Socioeconomic Dynamics of Vermicomposting Systems in Lebanon
Keywords:Vermicomposting, Earthworms, Lebanon, Community Waste Management, Microenterprise
AbstractVermicomposting is a sustainable means of waste management, rural development, and eco-agricultural improvement. This study examines its potential in Lebanon, specifically from a microenterprise angle. First, we conducted four interviews with rural residents already practicing vermicomposting, and the interviews reveal that community-scale vermicomposting enterprises hold considerable promise. This positive feedback led us to undertake a feasibility study that examines the economic dynamics of a micro-vermicompost industry across three sectors. We calculate that the government or municipalities who pay for waste management stand to save $1901 per ton of vermicompost produced due to a reduction in the amount of solid waste requiring collection, handling, and processing. According to the microenterprise model proposed here, one ton of vermicast could sell for $1,970. The farmer/ consumer can expect approximately $110–$350 in additional income from applying one ton of vermicompost due to offset costs of traditional fertilizer and pesticides, reduced irrigation costs, and foregone illness expenses (associated with pesticide exposure). Combined, the value of one ton of vermicompost is estimated between $2,280 and $2,510. It becomes clear that rurally based vermicomposting microenterprises offer immediate socioeconomic advantages, such as those mentioned above, as well as a host of indirect advantages, including environmental improvements, support of local economies, and a more wholesome and locally based food system. Considering that the body of knowledge surrounding vermi¬composting is largely science-oriented, this study is significant in its contribution to the often-overlooked aspects of socioeconomics and practical application.
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