Growers advised to focus on vermicomposting for organic farming

Local producers were encouraged to use organic waste for their farms by turning it into fertilizer through vermicomposting.

Dr. Saddar Siddiqui of the National Agricultural Research Center told Wealth PK in an interview that the huge amount of organic waste readily available in Pakistan, such as municipal solid waste, cattle manure and chicken manure, could replace chemical fertilizers with vermicomposting.

In the bio-oxidative process of vermicomposting, earthworms interact intensively with bacteria and other animals of the decomposer community, accelerating the stability of organic matter and modifying its physical and biochemical properties.

The action of earthworms can be both physical and mechanical. Physical involvement in the degradation of organic substrates cause fragmentation, which increases the surface of action, renewal and aeration. Microorganisms, on the other hand, make biochemical changes in the decomposition of organic matter through enzymatic digestion, enrichment of nitrogen excretion, and transport of inorganic and organic materials.

Dr Saddar said animal dung was a valuable resource for supplementing organic matter and improving soil conditions. Average cattle produce four to six tons of fresh manure each year. After brick production, a considerable part of livestock manure is used as cooking and heating fuel in Pakistan and other developing countries.

He said burning the manure patties had negative effects on human health and the environment. “Indoor particulate concentrations increase when animal waste is burned for cooking. Smoke from stoves made from animal manure contains high levels of carbon monoxide, fine particles, nitrogen dioxide and hydrocarbons, which are dangerous. Acute respiratory infections, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cancer have all been linked to long-term exposure to airborne particles,” he added.

The expert said selecting suitable earthworm species for vermicomposting was a crucial part of the process. Only a few, out of millions of species of earthworms, are suitable for vermicomposting organic waste. Epigeal earthworms are commonly used for vermicomposting various organic wastes. Due to its well-established ability for vermicomposting biodegradable organic resources such as agricultural wastes and animal manures, Eisenia fetida is the most widely used earthworm species for vermicomposting.

“This procedure takes six to nine months. Dung is still unstable, attracting termites to crops after it is applied. In rural areas, this practice is a major cause of odor and insect problems. Vermicomposting simply regulates the environment so that things decay faster. Better manure handling, improved soil condition and fertility, and reduced environmental risks are all potential benefits of vermicomposting,” said Dr. Saddar.

He said vermicomposting is getting the attention of farmers, waste generators, government authorities and environmentalists. Compost adds organic matter to crops, improves soil structure, reduces fertilizer requirements and lowers the risk of soil erosion.

“Because compost is sometimes considered waste, its price varies greatly. Its prices range from Rs10 to Rs20 per kilogram. Its cost is determined by the local market, the quality of the compost and the raw materials used,” said Dr Saddar.

Source: This news was originally published by pakobserver

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