Farmers looking for ways to increase their harvest may soon have Ravi Kanitkar to thank for granting their wish. The Pune-based Kanitkar Research and Education Foundation (KREF) has launched a new product called KREF solution, a liquid biofertilizer that promises just that: a more bountiful yield made possible by nitrogen supplementation. And there's more: as a bonus, the product promises a 50% reduction in the use of chemical fertilizers and fungicides, as well as protecting the long-term productivity of the soil.

KREF solution is the brainchild of Kanitkar and his team at the parent company of Kumar Krishi Mitra Bioproducts [I] Pvt Ltd. A biological research scientist and entrepreneur with 27 years of experience in this field, Kanitkar takes special interest in liquid biofertilizers. In 1993, he was awarded an Indian patent for production under the brand name Bioplin. Among his other honours is the 'Outstanding Invention Award' of the National Research Development Corporation, and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Gold Medal of the United Nations.

Picture: No red rust was observed when KREF solution was used on a control plot of paddy. Yields were higher as well.

The recently launched KREF solution is wholesome ready-for-use food for plants, organic in nature. It contains elements that have been naturally released from organic matter and are useful for plants, along with enzymes, vitamins, plant-growth-promoting substances, amino acids, and health-friendly fungi with large amount of mycelia mass. It also contains naturally occurring helpful microbes such as nitrogen fixers, phosphate solubilizers, etc. These act on organic residues in the soil and convert them into useful manure for plants. Responses to the use of the solution are dramatic, with changes noticeable sometimes in as little as four days.

Explaining the role of KREF solution in aiding plant and produce growth, Kanitkar says, "Everyone is aware that chemical fertilizers were the gravest mistake of the Green Revolution. Reeling under the palpable after-effects of polluted environment, contaminated ground water, and poisoned fertile soil, the Indian farmer has made a noticeable switch to organic farming. However, his application of organic manure does not show immediate visible effects. This is because organic manure is applied with elements in insoluble forms. They are acted upon by microbes and this natural process takes a long time. On the other hand, chemical fertilizers are processed such that they are soluble in water, and are easily absorbed by the plants, giving instant results. This often lands the farmer in a quandary regarding the use of organic manure, and this is where the KREF solution does its bit. We have invented a process whereby the application of KREF solution extracts the elements from organic manure to make it easily palatable for the plants."

Organic manure is typically applied with elements in insoluble forms, and unlike soluble chemical fertilizer, its effects are seen slowly. KREF solution allows extraction of elements from organic manure quicklly; this makes it easier for farmers to choose organic alternatives.