KUANTAN: Worm farming in fertiliser projects to boost agricultural yields is being pioneered in the East Coast Economic Region by the Pahang Farmers Organisation Authority with 1,000 farmers from the Kuantan Farmers Association being involved in a project.
According to Aiza Agro Sdn Bhd, a company breeding and selling worm fertiliser in Pahang, more fruit and vegetable farmers were switching to worm fertiliser because of its potency and lower procurement costs.
Aiza Agro managing director Zamsulidayat Ismail said that worm fertiliser cost much less as farmers needed only a third of the amount, compared to chemical fertiliser.
He said, in addition to increasing yields and enhancing soil quality, worm fertiliser decreased the need for chemical fertiliser.
It helps farmers tap into the growing demand for organic food.
“They also won’t need to use fertiliser as frequently as before.
“Worm fertiliser costs RM3,500 a tonne while chemical fertiliser costs RM4,000,” he said.
Zamsulidayat said the use of worm fertiliser also required less water and helped the plants become more disease-resistant.
“Demand for worm fertiliser is growing and more farmers in the east coast are venturing into organic farming.
“Our firm will open several farms in Terengganu before the year ends.
“We have three farms in Kuantan to cater to the increasing demand,” he said, adding that the company had a contract-farming model with worm farmers who met the worm-fertiliser quality benchmark.
He said, in a move to educate potential farmers and encourage worm farming, Aiza Agro and AZR Agro Centre, another worm-farming company, would organise seminars in the east coast.
Zamsulidayat said that entrepreneurs interested in worm farming could seek financial assistance from AgroBank and Tabung Ekonomi Kumpulan Usahawan Nasional.
Latest statistics from the Agriculture Department show that Malaysia’s organic food market was expected to grow 20% per annum.
Last year, 2,367ha were farmed organically, up from 131ha in 2001 when organic farming was formally introduced.