Invasive plant species turns vermicompost medium

kolkata: The poisonous Parthenium plant considered to be one of the world's most destructive invasive plant species, threatening biodiversity, food security and human health across numerous countries has emerged as a wonderful vermicompost medium in area based rural development projects through increased agricultural production undertaken by West Bengal Comprehensive Area Development Corporation (WBCADC) in Bengal.

CADC – an autonomous organisation under state Panchayats and Rural Development department has found a positive impact by using parthenium as vermicompost for growing vegetables particularly at Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK), Sonamukhi in Bankura.

"We have witnessed excellent growth of vegetables like tomato, capcisum, black gram, cucumber etc not only at KVK but also in some other projects in a number of districts. So we are seriously planning to go for commercial patent," Soumyajit Das, Administrative Secretary, CADC said.

Before flowering parthenium plants that are available in abundance besides railway tracks and several other condemned places are collected and the materials are chopped into 5-10 cm length and spread into 10 cm height above the height with radius 1.0 m diameter.

Then other necessary components are mixed for preparing vermicompost. "Parthenium has high carbon content so it can also act as a good pesticide. It has been found that there is no need of chemical fungicide in seedbed after application of parthenium based vermicompost," a senior CADC official said.

Parthenium growing in agricultural areas can poison livestock which in turn can then affect human health.

The herb – a native to Central and South America has spread to over 40 countries over recent decades including India.

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