VERMICULTURE is a cost-efficient way to grow plants sustainably, the City Agriculturist Office said.
Vermiculture is a process of cultivating worms to decompose food wastes and turn it into vermicast (end-product) which contains nutrient-rich material and other plant growth-promoting substances necessary for plants.
During the Davao City Disaster Radio interview on Sept. 6, Jeanna Ablen, Organic Agriculture Program focal person, said vermiculture is beneficial as it only requires a small area of land.
“Pwede ra sya sa kilid sa uma basta dili lang maaadtoan sa mga manok (You can culture earthworms anywhere as long as it is accessible to chickens),” Ablen said.
Ablen said farmers can cut down on the input costs. In addition, the compost materials can be sourced from farm waste, vegetable and fruit peels, leaves, rice straws, or animal waste.
Unlike traditional composting, vermiculture is less time-consuming as the worms speed up the decay of materials. “It only takes a month before you can use it,” she added.
Ablen said it can be an added source of income as farmers can sell their vermicompost to other buyers for as much as P500 per kilo.
However, the quality of the compost highly depends on what the earthworms consume. Ablen suggests using materials rich in nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus content necessary for plant growth.
She also advised the farmers that vermicompost can sometimes be sensitive and needs to be sprinkled with water when necessary to maintain moisture levels and ensure harvest quality.
“Atimanon gyud nimo nga dili maughan ug dili sad maulanan directly at the same time walay makasulod nga mga mokaonay sa wati, secured lang gyud og tabunan (You must take care of it that it does not dry out and that it is not directly exposed to rain; at the same time, secure and cover it),” Ablen said.
Food waste has to be dried out before putting it in the compost bin as it can cause a potential foul odor and may kill the cultured worms.
The official urged the farmers to seek help from the CAO office to give them initial worm input and assistance in vermiculture.
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