Young Woman Using Worms to Reduce Chemical Fertilizers

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Young Woman Using Worms to Reduce Chemical Fertilizers

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Worms’ Turn for Organic Farming
BY: Sem Vanna July 29, 2022 2:00 PM
PHNOM PENH – Earthworms may not be attractive but they are a big help for farmers as a source of organic fertilizer. Young entrepreneur Sok Sothearath saw the advantages and uses worms to produce fertilizers to help farmers reduce their use of chemicals.

A goal to reduce chemical fertilizers
Some farmers use animal dung to fertilize their crops but most farmers use chemical fertilizers almost exclusively despite training in composting techniques and organic fertilizers.

However, overuse of chemical fertilizers has caused worms to disappear from the soil, leading to reduced fertility. There are fears that the use of chemical fertilizers on crops and vegetables is also harmful to public health.

With a degree in agronomy, Sothearath, 28, decided to start a worm farming business in 2018.

The determination to start this business partly inspired Sothearath to found the JUNLEN project, an initiative to help farmers’ income and reduce the use of chemical fertilizers.

JUNLEN aims to upcycle organic waste by raising earthworms for vermicompost. It provides training and investment in smallholder farmers through contract farming. Its mission is to create a network of earthworm farms toward sustainable farming.

The project has run for more than four years and can produce about 10 tonnes of vermicompost per month.

Seeing the disadvantages of chemical fertilizers, Sothearath wanted to grow rice and crops using organic fertilizers. Through the JUNLEN project, farmers are trained to process organic fertilizers from earthworms and in other agricultural skills.

“We collect waste from earthworms and put it in soil, allowing the rice plants to get nutrients,” said Sothearath. She said earthworms had two main benefits.

“First, the soil in the area is getting better because of the abundance of earthworms and other insects that help to create soil respiration. Second, the soil is moist, which reduces the use of water and fertilizer,” she said.

Project faces farmers’ lack of interest
Getting farmers to stop using chemical fertilizers is not easy. When she spoke to farmers in a community in Kampong Chhnang province about the worm farming project, only one farmer family was interested.

“It was really hard. It seemed like we had different goals but we really wanted to help them,” she said.

“We know that only income makes them happy working with us. If they don’t earn money from farming, they will take another job like as a laborer. This is what I have to overcome,” Sothearath said.

The JUNLEN project trains farmers in various techniques as well as providing ideas and materials. Farmers who cooperate with the project can also make profit from the vermicompost (earthworms’ manure).

Sothearath said the difficulty was that only a few farmers were interested in her business. Most continued to use the old methods.

Her business is currently operating in a community in Kampong Chhnang province with five families who are able to collect about 10 tonnes of earthworms every month. Sothearath goes directly to the community to explain her ideas and check on the work with farmers. ... ic-farming
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Re: Young Woman Using Worms to Reduce Chemical Fertilizers

Post by Ghostwriter »

I know it's a bit of a competition between countries to export fruits & vegs, but how isn't there more collaboration between agri students of Asean about sharing basic knowledge such as natural stuff their ancesters used to grow their own food ?
In Indonesia they circuit ducks through ricefields because the duck's shit is good for growing stuff, many people know that already, and here the worm stuff is also common knowledge all around asia, contrary to the soil treatment in Europe ( which mostly fucked from France to Holland at least), and i know it too although not a farmer at all, so, what the fuck, somehow ?

On the other hand, it's like Europe is discovering how much water is important now, so, sudden realizations everywhere ^^...
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