The demand for organic foods in Kenya is on the rise amid the increasing health-conscious consumers who are keen to know the origin of what they are buying to eat.
This has caused a ripple effect in organic farming which is currently increasing very fast to meet the ever-growing organic markets in Kenya.
Now, one of the approaches in organic farming is the application of biological methods to protect and provide the much-needed nutrients to plants.
Some of these plant nutrients include vermicompost and vermiliquid which can only be found from red earthworms which ingest food scraps and other organic waste at a rapid pace.
Rearing these worms can create a lucrative business for anyone keen to make cool cash from less capital investment as it is not costly to establish and it is, at the moment, not crowded.
It is good to always start small and increase investment as the business peaks. You will therefore need a raised structure built of polls and timber offcuts which are cheap and, in some cases, readily available especially in a rural setting.
Together with some nails, this structure can cost you not more than Sh5,000. You will also need some containers like old buckets or cans of 10-20 litre capacity where you will collect vermiliquid.
Redworms feed on organic wastes such as fruit peels and vegetables which you can find free of charge hence you will not need to buy feeds.
Starter worms can cost you Sh2,500 getting them from some established vermiculturist, a redworm farmer. This is also the time you may take, by observing, some simple tips of improving your redworm rearing venture.
With these, you will be better placed to start and have a system of collecting vermicompost and vermiliquid from time to time.
You can harvest harvests 100-150 kilos of vermicompost and 80-100 litres of vermiliquid per month.
Sell a kilo of vermicompost at Sh70 and a litre of vermiliquid at Sh150 which will give you close to Sh25,500 a month.
With the food craps available, the worms can really multiply very fast and within a short time, you will also start selling them to other growers and make more cash.
Experts assert that a kilogram of earthworms (approx. 1500 worms) fed very well and given the right moisture and protection from predators at the beginning of January, can multiply and increase their number to approximately 4000 kilograms at the end of December.
And after a year of rearing, a farmer can produce up to three tonnes of organic fertiliser every day.
Currently, a kilo of redworms goes for Sh200 meaning if you can sell a minimum of 10 kilos a month, you will be earning Sh20,000. Add this to Sh25,500 from vermicompost and vermiliquid, you will be pocketing over Sh40,000 a month.
Remember, as previously indicated, this is a business which is less crowded at the moment meaning you will possibly not get it hard to find customers.
These customers include organic farmers of those who need biological control measures for pests and diseases attacking their crops.
Adding vermicompost and vermiliquid to the soil reduces insect pests and plant diseases in a certain field and greenhouse crops including corn, wheat, pea, cucumber, and tomato, according to Dr Freddie Acosta, a Senior Lecturer of Technology and Innovation Management at Strathmore Business School.