Mr. Uday Bhawalkar is the father my friend and runs a vermiculture institute in my city in Pune, India. Vermiculture is the use of earthworms in fertilization of soil in agriculture. Burrowing earthworms can also be used to process organic waste. The article by Stephen White in the magazine 'In Context' gives us an idea as to how earthworms can be used to increase productivity of farms as well as in the processing of waste. I found this article quite interesting as it gave an example of a simple efficient technology which can be employed without having any bad effects. The article gives details as to how the earthworm creates a healthy soil for agriculture which requires no further tillage. The soil is less subject to erosion and moisture loss. It also has microbial life which gives rise to healthier crops. The use of earthworms avoids the use of artificial fertilizers. The article describes the worms as 'biomanagers' which regulate the moisture and bacterial activity of the soil. They produce the right nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorous, vitamins, antibiotics and hormones for the plants. It says that the earthworms gut includes beneficial bacteria for he soil. The article also supports its claims with data where actual vermiculture experiments increased production of wheat in the Pune district. It tells us that vermiculture experiments are being carried out in the US in Eden, Maryland.
Earthworms are also used to process organic waste. Food waste can be used efficiently as a fertilizer with the use of burrowing earthworms. Experiments in the University of Oregon have processed 2000 lbs. of waste daily.
I think the article gives a lot of useful information to farmers and people who could implement vermiculture on their own. People who farm in their backyard could use this technology to get rid of their waste as well as grow crop efficiently. The article is well researched and creates an awareness about a new technology. It supports its claims with enough data. It educates the readers about the benefits of vermiculture and encourages them to use it. It contains a detailed explanation as to why the use of earthworms is helpful for agriculture.