Tripura University, India
Title: Sustainable agriculture through vermicomposting technology in India
Biography: P S Chaudhuri
Statement of the Problem: Green revolution in India (1967-1987) made the country self-sufficient in food grain production. However, indiscriminate use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides for the last few decades made the soil unproductive with loss of biodiversity and the environment polluted. So, rejection or reduced use of chemicals and practice of organic farming for recovery of soil health, increase in food grain production and biodiversity conservation have been suggested.
Methodology & Theoretical Orientation: Epigeic earthworms such as Eisenia, Eudrilus and Perionyx have been successfully cultured in organic wastes kept in cemented tanks under suitable temperature (26°C-30°C) and moisture (50%-60%) conditions for production of vermicompost. Different doses (@2.5 tons/ha – 20 tons/ha) of harvested vermicompost were applied (RBD technique) in the soils of paddy, pineapple and tea plantations in Tripura.
Findings: Vermicompost, rich in plant-available nutrients (avN, avP, avK etc.) and plant growth factors, when applied to soil: improved soil aggregation, water use efficiency, nutrient uptake etc. Dramatic yields of paddy, pineapple and tea were recorded following application of 10-20 tons of vermicompost/ha. A significant (p<0.05) and gradual increase in density and biomass of earthworms were also noticed with increase in amount of vermicompost applied.
Conclusion & Significance: Crop yield was very much related to the concentration of vermicompost, beyond the level of which production declined. Vermicomposting and its application to soil has several advantages: i) reduce organic pollution, ii) produces organic manure for application in agro-ecosystems, iii) increases biodiversity, iv) production of high quality earthworm proteins from wastes and its utilization as feed for poultry birds and fishes.