Table of Contents
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Starting Your Vermicompost Business
- 3 How to do Vermicomposting Commercially
- 4 Cost of Starting Vermicomposting
- 5 Income Expected From Vermicomposting
- 6 Vermicomposting Cost-Benefit Ratio Analysis
- 7 Benefits of Vermicomposting
- 8 Pros and Cons of Vermicomposting
- 9 Vermicomposting FAQs
- 10 Is it Worth Starting a Vermicomposting Business?
You might be thinking about starting a vermicomposting business and wonder what is the vermicomposting cost-benefit ratio. It’s an investment that you should do your homework before getting started.
There are questions that you just can’t help but ask yourself as you choose to venture out. What is the input? What are the expected costs involved in the vermicomposting business? How to get customers for your vermicomposting business? Above all, what is vermicomposting cost-benefit ratio?
These are some pros and cons of vermicomposting you need to know before trying it out, but a few cons can be prevented if you properly maintain and take care of your system.
But first, let us define what vermicomposting is. Vermicomposting is a way of processing household waste by using red wiggler worms (Eisenia foetida), also known as manure worms or redworms, into worm castings or vermicompost.
Vermicomposting is an excellent way to recycle food wastes in the kitchen and yard waste in the backyard. There are many ways to do vermicomposting over the internet but we have the best vermicomposting guide
A vermiculture system can make use of a wide variety of organic materials, such as food scraps, paper towels, and grass clippings. These materials are broken down by the earthworms into worm castings (vermicompost). The vermicompost is then harvested for use in horticulture or agriculture.
Starting Your Vermicompost Business
Like any other business, vermicompost will require a number of things like a business plan. This should help you answer each of the following questions:
- What kind of customers would you serve? Is it going to be for homeowners, schools, gardening centers, government entities, landscapers or who exactly?
- What services will be provided i.e. what do you plan to sell within your market?
- Where is my target market?
- Who are your major competitors in this market segment?
- How will you stand out from your competitors?
- How much money are you willing to invest in your vermicompost business? How do expect to sustain this investment over time?
These are just some of the considerations that you should figure out as you create your business plan. Once that is done, then you will have to teach yourself how to do vermicomposting commercially.
How to do Vermicomposting Commercially
Getting to do Vermicomposting on a commercial level comes with its own list of requirements and needs that you will have to tend to. But to do it successfully, follow the following steps:
Identify a market with a need to use vermicompost.
- Find out the area that you want to locate your business. For example, what are the open areas in different parts of town?
- Choose and acquire or lease a suitable piece of land for your business or contract an established site where you can do vermicomposting.
- Create ways that will allow you to keep pests from contaminating your food scraps. This is important because they are rich sources of food for pests like rats, flies, and cockroaches.
- Keep your ingredients (food materials) clean at all times by working with a system that keeps them free from foreign particles as much as possible. You need to use a vermin-proof cover or clean the material daily.
- Use methods that will keep pests away from your ingredients as they arrive at your site (food scraps). For example, buy containers that have air-tight covers and lids. This will help protect against rats, cockroaches, flies, and other road and airborne contaminants.
- Build shallow up layers to make sure that there is no excessive heat that may build up and affect the worms.
- Construct brick-lined beds measuring 15m in length, 1.5m in width, and 0.6m in height.
- Place the raw materials inside the built constructions making sure they make up between 0.6m-1.0m in height.
- Add worms to the mixture in which the worms should be added at a rate of 350-360 worms per meter cube.
- Measure the temperature making sure that it sits between 20 degrees Celcius to 30 degrees Celcius.
Cost of Starting Vermicomposting
Based on a study conducted by the University of British Columbia, vermicomposting is cheaper than some other agricultural farming practices. Vermicomposting produces $450 per year in economic value while composting using industrial waste requires initial investments that make it more expensive.
However, both vermicomposting and the conventional composting process requires a huge amount of time and labor to produce the same yields as an alternative source of organic fertilizer found in farmed livestock manure which can be bought at $200-$300 compared to vermicompost’s $320 for 30 cubic meters volume.
Vermicompost production also has low transportation costs with its closest farm at 5 km away from where it will be used after processing.
This means that the cost of vermicompost transportation costs is lower than the conventional waste composting method and the maintenance cost of the vermicomposting facility is also less than that of industrial composting.
With building the brick liners and everything else, the ost sits at around $100 per half an acre of land. This size of land should be able to hold 6-8 beds of vermi beds bringing the cost to around $500 max.
You do not require an employee if you are free and can take care of the 6-8 beds by yourself. Acquiring the worms is going to cost you around $1,500 to get enough worms for the bed.
The rest of the things that you will need you can get for free. This includes water and shredded paper and dirt. The cost will amount roughly to $2,000-$2,500.
Income Expected From Vermicomposting
The income of vermicomposting is dependent on the market value of the products. The selling price will always fluctuate depending on demand and supply but it can be anywhere between $200 to $500 per bed.
The marketing strategies that you use are going to determine the number of clients at your disposal. Buyers are going to come in from different niches which include landscaping, agriculture, horticulture, and so forth.
An impressive marketing strategy for selling bulk orders or wholesale orders will guarantee a good monthly income running into thousands of dollars within a year’s period.
Vermicomposting Cost-Benefit Ratio Analysis
The vermicomposting cost-benefit ratio analysis below shows how much money can be made by vermicomposting based on the cost of setting up the project. This model shows that you will earn back your initial investment and then some if you are successful in selling organic products.
In order to sustain a vermicomposting business and have a great vermicomposting cost-benefit ratio, it is therefore important to have sufficient capital. On a half an acre piece of land, you could produce around 250 tons of vermicompost yearly but you have to understand the vermicompost project cost.
At $7 Mexican pesos per pound, that is potentially a gross profit of $1.25 million dollars per year depending on the demand for vermicompost from local customers and what you charge for your services.
If you can find a way to partner with government and non-government organizations gets even better. You could also try charities working towards organic soil fertility management, or even international agencies providing funding and support for organic agriculture in developing countries.
Here you will be able to further increase profits by increasing productivity through more efficient use of natural resources while at the same time improving human health and environmental quality because these are potential recipients who promise to buy your products.
Benefits of Vermicomposting
The use of vermicompost in farming is correlated to an increase in crop productivity due to its high nutrient content with added benefits such as improving soil structure which helps plant absorption of water, air circulation, and weed control.
There are many examples where farmers reported using eco-friendly techniques have increased their farm output and quality compared to conventional methods along with decreased application inputs.
For example, farmers who use vermicompost have reduced fertilizer application rate by 100 kg/ha when corn has been grown instead of 200 kg/ha for conventional farming methods.
However, even with these results reported by farmers who use vermicomposting, there are still limited studies that can provide the scientific basis to support their claims of high benefits from this practice.
Another benefit of vermicomposting is that it recycles wastes into high-grade organic fertilizers, which are soil conditioners and could replace chemical fertilizers.
Therefore, it is important to determine the value of vermicomposting in order for farmers to determine if a business model can be created using its finished product or if they should continue using conventional farming methods with some vermicompost applications in them.
Pros and Cons of Vermicomposting
Pros of Vermicomposting
There are many benefits that can be derived from the use of vermicompost in agriculture.
- It recycles organic wastes into valuable fertilizers and soil conditioners which help: improve crop yields, increase crop quality, and restore agro-ecosystems.
- These materials are rich in humic substances which improves plant growth by improving nutrient uptake.
- The presence of humic acids also provides protection against diseases because they have strong antioxidative properties.
- Vermicomposting cost-benefit ratio is higher than the risks and cons associated with it.
- Research has shown that the incorporation of vermicompost significantly increased wheat yield by 15%, compared to conventional farming methods with no vermicompost application. Vermicompost also increased the amino acid content of the wheat by up to 40% which lead to a grain taste improvement.
- When vermicomposting is done on a small scale, as with home vermicomposters, the costs are relatively low compared to buying compost from shops or making your own compost using conventional methods.
Cons of Vermicomposting
- The increased demand for organic fertilizers and the limited supply has caused vermicompost prices to rise significantly since 2003.
- Vermicompost is available in the United States, but it can still be pricey compared to other commercial fertilizers.
- The increased demand for vermicompost has also lead to a significant increase in the number of people attempting to take part in vermicomposting.
- When large quantities of organic waste are used, or earthworms are harvested on a large scale, costs can become very high.
- Harvesting worms that have been used to decompose food is also unhygienic and extremely dangerous if not done properly. This means that you will need professionals who know how to do it right!
What is Vermiculture?
Vermiculture is the process of producing vermicompost and it is simply the rearing of earthworms for this specific purpose.
The worms are considered to be a highly important component of the recycling process because they feed on organic waste in order to produce fertilizers which can then be used for gardening.
How do Worms Work?
Vermicompost production relies on three things, these include:
1) Organic matter – this term refers to any type of biological material or item that is derived from living organisms. This includes both volatile and non-volatile wastes such as kitchen scraps, manure, municipal solid waste (MSW), etc. including food residues like tea leaves, coffee grounds, and even items that have been composted.
2) Worms – compost worms or earthworms which can range from being either active or passive in the process of breaking down organic materials. Active types can be found under rocks whereas passive ones will live inside soil and other places where food sources are present.
3) Bedding – this refers to the type of material that is being used for bedding for the compost worms. Some of the most common types are peat moss, wood shavings, and vermiculite.
The Two Types of Vermicomposting Systems: Semi-Automatic and Automatic
Vermicomposters require manual intervention in order to regulate temperature, moisture, food source, and turning/agitation of materials inside the system. This can be done by simply moving a cover that allows airflow inside or by manually adding fresh organic matter into the feeding chamber.
A water supply is a very important aspect in regulating temperatures however some people do add slight amounts of water to the worm bin so that moisture is maintained.
It must be noted, however, that too much moisture will suffocate the worms and cause them to die so it’s best to maintain moisture levels within your vermicomposting system.
Vermicomposters are automatic in that they do not require human intervention unlike semi-automatic systems and operate by an on/off method of operation rather than manually turning or shaking materials inside.
In fact, most vermicomposters come with a timer that turns the unit on and off but some automatically regulate temperature through the use of thermostat control methods while also regulating airflow via fan systems which can be turned on or off based on a dial setting.
Is it Worth Starting a Vermicomposting Business?
The vermicomposting cost-benefit ratio shows that there are more benefits accrued from vermicomposting than the costs that are incurred. This shows that clearly starting a vermicomposting business can be profitable if you are keen on the details of the process.
It may require much monitoring and the inputs may seem costly at first, but by the first harvesting, you will have made back all the costs that you had incurred. But still, the vermicomposting cost-benefit ratio is great for anyone willing to join the business.
Vermicomposting might just be the future of composting and there already are people making a killing from it. With such a great understanding of the vermicompost project cost, why wait when you can join them now?