Vermicompost Business Plan – In India

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Vermicompost Business Plan in India

Vermicomposting is the scientific process of making compost, by using earthworms. They are mostly found living in soil, feeding on biomass and excreting it in a digested form. Vermicompost is a type of organic fertilizer. It is derived by composting organic waste by using several species of earthworms. This method of producing Vermicompost is called Vermicomposting. It can improve soil quality, increase plant yields, and suppress diseases and pests. Vermicomposting units have been set up by entrepreneurs, under government support/ with the technical guidance of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), mainly in the southern and central parts of the country. Vermicomposting usage popularized in the states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Kerala, Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Madhya Pradesh (M.P.). Now, let us get into the Vermicompost Business Plan in India.

A Step by Step Guide to Vermicompost Business Plan in India

Guide to Vermicompost Business
Guide to Vermicompost Business (Image credit: pixabay)

Vermicomposting has direct environmental and economic advantages as it contributes to the sustainable agriculture production and income of farmers significantly. There are some Non-Governmental Organizations, Community Based Organizations (CBOs), Self-Help Groups (SHGs), and Trusts, etc., which are making concerted efforts to promote vermicomposting technology due to its established economic and environmental advantages. Vermicomposting is gaining popularity in the country but it is being taken up by individual farmers to fulfil their requirements in most cases. Commercial production of vermicompost comes upon a large scale in the country.

Vermicomposting comprises two methods;

Bed Method – The bed method is an easy process in which beds of organic matter are prepared.

Pit Method – The organic matter is collected in cemented pits in this method. Though, this method is not prominent as it involves problems of poor aeration and waterlogging.

Vermicomposting Using Local Varieties of Earthworms

Vermiculture
Vermiculture (pic source: pixabay)
  • Out of 2500 species of earthworms identified in the world, more than 500 species of earthworms have been identified in India.
  • Earthworm diversity changes with soils and choosing a native species for vermicomposting is necessary and there is no need to import them.
  • Local earthworm species used in India are Perionyx excavatus and Lampito mauritii.

The relevance of Vermicomposting in India

The Green Revolution is to tackle the issue of food shortage in India by enhancing agriculture production, which led to the introduction of High Yielding Varieties (HYV) of seeds. These High Yielding Varieties required intensive use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Although the Green Revolution led to the significant enhancement of food production in the country, it led to increasing the dependency of farmers on the use of chemical fertilizers, insecticides, and pesticides. Also, the use of organic fertilizers and manures declined significantly.

Over the years, excessive usage of modern agriculture inputs like synthetic fertilizers, insecticides, and pesticides have resulted in severe land and environmental degradation in India. Then, this has led to a point where the farmers have begun to experience diminishing returns from agriculture while their input costs are increasing significantly. It is in the above backdrop that a need for converting the farms from inorganic to organic farms is being felt in the country owing to economic and environmental factors.

The objective of Vermicomposting Project

There is an increasing demand for vermicompost across the globe due to awareness of multiple advantages and vermicomposting provides the nutrients and growth-enhancing hormones necessary for plant growth. The fruits, flowers, and vegetable plants are grown using vermicompost are reported to have better keeping quality. Generally, earthworms not only convert the garbage into valuable manure but also keep the environment healthy.

To produce organic manure of exceptional quality for the organically starved soil is the main objective of the vermicomposting project. Agricultural wastes mean wastes from dairy and animal farms are dumped into places resulting in a foul mess. They are not only utilized efficiently but also help to make a value-added product by vermicomposting.

Vermicompost Production Requirements

The essential production requirements in the vermicomposting project are the base material and the right species of earthworm.

The base materials needed for vermicomposting should be organic and biodegradable. They include;

  • Cow dung from a dairy farm
  • Goat and sheep dung
  • Organic sludge
  • Tree leaves
  • Crop residues
  • Sawdust
  • Sugarcane trash
  • Weeds
  • Coir waste
  • Slurry from the biogas plant
  • Poultry droppings from poultry farming
  • Vegetable wastes

Poultry droppings being high in nitrogen should be added in small quantities. Organic wastes from agro or food industries can be involved in the compost material as feed for earthworms.

Earthworm Species for Vermicompost Business in India

Generally, there are more than 2500 earthworm species in the world. They are diverse and it is recommended to use the locally obtainable variety since it is indigenous to the place and is naturally adapted to the particular geographical location. There are specific earthworms species are used in commercial vermicomposting such as Perionyx excavatus, Eisenia foetida, and Eudrilus eugeniae, etc. Eisenia foetida is also called Red earthworm and it has a high rate of multiplication. It converts the organic materials from the top, it is a surface feeder. Conversion of organic matter into compost is done within 45 to 50 days.

Doses of Vermicompost Application

The application of vermicompost doses depends upon the type of crop grown. For fruit plants, it is applied in the tree basin. It is mainly added to the potting mixture for potted plants and for raising seedlings. Vermicompost must be used as a component of an integrated nutrient supply system.

  • Field crops – 5-6t/ha
  • Fruit crops – 3-5kg/plant
  • Pots – 100-200g/pot

Components of a Vermicompost Commercial Unit

Commercial units for vermicomposting have to be developed based on cow dung availability. The components of a vermicompost commercial unit are;

Sheds – Whether small or big size vermicomposting unit, the shed is an essential item and is required for securing the vermi beds. They can be of a thatched roof supported by bamboo rafters and purlins, wooden or steel trusses, and stone/ RCC pillars. Locally available roofing materials or HDPE sheets also be used in roofing to keep the capital investment at a reasonably lower level. If the shed size is chosen to prevent wetting of beds due to rain on a windy day, they can be open sheds.For the sheds designing adequate room has to be left around the beds for easy movement of the laborers attending to the filling and harvesting the beds.

Vermi-beds – Generally, the beds have 0.3 to 0.6 meters in height mainly depending on the provision for drainage of excess water. The bed width should not be more than 1.5 meters to allow easy access to the center of the bed.

Bedding and Other Compost Essentials – While preparing the compost for earthworms some basic considerations should be made such as moisture content, aeration, source of food, the thriving environment, and protection from the extreme temperature swings.

Land – About 0.5 to 0.6 acres of land will be needed to set up a vermiculture production. The center will have at least 6 to 8 sheds for convenience and a dedicated area for finished products. It should have a bore well and pump set or watering arrangement and other equipment as described in the scheme economics. The land can be taken on lease for at least 10 to 15 years. Vermicompost production business can be done in any place is having shades, high humidity, and cool. Also, Poultry sheds or unused buildings can be used for vermicompost production. If it is to be produced in the open area, shading must be provided. Then, the waste heaped for vermicompost production covered with moist gunny bags.

Buildings – The cost of the buildings including the electrification and the vermi-sheds.

Seed Stock – Seed stock is an important item for vermicompost business requiring considerable expenditure. The worms multiply fast to give the required numbers over 6 months to a year; it could not be waiting till such a time having invested in the infrastructure heavily.

Water Supply System – As the beds have to be kept moist always with about 50% moisture content, there is a need to plan for a water source, lifting mechanism, and conveying system. Though, drippers with round a clock flow arrangement would be handy for continuous supply and saving on water. Such a water supply system requires an initial investment. Though, it reduces the operational cost of hand watering. The cost of these items would mainly depend on the capacity of the unit and the type of water supply chosen.

Machinery – Machinery is necessary for cutting (shredding) the raw material into small pieces, conveying shredded raw material to the vermi-sheds, collection of compost, and efficient running of the unit.

Transportation – Transport arrangement is important for any vermicomposting unit. When the source of raw material is away from the production unit, off-site transport becomes the main item of investment. A large-sized vermicompost unit with 1000 tonnes per annum capacity requires approximately 3 tonnes capacity mini-truck. On-site transport facilities like manually drawn trolleys to convey raw material and finished products between the storage point and the vermicompost sheds can be included in the project cost.

Applications of Vermicompost

  • The vermicompost has a higher percentage of macro and micronutrients. A fine worm cast is rich in NPK value which is in readily available form and is released within a month of application. It enhances plant growth, increases microbial activity in the soil, and also improves water retention.
  • Unlike vermicompost and compost, this liquid organic fertilizer can be applied directly to plant foliage, reportedly to enhance disease suppression. Vermicompost tea also applied to the soil as a supplement between compost applications to increase biological activity.
  • Vermicompost can be sold in bulk or bagged with a variety of compost and soil blends. Markets include home improvement centers, nurseries, garden supply stores, grocery chains, flower shops, and the general public.

Start a Vermicompost Organic Fertilizer Production Business

It is the main component of agri-business models across the world and it has low initial investment. It is the process of composting utilizing several species of worms to make a mixture of decomposing food waste, bedding materials, and vermicast.

Vermicompost is essentially organic manure. Then, this type of biofertilizer is prepared by mixing up earthworms on biological and plant residues. This organically prepared fertilizer is rich in micronutrients such as N, P, K, and many others that are essential for the plant’s growth.

Vermicompost Vermicompost BusinessBusiness Plan for Beginners

Normally, the vermicompost has a higher percentage of macro and micronutrients than the garden compost. Depending upon the type of wastes, earthworm population, and environmental factors the product gets matured in about 45 to 60 days. Then, there is a 5 to 6 possible cycle in a year.

Materials Required For Vermicompost Organic Fertilizer Production

Several decomposable organic wastes used as composting materials. It includes kitchen waste, farm residues, and forest litter, etc. The raw materials used for vermicompost production are animal dung and dried chopped crop residues.

There are different species of earthworms viz. Eisenia Foetida, Eudrilus Eugenia, and Perionyx Excavatus, etc. But, mainly the Eisenia foetida is preferred because of its high multiplication rate. They have the opportunity to improve the soil condition, increased the yield of high-quality crops resulting in more profit, help the environment by replenishing natural resources, plus helping many people by giving them jobs in Vermi farms. Also, excess vermicompost can be marketed commercially, while the surplus growth of earthworm biomass can also be sold to other farmers and households who wanted to start their vermicomposting venture. This would lead to economic development in the countryside and savings for the government through a reduction in the use of imported fertilizers.

External funding for the vermicomposting business can be provided in different ways:

  • As a grant
  • As a short-term loan
  • As a long-term loan

Manufacturing Process for Producing Vermicompost Fertilizer

The first step is to construct a tank preferably with cement in a vacant space in the backyard or farm. Also, you can create a simple pit. Find below are the basics steps to follow in producing vermicompost fertilizer;

  • Initially, you want to gather bio-degradable agro waste.
  • Cut them into small pieces by using a hand-operated cutting machine.
  • A Vermicomposting unit must be in a cool, moist, and shady site.
  • Beds of a partially decomposed material of size about 6x2x2 feet must be made.
  • Prepare a 6 inches layer of partially biodegradable agro-waste at the bottom of the bed.
  • Apply a 1-inch layer of cow dung slurry on it to further decomposing the agro-waste for 15 to 20 days.
  • After partial decomposition, cover with cow dung slurry with 4 inches layer of Farm Yard Manure.
  • Water must be sprinkled with a can immediately after the release of worms.
  • Beds must be kept moist by a sprinkling of water daily and by covering with gunny bags.
  • The bed must be turned once after 30 days for maintaining aeration and the compost will get ready in 45 to 50 days.

How to Prepare Vermicompost

For preparing vermicompost, any type of biodegradable waste can be used as raw material. Here is a list of commonly used waste;

  • Crop residue
  • Weed biomass
  • Waste from the agro-industries
  • Waste from the plant
  • Waste from vegetable
  • Waste from the hotels
  • A biodegradable waste.

Different stages of Vermicomposting are;

Stage 1) Pre-preparation mainly including the collection of wastes of the degradable waste from the undegradable waste.

Stage 2) Digestion of collected waste for about a month till the heaping of along with the cow dung slurry, and this digested material is fit for earthworm’s consumption.

Stage 3) A cement base is required for putting the waste for compost preparation. Then, allow worms to go inside the soil for loosening the soil with watering.

Stage 4) Then, collect the worms from the concrete base after collection of the prepared compost.

Stage 5) Storage of prepared compost in the appropriate place so that moisture can be maintained along with the micro-organism growth.

Harvesting Process of Vermicompost Fertilizer Production

Generally, there are several methods of harvesting vermicompost. The vermicompost is harvested when it is black, the fluffy texture melts in hands and looks like coffee grounds. Most worms will surely be in the upper levels and you can always find some of them on the collected tray, but they are not a problem for plants, just the opposite. When you get completely decomposed vermicompost you must stop watering. Keep over a heap of partially decomposed cow dung so that earthworms can migrate to cow dung from compost. After 2 days compost can be separated and sieved for bagging and then use.

In case if you miss this: Cold Storage Project Report.

Precautionary Measures in Vermicompost Business Plan in India

During vermicomposting, certain points should be taken care of. This is because earthworms are highly sensitive organisms. The caution points are as below;

Compost Material – The compost material should be purely organic. It must be devoid of materials like stones, ceramic pieces, and plastic, etc.

Loading – The vermicompost heap should be filled to the right quantity. It should not be overloaded as overloading causes the accumulation of gases and an increase in temperature level. This would affect their growth and population.

Addition of Acidic Substances – Acidic substances like citrus should be avoided. If added they should be added only in small quantities as these acidic substances affect the pH level balance of the compost.

Water Stress – Too much water can kill the worms. So, the compost heap must be sprinkled with water daily during summer. The beds should be moist every alternate day during winter.

Covering the Beds – The vermicompost beds should not be covered with plastic sheets or tarpaulin. This led to the accumulation of gases and also increases the heat inside the bed which can be detrimental to the earthworms.

Protection from Pests – No specific pests and diseases can affect the earthworms. Though, they must be protected from pests like rats, termites, birds, and ants, etc. To protect from these pests the site is sprayed with 5% neem-based insecticide.

Advantages of Vermicomposting

  • Vermicomposting is comparatively cheaper, eco-friendly, and enhances soil health which will have a positive impact on human health, flora, and fauna.
  • It is beneficial for sustainable agriculture production and animal husbandry.
  • Increased participation of women in other micro-enterprises like poultry, fisheries, and piggeries due to availability of surplus earthworm as protein-rich feed.
  • It encourages the plant to develop well along with the new plant.
  • Improve the growth and quality of the plant.
  • It is easy to handle and apply.
  • It improves the soil water holding capacity.
  • Vermicompost help neutralizes soil fertility.
  • It is free from the weed seed, toxic elements, pathogens, and such factors.
  • It is rich in enzymes, valuable vitamins, and hormones like auxins, gibberellins, and more.

Marketing Plan for Vermicompost Business in India

Vermicomposting is directly associated with NPOP (National Programme for Organic Production) which aims to promote the organic program in the country. This will enhance the living standard of small and marginal farming communities due to the increase in the price of organically produced crops.

Vermicompost used as an alternative to chemical fertilizers. These developments work in favor of vermicomposting. No imported inputs are required in vermicomposting, producing their fertilizer makes the farmers less vulnerable to changes and fluctuations in the prices of other commodities particularly chemical farm inputs. Below are the other potential markets for vermicompost;

  • A direct sale to end-users. This mainly includes farmers’ groups and subdivisions in nearby cities and municipalities;
  • Bulk sale to producers and distributors of organic fertilizer that needs vermicast as one of its main components; and
  • Finally, the high-end market in urban areas due to the popularity of organically grown food among the rich residing in posh villages and other high-end residential areas.

Profit in Vermicompost Business

As the operational cost of vermicompost production works out to less than 2.0/Kg. Also, it is profitable to sell the compost at 4.00 to 4.50/Kg. Other organic manures such as neem cake, groundnut cake, etc., are sold around this price.

Market Opportunity for Vermicompost Fertilizer

Vermicompost fertilizer production business has good sales potential over a range of crops i.e. agricultural, horticultural, and ornamental, vegetables, etc.

In the production process, vermicomposting will need much labor if the mechanical shredder is not available. Vermicomposting needs at least one part-time worker for a small-scale vermicomposting system. Most members of the cooperative are waste pickers or sorters who can work at the coop-managed vermicompost production site while their household members can help in the production activities of their backyard vermicompost.

Commonly Asked Questions about Vermicompost Business Plan in India

What are the properties of Vermicompost?

Well-balanced vermicompost comprises NPK value, Sulphur, Calcium, magnesium, and iron. Also, it contains micronutrients like manganese, Zinc, Copper, Boron, and molybdenum. Nutrient-wise, vermicompost is superior to cow-dung manure.

How long does it take to make vermicompost?

The average time it takes to complete the vermicomposting process is 3 to 6 months. More specifically, it takes about 2 pounds of worms 24 hours to compost 1 pound of waste.

Is vermicompost a fertilizer?

Vermicompost is a nutrient-rich organic fertilizer.

Is vermicompost good for all plants?

Vermicompost has revolutionized vegetable farming and kitchen gardening. In organic farming, Vermicompost has shown the best results among all the other fertilizers. All kinds of fruiting and leafy vegetable plants can be grown by using vermicompost as a primary fertilizer.

Why vermicompost is considered an ideal fertilizer?

Vermicompost is ideal organic manure for better growth and yield of plants due to some reasons like vermicompost has higher nutritional value than traditional composts. The presence of microbiota bacteria and actinomycetes in vermicompost makes it suitable for plant growth.


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