Chatra (Jharkhand), Aug. 25 : Peasants in Jharkhand have taken up mass production of organic fertilizer for better yields.
Farmers have found that apart from quality yield, the synthetic inorganic chemical fertilisers prove expensive as compared to 'in-house' compost prepared from dung of livestock, farm residues and leaves, with the aid of earthworms playing the role of a catalyst.
Although production of organic manure with the help of earthworms has been in vogue since time immemorial, the advent of chemical fertilisers had almost eclipsed it. The concept was restarted here after Chetana Bharati, a non-government organisation (NGO) encouraged the farmers of Jharkhand's Chatra district to adopt organic modes of farming.
Volunteers of Chetna Bharati, one among the pro-active NGOs working in the rural sector of India, interacted with the villagers and farmers of Chatra District, enlightening them on the virtues of natural compost vis- -vis inorganic chemical fertilisers and pesticides.
"I go and train farmers in various villages at block and district level. The farmers have even understood that worm compost production is necessary for them. So that they can have good production and increase their earnings," said Basanti Panna, Trainer, Chetna Bharti, Chatra.
Farmers, who earlier faced problems on account of high prices for the chemical fertilisers appear to have now realised the worth of vermi-composting in their village.
"Earlier, we were facing much hardship since we couldn't afford to buy the chemical fertilizers, as they were too costly. Since the time we have been associated with Chetna Bharti, Basanti has taught us how to produce manure-using earthworms. Since then we are rearing earthworms and using these as a catalyst in production of rich compost for our fields. Many villagers even buy the manure from us at rupees six per kilogram. So much so we also sell a quintal or two to Chetna Bharti. This way we make a decent earning for our daily bread as well as educate our kids," said Parmila Devi, a farmer.
The most common species of earthworms used for compost preparation are red wigglers (Eisenia foetida) or red earthworms (Lumbricus rubellus).
To prepare the 'in-house' compost, a soil bed is prepared with a layer of cow dung. Muddy soil, dry leaves and earthworms are allowed to breed on this bed. This bed is kept moist so that it proves to be a good feeding and breeding ground for the composting worms.
Mutually with bacteria, earthworms are the major catalyst for decomposition in a vermi-composting system.
Scientists at Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) and Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), both working extensively under the Government of India, have conducted numerous studies and experiments for novel modes of pits to prepare compost.
Depending upon the area available for the compost pits as well as the inputs, the farmers and other villagers are setting up suitable 'in house' plants for organic fertilisers to reap rich dividends in the long run. By Girija Shankar Ojha