 3. Type II formulation is used
during the growth stages of the plant. Type III is used for increasing fruit size and Morning Sickness is for
flower initiation and fruit setting. For leafy vegetables, after IMO4 application and when the plant is 5
days old, Type II is sprayed every 5 days at 2% concentration onto the soil; 100 L of Type II at 2%
concentration should be sprayed onto the leafy vegetables and the amount is increased by half after 14
days of age.