Vermi composting is the process of growing earth-worms in various kinds of waste material and using the excretion of the earthworms as manure which contains PNK. The earth-worm is useful in land reclamation, soil improvement and organic waste management.
The earth-worm act as waste controllers, compost manufacturers and protein producers. They incorporate organic matter and turn over large amounts of soil by burrowing, feeding and casting. The agricultural wastes mainly include crop residues, stubbles and manures from domestic animals.
These waste materials can be processed under vermi composting programme in rural areas in order to produce the cheap organic fertilizers at site without any extra cost. The earthworms are environment friendly. They take up into their tissues a number of unwanted organic and inorganic chemicals.
In India, studies show* that one lakh earthworms in 32 sq. ft. of containers have the potential to convert 300-600 kg. of nitrogenous waste into organic matter in less than a week. Experiments have shown that soil with worms drain better and are less prone to flooding and erosion. The earth-worm enriches the soil with oxygen and encourage aerobic micro-organisms. They enhance the water holding capacity of soil.
Agricultural scientists say that due importance should be given to organic farming in order to step up agricultural yields on a sustainable basis. Organing farming is gaining in popularity world over recognising this reality; the Government of India has launched a National Programme for Organic products and Farming 2000.