The Story of Ravi Hiremath’s Vermi Compost Beds
Ravi Hiremath, a second year CSE student at Jain College of Engineering and Master LEADer, has implemented a simple yet profitable alternative to using traditional cow manure to fertilize crops. Known as Vermi Compost Beds, this project is providing local Belgaum farmers with plastic worm composting beds along with training for proper use. Organic materials, such as food waste and leaves, are added to the beds and turned into compost by the worms. Both the worms and organic materials are free (but require work) and one worm bed can fertilize up to one acre of crops. It not only costs less than manure, it is more environmentally sustainable and fertilizes crops better.
Ravi was given the initial idea from LEAD and, after taking initiative of it, was granted Rs. 19,000 from LEAD to purchase the worm beds. Each worm bed is purchased online from Amazon and costs Rs. 2,400. Since starting the project in December 2018, Vermi Compost Beds have been given to seven farmers from seven different villages. After personally surveying them, Ravi selected these farmers because he believes they will be strong ambassadors and examples to others.
However, Ravi has bigger goals than merely giving worm beds to farmers. The main purpose is to educate the farmers about composting so they can teach others. Vermi Compost Beds is in its early stage of development. Ravi is planning to bring in experts in agriculture to give sessions and train farmers in sustainable and more profitable farming practices.
The funding from LEAD is almost finished and Ravi is not sure if he can get more. He is determined to not let this stop him and believes that he can convince farmers to look at the worm beds as an investment rather than an expense. Having said that, one of Ravi’s biggest problems early on was that farmers were suspicious and thought he was going to charge them. He did it then and can do it again. It takes time to shift people’s mindset, but Ravi is determined to continue to help improve farmer’s income and the well-being of the environment.