Worms Make a Difference
Basonti Rani is one of millions of poor, hard-working farmers who seize anything that comes along to make life better for their families. So Basonti was disappointed when her husband put his foot down and said “you are not bringing that thing here” when she told him about a wonderful new invention she’d heard about. He was worried about their four children, he said.
Earlier that day, Basonti had been at a meeting of her Farmer Field School, run by RDRS in her village of Horidev, Panchogram. The extension worker had been talking to them about soil fertility and how to improve it on land that had been heavily-worked for years. One way was by vermiculture, or vermicompost a clean fertiliser created from bio-degradable waste found in every household; using it would mean farmers like Basonti would not have to buy or use more expensive
synthetic materials. Basonti’s could see it was ideal for their 40 decimal plot,
and although her husband said “no” she eventually managed to change his mind and she set about improving their land.
The first thing was to attend a day’s training with RDRS after which she was given 200 earthworm and the boxes to keep them in. Basonti brought them home carefully and put the worms near to the homestead where she could keep an eye on them. After three months she had 56 kg of compost which she used to cultivate gourds, cucumber and coriander on 16 decimals of their plot. She was delighted. “The 200 earthworms increased to 7,000 and I sold 5,000 of them to a local NGO for 5,000Tk. The next time, the worms gave me 130kg of compost and so I had an even better crop on 35 decimals. I sold most of them but kept some back for my family. Doing that saved me 10,000Tk alone. Now my husband agrees with me!” For her splendid work, Basonti has been honoured by the Federation and even the Department of Agriculture has recognised her efforts. But Basonti is not sitting still; instead she is working tirelessly to persuade other husbands to let their wives set up vermiculture on their plots.