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Indian Journal of Social Research Vol.54 (3) (May - June, 2013) (211-220)

ADOPTION OF VERMICULTURE PRACTICES BY FARMERS OF HOSHIARPUR DISTRICT

R K Kalra
Department of Extension Education
Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana 141004. Punjab

G Jassal, S S Hundal and Jaswinder Kaur
Department of Zoology
Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana 141004. Punjab

Abstract

Adoption of vermicultural practices as a segment of organic farming was studied in district Hoshiarpur (Punjab). Results indicated that majority of the farmers adopting this practice were in middle age group (51.7%), graduate (45%), had 2-4 years of experience of vermi-composting/organic farming (55%), and extension contacts (66.4%) with progressive farmers. Reasons cited for opting to vermiculture practices were environment friendly (95%), to save soil health (80%), to enhance income (76.6%), upliftment of social status (73.3%) and health consciousness (66.6%) .Farmers gathered knowledge of vermi-technology through progressive farmers, Krishi Vigyan Kendras of district Hoshiarpur, Directorate of Extention Education and Punjab Agricultural Management and Extension Training Institute (PAMETI), PAU, Ludhiana. Major problems faced by the adopters were lack of training (86.6%), high cost of production (85%), destruction by birds and animals (76.6%) and scarcity of labour (73.3%). Therefore it is deduced that the farmers be organized into organic farming associations which can initiate and work to train the farmers for its complete adoption and collective production and marketing of the produce so as to attain sustainable development.

Keywords: Adoption, Vermiculture, Organic farming.

Introduction

Earthworms are the most important components of the soil biota and well known for their abilities to improve soil structure, being the main drivers of the process by conditioning the substrate and altering its biological activity. The composition and activity of soil microbial communities are responsible for the biochemical degradation of the organic matter, largely determining the turnover process (Chaoni et al 2003; Singleton et al 2003; Dominguez 2004; Garg et al 2005; Munndi 2010). The conversion of the organic waste into useful products is essential in recycling of organic matter to sustain soil fertility and avoid environmental pollution. Utilization of finished products helps in improving biological, physical and chemical properties of soil and therefore improves the soil quality (Ismail 2005; Aalok et al 2008). Vermi-compost is considered as an inseparable alternative of sustainable farming because it has promised to recycle nutrients, thereby promote and sustain crop yields. (Patil 1995; Reddy and Ohkura 2004; Karthikeyan et al 2007; Sinha and Herat 2009; Singh et al 2009; Bharadwaj 2010).Vermicompost is considered as an excellent product, since it is homogenous, has desirable aesthetics, has reduced levels of contamination and tends to hold more nutrients over a longer period without impacting the environment (Benitez et al 2002; Dhiman 2003; Suthar and Singh 2008; Singh et al 2007; Pattnaik and Reddy 2010). Organic farming system delivered the benefits like environmental protection, sustainable resources, biodiversity enhancement, reduced energy use and replenish the nature (Dadhwal, 2010). The research on vermiculture and vermi-composting is leading towards appreciation of the soil entity as well as adding to the other benefits derived from agriculture (Kalra et al. 2008). In India, nearly 2000 million tonnes (MT) of animal waste, 300 MT of crop waste, a huge amount of agro-industrial and domestic sewage waste is produced annually and there is, therefore, a tremendous scope for recycling of this waste using vermitechnology so that quality organic manure can be produced (Frederikson et al 1997; Ramaswami 1998; Mishra 2001; Aalok et al 2008; Yadav et al 2010).

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