Aaranyak and International Rhino Foundation (IRF) have joined hands to popularise vermicomposting on pilot mode around few villages near Kaziranga National Park, Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary and Orang National Park in Assam.
The project has been taken with twin objectives of promoting organic farming close to rhino-bearing forest areas in Assam as well as providing an alternative livelihood option to the fringe area farmers,
The Rhino Research and Conservation Division (RRCD) of Aaranyak (www.aaranyak.org) headed by Dr Bibhab Kumar Talukdar, CEO-cum-secretary general of Aaranyak and senior advisor to IRF for Asian Rhinos, has initiated the process of training fringe area farmers in the process of vermicomposting through pilot projects.
The Aaranyak-IRF aims at reducing the use of chemical fertilizers in fringe areas of rhino-bearing forests in Assam so that the dwelling places (grasslands) of the precious one-horned Indian rhinos could be safeguarded from pollution caused by chemicals used for farming activities.
Moreover, vermicomposting skill is bound to provide fringe area farmers with and an alternative livelihood option
so that they extend their cooperation towards the efforts to conserve one-horned rhinos.
The RRCD team of Aaranyak led by manager Arif Hussain initiated the practice of vermicomposting among farmers through a pilot project initiated jointly by Aaranyak in association with International Rhino Foundation comprising ten vermicompost producing units near Kaziranga National Park (KNP).
The pilot project besides training 15 farmers in vermicomposting, has produced 20 quintals of vermicompost which has been utilised by farmers in their fields and also sold in the market.
“The pilot project has been a success near Kaziranga National Park,” Aaranyak said in a statement.
After successfully running the ten vermicomposting units near Kaziranga National Park (KNP), the second project was taken around Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary where ten farmers from villages near the sanctuary have been trained on vermicomposting.
Out of these ten units, three units have started producing while seven units are under preparation.
The most commonly used raw materials for vermicomposting are cow dung, water hyacinth, banana plant and other biodegradable wastes.
The farmers have shown tremendous interests in producing vermicompost on their own with the support and training from Aaranyak and International Rhino Foundation.
The concept of vermicomposting has been happily embraced by the fringe area dwellers residing near Kaziranga
National Park and Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary and have exhibited their keen interest in learning the process and utilising vermicompost in their fields and farms.
Vermicomposting is a simple process of composting in which certain species of earthworms are used to convert organic waste to a better product. It is one of the easiest methods to recycle organic waste into quality compost.
Vermicompost is the end product of vermicomposting, which is a stable, fine granular organic manure.
Vermicompost enriches the quality of soil by improving its physicochemical and biological properties. It helps in raising seedlings and increasing crop production on an eco-friendly manner.
Earthworms consume biomass and excrete it in the digested form called worm casts. The cast are rich in nutrients, growth promoting substances and beneficial soil micro flora.
There is a saying “Earthworms are friends of farmers” and this is justified in vermicomposting.