Worm Farming and Composting in Thailand. Vermiculture, which some advocates have dubbed “the organic garbage disposal,” recycles food waste into a rich, dark, good-for-your-garden soil conditioner. And despite its reputation, worm composting doesn’t need to be a smelly endeavor. If you take care to set things up correctly, your compost bin shouldn’t be stinky. Composting with worms (a.k.a. vermicomposting) is the proverbial win-win situation. It gives you a convenient way to dispose of organic waste, such as vegetable peelings. It saves space in the county landfill, which is good for the environment. It gives worms a happy home and all the free “eats” that they could want. For those that have container mini-gardens or even potted plants, homegrown compost is a great way to feed and nurture plants. With the right worm composting equipment turning table scraps into valuable vermicompost is easy! Our website supplies you with information about everything you need to get started: buying worms, making a container and how to do the “bedding.”
Vermiculture and Vermicomposting in Bangkok, Thailand
Vermicomposting is being seen more and more as a way to help our environment and reduce waste. The City of Oakland in California has a recycling program expressly for food waste. (It supplies the bin and you supply the organic garbage.) The City of Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada, supplies residents with worm bins and even has a hotline you can call to find where to buy worms (see Urban Agriculture Notes). Spokane, Washington posts information on how to get started composting with worms to encourage residents to try this environmentally friendly way of disposing of garbage. So what do you do if you are in Bangkok (Thailand)? Will the Bangkok city administration provide you any help? Hardly! So we will help you because we want to learn ourselves – just for fun. So let’s get started.
“Dr. Worm”, Associate Professor Dr Somchai Chantsavang of Kasetsart (Retired)
Worm farming still remains a (small) novelty in Thailand despite having been practised in the US and India for more than two centuries. We don’t know exactly how many worm farms there are in Thailand. A good guess would be around 50 to maybe 100 ventures in the country that raise and sell a variety of earthworm species as well as their by-products such as vermicompost fertilizer and worm tea, all earth-friendly substances good for the soil. And basically, they have all learned from one person (at Kasetsart university of course), Dr. Somchai Chantsavang, who was the pioneer of worm farming in Thailand. Those who run worm farms today are mostly among the around 2,000 people who have been trained in vermiculture farming by Kasetsart University’s animal science department. They started this course in 2004 in order to promote the use of earthworms for environmentally friendly agriculture. “Dr. Worm” Professor Somchai is now retired but has his own business supplying worms and worm casting and tea to interested buyers. He lives near our home here at Chatuchak, but since we haven’t yet talked to him or visited him we won’t give you any further visiting or business details today.
Teetat Worm Farm Training Centre
Where there’s muck there’s brass: Mr Teetat shows his precious product. Worms may not be cute, but for vermiculture farmers such as Teetat Bamrungsab, the squirming little creatures are potentially good business. His Teetat Farm is among the ventures in Thailand that raise and sell a variety of earthworm species as well as their by-products such as vermicompost fertilizer and worm tea, all earth-friendly substances good for the soil. After graduating with a degree in electrical engineering, he worked in the animal feed industry, but his interest in farming led him to quit his routine job and start growing vegetables. The head of the 2007 training class said of the 40 trainees, Mr. Teetat is the only one actively continuing earthworm-farming, and his farm to the west of Bangkok is now a training center.
Spending half a day at Teetat Farm will enable trainees to learn how to run a vermiculture farm easily and with minimal costs. Mr. Teetat adds the feed to his ‘worm condos’ that retail for (xxx) to (xxx) baht a set. “It does not require a large area. You can place containers to house the worms in your backyard, garage or any free space. It depends on the size of the business,” said Mr Teetat, who has no farming background. After graduating with a degree in electrical engineering, he worked in the animal feed industry, but his interest in farming led him to quit his routine job and start growing vegetables. Initially, his vermiculture training was only to support his vegetable farming, as he learned that the use of worm castings could help to promote growth. After training at Kasetsart, he gained more knowledge and became a full-time vermiculture farmer.