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Thursday, 18 December 2008

Food Watch (Zambia)

1 comment:

  1. Cho,

    Thanks for providing this report, while it appears that good rains are expected (perhaps too good in places, people should prepare for some excess flooding), the availability and cost of fertilizer and commercial seed are making predictions about total area under cultivation and projected yields per hectare uncertain. Thus higher prices are not necessarily stimulating greater investment.

    There seems to be a real market niche for small manufacture of high efficiency vermiculture systems for farm level production of organic fertilizer. Much like adding a treadle pump, adding a vat and screen throughput system such as those from Worm Wigwam which has been operating in my area for about ten years, can either increase farm output or decrease the costs of inputs with a small amount of labour and waste materials. Even a barrel-sized high density worm enclosure like the wigwam can generate literally tons of mineral rich casings each year, and larger systems can produce a ton a week.

    The crucial bit to the throughput system is a metal screen strong enough to support the compost above it, but wide enough to allow casings to fall through when stirred from below. This allows the upper layers to remain undisturbed, and saves much labour sorting worms from casings. It also enables higher density worm populations, and optimal microbial composting conditions, vastly speeding up the decomposition of organic waste inputs.

    This is a business opportunity for someone in Zambia I think, either by leasing existing designs from a proven operator, or by developing their own. The materials used are not exotic, and require no great leaps in engineering, just reasonably efficient manufacturing and market identification (which is probably the hardest part).


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