Micro-organising the environment
At the end of May
Auroville hosted for Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry farmers the first
workshop on the use of Effective Micro-organisms (EM) in agriculture.
Tineke talked to Margarita Correa, one of the two Aurovilians involved
in EM research.
Effective Micro-organisms (EM)
were discovered in Japan in the late sixties. It is a liquid product
which combines lactic acid bacilli, photosynthetic (or phototropic)
bacteria, yeast, ray fungi, and actinomycetes. It can be used to treat
waste water and solid waste, to increase milk production and to improve
cattle health. Dr. Lucas and Margarita, who introduced Effective
Micro-organisms (EM) in Auroville in October 1999, have been monitoring
The success has been remarkable. Take, for example, Discipline farm,
where allopathic medicines had failed to cure cows of a necrotic fungus.
After using EM, the cows not only returned to full health, but also
remained healthier and showed fewer flies and ticks. Other dairies that
fed EM to their animals noticed that the milk production increased, and
that the milk products improved their taste. A few Auroville farms spray
EM on their vegetable gardens, paddy fields and fruit trees. One of the
successes observed is the eradication of the rhinoceros beetle in
EM is also successfully used
to improve compost and enhance an organic fertiliser called 'Bokashi', a
dry mixture consisting of oil cakes, rice, millets, salt and jaggery.
Its effective use as a bio-pesticide is being tested.
Also in the treatment of kitchen waste the use of EM has proven
effective. A foul odour produced by Auroville's Solar Kitchen waste
water treatment plant had become intolerable for diners and nearby
residents. It caused a nuisance of flies and mosquitoes. A daily cup of
EM in the drain points and toilets proved sufficient to solve the
"After a trial period of nearly two years, the results in
agriculture, animal husbandry and waste water treatment are very
positive and highly encouraging. Our activities have now spread out into
India. We attend seminars and give consultancy across the country. To
keep informed about world-wide developments, I recently attended an EM
International Workshop in Thailand, and will represent India in the 7th
International Conference in Kiusei Nature Farming and Effective
Micro-organisms in New Zealand later this year.