Small-scale farmers can save on cost of fertilisers as they increase appeal of products using worms to generate manure for their crops.
Increasing use of inorganic fertilisers is not only burdensome to farmers every planting and top dressing season, but also soaring acidic levels in the soils are lowering productivity.
Vermiculture, which involves use of selected types of worms to break down organic wastes, would give farmers good returns as well as cutting production costs.
For instance earth worms or red wiggler worms can generate highly nutritious manure from household wastes such as vegetable remains, egg-shells, potato and banana peels, among others.
Peter Kanyagia, a farmer selling red wiggler worms, said the warms eat the garbage and digest before releasing it in completely simple nutrients .
“The world is changing from inorganic to organic farming because of the more benefits of the latter. consumers are becoming more alert to diet. and inorganic products will not be marketable any more. farmers have a chance to convert waste into benefit,” he said.
High application of agro-chemicals is denying many horticultural crops from Kenya and other developing countries access to international markets like the European Union.
Besides reducing soil acidity when using this form of manure, vermicomposting hastens the speed of refining litter and weeds in the farm for re-absorption.
The manure is digested and released as excrement in solid and liquid form. The excrement contains colonies of bacteria which contain minerals such as potassium, magnesium and iron. The are not expensive to rear-they feed on rotten fruits, which also multiply their numbers for efficiency.
Most crops do well in slightly acidic soils-a PH of around 6.8.
High acidity kills important micro organism that aerate the soil, and help in breaking down weeds to release nutrients for other subsequent crops.
He says the future of agriculture is in organic farming and only those who can dirt their hands can harvest money.
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Other farmers rearing these creatures are producing and packaging the manure for sale.
Worms are rich source of proteins for chicken.
One can take a course in vermiculture in an agriculture-based institution like Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology.
Kanyagia also offers the skills on how to produce more manure and warms for commercial purposes at a fees. He sells his worms at Sh5,000 per 5kg.