Review : vermicompost, its importance and benefit in agriculture
Vermicomposting is described as "bioxidation and stabili zation of organic material involving the joint action of earthworms and mesophilic micro-organisms". Under appropriate conditions, worms eat agricultural waste and reduce the volume by 40 to 60%. Vermicompost produced by the activity of earthworms is rich in macro and micro nutrients, vitamins, growth hormones, enzymes such as proteases, amylases, lipase, cellulase and chitinase and immobilized microflora. The enzymes continue to disintegrate organic matter even after they have been ejected from the worms. Reduced use of water for irrigation, reduced pest attack, reduced termite attack, reduced weed growth; faster rate of seed germination and rapid seedlings growth and development; greater numbers of fruits per plant (in vegetable crops) and greater numbers of seeds per year (in cereal crops) are only some of the beneficial effects of the vermicompost usage in agricultural production. Earthworms and vermicompost can boost horticultural production without agrochemicals. In spite of the benefits associated with vermicompost, its use is not widespread yet. This review attempts as increasing awareness of this local soil amendment.