Biogas Plant Inspires Green House Project

FROM BIO GAS TO GREENHOUSE FARMING

STORY BY LADYA NGINA GATHU

Ladya Ngina Gathu in her Green house
Ladya Ngina Gathu in her Green house

Ladya Ngina Gathu is a 47 years old housewife who hails from Thogoto village, Kikuyu Division Kiambu County. She is married with four and has been blessed with four children. She lives with her family in a small plot of less than quarter an acre. This is where they have constructed their three bedroom house and are keeping four daily cows under zero grazing system.

Before constructing bio gas, Ladya used to spend at least ksh. 3000  (USD 34.78) every month to buy charcoal for cooking she couldn’t afford gas which was too expensive for her. She would do alot of casual labour only to spend the little money earned on buying charcoal. This made her life like a vicious cycle as she was not moving ahead in development.  This why when one of her neighbours constructed a bio gas plant in his home, Ladya jumped fast into the idea and immediately started gathering materials which took her three months and  in September 2010 she completed her plant. “This was like a dream to me and I couldn’t believe that it was happening.”

After installing bio gas, life was never the same again for Ladya. She started saving the money she was using for buying charcoal and within three months she opened a bank account. Better things were on the way for her as the project trained her on bio slurry use and organic farming. For her this was even better than the gas as she could now produce enough vegetables for her family hence saving alot of money which she used to spend buying them from the market. The program also trained her on farm enterprise diversification especially the use of greenhouse technology. With the money she had saved from buying charcoal and vegetables, she established two greenhouses which she planted in tomatoes. The harvest was very good and she earned a total of ksh. 34,000 (USD 394.20 ) from the tomato sales.

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Lydia’s firewood stove before she constructed bio gas      

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I’m proud of my green houses.

Lydia has learned to store her bio slurry properly in order to protect it from loosing nutrients through the heat from the sun or excess water. She has also learned to make compost in order to always replenish her soil fertility without using artificial fertilizers which are  quite costly . The greenhouse technology has also reduced the number of pests attacking her crops and therefore reducing dependence on synthetic pesticides. She uses bio slurry to control caterpillars which attack her crops.

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 Well stored bio slurry                                                                

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Nice carrot crop in a kitchen garden

Lydia Ngina Gathu is among the many farmers in Kenya who are proud of the good things the Kenya National Domestic Bio gas program (KENDBP) has done to them. She can now comfortably feed her family and has surplus to take to the market. “I’m now an empowered  woman  in my village and when I talk the others listen, says Lydia”