Puypuy farmers, local entrepreneur team up for vermicast production

by Myrrh Caithlin L. Gutierrez

BAY, LAGUNA – Brgy. Puypuy vermifarmers harvested about 200 kg of worms on August 26, 2013 with the help of the Green Wrigglers Enterprises (GWE). The harvest was transported to Tarlac for the opening of a new community development project.

Bay, specifically Brgy. Puypuy, is GWE’s largest source of vermicompost. The company also sources worms from Sta. Cruz, Nagcarlan, Pagsanjan, Calauan, and Baguio. “This community developmental project aims to create jobs and promote social equity through symbiotic relationship between vermiculture, organic farming, and solid waste management,” GWE owner and Laguna native Michael Cagas explained.

Vermicast production has been of great help to the community. Robert Villegas, one of the vermifarmers said “Basta hindi maarte dito, may pera. Madumi nga ang kamay pero marangal na trabaho naman ito. Malaki pa ang kita.” This was confirmed by Daisy Arandia, another vermifarmer, “sa isang pa-harvest, nakabente kilos na kami mahigit. Malaking pera na ‘yon.”

Vermiculture is the practice of culturing worms, specifically African nightcrawlers, to gather organic fertilizers called vermicast. It is done by first making beds where the worms can live and multiply. The worms are fed with animal manure and other biodegradable wastes at most once a week. This low-capital business can be profitable given the increasing demand for  organic fertilizers.

Puypuy farmers help one another in the preparation their vermibeds.

“I want to help my kababayan,” Cagas said. Through GWE, Cagas linked his community with various agencies that need vermicast. He explained that it was challenging to establish the vermicompost business. Cagas started with one-fourth kilo of African nigthcrawlers and within a year, his company was able to produce tons of earthworms.

The earthworm prices range from Php 400 – Php 1,000 depending on the bulk of order. Cagas coordinates with different agencies and links these agencies with vermicompost-producing communities. He also conducts seminars in different areas to propose the vermicast production as a profitable source of income.

GWE is a company consolidating the harvests of different communities. It is a member of the Philippine Vermi Society, Vermicology of the Philippines, and Rare Fruit Society of the Philippines; all of which are community development organizations involved in vermicast production for organic fertilizers.

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