Stoyek Okumo is a small farmer in Bungoma County in Kenya’s Western District. Like the millions of other farmers in Western Kenya, Stoyek farms approximately one acre of land. He grows beans, maize and kale to provide food for his family, and generate a bit of income. Life for small farmers in Kenya is challenging. They rely on simple farming implements and must do everything by hand. Recently, climate change has caused delays in the onset of the rainy season, which these farmers depend on for survival.
However, Stoyek is different from many other small farmers– he has taken a risk and experimented with biochar. Three months ago Stoyek dedicated a portion of his farm to testing biochar in Kenyan soil. After one season of application, the results are stunning:
Stoyek’s maize grown in biochar and manure demonstrated a nearly 2X improvement in yield when compared to maize grown in Diammonium Phosphate (DAP), a common chemical fertilizer. In a region where poor harvests can mean famine, Stoyek’s results are incredibly encouraging and promising. In a few days Stoyek will plant maize for the long rain season. Now, nearly half of his farm has been amended with biochar. Over the coming months, Stoyek and many other local farmers will utilize re:char technology to produce additional biochar and green charcoal from their waste. As this work progresses, we will keep you updated.