Solomon Mutahi Maina is a young farmer in Nyeri county, Mukurweini sub county Gatura village. He is a coffee farmer, a dairy farmer and he recently started tomato farming using bioslurry. Solomon is a member and a director of Wakulima dairy cooperative. He owns a 10m3 biodigester that he acquired after his cooperative was enrolled as a marketing hub under the Kenya Biogas Program. He enjoys cooking since he started using the biodigester because it is fast, clean and very economical. He is a happy man because he has been conserving the environment by not cutting trees for firewood.
Solomon was motivated to adopt the biodigester technology driven by his love for organic farming and environmental conservation. ‘I always wanted to prove the concept that agriculture is the backbone of the Kenyan economy’ he says. As a youth, his ambition was driven by creating a job for himself and ensure he sustains it. Solomon says he has no regrets for this decision. He is a happy farmer, with the biodigester he is able to secure continuous supply of fodder and has diversified into tomato farming.
Solomon says his coffee trees have increased production magnificently because of using bioslurry and on the other hand reduced cost of buying fertilizer, he has resorted to topdressing using it. The average production per tree has doubled. He boasts of harvesting five kilograms per tree.
Silage making using maize has given Solomon a lot of peace. ‘I used to spend sleepless nights sourcing for feeds for my cows, that is history for now, he says. He plants maize using bioslurry, he is happy with the production and the quality.
On the other hand, Solomon ventured into tomato farming. He is able to harmonize his production to ensure that his produce fetches a good rate, he is the reliable tomato producer when there are no tomatoes in the market. He doesn’t depend on the weather for this venture. He discovered application of bioslurry on the tomato fields, serves as irrigation as well. He has managed to earn a gross income of an average of Ksh. 150,000/- per season on the 500 squared meters tomato field. He estimates his net profits to be over Ksh.120,000/-, his variable costs per season being seeds and labour having saved on the costs of artificial fertilizers and pesticides.
SOLOMON MAKES MONEY FROM A BIODIGESTER BY MAXIMIZING BIOSLURRY USE
DAIRY= SILAGE MAKING, MORE MILK
COFFEE = DOUBLED PRODUCTION TO 5KGS PER TREE
TOMATOES=KSH. 120,000/= NET PROFIT, 90 DAYS
Using bioslurry he noticed that there was no pest or disease on the tomatoes. In future Solomon plans to extend to other short season vegetables with a target market of urban centres around his home such as Nyeri and Nairobi. With the new trick of harmonizing cropping he hopes to stagger his production so that he can earn more profits.
Bioslurry has elevated Solomon’s status in his community to a teacher, he is fondly known as ‘mwalimu’ by the many farmers who visit his farm to learn about the biodigester. He boasts to have hosted troops of farmers from within his neighborhood and from across Kenya. Solomon will consider scheduling regular trainings with the farmers and charge for his services.