Renewable energy to reduce impact on deforestation

Grace Munyi working on her biogas system that uses at Pig Waste. Kathangari village in Embu. April 27, 2023 [Murithi Mugo, Standard]

Stakeholders in the agricultural practice are optimistic that the shift to renewable energy through the setting up of biogas systems for small-scale dairy farmers will reduce the Impact of deforestation.

The Homebiogas Vice President of New Markets Muli Lahav noted that numbers based on research indicate that any family basing their Cooking and warming on charcoal and firewood would consume 14 adult trees annually.

Speaking during the opening of Embu County Home biogas hub, Lahav noted that farmers with 2-10 cows can start since the system treats 2-4 buckets of cow dung every day producing methane gas that can cook for about five hours a day.

He added that the system also produces about 100 litres of rich nutrients that are used as manure for cash crops to improve the fertility of the soil hence increasing harvest and yield.

"We want to introduce leverage through the agricultural knowledge that comes from Israel to farmers' hands in order to make them better with more posterity on their profession and their families," Lahav said.

Homebiogas Kenya Country Head Corinne Mahoro said they have set up 1,500 biogas systems in Kiambu, Muranga, Embu, Meru and Nyeri counties since Jan 2022.

"The system costs sh 87,500 and a discount of 15% is given to those who pay upfront but farmers who pay monthly must deposit sh 5,000 first and then sh 3,300 monthly for 25 months.

A biogas system that uses Pig waste. April 27, 2023 [Murithi Mugo, Standard]

The chief officer of livestock development in Embu County Hellen Munene observed that the biogas system would help farmers cut costs on cooking and at the same time conserve forests.

She noted that the county government will support farmers to Improve their breeds through capacity-building initiatives and training.

Victoria Wanja who works with the farmers noted that the monthly payments were equivalent to their spending before installing the system adding that it is efficient in the Kitchen.

70-year-old Grace Munyi from Kathangari village in Embu and who retired from nursing in 2007 noted that life has become easier since installing the system that uses pig waste in September 2022.

"I am free from smoke and the hustle to look for charcoal and firewood, while the time taken to cook has been shortened," Ms Munyi said.

Grace Munyi using gas to cook at her home in Kathangari village in Embu. April 27, 2023 [Murithi Mugo, Standard]

A farmer George Kivuti from Kirigi Ngandori village observed that he had benefitted from the biogas system he installed eight years ago where his family of eight has two kitchens both supplied by the single system.

"You wouldn't believe it if you look at the coffee in my farm which is doing extremely well due to the rich nutrients, a byproduct from the system.

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