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Vegetables and Vermicompost: Amena’s Story

Posted On: February 20, 2024
Amena Begum sifts her harvested vermicompost over a blue tarp.
Amena Begum sifts her harvested vermicompost over a tarp.

CHITTAGONG DIVISION, BANGLADESH – Amena Begum, a 43-year-old farmer in southeastern Bangladesh, used to grow only country beans and cucumbers. Growing country beans was profitable for her, but growing cucumbers did not bring her any extra income. After seeing a neighbor’s vegetable farming demonstration plot using EWS-KT techniques, Amena expressed interest in learning with EWS-KT herself. 

With training and guidance from Technical Field Officer Md. Rakibul Islam, Amena began a tomato demonstration plot in July 2023 and then a bottle gourd demonstration plot, earning a very high profit. Inspired by her success, she tried growing cucumbers again—this time using high-quality seeds and improved horticultural techniques—and achieved a good profit.

Amena especially liked the protected seedling nursery and seedling production methods she learned, which included preparing a special medium in which to plant the seeds. During the bottle gourd and tomato demos, she learned that vermicompost is an ideal medium for healthy seedling production, so she bought some from the market. 

Later, she asked the Technical Field Officer about making her own vermicompost to save on costs. In October 2023, as part of its new vermicompost initiative under the Smart Farming, Healthy Food project, EWS-KT supported Amena to start a vermicompost operation, providing her with earthworms, holding rings, netting, and a vermicompost shelter, as well as training on how to care for the worms to optimize vermicompost production. Learn more about the vermicompost program here.

Amena Begum tends to her vermicompost operation.
Amena tends to her vermicompost operation. The concrete rings are located in a shaded structure and are kept covered to help maintain a healthy moisture level for the worms.

Amena’s earthworms are doing well. She is using the vermicompost for seedling production and as a soil amendment in the field, thereby reducing her use of chemical fertilizers. Because vermicompost is good for soil health, she is planning to continue her vermicompost operation year-round and to expand it.  In 6 months, she harvested 419 kilograms of vermicompost, which would have cost her 8,380 taka (US$76) to purchase in the local market. Her well-cared-for earthworms also reproduced, and she sold some of the extra worms for 3,000 taka (US$27) to her neighbors, who have started to produce vermicompost as well.

Amena’s success with vermicompost has encouraged other farmers in her community to begin vermicompost operations and to use vermicompost to improve their seedling production and the soil in their fields. 

Amena Begum with bags of harvested vermicompost.
Amena with bags of harvested vermicompost. The banner behind her provides information on the program.