News / Africa

Kenyan Farmers Going Green

As scientists and political leaders around the world grapple with the issue of climate change, many farmers are looking at technologies that rely on renewable energy for their operations.  Farmers in Kenya are now using two different irrigation pump systems that avoid the use of fossil fuels.

Farmer Edward Kinyanjui jokes that he does not have to take out an expensive gym membership to stay fit.

Kinyanjui has his own personal Stair Master-like machine, which is good for his hamstrings.  But even better, his machine serves a vital function feeding the tomatoes, spinach, zucchini, and other crops on his two-hectare farm just outside Kenya's capital.

Kinyanjui says he thinks diesel-operated pumps play havoc on farms like his.

"For one, the kind of carbon monoxide that it is going to release, it is going to pollute the air," said Kinyanjui.  "Two, as you can see, some of the things that I have around here that you have seen around the farm, they will die because of [the diesel pump] polluting the air."

Kinyanjui's irrigation pump is commonly known as a "Money Maker," produced and marketed by the social enterprise group Kick Start.

"The pump is very - what we call - environmentally sensitive, or light. It is manually-powered, so you have got the ultimate renewable energy, which is human power. There is no electricity needed, no fuel needed, it is 100 percent manual," said Kick Start's chief operating officer Ed Chan-Lizardo.

For engineer Pascal Kaumbutho, diesel-powered irrigation pumps are bad news.

"You should see the oil that is dripping down into the river, and there are people using this river downstream. You should see the amount of diesel prices that are required to keep these farms running," said Kaumbutho, who is head of the Kenya Network for Dissemination of Agricultural Technologies.

Kaumbutho is training the first group of farmers in the Mwea area of Central Kenya on how to tap into the area's biggest resource: the sun.

"Everybody knows how much sunshine there is here, all year. Here, when we are installing our solar panels, we do not even tilt them, because the sun passes over them all day,"  he added.

Kaumbutho's group has a demonstration plot on which solar panels provide energy to pump water from the Nyamindi River into a drip irrigation system.  Kaumbutho aims to sell solar panels and drip irrigation pipes to the more than 20 farmers he is training.

The two initiatives are examples of ways that farmers can cut down on fossil fuel emissions that contribute to global warming, which is a type of climate change.

Global warming, where the average temperature of the lower atmosphere increases, is caused by excess emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane.

Both agricultural engineer Pascal Kaumbutho and farmer Edward Kinyanjui have personally experienced the effects of global warming, which include droughts and floods. They say they are doing what they can to protect the environment as they sow and reap their harvests.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Researcher: Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor at Symposium on Obesity, Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome says problem involves more than calorie intake, warns of worldwide health impact More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

VOA Blogs