TEZPUR, Sept 16 - In another endeavour by the Napam-based Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) in Sonitpur district � as part of its yeoman service to the farmers � upgraded a village called Bapubheti into a �Vermi-village�.
It is a small village, 25 km from Tezpur town, under Bihaguri development block in the district and inhabited mostly by Nepali community.
Farming is the major means of livelihood for majority of the villagers. Paddy, toria, summer and winter vegetables, banana, areca nut, coconut are the major crops grown by the farmers in the village. Nearly 80 per cent of the households have less than one hectare of land.
Traditionally, the villagers are dairymen of the region and every household has three to four cows, mostly local breed. They generally do not rear other animals like poultry and piggery as per their social customs.
Observing the potentiality and concentration of the farm families of the village, the KVK, Sonitpur conducted a three-day off campus training on vermin-composting in 2012 in the village with the participation of a group of 25 youths; most of them were school dropout.
As part of the training, the trainee team visited the KVK and they were given an idea about different organic productions.
Dr PC Deka, programme coordinator of KVK, told this correspondent that one week after completion of the training programme, two trainees � Nomul Sarma (29) and Chandan Timshina (31) � visited the KVK took part in a demonstration to construct Vermi-compost units at their household.
�They spent a day at our KVK to fine tune their knowledge on vermin-composting acquired during the training. They were given few earthworms (Eisonea foteida) free of cost from the KVK to practice vermin-composting at home in a small scale,� he said.
Vermi-compost is the product or process of composting using various means, usually red wigglers, white worms and other earthworms to create a heterogeneous mixture of decomposing vegetables or food waste, bedding materials and Vermicast.
Vermicast, which is also called worm manure, is the end-product of the breakdown of organic matter by an earthworm.
Apparently, Timshina was the first youth who constructed a concrete tank in the village and started commercial production of Vermi-compost in 2013. Following in Chandan�s footprint, Nomul constructed also started production of Vermi-compost in a large scale.
In 2014, he sold 120 quintals of Vermi-compost in the local market. Initially, his major buyers were local tea estates and small tea growers. Both the entrepreneurs kept the selling price low (Rs 6 per kg) with an aim to popularise the use of Vermi-compost among the common farmers.
Reportedly, in the same year, farmers of Bapubheti and its adjoining villages organically grew 25 hectare paddy, 11 hectare toria and 20 hectare water melon by using Vermi-compost from these two units.
At present, though Nomul is the largest producer of Vermi-compost in the locality, other units owned by Bhimbahadur Thapa, Hem Gautam, Kamal Sarma, Bikash Timshina produced sizable quantity of Vermi-compost in the past two-three years.
The locality is surrounded by natural water bodies with abundant quantities of water hyacinth. Moreover, banana cultivation is a major farming activity in the locality. Besides, large quantity of cow dung is available in the village which provides a conducive environment for the growth of Vermi-compost units in the locality.
Major buyers like Arun Tea Estate, small tea growers, Sonabil Tea Estate are now dependent on these Vermi-compost units maintained by the rural youths who were trained by the KVK, Sonitpur. The training completion certificates and Vermi-compost chemical analysis report provided by the KVK also helped convincing the corporate buyers on authenticity and quality for the product.