A sample of a Bokashi bucket fermented for two days which produces a pickle-like smell.

Sustainable farming is an alternative agricultural system that originated early in the 20th century in reaction to rapidly changing farming practices. It is defined by the use of fertilizers of organic origin such as green manure, bone meal, and emphasizes on composting techniques.

Bryan Dizon of Javenri Harvest Farms on Sunday explained Bokashi composting, a process of turning kitchen food waste leachate as an anaerobic compost for crops.

Food waste

In May 2019, the Department of Science and Technology’ (DOST) Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) reported that an average Filipino wastes at least 3.29 kilograms of rice per year.

Arguably, it tells a lot about how Filipinos remain unconscious of their food consumption, considering that the country ranks 29th in the Global Hunger Index of 20.0 in 2017.

Consequently, several representations from the academe and civil society organizations form a bulk of projects reducing food waste in their own ways and homes, and by introducing them to different food waste reduction and diversion techniques and platforms.

The combined efforts can positively influence how society deals with food waste. After all, with the hunger and climate crisis we are currently experiencing in the country and the world, there really is just no excuse nor place for food waste.

Bokashi composting

Bokashi composting is an anaerobic process that relies on inoculated bran to ferment kitchen waste, and turning it into a safe soil-builder and nutrient-rich tea for plants.

“Feed the soil, not the plant. It is an effective way to divert kitchen food waste to something more useful para wala tayong nasasayang,” Dizon said.


Bryan Dizon explains the Bokashi composting process.

In Bokashi composting, kitchen scraps of all kinds—excluding spoiled meals, dairy products and bones—are mixed with some of the inoculated bran, called Bokashi, pressed into a bucket.

The bucket must be covered and sturdy, which may support the layers of Bokashi and kitchen food waste. When the bucket is full, it is sealed shut and set aside for twelve to fourteen days—a fermenting process catalyzed by the Bokashi bran, cutting down the composting time of up to six months.

Every other day during that time, the leachate that is an inevitable byproduct of anaerobic composting needs to be drawn off. When the bucket is opened, the contents, though recognizable, are thoroughly “pickled”. At this stage, the “pre-compost” juice called “Bokashi tea” may be used for enriching the soil as it has a high concentration of minerals from the fermentation. Ultimately, the end-product compost is used as fertilizer which also serves as pest repellant because of its distinct “acidic” nature.

Bokashi bran only costs P30 to P40 a kilogram, relatively affordable compared to the industrial fertilizer priced at P70.

Independent farms in Palawan has now developed several integrated farming system that strives for sustainability—the enhancement of soil fertility and biological diversity while preserving the authenticity of our soil.

Hopes are up for local households to improve on their food consumption and consumerism practices. Be an ally to this global movement of change.