Impact Journalism Day by Sparknews: A better home - No. 24

Bat droppings turned into organic fertiliser

Guano is collected, dried and crushed before undergoing heat treatment.
Guano is collected, dried and crushed before undergoing heat treatment.PHOTO: L'EXPRESS

ANTANANARIVO (Madagascar) • Erick Rajaonary became an entrepreneurial industrialist completely by chance. "It all began with a conversation I had with my friends," he explains. At the time of this conversation, he knew next to nothing about creating fertilisers. However, in the space of 10 years, Mr Rajaonary has become an accepted and recognised industrialist in this sector as the owner of a fertiliser manufacturing company.

What's more, his company stands out in its use of guano, or bat droppings, as an organic base for the fertiliser, earning Mr Rajaonary the nickname "Batman".

The fertilising properties of bat guano have been used since the 1920s on a small local scale. It was only in 2006, with the launch of Mr Rajaonary's company, that this source was made accessible on a larger scale. With his initial €200,000 (S$303,000) investment, drawn from his savings and bank loans, he launched Guanomad, a manufacturing company able to form organic fertiliser from mineralised bat droppings.

 

From this point, the business swiftly expanded. The product sold itself, in being an organic fertiliser that could also help to protect the quality of the soil while proving environmentally friendly.

Today, Guanomad provides seven different types of guano-based products, adapted to various types of agricultural needs, from material for organic farms to gardens, and even to fruit tree plantations.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 25, 2016, with the headline 'Bat droppings turned into organic fertiliser'. Print Edition | Subscribe