Mauritian Standard MS 196 “Specifications for treated farm animal manure”
Untreated animal waste constitute a source of environmental pollution. Animal waste left untreated in field are a source of odour as well as give rise to leachate which contaminates the soil as well as underground waters.
With a view to green the agricultural sector and initiate the shift to a circular economy paradigm, Standards for manure from animal waste has been developed. These Standards define the characteristics that ‘ animal waste’ need to be achieved so that such that they can be used in fields as a fertilizer and no longer constitute a source of pollution to the soil and agro-products. The treatment of animal waste will also provide for ‘waste’ materials to be re-introduced in the production cycle, hence providing for an initiation to a circular economy concept.
The formulation of the standards thus support the shift to the safe production of agro-products and provide the means for the adoption of sustainable agricultural techniques.
The development of Standards for “Specifications for treated farm animal manure” will define the set of characteristics that need to be met for animal waste to be used safely in fields. Currently, farmers either leave the animal waste untreated in fields to decompose naturally or is applied directly to their cultivation. The development of Standards will provide the appropriate treatment methods that need to be carried out to treat the animal waste for safe manure production. Hence, this practice will reduce the risk of odour pollution, soil and underground water pollution.
Once the animal waste is treated, it can be used as a safe organice fertiser in fields thus reducing the use of chemical fertilisers. Currently, food crop production locally relies heavily on the use of agro-chemicals particularly pesticides and fertilizers. Loss of soil fertility through prolonged and intensive use of agro chemicals is a threat to biodiversity and the short and long term productivity as beneficial micro-organism are being destroyed.
Manure and compost are critical soil amendments in certified organic production and in sustainable farming systems. Hence, the development of the appropriate standards. The application of treated animal manure will contribute significantly to restore soil fertility and carbon sequestration and will lead to the production of safe and organic agro-products and promote the adoption of sustainable agricultural practices.
Untreated animal waste is considered as a potential vector for pathogens that may contaminate agro-produce when applied directly in fields. This may lead to diseases in consumers. The development of standards and the appropriate protocol for treatment of animal waste will encourage farmers to treat the animal waste prior to its application in fields thus minimising risks of contamination. This will lead to the production of safe and organic food products.
Furthermore, animal waste is also a source of methane emission, a powerful greenhouse gas which has 25 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide. If left untreated in fields, animal waste represent a constant source of methane emission and contribute directly to the global warming effect. Thus, the proper treatment of animal waste will provide the means to avoid these emissions, thus contributing to mitigate the climate change.