*Corresponding author:S S Rana, Department of Agronomy, CSK HP Agricultural University, Palampur 176 062, HP India, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Received: December 01, 2017; Published: December 07, 2017
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A novel technique of converting decomposable organic wastes into valuable manure (compost) through earthworm activity is a faster and beneficial process. The earthworms are used as the natural bioreactors for making decomposition of the waste materials. Keeping in view the vast availability of organic wastes in Himachal Pradesh, a project was undertaken in tribal areas of the state to train women for dissemination of the technology and their economic upliftment. The study was conducted in two districts of Himachal Pradesh viz. Kinnaur and Lahaul & Spiti. From these two districts 68 villages were randomly selected (27 in Kinnaur and 41 in Lahaul and Spiti) and 858 farm families (371 in Kinnaur and 487 in Lahaul & Spiti) were approached through a pre-tested interview schedule. The independent variables selected for the study were educational status, annual income of the family, size of land holding, cattle population, organic waste, crop husbandry information, manures and pesticides used. The population engaged in agriculture was 86.5, 80.5 and 50.2% in Kinnaur, Lahaul and Spiti, respectively. Due to the cultivation of cash crops such as apple, pea, potato, rajmash etc. income of the tribal families was satisfactory especially in Kinnaur. However, in Lahaul and Spiti 85.5 and 100% farm families fall under low income group.
Crop residues were available in Kinnaur. In Kinnaur, Lahaul and Spiti only 53.2, 43.8 and 16.5%, respectively, of the families were using insecticides. The respective use of fungicides in these areas was by 85.4, 91.5 and 56.7% families. None were using herbicides in Kinnaur, while 61.5 and 47% families were using in Lahaul and Spiti, respectively. In Kinnaur, Lahaul and Spiti 97.9, 95.5 and 96.9% of the total families were rearing cows. Thus after crop husbandry, animal husbandry/dairying is the other important activity taken up by the tribal farmers. In Kinnaur, Lahaul and Spiti quite a satisfactory amount of waste was available for this activity being taken up in a big way in the area. The kitchen waste in villages is directly fed to the livestock reared by the farmers. In total, 30 training programmes were organized in far flung and difficult to reach villages, where 1245 tribal women farmers were trained and 175 vermicomposting units were set up. The vermiculture were distributed free of cost for these units. The participation in State Tribal Festival at Rekangpeo helped in spreading vermitechnology activity to about 5000 tribal farmers. These studies were a step for tribal/rural development for providing balanced nutrients for enhanced crop productivity as well as a source of earning a rural livelihood.
Keywords: Vermitechnology; Rural Livelihood; Survey; Training; On-Farm Trials