In Kenya, the production of vermicompost is proving to be a successful strategy for compensating for bottlenecks in the supply of fertilizer. The approach is a model that will be effective beyond the current crisis.
“If you protect the soil, it is your life insurance. If you take good care of it in a sustainable way, it will help you all your life,” says Job Mururi, an agricultural trainer in Kenya. Like him more and more farmers are turning to alternative methods of land management in his country.
The importance of such methods is particularly evident in the era of COVID-19
The lockdown has cut off many smallholder farmers from the supply of inputs such as artificial fertilisers and pesticides. The activities of GIZ’s Global Programme “Soil protection and soil rehabilitation for food security” show how soil fertility can be improved without expensive external inputs, and how farmers can even build up a second economic pillar for themselves. The programme provides intensive training for smallholder farmers in the production of natural fertiliser using locally available and easily accessible resources and also trains trainers for this purpose.
One strategy is the production of vermicompost
Vermicompost is now demonstrating its full potential during the pandemic. The promotion of vermicompost production is one of the agroecological measures promoted by the programme, which is expected to reach around 61,000 smallholder households in Kenya by the end of the current project period in September 2021.
Around 4,000 smallholders are already using vermicompost, 2,000 trainers have been trained as vermicompost experts, 50 of whom have specialised in the production of vermicompost starter sets.
Compared to conventional compost, the production of vermicompost also offers commercially lucrative benefits: Worms are suitable as fish feed or can be fed to poultry, which is particularly attractive for small-scale farms that keep poultry or have established aquacultures. The worm excrements are also the raw material for the production of biopesticides that are used locally. Tests have also shown that plants such as tomatoes or strawberries are less susceptible to certain plant diseases when the soil is fertilised with worm compost.
A budget of the equivalent of €132,000 has been allocated to vermicompost activities so far
Implementation partners are German Agro Action (Welthungerhilfe) and GFA Consulting. The programme builds on the experiences made in Ethiopia, where the approach is also being successfully applied.
A budget of the equivalent of €132,000 has so far been allocated to vermicompost activities. Implementation partners are German Agro Action (Welthungerhilfe) and GFA Consulting. The programme builds on the experiences made in Ethiopia, where the approach is also being successfully applied.
More information and contact
Soil Protection and Rehabilitation of Degraded Soil for Food Security https://www.giz.de/en/worldwide/32181.html
Anneke Trux, firstname.lastname@example.org
Gerrit Gerdes, email@example.com