Vermicomposting is defined as the production of compost with the use of worms It is a fast way to convert organic farm waste into organic fertilizer. It degrades waste as vermi or earthworm (African night crawler) feed on and digest waste materials. Vermicomposting results in a better quality product that is produced in only 4-6 weeks compared to ordinary compost that is produced in 8-12 weeks.
“Vermicompost” or the castings of the earthworms is an excellent soil enhancer and bioactive fertilizer for organic farming. Earthworms can also be made into feed for fish or other domesticated animals.
I. Estimated Investment Costs (based on 2009 prices)
The initial capitalization in starting a small vermicomposting business on vermicompost production will depend on the scale from backyard (P5,000) to commercial (P50,000).
A. Tools – P1,440
- Gardening gloves – P200
- Strainer/Sifter – P200
- Spading fork – P500
- Shovel – P500
B. Raw Material/Packaging Material – P604
- Vermi (Worms) – P250/kg
- Food wastes, fruit/vegetable trimmings and peelings, dry leaves and stems, animal manure
- Vermi Bed or earthworm bed (dimension: 2 x 1 x 0.3m) – P250
- Blade plastic garbage bags – P100
- Plastic sacks (50-kg. capacity) – P4/pc.
C. Equipment – P45,000
- Mechanical shredder (optional) – P40,000
- Bicycle-powered sorter (optional) – P5,000
Estimated Total Investment Cost – P47,004
- Collect biodegradable materials such as food wastes, fruit/vegetable trimmings, peelings, and dry leaves and stems.
- Shred/grind the food wastes, fruit/vegetable trimmings, peelings, and dry leaves and stems.
- Mix old animal manure and chicken droppings (2 months old) with shredded vegetable waste. This will improve the nutrient content of the finish product. Do not use fresh manure for the ammonia produced will give discomfort to the worms.
- Sun-dry these materials for at least three days and let them undergo partial fermentation.
- Weigh the shredded grinded materials before putting in the compost bed to determine ratio of compostables and worms.
- Before stocking the earthworms, make sure that all materials in the vermi bed are prepared.
- Moisten the bedding with water and cover it with black plastic garbage bag, old sacks, net, or banana leaves to start “anaerobic process”, which is completed after 1-2 weeks.
- After the anaerobic process, remove the cover and stock the vermi bed with earthworms.
- Maintain the vermi beds’ moisture content and temperature through regular checking. Protect the worms from predatory animals.
- Vermicompost is harvested when most of the materials have been consumed by the worms. This takes about 30-45 days depending on environmental and culture conditions.
- In harvesting, separate the “vermi” from the vermicompost either manually (handpicking) or using a strainer/sifter.
- Properly pack vermicompost in sacks and store in a cool dry place.
- Harvested/sifted vermi from the vermi beds may either be used for the next vermicomposting cycle or for expansion by constructing additional vermi beds.
- The offspring or produce of the initial vermi in the vermi bed can also be sold to would-be vermicompost producer or to fish pond owner as fish meal.
Did you know that…
- Earthworms are also called “vermi”.
- The “African NightcrawJer” (Eudrilus eugeniae) is the earthworm species suited to be grown in the Philippines for vermicomposting.
- Vermicast or worm manure is the end-product of the organic matter breakdown by some species of earthworm.
- Earthworms are hermaphrodite, meaning they have both the male and female sex organs.
- When sexually mature, worms breed every week and can produce 1-3 young worms.
III. Estimated Costing and Pricing (Backyard Production for 1 Vermi Bed/year)
a. Annual Revenue (1 Vermi bed)
- 90 kg x 12 cycles = 1080 kg. of vermicompost @ P6.00/kg. = P6,480
- Additional Revenue from selling vermi from 1 vermi bed, 4 kg. of vermi x 12 cycles = 48 kg. of vermi @ P250.00/kg. = P12,000
- Total Revenue = P 18,480
b. Annual Production Cost
- African Night Crawler Worms 2 kg. @ P250.00/kg. = P500
- Labor (12 cycles @ P200/cycte) = P2,400
- Sack (2 sacks x 12 cycles @ P4/pc.) = P96
- Shovel = P500
- Spading fork = P500
- Strainer/sifter = P200
- Gardening gloves = P200
- Black plastic bags = P100
- Fixed Investment: Vermi Bed (2x1x0.3 m.) = P250
Estimated Total Production Cost = P4,746
Revenue = P18,480
Less: Production Cost = P4,746
Estimated Net Income =P13,734
- 1 vermi bed = 12 harvests in a year.
- Vermi bed (dimension: 2 x 1 x 0.3 m.)
- African Night Crawlers is sold at P250/kg.
- Harvesting is done after 30 days.
- 150 kilos of biodegradable wastes + 2 kilos of worms = 90 kilos of compost
- Compost sells at P6/kg
- 2 kg. of vermi per bed would yield 4 kg. of additional vermi in 4 weeks.
IV. Registration Requirements
- Business name registration (www.bnrs.dti.gov.ph)
- Mayor’s/Business Permit (check your local municipality/city)
- BIR TIN (www.bir.gov.ph)
V. Financing Facility
- People’s Credit and Finance Corp (www.pcfc.gov.ph)
- Agricultural Credit Policy Council – DA (www.acpc.gov.ph)
- Other Financing Institutions (http://loans.mixph.com)
VI. Technical Assistance (Training and Seminar)
- Department of Agriculture (www.bpi.da.gov.ph)
- DENR (www.denr.gov.ph)
- DOST (www.pcamrd.dost.gov.ph)
- PCCARD (email@example.com)
- Solid Waste Management Association of the Philippines (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Buro-Buro Vermi Farm (www.vermiphil.com)
- Other training centers
source: dti.gov.ph, photo from torontoist.com