Assam-based biodiversity conservation organisation, Aaranyak and the International Rhino Foundation (IRF) are collaborating to popularise and promote vermicomposting on the pilot mode in villages on the fringes of the Kaziranga National Park, Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary and Orang National Park in Assam.
The joint venture primarily has the twin objectives of promotion of organic, chemical-free and eco-friendly farming close to rhino-bearing forest areas in Assam besides empowering fringe-area farmers with alternative livelihoods amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Rhino Research and Conservation Division (RRCD) of Aaranyak led by Bibhab Kumar Talukdar, chief executive officer cum secretary-general of Aaranyak and senior advisor to IRF for Asian Rhinos, has initiated the process of training fringe-area farmers in the process of vermicomposting through pilot projects.
The RRCD team of Aaranyak has initiated the practice of vermicomposting among farmers through a pilot project initiated jointly by Aaranyak in association with International Rhino Foundation comprising ten vermicompost producing units near Kaziranga National Park.
The pilot project, besides training 15 farmers in vermicomposting, has produced 20 quintals of vermicompost, which has been utilised by farmers in their fields and also sold in the market."The pilot project, besides training 15 farmers in vermicomposting, has produced 20 quintals of vermicompost, which has been utilised by farmers in their fields and also sold in the market. After successfully running the ten vermicomposting units near Kaziranga National Park, the second project was taken around Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary where ten farmers from villages near the sanctuary have been trained on vermicomposting," Aaranyak said in a statement.
Of the ten units, three units have started producing while seven units are under preparation.
Vermicomposting is a simple process of composting in which certain species of earthworms are used to convert organic waste to a better product. It is one of the easiest methods to recycle organic waste into quality compost.
The most commonly used raw materials for vermicomposting are cow dung, water hyacinth, a banana plant and other biodegradable waste.
The Aaranyak-IRF venture also aims to reduce the use of chemical fertilizers in the fringe areas of rhino-bearing forests in Assam so that the dwelling places (grasslands) of the one-horned Indian rhinos can be safeguarded from pollution caused by chemicals used for farming activities.