How young graduate is producing organic fertilisers from earthworms

Dominique Xavio Imbabazi is an engineer based in Musanze District who uses red worms to make manure and earn a living.

The graduate of University of Rwanda’s College of Agriculture, Animal Sciences and Veterinary Medicine had an idea of making quality organic fertilizers after writing his dissertation in undergraduate, on vermicompost.

 

 This is something he wanted to concentrate in to improve farming in Rwanda.

 

In 2016, he set up his company known as ‘Golden Insect Ltd.’ All he started with was a pit latrine where he bred the worms in fecal.

 

Imbabazi explains that vermicomposting is done by keeping bio-waste for two to three weeks to release heat and after add worms that decompose it in less than three months.

Vermicompost comprises of water-soluble nutrients and is an exceptional, nutrient-rich organic fertilizer and soil conditioner which is used in farming and small scale sustainable, organic farming.

The engineer notes that vermicomposting is an environment-friendly biotechnology of using earthworms to manage bio-waste and transform them into quality organic fertilizer (vermicomposting).

He says that the worms are sourced from latrines and it is not every species of worms (it’s only red worms scientifically known as Eusenia Foetida).

Imbabazi points out that these latrines are of one-meter square vault (septic tank) that are used by 10 people or so every day for 10 years without emptying. Once the latrine is emptied, the fecal waste is used as pathogen-free fertilizer.

He says, the reason as to why he uses red worms is because they have a high reproduction rate, they are heavy feeders, and they withstand disturbance and can live everywhere.

The engineer also stresses that vermicompost is rich in macro and microelements needed for the crops to grow.

He packages and sells both the vermicompost and worms to farmers. One ton of vermicompost costs Rwf 300,000 and one kilogram of worms goes for Rwf 40, 000.

He adds that worm compost (castings) are sold at Rwf 200 per kilo. More than any other fertilizer, worm castings are the best way to guarantee your plants grow to their fullest potential.

“For those who would like to start their own worm farm, becoming self-sustaining by reducing food waste while concurrently cumulating plant yields, I can offer them key solutions for all sizes of production. This includes providing the worms and the equipment to house them and harvest castings,” Imbabazi states.

He also notes that his company assists in research and development of utilizing black soldier flies (and specifically their larvae) to turn biohazardous waste into completely safe farm fertilizer.

Imbabazi carries on that vermicompost is important as it makes the environment healthy, increases the fertility of land at low cost, and enriches physical, chemical, and biological properties of soil.

With vermicompost, he notes that the catchment power of the soil is increased, but also, it is environment-friendly.

Since the compost passes through the body of the worms, it is supplemented with bacteria and microbes. These help plants to become more disease resistant and also resist some plant pests, he says.

“We have extensive experience in breeding utilizing scientific principles. We have conducted research on insects’ needs for development and implemented a corresponding proper business model,” Imbabazi says.

The engineer also does professional consulting and implementing services on biowaste processing solutions, for instance, training in insect breeding.

His company also focuses on breeding different species of tiny insects such as earthworms, black soldier flies, and grasshoppers.

 “We accentuate the conservation of these insects and their significance in bio-waste management and sanitation, environmental protection, animal feed production, climate change mitigation, and sustainable agriculture promotion,” he added

The ‘agriprenuer’ also produces a liquid fertilizer (worm tea) that is used as a fertilizer and organic pesticide and plant bio-stimulant.

He points out that some of the challenges he faces include lack of enough capital to expand his business, lack of enough land.

Imbabazi looks forward to promoting environmentally friendly bio-waste management through the use of integrated techniques. This includes a focus on providing quality fish and chicken feeds.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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