Image

Kenyan farmers make use of biogas

In 35 years working the land, Kenyan farmer Josphat Muchiri Njonge has never seen his coffee shrubs burst with so much fruit on his verdant hillside plot outside bustling Nairobi.

Same too goes for the banana and avocado trees swaying on his two-acre (0.8 hectare) family farm in Kiambu. The plot is also lush with kale, spinach, maize and the cereal amaranth.

His secret weapon lies underground.

There, in a brick tank, dung from his 10 dairy cows is quietly transformed into a rich, organic fertiliser that he says has supercharged the soil and harvests.

It isn’t the only benefit Njonge, and tens of thousands of other smallholder farmers across Africa derive from “biodigesters.”

These tanks, either made of masonry or modern plastics, act like a magical mechanical stomach.

In the darkness, natural micro-organisms break down manure in the absence of oxygen to create compost and biogas, a clean, renewable energy source.

Kenya boasts more biodigesters than anywhere else in Africa — a dung power that is being used to run everything from cooking stoves to farm equipment, phone chargers and shower heaters.

It is a smart use of land, something that the UN’s top scientific panel for climate change says will be crucial for keeping global temperatures at safer levels while feeding a growing population.

In a special report this week, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) detailed how intensive farming has degraded the environment — a crisis that requires a major rethink about how food is produced and land used wisely.

Agriculture and deforestation produces almost a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions, with methane from livestock a major contributor to a warming planet.

Biogas is essentially carbon neutral, and helps reduce fossil fuel emissions by replacing the firewood and charcoal traditionally burned in kitchens in Africa.

Anne Mburu uses a flexibag to generate biogas. She used to spend around $20 a month in buying firewood – now methane provides her fuel
Enormous demand for these cheap sources of wood has ravaged Kenya’s forests and degraded its soils.

Their fumes also kill, with 15,000 deaths a year from indoor air pollution, according to government figures.

“It’s very convenient for me. I’ve been using firewood, charcoal, but I don’t anymore,” said Anne Mburu, a farmer in Kiambu, who used to spend 2,000 shillings ($20/17 euros) a month on firewood before installing a modern, prefabricated digester alongside her cow shed.

Future energy

Biogas is filling a gap in East Africa, where developing economies are fast growing but power is costly, unreliable or non-existent.

The technology has been around in Kenya since the 1950s but was neglected until the Kenya Biogas Program (KBP) began promoting efforts to scale-up and commercialise the sector around 2009.

Since then, more than 100,000 people have gained access to biogas in their homes, more than anywhere else on the continent, says KBP.

Cow manure has to be mixed with a little water, and twigs have to be sifted, to prevent the biodigester from getting clogged
Ethiopia rivals Kenya in biogas production while initiatives in Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda are also gaining pace.

Tim Mungai, a business development manager at KBP, said there were “huge opportunities” for growth in the Kenyan market alone, where two million farmers keep cattle at home.

“Biogas will be part of the energy mix for the future to come,” he told AFP.

Local and foreign companies — including Dutch outfit SimGas, Mexican firm Sistema, and HomeBiogas, an Israeli manufacturer — are rolling out new technologies in East Africa.

Simpler “plug and play” models, often made from recycled plastic instead of traditional brick and mortar, can be installed in hours and generating gas within a day.

Manufacturers are testing new types of feed stock, diversifying from ordinary cow manure, which is mixed with a little water to prevent the system becoming clogged.

Some education facilities in Kenya are firing their kitchens on human excrement, and waste from slum latrines in Nairobi is also being transformed into green energy.

Others mulch food scraps and slaughterhouse waste while some greenhouses along Lake Naivasha, where Kenya’s world-famous roses blossom, have also been producing energy from flower offcuts.

Need to adapt

Farmers across Africa are learning to make do with less as arable land is swallowed by the continent’s fast-growing cities. Desertification, deforestation and degraded soils are also heaping further strain on land and farmer.

In the hilly breadbasket of Kiambu, coffee and concrete vie for space.

An udder choice: Green campaigners say biogas is the clean option compared to fossil fuels or firewood
Agricultural land has rapidly dwindled as Nairobi has pushed ever outwards, housing projects abutting plantations where harvesters hand-pick crops to feed Kenya’s mushrooming population.

“Farmers need to adapt on the issue of climate-smart agriculture,” said Mungai.

The compost left behind in the biogas production process is an added bonus, but important for land regeneration.

The “bioslurry” can be used in animal feed, to rear earthworms, replace chemical pesticides and restore humus to over-farmed soils.

Njonge, a 67-year-old veteran coffee farmer, swears by it.

The nutrient-dense plant food has doubled his coffee production in under three years, and improved the quality of his beans.

Apart from higher returns, and saving cash on fertilisers and firewood, he also gives some of the bounty to one of his sons living on an adjacent plot — he pipes the biogas to his home nearby.

And all of it thanks to his cows.

“It’s just like a miracle. Something which we never thought we would make use of, in that way, becomes something very amazing,” he chuckled.

AFP

Comments

  • Johnie

    07 August 2019, 11:19 am

    Just over two years priligy kaufen gnstig The finance ministry did not respond to phone calls noremails seeking comment. Earlier in August, the government\'sspokesman, Pawel Gras, said there were no indication thatRostowski\'s fate in the government would be in danger.\n

  • Lazaro

    07 August 2019, 11:08 am

    We\'d like to invite you for an interview nexium rxlist\r Parliament\'s Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) launched an inquiry after the Guardian newspaper reported allegations that Britain\'s GCHQ surveillance agency circumvented British laws protecting the privacy of communications by accessing data from the U.S. program.\n

  • Sherwood

    07 August 2019, 11:07 am

    I\'m interested in viprosta amazon On June 24, Tenet Healthcare Corp announced a deal to buy smaller rival Vanguard Health Systems Inc for $1.73 billion, putting it in a better position to benefit from the millions of Americans about to get insurance under Obama\'s healthcare reform.\n

  • Clayton

    07 August 2019, 11:06 am

    I\'d like to open a personal account cataflam receptkteles 19-year-old Emma Roberts can\'t drink in the U.S. yet ... but she can in the U.K.! Did the squeaky-clean starlet enjoy herself a little too much after the British Fashion Awards in London? Mum\'s the word!\n

  • Mikel

    07 August 2019, 11:06 am

    I do some voluntary work buy protandim The \"fracking\" process, in which water and chemicals are used to break up rock, sandstone and shale deposits to release gas, has sparked opposition from environmentalists elsewhere in Europe who fear it could pollute underground water.\n

  • Stanley

    07 August 2019, 11:06 am

    Do you like it here? chemmart pharmacy noranda \"(Humphrey\'s) detention is really disturbing. It gives me an uneasy feeling that people who, on the face of it, are trying to help companies and individuals navigate their way around the system are being targeted,\" said Gary Miller, litigation partner and head of the fraud group at London law firm Mishcon de Reya.\n

  • Modesto

    07 August 2019, 11:06 am

    A First Class stamp generic viagra cheap But unlike the Senate, it would include a two-yearsuspension of the medical device tax included in Obama\'shealthcare law, and a requirement that members of Congress andthe administration be covered under the law.\n

  • Jeremy

    07 August 2019, 11:05 am

    Incorrect PIN hume pharmacy Radio 5 live controller Jonathan Wall said: \"Colin leaves with our very best wishes having done such a good job on Fighting Talk over the last seven years, and on 5 live Sport over the last four years, especially during the Olympics.\"\n

  • Harvey

    07 August 2019, 11:05 am

    Can you put it on the scales, please? de.durapills.com In his new music, Drake isn’t being especially ingratiating or cottoning to commercial expectations, not that he ever did. Yet, even more so than before, the songs float and wander rather than punch or force.\n

  • Fausto

    07 August 2019, 11:05 am

    What do you like doing in your spare time? 10mg amitriptyline withdrawal symptoms Readers who put stock in the almanac's forecasts may do well to stock up on long johns, especially if they're lucky enough to get tickets to the Super Bowl on Feb. 2. The first Super Bowl held outdoors in a cold-weather environment could be both super cold and super messy, with a big storm due Feb. 1 to 3, the almanac says.\n

  • Rodolfo

    07 August 2019, 10:56 am

    Could you tell me my balance, please? no xtreme\r Not long ago, Ryan was kicking butt, taking names and telling everyone who was next on his list. His self-confidence, coupled with the Jets’ early success, emboldened him and helped changed the culture of the franchise.\n

  • Leigh

    07 August 2019, 10:55 am

    International directory enquiries meglio cialis viagra or levitra More than half of respondents think that their countries are run by big interests looking out for themselves “entirely” or to a “large extent.” It’s no surprise, then, that protesters in countries like Turkey, Egypt, Chile, Spain, and Brazil have used political corruption as a rallying cry.\n

  • Jarvis

    07 August 2019, 10:55 am

    Where are you calling from? oxytocin nasal spray migraine australia After Tuesday\'s initial round, Iranian Deputy ForeignMinister Abbas Araqchi suggested Tehran was prepared to addresslong-standing calls for the U.N. nuclear watchdog to have widerand more intrusive inspection powers.\n

  • Boyce

    07 August 2019, 10:55 am

    A jiffy bag zyban recept \"We are equally as concerned as parents and we take it very seriously that this happened, it happens that this child brought a gun to school in his backpack,\" said Shelby County Schools Chief Communication Officer Emily Yellin.\n

  • Frankie

    07 August 2019, 10:55 am

    How do you spell that? icc.optum.com \"I don\'t know how many media commitments she\'s had; maybe she\'s done a good job of lessening the distractions,\" former No. 1 Karrie Webb said. \"It\'s hard not to get caught up in it yourself, and thinking ahead about the magnitude of what you\'re doing. I don\'t think too many people would be handling it as well as she is.\n

  • Isidro

    07 August 2019, 10:54 am

    An accountancy practice can you buy doxycycline over the counter australia Hamilton, who declined to say whether he would make the tracks available to the public, added that the style of music was R&B and that he had a team of people helping him. “I do everything apart from produce,” he said. “I come up with the melodies on a guitar. And I write.”\n

  • Fredrick

    07 August 2019, 10:54 am

    I\'m not interested in football viviscal price uk NEW YORK, Sept 11 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were set for aslightly lower open on Wednesday, as the S&P 500 appeared set topause after a six-day run of gains and President Barack Obamapledged to explore Russia\'s diplomatic plan to remove chemicalweapons from Syria.\n

  • Elvin

    07 August 2019, 10:54 am

    Get a job nerve pain away walgreens Yellen made clear she would focus squarely on continuing theFed\'s efforts to strengthen the economic recovery and to boostemployment - points that could rub some Republican lawmakers,who think the Fed has pumped too much money into the economy,the wrong way.\n

  • Cortez

    07 August 2019, 10:54 am

    We\'re at university together ir.actiniumpharma.com As he’s speaking, he shares a bowl of bananas outside his wooden lean-to. He dreams aloud about the VRAE finally developing economically, with the communities manufacturing legal coca products, such as teas and candies, instead of just selling sacks of dried leaves.\n

  • Bob

    07 August 2019, 10:54 am

    I\'d like to send this parcel to professional medical billing services llc\r Like the Sasquatch Genome Research Project I thought that perhaps the huge amount of money spent on the research would lend credibility, so I told Quin that the project spent half a million dollars on the five year project, according to ABC News.\n

  • Jaime

    07 August 2019, 10:53 am

    What sort of music do you like? zavuri In other parts of Syria, al Qaeda-affiliated forces haveenticed rebels to join them. Hundreds of rebels, includingentire brigades, have pledged allegiance to ISIS and itsdomestic branch the Nusra Front in northern and eastern Syria,activists and Islamist sources said on Friday.\n

  • Daron

    07 August 2019, 10:53 am

    Please wait buy clindamycin 2 cream The state government said in a statement it expects tocomplete the sale of Macquarie Generation, which represents some26 percent of the state\'s generation capacity, during the2013-2014 financial year.\n

  • Jimmie

    07 August 2019, 10:53 am

    Do you play any instruments? enalapril-hctz 10-25mg All season, the Royals have been creating an alternately auspicious, infuriating, thrilling, befuddling and mesmerizing soap opera. But there is no guiding light for how this world will turn. Every day is its own independent chapter. About every unstable element of that impenetrable dynamic was in play all at once Thursday at Kauffman Stadium, where they prevailed 7-6 over Seattle after trailing 5-0 in a wild microcosm of their season that ended with a renewed sign of hope in more ways than one.\n

  • Alex

    07 August 2019, 10:53 am

    I\'m interested in this position aristo pharma share price But in early June 2013, when she was 2, Khin Phyu Zin developed diarrhea. The fluid pouring out of her was milky white, a symptom of cholera. Earnings from the food cart barely allowed the family to eat, so Daw Aung Kyi borrowed money for a taxi ride to a hospital 10 minutes away. She later sold the family’s most valuable assets — two gold rings — to pay for expenses related to care.\n

  • Jozef

    07 August 2019, 10:53 am

    How do I get an outside line? nexium 40 cijena Kidd is the sixth player to have his jersey retired by the franchise, but only Julius Erving, who played with the Nets in the ABA, eclipsed what the point guard did with the club, winning two titles.\n

  • Lindsey

    07 August 2019, 10:53 am

    I\'m on business volume capsule nespresso The debt offering that garnered the most criticism was aprivately placed $3 billion 10-year bond in late March, whichdebt capital market banking sources said made its debt moreexpensive and netted the U.S. investment bank $700 million inprofits, according to IFR.\n

  • Graham

    07 August 2019, 10:52 am

    I\'m a partner in illuminexa et ambrosia For Lucke and his supporters, that\'s a sign his party\'s message resonates with ordinary Germans even though their country was spared serious trouble during the euro crisis and recently returned to economic growth.\n

Leave a Comment

Recent Posts