Welcome to the world of worm farming! It is an exciting, sustainable, and profitable business. Worm farming has been gaining in popularity for years as more and more people become aware of the environmental benefits of using worms to convert food scraps and other organic matter into a valuable soil amendment.
Worms can also generate a profit by producing live worms, worm castings and more that can be sold to gardeners and farmers. Whether you are looking to start a profitable business or simply create your own compost, worm farming can be an extremely rewarding endeavor. In this blog, we’ll explore the basics of getting started with worm farming, including what you’ll need, how to choose the right worms, and how to market and sell your products. Let’s get started!
Vermiculture at home – Business plan
Choose the place- In-order to avoid any sort of inconvenience due to the odour caused by the worms, decide a location which will not cause such unfavourable situations. Kitchen is a very good idea, but if you think you cannot manage worms near food, you can opt for growing them in your balcony.
Bin- The main element of the process is the bin in which the worms grow. The bin should not be made of any toxic material, mainly plastic. Make sure that you do not use painted bins since the paint smell of the chemicals in it can harm the growth of the worms.
Better choice of material for the bin would be wooden blocs or plywood. And in this case too, don’t use wooden pieces which are highly pressurised for their branding purpose. Have few holes in the bin, for ventilation. Make holes on the bottom and sides of the bin but do not make it oversized, which will spoil the whole setup.
Bedding- For the worms to grow rapidly, they need a perfect habitat which will support their survival. Thus, the bedding should be prepared with purest soil which is rich in moisture content. Before filling the bed with soil, you are required to use newspapers as a base. Tear the papers into pieces and cover the base with it. Now, add soil to the base and the height of the bedding should be equal to the container taken.
Worms– Finally, worms are to be put on the pre-set bedding. You can buy these worms in local market and use them for initialising the process. Later on, the multiplication of the worms itself will serve as a base for the next round of production.
Food- Other than less investment, one more advantage of farming worms is the availability of cheap or low -cost food. Food here does not specify any special items to be purchased. Kitchen waste and peels of vegetables can be fed every day. Garbage waste can also be used, but it should not contain any chemicals. If contained, the growth and health of the worms will be greatly disturbed. Feeding happens twice in a day or just once by feeding the bin with large amounts of worm feed.
By this method, you will witness large amounts of compost being generated. This compost can be collected and then packed for selling purpose. The cycle repeats and if the growth s positive, you will find a tremendous increase in the number of worms.
Vermiculture with a little high investment
The next method of growing earthworms is a bit complex. This is completely for commercial purpose and it requires high levels of supervision, which will increase the quantity of production. With the growing technology and innovations in the stream of agriculture, growing earthworms is also being done in a very profitable method. This method allows a person to extract more profits in less time and processes.
Production area- The production here refers to huge amounts and it implies the use of appropriate size of land. Since the purpose is commercial, you will have to concentrate more on prevention of any unfavourable circumstances that may disrupt your process. For this, the area selected for production should be able to match the survival needs of the earthworms. Starting from lighting till moisture content, the place should be checked.
Stack of containers- This upgraded method of technology makes use of containers which are chemical free. Plywood containers can be chosen and for each unit of setup you will need three containers. These containers are manufactured with special holes on the sides and bottom. These holes made are not random, instead they are made leaving equal gap between each.
Bedding- Bedding here is done with nutrient rich soil and hay. Hay is put at the bottom of the container like how newspapers are being used in the case of growing worms at home. It is advisable to calculate the inches and height of the container before you start the process of bedding. This is to make the production more standardised since the production here is for commercial purpose. These recordings will be highly helpful in calculating the costs incurred in the setup and also the estimation of future production.
Worms- As already mentioned the most important element being the initiator of the process worms are to be purchased from local sources in a required quantity depending on the setup size. Make sure you get matured and healthy worms. This type of production involving stacking of containers takes considerable amount of time and money and thus it is important to get healthy worms which will not waste the investment. Red worms are best suited for this method due to their habit of moving upwards.
Feed- The food for worms should be stored in large quantities. This can be generated from organic wastes in the production house or can be purchased from waste management departments. Along with this few vegetables can also be fed. Proper management of feeding these worms is mandatory to follow their growth.
Water- The container containing the bedding will need application of water in sprinkling manner frequently to maintain the damp texture. If let dry, the total process will stop at this stage. But do not make the bedding soggy since they can lessen the oxygen content which will ultimately lead to the death of the worms.
How to start the process?
- The worms which are taken for the initiation of production process are randomly distributed inside the containers which are ready with bedding. Not all containers taken are filled with bedding. In a rack of three containers, only the first one is made ready with bedding.
- The container with the bedding is placed first and an empty container is attached the bottom of the first container. They are fixed in such a way that they intersect each other to some extent, which means there is a connect between these two containers.
- Below the two containers, place another container to collect the watery secretion from the worms. This secretion can be released out by attaching a tap over the edge of the outlet made.
- This comprises of one unit of the whole setup. Similarly prepare the required number of units according to your investment and location size.
How it works?
- Once your setup is done, start feeding the worms with kitchen waste and vegetable peels. The worms slowly multiply in number in a short span of time. These worms start producing worm compost as they grow. These castings are collected in the second container automatically.
- When the compost fills the entire container, interchange the containers. Place the first container in the middle and the second at the top.
- After clearing the compost which was in the second container, fill it with bedding material. Now add organic wastes into this container to attract the worms in the lower container.
- These worms move upwards in a week time in search of the new food. Thus, the upper container is now with worms for the next round of production.
- This will repeat till there is sufficient food and moisture for the worms to grow.
- By this method, the work is made easier and production is more. The compost collected using this particular method is relatively higher than any other method. This is because, there is less alteration of the setup and this ultimately avoids disturbance to the worms. They are allowed to grow naturally without the use of any expensive setup or chemicals to catalyse their productivity.
- Pack the compost in desirable quantities and also according to the quality. Even in worm compost, quality matters. Do not pack compost which has lost its capability to enhance growth of plants. Agricultural firms compete to increase production in larger quantities by implementing healthy techniques. One of those healthy techniques is the use of worm compost.
- These packages should be as attractive as possible. Manures and worm composts are being sold by a number of companies. Since the level of competition is high, standing different from the crowd is important. Most of the worm compost packs look similar with same material and colour or even a transparent pouch. You can use this case of the market wisely by employing unique packaging techniques.
- Low prices during the start of the business will greatly help in attracting new customers. Instead of losing the market aiming at maximum profits on the very first round itself, you can wait for sometime till your product reaches the customer. Later, the process can be increased after retaining the new customers.
- Since the area of use is limited to one particular sector- agriculture, it is easy for carrying out the business without much marketing efforts.
- Increase the sales by explain the customer what it actually does. Promotion is equally important to production in case of a competitive market.
Where to sell?
- Find the most viable area to sell the worm compost. Not all agricultural firms use compost, there also exists industries using artificial fertilizers to speed up plants growth. Thus, find industries who use worm compost.
- Sell these online for users who grow plants at home. Plan the quantity accordingly, as individual plant growers might not require kilos of compost.
- Contact agricultural firms and create a contract or agreement for the regular supply of compost. Get the contract for lower prices too, since the contact is more important than huge profits. This is because, the low investment made will definitely give considerable profits without any planning or pricing strategy and so it is not that important to focus on profits.
- If possible, make the production wide. Produce different worm composts by growing various varieties of worms. This will again increase to number of customers by allowing them to choose their required type.
- Apart from the profits made from compost, you can also earn a decent income by selling the earthworms produced. This will generate revenue even if the produced compost is not sold to expected levels. Local markets will be an appropriate place to sell these worms.
If you have decided on starting this business, then executing it wisely will make the profit earning phase easier. Instead of taking a random or available worm for production, you can analyse the market conditions and the demand and then start the production. This will enable you to have regular flow of production and sales than facing interruptions due to loss or less sales.
This insists on choosing the most suitable variety of worm which can withstand the temperature and other uncertain conditions of the farm. Test growth of the worms (growing worms in smaller setup) will eliminate the situations of loss due to poor growth of the worms.
Profit Margin in Worm Farming Business
The gross profit margin for a Worm Farming business is typically between 40% and 60%. This means that, for every $1 of sales, the business keeps 40-60 cents in profits.
From the above discussion, it is seen that this business is best suited for people who have less area and investment. Supervision is the only human-oriented work to be done and other than this there is no involvement of complex processes too. Like the stacking method, you can find your own convenient method of growing these worms.
Try not to use much of technological processes to ease the work since the whole point is to carry out the work in the simplest form. It is estimated that the production of worms involves only one third of the income from it.
Cost of production is only due to installation of containers and packaging of it. Transportation costs in this process is not that much due to short channels of distribution within the locality.