Volume 2 Issue 65 | September 12, 2009 |


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Worm Compost Lifesaver

Azibor Rahman

Sonavan does not use chemical fertilizers on her field any longer. Her own home-made earth worm compost fertilizer has changed her life and brought a radical changes to her family. She has achieved a bumper production at little cost.

Sonavan is the wife of Moshiur Rahman of Dapna village under Kaliganj upazila in Jhenidah. Her family is underprivileged, and she does some farming to help out. Her family consists of five members. He has a son and two daughters. The elder son is a van puller, while the elder daughter is a student of class eight and the younger daughter is in class five.

Her husband Moshiur Rahman is a day labourer. He takes on work in the fields of others. He cannot manage work everyday. Often they are unable to secure even one square meal a day. But despite all their hardship, they have managed to purchase one bigha and three decimal of land. In addition, they have taken one bigha lease with their hard earned money. Last year Sonavan cultivated her land with chemical fertilizer but she could not get good crops. On the other hand, the cost of planting paddy was high and what is worse the chemical fertilizers decreased the fertility of the land.

Sonavan told the Daily Star that she had to expend at least Tk 2 thousand for cultivating one bigah paddy. At one stage she came to learn that a voluntary organization “Hunger Free world” was training interested persons to cultivate crops using an organic system. Sonavan took training there and received Tk one hundred for making a compost-plant. In 2008, she made a two-chamber compost-plant in her own house. In first three months she produced 20 mounds of compost fertilizers and she cultivated one bigah land with the fertilizer. She says that many villagers advised her to use chemical fertilizer instead of compost fertilizer. But she paid no heed to their words and she cultivated with the compost fertilizer and harvested 20 mounds of miniket (high quality) paddies. It costs only Tk 750 to cultivate this paddy. At present Sonavan and her husband cultivates gourd in one bigah and paddy in another bigah. She is producing the vegetable using this compost fertilizer. Many a resident of Dapna, and the surrounding villages gather in her plot to learn form her and are making their own plants to produce organic fertilizer.

Sonavan said, one needs Tk one thousand, cow dung, earth worm and rotten plantain trees to make compost plant. At present she is selling this compost fertilizer to her village farmers for Tk 10 per kg and earthworms for Tk 400 per Kg. Many farmers are hiring Sonavan and her husband to make compost plants. This cultivation has created a buzz in the locality. Sonavan's story is a case in point the compost versus chemical fertilizer debate.

Azibor Rahman.