BIOGAS: FOR REDUCED HOUSEHOLD EXPENDITURE AND INCREASED FARM PRODUCTIVITY

The 2011 Kenya National Biogas Users Survey indicated up to 100% cash savings from money previously spent on purchasing of LPG, among the households whose plants were functioning efficiently. There are numerous cases of savings on other forms of fuel such as firewood and charcoal as well. Bioslurry generated from the biogas plants have helped farmers reduce on their farming costs and improve their yields. Below are stories from farmers undertaking quite divergent farming activities, yet the results are the same: reduced household expenditure on energy, reduced farming cots and improved yields!

Maize and Beans Farmer

Teresia Wanja Murimi, a small scale farmer form Bahati, Nakuru (Kenya) has grown maize and beans on 2 acres piece of land for many years. Her yield was reducing each subsequent year. This was quite discouraging bearing the costs that she incurred in the farm, especially on the purchase of artificial fertilizer: two bags for planting and another two for top-dressing; all at a cost of Ksh 11,000!

With an intervention of KENDBIP (Kenya National Domestic Biogas Programme) she constructed a biogas plant in 2010. Part of the advice given by KENDBIP was for her to dig two compost pits.

Compost pits are where organic waste and bio-slurry are put. Through organic processes, they convert to compost after about three months. Once the compost is ready, they are scooped from the pit and packed in sacs for storage for use.

Since she started using compost her yield shot from 16 bags to 32 bags of maize each year. At a price of Ksh. 2500 per bag she earns an extra of Ksh. 40,000 from maize alone!

The above is besides the savings she has made on cost of energy for cooking. The table below indicates the costs she had been incurring on energy before she installed the biogas plant. These costs are no more.

Source of energy Monthly requirement Cost per month  Total cost saved  in Ksh
LPG gas 13kg

1

2900

34,800

Chacoal bag

1

800

9,600

Fire wood bunch

2

200

2400

Total saving on energy

46,800

 

 

Fish Farmer

James Kirubi a farmer in Elburgon, Molo (Kenya) constructed his biogas plant in the year 2010. He has had a fish pond since 2009, feeding the fish with fish pellets at a rate of 3kg per day. KENDBIP trained the farmer on application of bio-slurry in the fish pond for growth of algae and planktons to feed the fish.

Mr. Kirubi’s fish pond

Bio-slurry mixed with compost is introduced to the fish pond by suspending it in a sac so that nutrients can dissolve in water and allow the other organic waste to be removed after two weeks.

This practice has seen the planktons increase to a level where use of fish pellets has reduced from 3kg to only half a kilogram per day. Going by the current market price of fish pellet of Ksh 60 per kg the farmer is saving Ksh. 150 daily amounting to Ksh. 54,750 annually!

Mr Kirubi also uses Biogas for all his energy needs including cooking and lighting. Biogas helps him save Ksh 2,900 that was formally used for purchase of LPG gas after every three months. That amounts to savings of Ksh. 11,600 per year.

Tomato Farmer

Margaret Kihiko, a small scale farmer on a two acre piece of land has been happy since 2010; the year

Margaret in her green house

she constructed 8m3 biogas plant. Use of bioslurry in her greenhouse made her realize cost reduction in the production of tomatoes tremendously.

Margaret prepares liquid manure and adds it straight to the water tank that irrigates the greenhouse through a drip kit. Application of the liquid manure to the green house has seen her cut cost of fertilizer amounting to Ksh. 6,400 per month. A consistent harvest of 300kg per week for 34 weeks sold at Ksh. 50 per kilogram has made her realize a turnover of Ksh. 510,000. In addition, more customers now prefer her produce because they are not sprayed with chemicals, a fact that has seen market for her produce broaden.

Besides the gains in the farm, her kitchen has never been the same; the smoke and soot are no longer a problem. Her cost of cooking used to be Ksh. 5000 per month when she was using firewood, charcoal and LPG gas.  Today her only cost is labor for feeding biogas plant, a task that she dutifully carries out herself.

The 2011 Kenya National Biogas Users Survey indicated up to 100% cash savings from money previously spent on purchasing of LPG, among the households whose plants were functioning efficiently. There are numerous cases of savings on other forms of fuel such as firewood and charcoal as well. Bioslurry generated from the biogas plants have helped farmers reduce on their farming costs and improve their yields. Below are stories from farmers undertaking quite divergent farming activities, yet the results are the same: reduced household expenditure on energy, reduced farming cots and improved yields!

 

Maize and Beans Farmer

Teresia Wanja Murimi, a small scale farmer form Bahati, Nakuru (Kenya) has grown maize and beans on 2 acres piece of land for many years. Her yield was reducing each subsequent year. This was quite discouraging bearing the costs that she incurred in the farm, especially on the purchase of artificial fertilizer: two bags for planting and another two for top-dressing; all at a cost of Ksh 11,000!

With an intervention of KENDBIP (Kenya National Domestic Biogas Programme) she constructed a biogas plant in 2010. Part of the advice given by KENDBIP was for her to dig two compost pits.

Compost pits are where organic waste and bio-slurry are put. Through organic processes, they convert to compost after about three months. Once the compost is ready, they are scooped from the pit and packed in sacs for storage for use.

Since she started using compost her yield shot from 16 bags to 32 bags of maize each year. At a price of Ksh. 2500 per bag she earns an extra of Ksh. 40,000 from maize alone!

The above is besides the savings she has made on cost of energy for cooking. The table below indicates the costs she had been incurring on energy before she installed the biogas plant. These costs are no more.

 

Source of energy Monthly requirement Cost per month  Total cost saved  in Ksh
LPG gas 13kg

1

2900

34,800

Chacoal bag

1

800

9,600

Fire wood bunch

2

200

2400

Total saving on energy

46,800

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fish Farmer

James Kirubi a farmer in Elburgon, Molo (Kenya) constructed his biogas plant in the year 2010. He has had a fish pond since 2009, feeding the fish with fish pellets at a rate of 3kg per day. KENDBIP trained the farmer on application of bio-slurry in the fish pond for growth of algae and planktons to feed the fish.

 

Bio-slurry mixed with compost is introduced to the fish pond by suspending it in a sac so that nutrients can dissolve in water and allow the other organic waste to be removed after two weeks.

 

This practice has seen the planktons increase to a level where use of fish pellets has reduced from 3kg to only half a kilogram per day. Going by the current market price of fish pellet of Ksh 60 per kg the farmer is saving Ksh. 150 daily amounting to Ksh. 54,750 annually!

 

Mr. Kirubi’s fish pond

Mr Kirubi also uses Biogas for all his energy needs including cooking and lighting. Biogas helps him save Ksh 2,900 that was formally used for purchase of LPG gas after every three months. That amounts to savings of Ksh. 11,600 per year.

 

Tomato Farmer

Margaret Kihiko, a small scale farmer on a two acre piece of land has been happy since 2010; the year she constructed 8m3 biogas plant. Use of bioslurry in her greenhouse made her realize cost reduction in the production of tomatoes tremendously.

 

Margaret prepares liquid manure and adds it straight to the water tank that irrigates the greenhouse through a drip kit. Application of the liquid manure to the green house has seen her cut cost of fertilizer amounting to Ksh. 6,400 per month. A consistent harvest of 300kg per week for 34 weeks sold at Ksh. 50 per kilogram has made her realize a turnover of Ksh. 510,000. In addition, more customers now prefer her produce because they are not sprayed with chemicals, a fact that has seen market for her produce broaden.

 

Margaret in her green house

Besides the gains in the farm, her kitchen has never been the same; the smoke and soot are no longer a problem. Her cost of cooking used to be Ksh. 5000 per month when she was using firewood, charcoal and LPG gas.  Today her only cost is labor for feeding biogas plant, a task that she dutifully carries out herself.