Ibaan Barangay Chairmen Sent To Vermiculture Training
By Taga Ibaan Ako
Tons of garbage are being produced and thrown by a community posing danger to environment and making it more difficult to manage one’s wastes. One of the reasons why Metro Manila gets flooded during rainy days can be attributed primarily to its wastes that were clogging the latter’s drainage system. This shouldn’t be the case and should not happen in Ibaan.
The thing is, wastes can actually be managed. By proper segregation of bio and non biodegradables, wastes can turn rusts into gold. And since Ibaan is basically agricultural by nature, vermiculture can be of great help in waste management. And the present administration seems to recognize this.
Barangay Chairmen went on a tour at Kahariam Realty and Farm Inc. for a short training and visual introduction of vermi culture at Brgy. Calamias, Ibaan, Batangas, January 25. Prior to this, a seminar on vermiculture was held in Ibaan which is attended by all of the municipality’s barangay chairmen.
According to Mayor Danny Toreja, “Vermiculture may not only provide solutions and ease on the town’s waste management problems. Much more, such trend may even generate income for everyone, even the barangay itself. That’s why we’ve sent our Barangay Chairmen to said tour at Kahariam”.
Kahariam Farm is 14 hectare agricultural land that specializes in vermiculture. The farm has several structures built to support its diverse production activities. These include a windmill to pump up underground irrigation water, an organic hog farm, nine tropical greenhouses that supports the growth of high value commercial crops, greenhouses that harbor valuable worm compost, a vermin processing shed that stores tons of vermmi compost, a vegetable processing area, fish ponds for hito, tilapia, and koi, and a gazebo.
Mayor Toreja’s friendship with Kahariam Farm owner Nonong Bagatsing made the said tour and seminar on vermiculture for Barangay Chairmen possible. Talks are still being made on the possibility of Mr. Bagatsing giving and donating one kilo to one ton of worm (African Nightcrawler or eudrilus eugeniae) for ibaan to start with. This is condition that for every worm production, either one kilo of it will have to be shared with others interested on vermiculture or that Kahariam Farm will buy them.
Mayor Toreja on the other hand is hopeful that the Barangay Chairmen will take the initiative in cultivating vermiculture in their area and have it introduced as well to their residents.
In an interview with Ms. Ethey Joy Caiga, Ibaan Municipal Agriculture Officer-in-Charge, her office has actually started cultivating vermiculture. They have created vermi plots where African Nightcrawler worm are being bred.
According to Ms. Caiga, although her office still fall short of top of the line technology used in vermiculture, she is optimistic that Ibaan will embrace the idea of vermiculture itself. He agrees that such can contribute to every household’s waste management system. Moreover, she believes that Ibaan can highly benefit from vermiculture.
Worms break down organic matter. And when they eat, they leave behind castings that are an exceptionally valuable type of fertilizer. The castings of earthworms also known as vermicompost is an excellent soil enhancer and bioactive high quality fertilizer for organic farming. This is a perfect alternative to using chemical fertilizers, and has been proven in field tests.
Backyard Production of Earthworms (Vermiculture)
The “vermi” or earthworms are important in enriching the soil with organic matter which comes from biodegradable materials such as dead plants and animals which the earthworms ingest. Besides this,there are other benefits from earthworms.
The castings of earthworms also known as vermicompost is an excellent soil enhancer and bioactive high quality fertilizer for organic farming. This is a perfect alternative to using chemical fertilizers, and this has been proven in field tests. Earthworms can also be made into feed for fish and other domesticated animals called vermimeal.
The “African Nightcrawler” (Eudrilus eugeniae) is the earthworm species suited to be grown in the Philippines for the production of vermicompost and vermimeal. Vermicompost is used or sold as organic fertilizer for plant and crop farming. Vermimeal is used as an alternative for imported fish meal that we feed to fish and other farmed animals.
The first step in vermicompost production is to gather and prepare all the materials to make the vermi bed. The biodegradable materials may be sourced from the backyard or kitchen. In the backyard, use dried leaves, newly cut grass or plant trimmings. From the kitchen, discarded vegetable parts, fruit peelings and fish entrails may also be used.
Before stocking the earthworms, make sure that all the materials in the vermi bed are prepared. To start, mix the dried leaves and kitchen waste thoroughly with enough water. Cover the materials with a plastic sheet, old sacks or banana leaves to start the “anaerobic process”. This process is completed after one to two weeks.
After the “anaerobic process”, remove the cover and stock the vermi bed with one kilo of earthworms or approximately 1,000 pieces for every one square meter of vermi bed that contains 100-200 kilos of materials.
Vermicompost is harvested when most of the materials have been consumed by the worms. This takes about 30-45 days, depending on environmental and culture conditions. Maintain the moisture content and temperature of the vermi beds through regular checking. Protect the earthworms from predatory animals.
In harvesting, separate the “vermi” from the vermicompost either manually (hand-picking) or by using a screen. Properly pack vermicompost in sealed bags or sacks and store in a cool dry place.
Harvested “vermi” from the culture beds may either be used for the next vermicomposting cycle or made into vermimeal through the following process:
1. Wash the worms thoroughly with clean flowing water to remove dirt.
2. Kill the “vermi” by putting them in a basin with warm water (40-60ºC).
3. Dry under the sun until brittle.
4. Grind dried worms manually or through a grinder into meal form.
5. Store in sealed polyethylene bags with proper label and store in cool dry place.
Advantages of Vermicomposting:
• Environment friendly since earthworms feed on anything that is biodegradable, vermicomposting then partially aids in the garbage disposal problems.
• No imported inputs required worms are now locally available and the materials for feeding are abundant in the locality as market wastes, grasses, used papers and farm wastes.
• Vermicompost is more effective as an organic fertilizer than ordinary compost
• Has auxin, a naturally occurring growth hormone
• Improves soil health
• No overdosage
• Turns trash to cash
• Highly profitable both the worms and castings are saleable
• World and local markets for vermicomposting are big.
• World consumption of organically grown foods is estimated at US$ 100 billion per year.
• In 1993, the potential use of organic fertilizer covered 2.5 million hectares in the Philippines.
• The demand for organic fertilizer in 1993 was 6.25 billion bags (50 kg/bag) compared to actual consumption of only 62,000 metric tons.
(Source: Vermi Action Center, Philippine Council for Aquatic and Marine Research and Development (DoST), http://bit.ly/hHFY9B)