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PCAMRD Exec Stresses Benefits of Vermicomposting

Instead of applying costly inorganic fertilizers, farmers may produce and use vermicasts, or feces of earthworms deposited on soil, as organic soil enhancer and bioactive fertilizer.

This is what Dr. Rafael D. Guerrero III, executive director of the Philippine Council for Aquatic and Marine Research and Development (PCAMRD), said in the Trainors’ Training on Vermicompost and Vermimeal Production and Utilization recently held at the Visayas State University in Baybay City, Leyte.

Dr. Guerrero, who also heads the National Vermicompost and Vermimeal Production Program, explained that aside from vermicasts, farmers can also make vermicompost or the mixture of vermicasts and biodegradable materials such as farm and household wastes.

“With the abundant source of materials and the tropical condition of the country, vermicomposting can help in protecting the environment [by reducing disposal of organic wastes and by] promoting sustainable soil fertility. [It also provides] livelihood opportunities for rural families,” he stressed.

He also said that the African nightcrawler (Eudrilus eugeniae), an epigeic type-those which thrive on the soil surface-of earthworm, is the one used in vermicomposting since it could be grown in-tropical areas such as the Philippines.

It is capable of breeding weekly and produces up to three fertilized eggs per capsule. The young worms emerge after a week of incubation and start feeding. They mature within a month, attain a length of more than 20 centimeters and a weight of 3 grams, and can live for more than a year if conditions are favorable.

Considering the economic, health, and environmental benefits of vermicomposts and vermicasts, Dr. Guerrero suggested that farmers should be encouraged to substitute inorganic fertilizers with vermicomposts and vermicasts.

The training, which the Management Committee of the Regional Vermicompost and Vermimeal Production Project organized and co-sponsored by the PCAMRD, National Development Authority, Philippine-Japan Fund for Underprivileged Farmers, is designed to train prospective trainers in vermicompost and vermimeal production.

It included modules on vermicompost and vermimeal production, field practicum, economics and marketing, and action planning.