“Application of Effective Microorganism
for Sustainable Crop Production”
By Dr. Teruo Higa, University of the Ryukyus
The concept of EM (Effective Microorganism) was developed by me in the
1980s, after conducting research on overcoming hazards of continued cropping and the
preservation of quality in horticultural crops. Thus, from the 1970s, on the basis of the
historical significance of microorganisms in Japanese agriculture, I experimented with
mixtures of microbes, with no anticipated results for over a period of 10 years.
I must emphasize at this point that EM does not contain any special set of
microbes. Neither does it have any genetically engineered organisms. Thus, EM has
only a combination of specially selected microorganisms capable of producing multiple
benefits. All these microbes are present in nature. If anyone wishes to test it - this could
be done easily by incubation EM with sterilized organic matter under sterile conditions.
Within a few days, one would be able to detect many kinds of microorganisms that are
seen in all natural ecosystems.
Modern agriculture using chemicals have produced definite results. These systems
have been able to produce high yields as evidenced by the green revolution, but at a cost.
Recent reports from the International Rice Research Institute of the Philippines clearly
illustrate this. Yields of plots that have been supplied with agrochemicals continuously for
a long time are declining rapidly. Similar reports are found in the developing world where
farmers use agrochemicals without caution. I am sure that there are a significant number
of similar examples in Europe, which has a long history of agriculture. All these systems
show a special common feature - they are not sustainable.
Analysis of the reasons for this phenomenon show one common characteristic
- The soils of these systems do not contain natural fauna and flora - which in other words
mean - that the soils are dead. EM reverses this situation by developing a more conducive