The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is introducing vermi technology or the use of cultured earthworms on a nationwide scale for composting and fish feeding to cut back on fish cost as feeds, increase livelihood opportunities in the regions and reduce environmental pollution.
The program dubbed as Vermi compost and Vermi meal Production Program is being spearheaded by the Philippine Council for Aquatic and Marine Research and Development (PCAMRD), the DOST’s aquatic and marine research arm.
According to PCAMRD, the cultured earthworms species are already being mass produced and are ready for distribution nation wide. Vermi compost or worm compost is an environment friendly way of decomposting.
The use of earthworms as feed or vermi meal is also encouraged by PCAMRD, particularly as substitute to “trash fish” for livestock feed: For feeding fish and crabs. “Trash fish” are under size and low value fish that are processed in fish paste and fish sauce for human consumption.
Its supply is seasonal and is more expensive compared to earthworms. Cultured earthworms, particularly the African night crawler (Eudrilus eugniae) can be an economical, high quality and easily produced replacement for “trash fish” required by cage fish farmers in the country.
There are about twenty countries in the world where earthworms exist and four hundred species of them are known where half are exotic. Cultured earthworms are a good source and a good substitute of animal protein and can be used as feed for fishes, and poultry, among others.
It can also be used as human food. Not all earthworm are bad or considered as parasites. It contains sixty five percent of protein. Moreover, among the health benefits of earthworms are the notable decrease in blood pressure and blood clotting in our system when taken as food.