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This Young Agripreneur Turned 2500 Tons of Waste into Fertile Soil with Vermicomposting

Yash Dayal Sharma from Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh, is enhancing soil health using vermicomposting for Indian farms with his venture 'Fertile Beeghas'. Know his story!

Shreetu Singh
This Young Agripreneur Turned 2500 Tons of Waste into Fertile Soil with Vermicomposting and Trained 2500 Farmers
This Young Agripreneur Turned 2500 Tons of Waste into Fertile Soil with Vermicomposting and Trained 2500 Farmers

Soil is the foundation for crop growth, yet its fertility is diminishing daily due to the use of harmful chemicals, monocropping, and unsustainable farming practices. Farmers are increasingly feeling its impact, struggling with lower yields and poorer crop quality. Amid this growing crisis, a young and passionate agripreneur Yash Dayal Sharma is on a mission to rejuvenate the soil using vermicomposting.

Early Beginnings and Vision

Yash, hailing from the Saharanpur district in Uttar Pradesh, completed his Bachelor’s degree from Zakir Husain Delhi College, Delhi University, in 2020. Initially, he aspired to join the armed forces, but his dream was cut short due to his poor eyesight. This setback led him to question himself, if he would ever succeed in fulfilling his desire to serve the nation.

As part of his search for a new purpose, Yash discovered the crucial need for dedicated individuals in the field of agriculture. Recognizing the vital role of agriculture in national well-being, he found a new path to serve the country. 

Driven by this thought, Yash started a journey of learning and attending various institutes and courses, including public policy programs and training sessions at the National Centre for Organic and Natural Farming. Sharing his experience, Yash says, "Through these courses, I realized that excessive chemical use in agriculture not only depletes the soil's fertility but also poses serious health risks. While farmers prioritize productivity, the critical issue of soil health often remains neglected. This realization inspired me to take action in this direction."

Vermicomposting: From Waste to Fertility

Yash researched different techniques to replenish soil health, conducted field trials, and ultimately found vermicomposting, a natural process where earthworms transform organic waste into nutrient-rich compost, to be the best method. He explains, "Vermicompost contains all essential nutrients needed for plant growth. As we work with earthworms—living beings—it is crucial to care for them. We even play music to increase their numbers and composting efficiency."

Yash also contributed to empowering women by employing them to handle earthworms. Currently, 45 women are working with him. He explains, "Instead of using cow dung directly, we first lay down a layer of leaves. Then, we mix cow dung with wood powder to enhance the carbon content in the vermicompost, which is essential for earthworm nutrition. Additionally, we incorporate layers of cereal residues, known pollutants in Delhi, to harness their carbon for better utilization."

Scientific Validation and Expansion

Yash presented his product at the Department of Microbiology, IARI for sampling, trials, and testing. He also sought suggestions from the Principal Scientist in the Department of Microbiology, which prompted them to establish a storage facility where our vermicompost is stored immediately after preparation, shielded from sunlight.

Yash also conducted sampling and testing in different farmers' fields to understand the soil requirements and produce vermicompost accordingly. Till date, he have turned over 2500 tons of waste into fertile soil.

Yash Dayal shared the case of a farmer named Telu Pandit whose farm had an organic carbon content of 0.2. He emphasized that if this organic carbon content drops to 0, it results in barren soil, highlighting the necessity to increase it to 1 through concerted efforts. The farmer used Yash’s vermicompost three times a year, which doubled the organic carbon content to 0.4. Furthermore, Yash noted that such improvements can lead to a 50% reduction in water usage. He mentioned that this initiative has encouraged farmers to transition towards organic farming.

Empowering Farmers via Training

Yash actively provides training to farmers under the National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM) and State Rural Livelihoods Mission (SRLM), government programs. These sessions educate farmers on the significance of vermicompost and integrating animal husbandry practices to utilize cow dung as raw material. Over 2500 farmers have benefited from Yash's training. He stresses, "Prioritizing soil health is crucial for passing fertile land to future generations." He adds, "We encourage farmers to lead by example, producing vermicompost from their own cow dung. A farmer who started with 10 quintals now produces 100, sharing success and also his earthworms with others. We have also committed to purchasing any surplus vermicompost from them to ensure a steady income."

Yash Dayal Empowering Farmers Through Training
Yash Dayal Empowering Farmers Through Training

Foundation of 'Fertile Beeghas'

In 2021, Yash established 'Fertile Beeghas' with support from his father, family, and fellow farmers. Accessing 800-1000 bighas of land and drawing on a deep agricultural background, Yash promotes community collaboration, partnering with his brother to initiate operations. After an experimental first year, Yash earned 13.5 lakh rupees in 2023 and aims for 1 crore rupees by 2024's end.

Looking Ahead 

Yash recalled the challenges he faced when society initially opposed his work, but with the steadfast support of his family and brother, he overcome these obstacles. Convincing farmers to transition from chemical fertilizers to vermicomposting was another hurdle initially, but over time, those who were initially hesitant to use vermicompost now appreciate its benefits and have adopted it.

Advice for Sustainable Farming

Yash advises farmers to focus on soil health as a top priority for achieving better yields both now and in the future. By nurturing healthy soil through practices like vermicomposting, farmers can enhance nutrient availability, improve water retention, and build resilience against pests and diseases. This approach reduces reliance on chemical fertilizers, ensuring sustainable crop production and preserving the land's fertility for future generations. 

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