Farmers in Jharkhand switch to vermicompost for better crops and improved soil quality
Farmers in Ranchi, Hazaribagh, and Ramgarh districts of Jharkhand are switching to vermicompost to improve the quality of the soil on their farms, that had suffered from the excessive use of chemical fertilisers.
Manoj Choudhary 27 April 2023 1:46 PM GMT
Ten years ago his father began experimenting with making vermicompost to use as fertilisers in the farm and ever since, Om Prakash Manki, a farmer from the Munda tribe and a resident of Chatak village in Ramgarh district in Jharkhand continued doing that.
“My father realised the importance of organic farming and he started making vermicompost on two beds, each 50 feet long, 4 feet wide and 2.5 feet deep. In 2020, when I took over the farming, I gradually scaled up the production by making 150 such beds,” Manki told Gaon Connection.
Manki invests about Rs 7,000 on each bed and said he made a profit of about Rs 4000 from each. He makes the vermicompost with 40 quintals [1 quintal= 100 kilogrammes] of cow dung he procures from Bokaro district at Rs 3500, and is able to make about 15 quintals of vermicompost in approximately 60 days.
He is not alone. About 100 other farmers in Ranchi, Ramgarh and Hazaribagh districts have given up using chemical fertilisers in favour of vermicompost to make their soil fertile.
Transform Rural India Foundation (TRIF), a Delhi-based non-government organisation is helping these farmers on their journey to becoming organic, by imparting technical skills and scientific knowledge and also helping them sell their vermicompost.
Farmers are being encouraged to take up farm-based businesses such as making vermicompost to sell, said Ratan Kumar Singh, a Rajgarh-based functionary of TRIF.
“We have been providing training to farmers and offering loans of up to Rs one lakh to them to launch farm-based start ups in Ramgarh,” Ratan Kumar said. According to him, about 80 farmers have been trained so far since 2020.
Nand Kishor Murmu, a farmer in Hesapoda village switched to vermicompost instead of chemical fertilisers and is happy with the results. “After years of using chemical fertilisers, my soil had lost its fertility. Ever since I switched to using vermicompost, the production has increased and the soil in my fields are gradually recovering,” he told Gaon Connection.
Vermicompost also helps in increasing the water-holding capacity of the soil which ensures that the fertility is maintained throughout the year, Ratan Kumar explained
“The crops only absorb nutrients they naturally need from the soil and excess nutrients are left in the soil which is not the case with chemical fertilisers. Also, it has been observed that the quantity of vermicompost to be used also goes down gradually, whereas in the case of chemical fertilisers the quantity fo be used only increases with time,” he said.
Manki is currently experimenting with using liquid vermicompost in his fields which are used to cultivate vegetables and paddy.
“A bag of solid vermicompost is put into water. It is mixed in water daily to transfer its quality to water for a couple of days. This liquid is being used three times for one crop. Three litre liquid fertiliser is being mixed with 15 litre water to spray on plants of around 20 to 25 dismal plots [quarter of an acre]. Since plants directly get fertiliser on its leaves and branches, immediate results are found and plants get healthy,” he told Gaon Connection.
This report is part of a partnership with TRIF