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Telangana tribals use cow dung to make organic fertiliser

Tribal farmers of Telangana use cow dung to make vermicompost

What was considered a waste which had to be somehow disposed of has turned into a boon and source of income for tribal farmers. Tribal farmers belonging to four villages of Utnoor mandal in Telangana’s Adilabad district have through production of vermicompost increased their income and also turned to organic farming.

Vermicomposting is the scientific method of making compost, by using earthworms. These worms are commonly found living in soil, feeding on biomass and excreting it in a digested form.

The residents of Aliguda, Umapathi Kunta, GR Nagar, and Thukaram Nagar villages have together taken a decision not to sell cow dung to middlemen and instead use it for making vermicompost. This has been possible due to the support of the Centre for People’s Forestry which has helped them to set up units to manufacture it.

While what is created in the units is used by the tribals for cultivation in their own farm, the excess is sold in the open market.

The non-governmental organisation, CPF has formed village-level committees called Tribal Farmers Service Centres and these guide farmers through awareness camps. In addition, they also organise field visits which are called Farmer Field Schools. These initiatives have helped establish vermicompost units and in the Utnoor mandal itself in the last one year, 58 of these have been established.

CPF has been working since 2022 to make the tribals realise the value of the cow dung by creating awareness among them about organic farming. Tribals own a large number of cattle and earlier they just wanted to get rid of the dung and it was dumped on the village outskirts. This fetched them between Rs.3,000 and 4,000 per tractor.

These awareness camps followed with training to some of the tribal farmers paid dividends. When others in the community realised the value of the cow dung, they too joined to do organic farming using vermicompost. The trained tribals help in setting up units in their villages.

The production of vermicompost which takes between 30 to 45 days, has enabled the farmers to earn between Rs.8,000 to 10,000 per month.