A local researcher, Dr Ephrem Whingwiri is producing organic fertilisers that can be combined with chemical fertilisers to increase maize yield by 70 percent.

The organic fertiliser dubbed ‘vermicompost,’ is derived from the waste of earthworms.

For three years, Agritex extension officers at Domboshava Training Centre working with Dr Whingwiri have been conducting field trials involving using vermicompost and common chemical fertilisers to boost yields.

Domboshava Agritex Extension Officer, Tinashe Maredza said the result is bigger crop size and better yield by as much as 70 percent.

The organic fertiliser is produced by collecting waste and feeding it to earthworms.

“The excretion of the earthworms is what is called vermicompost. Vermicompost is equivalent to Compound D and vermifoliar is equivalent to Ammonium Nitrate, so farmers stand to record huge savings on fertiliser costs,” said Dr Whingwiri, the Zimbabwe Earthworm Farms founder.

Cuba has the widest production of vermicompost at 1 million tonnes per year.