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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs