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Innovation in the Face of Scarcity.

Updated: Apr 24, 2023

Wambui, a 30 year old mother of two, is passionate about farming and her experience with biogas production has made her an advocate of green energy. A few months ago, Wambui heard about the Fanikisha Program from a friend and decided to enroll. Since then, she has learned business management skills and has greatly improved the operational efficiency of her farm such as effective time management, record keeping of her finances and expansion plans.

When rainfall was scarce in the past few months, her family income which depended heavily on their farm started waning. She had to come up with creative methods to sustain her household's needs.

Wambui made a smart decision to grow her chicken population instead of consuming all the eggs. She opted to purchase fertilized eggs, each costing Ksh 15. When one of her chicken laid eggs and was ready to incubate them, Wambui added some of the fertilized eggs to the laid eggs for the chicken to incubate.

After 21 days, the chicks hatched, and Wambui took them and placed them with another chicken that was already raising chicks. She then bought more fertilized eggs and put them in the coop for the first chicken to incubate. Wambui implemented a less expensive, time-efficient solution by repeating this cycle three times over the course of 62 days. In doing so, she managed to raise a brood of 60 chicks instead of purchasing them at Ksh 120 each or relying on her existing chickens to lay and hatch eggs.

Due to the scarcity of water, Wambui's plants were struggling. However, she found a way to keep them healthy by using dry leaves. This technique helped her reduce water consumption while maintaining plant health. By effectively managing water consumption, she was able to keep the plants healthy and vibrant.

Additionally, she planted a multi-story garden which allowed her to maximize the use of available space while decreasing evaporation and thus saving irrigation water. Wambui planted vegetables on the multi-story garden such as spinach and coriander further cutting her family’s food costs.

Wambui got a biogas digester installed on her farm. She collects organic waste from her cows, mixes it with a little water and feeds it into the digester

through an inlet. The digester then generates biogas that is connected through a pipe to Wambui’s cooker in her kitchen and is used as a fuel source. The methane that is produced is used for domestic activities like cooking, which decreases its global warming potential. Before the installation, Wambui struggled to find firewood for her cooking due to the rapid deforestation activity in the area.

She then opted to start using charcoal, which cost her around Ksh 80 per day, and would only be enough to cook 2 meals. When she heard about the biogas digester, she was thrilled because it would greatly reduce their fuel costs. All waste that is not processed by the digester is used as fertilizer on her farm, making plants resilient against pests, erosion and droughts. The digester costs Ksh 76,800, and it is inclusive of the biogas system, piping, double burner stove and installation. Wambui has a manageable payment plan of Ksh 3199 per month for a total of 24 months, with no down payment or interest charged.

Wambui has bravely overcome agricultural challenges by introducing modern techniques and expanding her skills. This has consequently improved the quantity and quality of produce. Additionally, the amount of time she spends on farming is also considerably less now, allowing her to pursue a side job selling clothes. Wambui is thankful for the Fanikisha program and all that it has done for her. The courses she took through the program allowed her to explore new ways of managing her farm, enabling her to broaden the horizons of what was possible.

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