Can Earthworm Technology be a Backbone of a green Revolution in Zimbabwe?
Yes it can!!
Introduction First green revolution in the world was based on high yielding varieties and the application of chemical fertilizer. Food production increased many fold but the world continues to host many hungry families. Access to high yielding varieties and chemical fertilizers for many families in sub Saharan Africa remains an elusive virtue. Agricultural ecological imbalances due to loss of organic matter.What goes to urban areas has become waste after use Soils have become less productive due to use of chemical fertilisers.
Introduction (cont.2) The global scientific community is today searching for a technology which should be: economically viable. sustainable" (friendly to the environment). socially acceptable (beneficial to the society).
Introduction (cont.1) Vermicomposting: The earthworm technology can facilitate the reclamation of organic matter and nutrients from all sources of organic waste. Vermiculture produces vermicast (vermicompost), earthworm faeces, and worm tea. All these are rich in nutrients, plant regulators such gibberellic acids, auxins and cytokinins. Recent work done by EMA through the University of Zimbabwe established that Zimbabwe produces annually an average of about one million tons of biodegradable organic waste. Research work done in India which compared the biofertilizer/ vermicompost with cattle dung and chemical fertilizers showed the superiority of this biofertilizer from earthworms.
Response of Wheat to Vermicompost. Input / HectareYield / Hectare 1) CONTROL(No Input)15.2 Q / ha 2) Vermicompost (VC)25 Quintal VC / ha40.1 Q / ha 3) Cattle Dung Compost (CDC)100 Quintal CDC / ha33.2 Q / ha 4) Chemical Fertilizers (CF)NPK (120:60:40) kg / ha34.2 Q / ha 5) CF + VCNPK (120:60:40) kg / ha + 25 Q VC / ha43.8 Q / ha 6) CF + CDCNPK (120:60:40) kg / ha Q CDC / ha41.3 Q / ha
From the results, it was noted that: Vermicompost yielded better than chemical fertilizer alone. Cattle dung yielded less than vermicompost / chemical fertilizer. Chemical fertilizer plus vermicompost yielded better than vermicompost or chemical fertilizer alone.
Recent demonstrations of the effect of vermicompost/ Nutrich Vermi BioFertilizer on maize and horticulture Crops
. Demonstration in Chimanimani
. Demonstration near Chitungwiza
. Demonstration in Mt Pleasant
.. Demonstration in Mt Pleasant
. Demontstration on Peas in Hwedza
. Lettuce plant almost mature at Honeydew Farm
. Lettuce crop planted with Nutrich vermi biofertilizer (right) and Refined compost (left)
. Spinach crop planted with Nutrich vermi bio fertilizer.
Cauliflower crop planted with Nutrich vermi biofertilizer and Refined Compost.
How can the green revolution be ignited? Most smallholders have no disposable income to buy inputs. A new income stream from breeding of earthworms can be promoted for households. Every farm family has waste from animals, food waste, field waste etc which if composted and inoculated with earthworms can be converted to this rich biofertilizer vermicompost.
Earthworms and Vermibiofertilizer. Mnth 1 Mnth 2 Mnth 3 Mnth 4 Mnth 5 Mnth 6 Mnth 7 Mnth 8 Mnth 9 Mnth 10 TOTAL Earthworm Population (kg) Loss Allowance (kg) 0% Less: Purge for Sale Expected Earthworm Population (kg) Expected Vermi Biofert Production (kg)
Some Benefits from earthworms Dried earthworms are rich in protein, about 72% balanced protein, rich in lysine. This can be processed into a rich animal feed and reduce imports of protein for the animal feed industry. If rural households are breeding earthworms and selling 10kg fresh worms per month, about 1000tons of earthworms would be available for animal feed, export of earthworm/ cocoons and sale to other uses such as vermifiltration projects.