CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- Farmer groups and cooperatives may now have another source of income and livelihood for their members as the Department of Agriculture (DA) is opening its doors to interested parties wanting to learn the production of organic fertilizer through vermiculture method.

DA Central Luzon Regional Director Redentor Gatus said Sunday that the training aims to boost the province's push for organic farming through vermiculture, which produces fertilizer using cultured worms.

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At the end of the training, the participants are expected to learn about vermiculture, its production and its effects for the improvement of the agriculture industry in the province, Gatus said. He said that it is important for the participating farmers to realize the value of vermiculture and adopt environment-friendly production practices.

“Farmer groups are likewise expected to implement long-term vermiculture projects in their barangays. This in turn will be an additional income for them and the community will benefit from the propagation of the use of organic fertilizer,” Gatus said.

Gatus stressed that soil fertility can best be improved using the organic farming technology, and farmers in the region are now benefiting from this type of farming strategy.

Science and technology experts in vermiculture explain that vermi or earthworm enrich the soil with organic matter which comes from biodegradable materials. Casting of earthworm is an excellent soil enhancer and high quality fertilizer for organic farming. Earthworms can be made into vermimeal, a feed for fish and other domesticated animals.

Vermiculture is the culturing of earthworms to produce vermicompost that can be used as fertilizers to bring the soil back to life, Gatus said.

Prolonged used of the vermicompost increases soil life and fertility and is often regarded as "nature's perfect organic fertilizer," which is very appropriate for use by the organic farmers.

"Farmers in the region can reduce or minimize use of costly fertilizers on their farms, but could still increase crop yields and this is possible through the balanced fertilization strategy or tamang abono program which the DA is promoting to help farmers boost their productivity,” Gatus added. (Ian Ocampo Flora)