Vermicompost Brings Better Yield And Better Income

Vermicompost Brings Better Yield And Better Income

Babita Devi's tenacity and curiosity have produced results that have inspired numerous residents of Barah village. Her hard work has made her family self-sufficient in the production of vermicompost, the manure required in fields as an organic form of fertiliser. As a result of her transformation into a small business owner, she is now selling the extra compost she produces at home to other farmers.

Forty-three year old Babita Devi, a farmer from Nalanda District's Barah village (in Bihar), lives with her husband, Dinesh Kumar, and their three children. Babita completed her high school and has been farming since she was a child with her father. Earlier, she helped her father and, later, her husband with farming tasks such as processing cow and buffalo manure.

Oxfam India's Holistic Rural Development Programme (HRDP) team started working in Barah village in 2021*. To promote the use of organic farming methods, we provided support to 90 farmers from 15 villages in three blocks of Nalanda District in the construction of vermin/azolla pits. Earthworms excrete waste known as vermicast; vermicompost is worm manure.

Producer Groups (PG) and Village Development Committees (VDC) were formed to ensure accountability and community ownership. Babita Devi already very invested in farming became a member of the Village Development Committee (VDC) and the president of the Producer Group 'Champa Kisan Utpadak Samhooh’.

In March 2021, Babita Devi constructed the vermicompost pit. She had access to plenty of cow dung and earthworms from Harnaut's Krishi Vigyan Kendra. Babita Devi, first, started using the vermicompost in her own field on pulses, paddy, and vegetables. She has since mastered the art of making vermicompost and is now using it to generate a steady income by selling it to farmers in her village; she has plans to expand her business as well.

Besides compost, she also sells vermiwash and earthworms to farmers with vermicompost pits. With this initiative their own household spending on manure or chemical fertiliser has reduced substantially on the one hand and their income has gone up by at least Rs 1500 to Rs 2000 on the other.

*Oxfam India’s HRDP initiative titled ‘Project Utthan’, supported by HDFC bank, contributes towards the socio-economic empowerment of people from marginalised communities by aiding them with sustainable livelihood options and improving access to essential services (especially women) across 15 villages in three blocks in Nalanda.

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