As you would expect, organic fertilizers include animal, wastes from meat processing, peat, manure, slurry, plant wastes from agriculture, and treated sewage sludge, etc. Operators in the organic fertilizer production industry basically manufacture pure organic fertilizer products. The products are properly packaged and distributed via wholesale arrangements with third parties or, in the case of vertically integrated operations, by the manufacturer
What is Vermicompost?
Vermicompost is the product of the composting process using various species of worms, usually red wigglers, white worms, and other earthworms, to create a heterogeneous mixture of decomposing vegetable or food waste, bedding materials, and vermicast. This process of producing vermicompost is called vermicomposting. Vermicompost organic fertilizer production is becoming a major component of agribusiness models with a very low initial investment. The vermicompost contains higher percentage (nearly twofold) of both macro and micro-nutrients than the garden compost. The product gets matured in a period of 45-60 days depending upon the type of wastes, earthworm population, and environmental factors. There can be 5 to 6 possible cycle in a year. An aspiring entrepreneur can start a vermicompost organic fertilizer production business. This can be established with moderate capital investment in small scale.
Doing a comprehensive business research is your starting point. Here you consider key questions:
- where will the business be located?
- who and where are my clients?
- how much of the chemistry and process of vermicompost do I know? written down?
- how do I construct my facility?
- do I have a comprehensive list of all the safety concerns I should note?
- my financial plan? pricing, supplies, running cost, etc?
- my marketing plan? promotions, credit, etc?
Source for Supply of Raw Materials: Several organic wastes can be used here, including animal excreta, kitchen waste, farm residues and forest litter etc. In general, animal dung mostly cow dung and dried chopped crop residues are the key raw materials. A mixture of leguminous and non-leguminous crop residues enriches the quality of vermicompost. For your worms or vermin – there are different species of earthworms viz. Eisenia Foetida (Red earthworm), Eudrilus Eugeniae (night crawler), Perionyx Excavatus etc. Red earthworm is preferred because of its high multiplication rate and thereby converts the organic matter into vermicompost within 45-50 days.
Processing & Harvesting: Completely understanding your vermicompost system is crucial. You stop watering when it appears black in color and granular in size (this indicates its completely decomposed). Keep over a heap of partially decomposed cow dung so that earthworms could migrate to cow dung from compost. After two days compost can be separated and sieved for bagging and use.
Some safety Notes:
- The floor of your compost should be compact to prevent worms migration into the soil.
- The organic wastes should be free from plastics, chemicals, pesticides, and metals etc.
- Aeration should be maintained for proper growth and multiplication of earthworms.
- Optimum moisture level (30-40 %) and temperature should be maintained for proper decomposition.
Your Marketing, Packaging and Distribution: Organic fertilizer production business has good sale potential over a range of crops i.e. agricultural, horticultural, ornamental, vegetables etc. Like every other business, your overall marketing plan is crucial – there are many organic farmers who need organic fertilizer for their crops, it is your responsibility to source for them and then market your product to them. People are encouraged to use organic fertilizer because of the advantages it brings to the table and also because it involves the recycling. The foul smell from organic fertilizer can be well taken care of if proper packaging is done.
Be diligent and thorough in your understanding of the business details – Get started and keep an open mind. Be quick to learn trends and new imaginations in your line of business. Persistence and the determination to succeed are the most important skills you bring to the table.