The earthworm technology can facilitate the reclamation of organic matter and nutrients from all sources of organic waste. Vermiculture produces vermicast (vermicompost), earthworm faeces, and worm tea. All these are rich in nutrients, plant regulators such gibberellic acids, auxins and cytokinins. Just imagine what would happen to Zimbabwean agriculture if 50% of all biodegradable organic matter is converted to the rich biofertilizer using earthworms and returned to farms. Recent work done by EMA through the University of Zimbabwe established that Zimbabwe produces annually an average of about one million tons of biodegradable organic waste. Research work done in India which compared the biofertilizer/ vermicompost with cattle dung and chemical fertilizers showed the superiority of this biofertilizer from earthworms. The results are given below.
Response of Wheat to VermiComposting
|N = Urea; P = Single Super Phosphate; K = Murete of Potash (In Kg / ha)|
|VC = VermiCompost; CDC = Cattle Dung Compost; CF = Chemical Fertilizers|
|INPUTS in Kgs per Hectare||OUTPUT (yield) in|
|VC||CDC||CF||Kgs per Hectare|
|1) CONTROL ( No Input)||0||0||0||0||0||1520|
|2) Vermicompost (VC)||2500||0||0||0||0||4010|
|3) Cattle Dung Compost (CDC)||0||10000||0||0||0||3320|
|4) Chemical Fertilizers (CF) NPK (120:60:40)||0||0||120||60||40||3420|
|5) CF + VC NPK (120:60:40) kg / ha + 25 Q VC / ha||2500||0||120||60||40||4380|
|6) CF + CDC NPK (120:60:40) kg / ha + 100 Q CDC / ha||0||10000||120||60||40||4130|
From the results, it was noted that:
- Vermicompost yielded better than chemical fertilizer alone.
- Cattle dung yielded less than vermicompost / chemical fertilizer.
- Chemical fertilizer plus vermicompost yielded better than vermicompost or chemical fertilizer alone.