Mandya: Mandya, known as the Sugar District, is also being recognised as the district with highest number of vermicompost producing units in the State.
Mandya district has bagged the first place in the State for having highest vermicompost production units with 1,252 production units in the district, while the rest of the districts have not crossed 250 units, according to sources.
Mandya ZP CEO B. Sharath, speaking to SOM, said that the district has a total of 1,252 vermicompost production units with Srirangapatna taluk having 385 units stands in first place and Malavalli taluk in the last place with 16 units.
He said that the farmers of the district have shown keen interest in establishing vermicompost units and were now producing the manure using earthworms.
Other districts: Koppal district has 241 production units and is placed second, Belagavi district has 234 units and is in the third place, Bagalkot is fourth with 184 units and Kodagu district is in the last place with only two vermicompost production units.
Dharwad has 128 units, Ballari – 94, Tumakuru – 88, Mysuru – 81, Davangere – 79, Bengaluru Rural – 68, Kalaburagi – 61, Dakshina Kannada – 55, Ramanagaram – 52, Shivamogga – 43, Vijayapura – 43, Gadag – 33, Haveri- 28, Chikkamagalur – 21, Raichur- 21, Bidar – 12, Kolar – 16, Chamarajanagar – 7, Udupi – 4 and Hassan has three vermicompost production units. Earlier, Rs. 8,000 was being given to establish a unit with the Agriculture Department giving a subsidy of Rs. 4,000. The amount was being given only for the purchase of materials for the unit, which did not see much demand. But now, an amount of Rs. 24,000 is being given by the Horticulture Department and Gram Panchayat under Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme for materials and labour. In Gram Sabhas, beneficiaries would be selected for establishing vermicompost units and units were being established by those having job cards.
Earthworms supply: Earthworms, which are responsible for the production of manure, is being supplied by Krishi Vigyan Kendra – VC Farm and other private companies.
Earthworms of various varieties were being sold at a price ranging between Rs. 40 and Rs. 300 per kg and vermicompost production units were being encouraged in order to completely stop the usage of chemical fertilizers.
Awareness on the benefits of using vermicompost was being created among farmers and the farmers were being encouraged to establish vermicompost production units.
More demand : There is a huge demand for vermicompost in the State and from other States with huge demands from coffee and tea estates in Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
Only eight to nine persons were exporting vermicompost to other States and the rest are producing it for their own use. Those having terrace and kitchen gardens, vegetable growers and small farmers are using more of vermicompost which are being sold at a price ranging between Rs. 4 and Rs. 10 per kg.