Staff Reporter, EastMojo | December 28, 2021
With twin objectives of promotion of organic farming close to rhino-bearing forest areas in Assam as well as to provide an alternative livelihood option to fringe area farmers, Aaranyak and International Rhino Foundation (IRF) have joined hands to popularise vermicomposting on pilot mode around villages near the Kaziranga National Park, Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary and Orang National Park in Assam.
The Rhino Research and Conservation Division (RRCD) of Aaranyak, headed by Dr Bibhab Kumar Talukdar, CEO cum Secretary General of Aaranyak and Senior Advisor to International Rhino Foundation for Asian Rhinos, has initiated the process of training fringe area farmers in the process of vermicomposting through pilot projects.
Aaranyak and the IRF aim to reduce the use of chemical fertilisers 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 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 comprises 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 KNP.
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 plants and other biodegradable wastes.
The farmers have shown tremendous interest in producing Vermicompost on their own with the support and training from Aaranyak and International Rhino Foundation.
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. Vermicomposting enriches the quality of soil by improving its physicochemical and biological properties. It helps in raising seedlings and increasing crop production in an eco-friendly manner.