By Pritam Choudhury and Pawan K Kaushik
Organic farming has been practised since ancient times. The only diversion came when we blindly started using chemicals for agricultural purposes. Our forefathers used all the techniques that now we are reverting back to; coming close to nature again. There are many ways to adopt organic farming in land. One of the best techniques i.e. Low Cost Vermi-Composting (LCVC) can be practiced to enhance the organic farming.
The raw materials required to install a LCVC unit are bamboo, black polythene, wire, nail, pipe, net, drum, chips, sand, soil and gunny bag. To operationalize these units, many ingredients can be used to produce vermi-compost like cow dung, banana trunk, water hyacinth, fern, weed, straw, neem leaves, cassia leaves, kachu leaves (arum), ipomea leaves, sajna leaves and other agricultural waste materials. To produce compost from different ingredients the best suitable earthworms to use is red worms (Eisenia foetida) also known as "red wigglers" and "manure worms".
There are many advantages of using LCVC technique like huge quantities of organic waste can be converted into a valuable product. Some of the significant benefits of this technique are that low investment and minimum maintenance. It can be produced close to the site of any farm or field or pond. As the earthworms multiply while feeding on the residues, the excess population can be used as a feed for fish in the pond. Beside the feeds, it can also be sold in the market and fetch income along with the production of vermicompost organic manure. Its residues have no negative impact on the soil and environment.
Application of vermicompost enhances the growth of plants as well as the crop yield by providing essential nutrients. Also, it controls pest and pathogen and improve the quality of the crops. As a result, vermicompost is considered to be essential substitute. In fact, the process also is an ecofriendly and produces a product which improves the soil fertility and food nutrition.
The LCVC can be sustainably maintained by depending on locally available raw materials completely and so it emboldens the traditional organic farming system very efficiently. The technique is so simple and cost-effective that any farmer can adopt easily and utilise the product in their farming system without any side effect. In the long run, farmers can strengthen and support their livelihood options and may improve standard of living by adopting Low Cost Vermi-Composting (LCVC) unit on entrepreneurship mode.