1st International Earthworm Industry Forum, Shanghai June 24 – 29, 2018

Charles Darwin did observation on the role of earthworm in soil health, fertility and productivity for over 40 years. He published the first monumental book on earthworm with the title: The Formation of Vegetable Mould, through the Action of Worms, with Observations on Their Habits (1881). Since then the scientific research, technical application, and development of the earthworms in industry have been going well to save the earth. Darwin would have been proud with this recent progress on the First International Earthworm Congress that will be held on June 24 – 29, 2018 in Shanghai, China. The Congress is a “fusion” of the 11th International Symposium on Earthworm Ecology, 8th International Oligochaete Taxonomy Meeting, and 1st International Earthworm Industry Forum.

My first visit to the vermicomposting industry for the community of 40,000 people was at Sovadec, Montelimar, France; after meeting the worm expert Marcel Bouche in 1993. Then in 2000, I visited Zeeland Wormerkultur with the production of worms 1-2 tons per month in The Netherlands; where I talked with the contact person Pieter Blusse. In the same year I participated the Vermillenium conference in Michigan, U.S.A. with the special program in worm business forum, but it was still premature. In 2004, I was in Oklahoma, U.S.A. and saw the buy-back business in worms of hundred worm farmers with overproduction of worms that could not buy-back by the initiator company. In 2006, I involved in consultation to send 2-3 tons of worms from the natural compost piles in Halifax to the vermicomposting facility Forterra in Ontario, Canada. All of the businesses above failed, although in the beginning each worm business was prosperous. Related to those, I would like to share in this presentation through Burnaby Red Wigglers activities.

We do consultation and franchise on vermiculture-vermicomposting. Our main products are compost worms, cocoons, inoculums, and worm castings. I would like to share my experience and knowledge with all of you in this Industry Forum at the 1st International Earthworm Congress, in Shanghai.

I hope that the 1st International Earthworm Industry Forum will develop a feasible networking in vermiculture-vermicomposting business to support the natural way of farming and will give more contribution and get more profit in the earthworm industry, also for the farmers. One of the objectives of my contribution in this forum is to promote at least 5-10% of the composting facilities and activities in utilizing the vermiculture technology for resource organic waste management, organic farming, fishing, animal feed, pharmaceuticals, bioremediation etc.

Organic waste is an infinite resource as well as the main focus of current Zero Waste program for the sustainability of our planet. Organic waste is about 30-40% of the current waste stream and consist of green and brown wastes that can be found anywhere in small and large amount continuously. The potential sources of green wastes which are rich in nitrogen can be found in food waste and farm waste, manufacturing, and municipal waste etc. Sources of brown wastes can be found from paper waste, sawdust and other sources that are rich in carbon material.

The growth of organic foods market has been over 25% annually for the last several years and shows no sign of slowing down. The trend of banning pesticide use on lawns, parks, garden and fields is promoting the use of environmentally friendly soil which is a mixed media for growing healthy plants. The world-wide emphasis on bioremediation of contaminated soils and decreasing greenhouse-gas generation will result in the development of a carbon-credit trading system around the world.

The kind of products, segment market, distribution through consultation and franchise model will be shared in this presentation with the 3 goals: The farmers or industries can double their composting worm population and biomass within 2-3 months in favorable condition. Approximately 2-5% of the organic waste will be transferred to composting worm biomass or protein. And approximately 20-25% of the organic waste will be transferred to high-quality worm castings or vermicompost.

See you All (worm lovers, farmers, growers, researchers, teachers, entrepreneurs, engineers, decision makers) at the 1st International Earthworm Congress in Shanghai, China June 24 – 29, 2018.  http://www.isee11.org/

– Bintoro Gunadi

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