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The tallest tale in Murang’a
Murang’a tea and dairy farmer, Mr. Henry Ritho, is introducing a new product to the Kenyan market— maize cobs the ‘size of his wife’s forearm’ that grow on stalks two times Mr. Ritho’s own height! The secret? His Takamoto Biogas system.
Six months ago, Mr. Ritho tended his fields of tea, milked his two cows and harvested maize he could reach from the ground. Then he learned about biogas. “I went to a meeting with other farmers from my village. A man came to talk to us about an energy that would allow us to stop using firewood and charcoal and would be free.” “About 10 minutes into the presentation,”
Mr. Ritho applied for a loan from Equity Bank and began construction on his biogas plant. “One and a half months after this first meeting I got a call from a very happy Henry,” says Mr. Schutter. “His wife was cooking over the biogas stove!” Mr. Ritho and his family now had free gas for cooking and bright lights that can run all night, but he didn’t stop there.
Before adopting biogas, Mr. Ritho had already tried some innovative tricks on his farm to decrease labor and increase production. These methods included pipes that ran through the farm spreading the cow urine to water the crops. Once he had the biogas plant, he started piping the biofertilizer (what is left of the cow dung once it has produced biogas) around his farm. One lucky crop receiving this treatment is his maize.
Mr. Ritho’s enthusiasm is contagious when you see his four-meter tall maize stalks. He has actually doubled his maize production every harvest thereby proving that biogas is not only affordable by decreasing fuel costs, but a wise investment for a farmer with big ideas like Mr. Ritho.
Today Mr. Ritho’s wife is cooking ugali in a clean, smoke-free kitchen, their grandchildren are staying up after dark to continue their studies and Mr. Ritho is planning to purchase more piping and test his powerful biofertilizer on other crops.
Mr. Ritho and his family have taken a stand against rising fuel prices, expensive fertilizers and respiratory illness due to smoke. Instead they will be producing their own clean fuel and fertilizer from their Takamoto Biogas plant that will be available for future generations.
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Takamoto Biogas, founded in March 2011, is made up of a team of Americans and Kenyans all sharing a passion for biogas. Takamoto Biogas builds biogas systems and supplies biogas appliances to rural farmers in Kenya with the objective of creating energy security, improving the quality of life and protecting the earth’s natural resources. Takamoto Biogas systems are designed, built and tested to engineering standards. These plants eliminate crisis caused by fuel shortages, escalating fuel prices and respiratory illness plus they will improve production for Kenya’s rural farmers for many years to come. www.takamotobiogas.com