TeleSupport India Repository

Solution Composting of Areca husk
Country India
Last update: 08/12/2006
Summary Areca husk ( sheath) is the waste produced when Areca nut is harvested in the tender stage and dehusked to market the kernel. The Areca husk is highly fibrous and is resistant to decomposition because of the high carbon/nitrogen (C/N) ratio. The areca husk can be partially decomposed by treating the husk with 4% slaked lime solution. This partially decomposed material is used, along with organic materials with a low C/N ratio, as the raw material in rapid composting methods. The sheath will be completely decomposed during the composting process.
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Contributed by person details Ms. Omana Thakarprambil (RASTA, TeleSupport India)
Challenge/Issue Areca is a major crop in Wayanad district of Kerala. Unlike other areas, farmers in Wayanad harvest tender Areca nuts and market the dehusked kernel . This wastes more than 60% of the weight of the crop. Due to its fibrous nature, farmers are reluctant to recycle the husk in the farm. This causes the wastage of hundreds of tones of organic matter. Converting this waste into compost would be helpful also for organic farmers as shortage of organic manure is one of the major problems faced by them.
Method (For Malayalam description of the method see 'Publications' tab)


Quick lime - 8 kg
Areca husk green or partially decomposed 200
cubic feet.
Plastic sheet- the sheet should be large enough
to cover the whole heap (of 3m x 1.5m x 1m)


1) Take 8kg of quick lime, heap it on the hard ground and sprinkle some hot water on it. The powder thus obtained is mixed with 200 liters of water to get slaked lime.

2)Select a level shady place, near the compost tank (see NADEP composting in 'Related GPs' tab).

3)A 3m x 1.5m area is marked for pre-digestion of the Areca husk.

4)The husk is made into a bed of 15cm deep in this marked area.

5)Sprinkle 40 liters of slaked lime solution evenly over the heap of husks.

6)Spread a thin layer, less than half a centimeter, of top soil over this.

7)Put four more such layers (15cm husk, 40 liters slaked lime and thin layer of top soil) above this layer.

8)The last layer of soil should be about half an inch thick.

9)Cover the heap with a polythene sheet so that all the parts of the heap are covered. The sides should be made airtight by turning in and placing some heavy objects over this sheet.

10)Keep the heap as such for 10 days. After 10 days, remove the cover, turn the heap from one side and use it for composting. This is mixed with materials having a low C/N ratio young plant residues, in the ratio 3:2. This mixture is used as a feed for NADEP model composting. (see NADEP composting in 'Related GPs' tab).

11)Within 90 to 120 days through the NADEP method, the areca sheath could be converted into a fine compost.
Lessons learned 1)Treatment with slaked lime disintegrates the tissues of Areca husk.

2)Composting of this partially decomposed material provides good quality compost from areca husks.

3)This gives an effective utilization of underutilized crop residue

4)Proper decomposition reduces environmental pollution that would otherwise be caused if Areca husk is just heaped in public places
List Keywords
1.1 Socio- economic Sector (OECD) 311 Agriculture
1.2 Institutional dimension Social- livelihood systems/ Gender
1.3 Natural dimension Land/Soils
1.4 Target group(s) 4. Research community
1. Local communities
3. Intermediary organisations
2.1 Production System Rainfed system
1. Mono-culture
2. Mixed cropping system
2.2 Production Chain 1. Input Supply & Use
2. Production & Management
2.3 Commodity group Food crops
Non-food agricultural products
2.4 Food Crops Rice (Oryza)
Banana/Plantain (Musa)
2.5a Agro-Ecology: Thermal zone 1: Tropical
2.5b Agro-ecology: Altitude zone Lowlands
2.5c Agro-Ecology: Moisture zone 3. Humid
3.1 Natural Resource Mgmt. Community-based NRM
3.2 Pollution-Environmental Protection 3. Ecosystems
5. Wastes
Telesupport Themes Soil fertility
Stage Country Region Location
Concept India Kerala Wayanad
Development India Kerala Wayanad
Apply India Kerala Wayanad, calicut
Role Person name
Owner/ originator person details Mr. Danesh Kumar
Describer person details Mr. C.P. Aneesh
Role Organisation Acronym
Owner/Originator organisation details Rural Agency for Social and Technological Advancement RASTA
Network Organisation organisation details TeleSupport India Network TeleSupport India
Function Activity
Research / M&E project details Biovillage
Type Title Function Download
Extension leaflet, brochure, policy brief or poster output details Pre-digestion of Arecahusk for composting -Description Malayalam Description 50kb
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