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There's money in Worms!

Posted by Francis Isberto | Labels: | Posted On Saturday, October 24, 2009 at 1:20 AM



Worms? Majority of the people will say that worms are irritating, dirty, bad for your health, slimy, yucky, etc. Worms gives a negative mindset to people. But you can make money from this pesty worms. How? Through Vermicompost.

Vermicomposting is producing quality organic fertilizer by breeding earthworms. The species of earthworms being used in these technologies is the African night crawler (Eudrilus euginae). It has a high reproductive rate (an adult breeding earthworm produces 3.6 cocoons per week) and can thrive in a wide range of environments that duplicate it's ideal living conditions. Earthworms can be used as live feed or vermimeal for fish, prawn, chicken and birds.

Vermicomposting is a fast way to convert organic farm waste into organic fertilizer. The organic fertilizer is an excellent soil enhancer for organic farming.

Large-scale Vermicomposting is practiced in the Philippines. Some systems use a windrow, which consists of bedding materials for the earthworms to live in and acts as a large bin; organic material is added to it. Although the windrow has no physical barriers to prevent worms from escaping, in theory they should not due to an abundance of organic matter for them to feed on. Often windrows are used on a concrete surface to prevent predators from gaining access to the worm population.

Small-scale or home systems

Such systems usually use kitchen and garden waste, using "earthworms and other microorganisms to digest organic wastes, such as kitchen scraps"This includes:

  • All fruits and vegetables (including citrus and other "high acid" foods)
  • Vegetable and fruit peels and ends
  • Coffee grounds and filters
  • Tea bags (even those with high tannin levels)
  • Grains such as bread, cracker and cereal (including moldy and stale)
  • Eggshells (rinsed off)
  • Leaves and grass clippings (not sprayed with pesticides)

Large-scale or commercial

Such vermicomposting systems need reliable sources of large quantities of food. Systems presently operating use:

  • Dairy cow or pig manure
  • Agricultural waste
  • Food processing and grocery waste
  • Cafeteria waste
  • Grass clippings and wood chips
I. ESTIMATED INVESTMENT COSTS

The initial capitalization in starting a small vermicomposting business on vermicompost production will depend on the scale from backyard (P5,000) to commercial (P50,000).

Tools:
Gardening gloves
Strainer/Sifter
Spading fork
Shovel

B. Raw Material/Packaging Material
Vermi (Worms)
Foodwastes, fruit/vegetable trimmings and peelings, dry leaves and stems, animal manure
Vermi Bed or earthworm bed (Dimension: 2×1x0.3m)
Black plastic garbage bags
Plastic sacks (50-kg. capacity)

C. Equipment
Mechanical shredder (optional)
Bicycle-powered sorter (optional)

II. PROCEDURE

1. Collect biodegradable materials such as food wastes, fruit/vegetable trimmings, peelings, and dry leaves and stems.
2. Shred/grind the food wastes, fruit/vegetable trimmings, peelings, and dry leaves and stems.
3. Mix old animal manure and chicken droppings (2 months old) with shredded vegetable waste. This will improve the nutrient content of the finish product. Do not use fresh manure for the ammonia produced will give discomfort to the worms.
4. Sun-dry these materials for at least three days and let them undergo partial fermentation.
5. Weigh the shredded grinded materials before putting in the compost bed to determine ratio of compostables and worms.
6. Before stocking the earthworms, make sure that all materials in the vermi bed are prepared.
7. Moisten the bedding with water and cover it with black plastic garbage bag, old sacks, net, or banana leaves to start “anaerobic process”, which is completed after 1-2 weeks.
8. After the anaerobic process, remove the cover and stock the vermi bed with earthworms.
9. Maintain the vermi beds’ moisture content and temperature through regular checking. Protect the worms from predatory animals.
10. 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.
11. In harvesting, separate the “vermi” from the vermicompost either manually (handpicking) or using a strainer/sifter.
12. Properly pack vermicompost in sacks and store in a cool dry place.
13. Harvested/sifted vermi from the vermi beds may either be used for the next vermicomposting cycle or for expansion by constructing additional vermi beds.
14. The offspring or produce of the initial vermi in the vermi bed can also be sold to would-be vermicompost producer or to fish pond owner as fish meal.

TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE

Department of Agriculture (DA)
Bureau of Plant Industry – Crop Research Division
692 San Andres St., Malate, Manila
E-mail: cu.bpi@da.gov.ph; buplant@yahoo.com
Tel. Nos.: (02) 524.0734
Fax No: (02) 521.5775
www.bpi.da.gov.ph

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)
Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (ERDB)
University of the Philippines, Los Baños, Laguna
E-mail: erdb@denr.gov.ph
Tel. Nos.: (049) 536.2269 / 536.2229
Fax No.: (049) 536.2850
- Training and pilot demo on vermicomposting and supply of breeders

Department of Science and Technology (DOST)
Philippine Council for Aquatic and Marine Research and Development
Jamboree Road, Brgy. Timugan, Los Baños, Laguna
Email: pcamrd_email@yahoo.com; pcamrd@laguna.net
Tele/Fax No.: (049) 536.1582

- PCAMRD Manila Liaison Office
2/F, Room 205, PTRI Building,
Gen. Santos Ave., Bicutan, Taguig, Metro Manila
Tel. No.: (02) 837.2071 loc 2430
www.pcamrd.dost.gov.ph

Solid Waste Management Association of the Philippines
Unit 9, Citiland 8, # 98 Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue, Makati City
Email: info@swapp.org.ph
Tel. No.: (632) 830.0005
Fax No.: (632) 830.0051

Buro-Buro Vermi Farm
Sitio Balogo, Brgy. Concepcion, Talisay City
Email: owapam@gmail.com
Tel Nos.: (034) 433.6880 / 433.0362 / 712.1100
Batchoy Henares: 0917.8543939
Pamela Henares: 0917.3015250
www.vermiphil.com

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