Turning colon waste to gold
26 July 2012, 15:29
Women in Banana Hill in Kiambu County have now changed greetings from ’Wimwenga’ (are you well?) to ‘wimwega thu ya ngaragu’ (are you well enemy of hunger?), a statement they have adopted as their new slogan.
The team of 21 women now use colon waste from a nearby slaughter house to make bio-fertilizer.
Their investment, KES 250 only which they contribute to purchase Effective microorganism marketed as EM-1.
EM-1- is a substance experts say speeds up decomposition by breaking down unwanted biological materials which while reducing the awful smell also improves soil quality. EM-1 can also be used to recycle kitchen waste.
Four years ago a nearby slaughter house was causing havoc due to its awful stench.
As a team, these women thought productively and decided to do something about the smell. They agreed with the slaughter house owner to clean up the mess for him.
The awful smell from the Banana Hill slaughter house, and a conducive environment for breeding mosquitoes was a nuisance to the residents.
According to the National Environment Management Authority(NEMA), the facility was not fit for slaughtering animals as it did not have an environment friendly waste disposal.
Well, not any more; as these women clean up the place and use the waste to make fertilizer.
Grace Muthoni confirmed noted “This is not the case to today, the place is so clean you can eat from here,” as she chuckles knowingly.
“A good Samaritan taught us how to make bio fertilizer from this,” she says pointing at the colon waste at the slaughter.
The 21 ‘enemies of hunger’ fend for their families from waste collected from the slaughter house which was once smelly and an environmental nuisance.
Article 4(r) of the Meat Control Act states in part that arrangements for safe disposal of pouch contents (colon waste), lairage manure must be indicated by a farmer seeking a certificate to put up a slaughter house.
Lairage is the pen which temporarily holds animals before they are slaughtered.
Colon waste is the solid remains in animals after food is digested.
Muthoni 54 says, Simon Njoroge the slaughter house owner, agreed to give them the colon waste, the urine and blood from the slaughter house free of charge.
Njoroge says it’s a win win situation as his place is clean and also the women make a living out of it.
“My slaughter house is now fit for operation. I don’t have to worry about public health officers’ visits,” explains Njoroge.
“We clean up the mess for him,” says Muthoni “but it pays well,” she laughs.
The women revealed that in a good day they sell 12 bags of 50kg fertilizer at KES 1500 each. They also pack 2kg bags for KES100 each to sell to small-scale farmers around the area.
Muthoni the group leader revealed that they work together and share equally proceeds from sales of the home made fertilizer.
“This is good business, and we can feed our families from it,” she says.
“That’s why we call ourselves enemies of hunger. We can now feed our children and pay their school fees,” she proudly stated. “Hunger is a loss of human dignity,” she added.
Every week Njoroge slaughters around 15 animals, a number the group says give enough colon waste for making sufficient bio fertilizer.
The women then ferry the colon waste on a wheelbarrow to the group leader’s small farm Grace Muthoni.
They also work as a team in ferrying litres of blood as well from the slaughter blood pit to her farm.
“This is our office," she says smiling pointing at the site in her a quarter acre farm where the women turn colon waste to gold.
They mix the colon waste with animal blood using a shovel.
“We then sprinkle EM-1,” Explained the group leader. “We buy it from a local agrochemicals shop,” explains Muthoni. Agrovets recommend EM-1 should first be mixed with water in a ration of 1: 50 before use.
“We turn over and over the hip of waste and animal blood in order to mix it properly,” she further explains. Bio-fertilizer takes 21 to 30 days to be ready.
When it’s ready, the women sieave it with a homemade wire mesh to remove unwanted particles.
They use some of the fertilizer to grow vegetables in their small farms for sale in the local market and also for home use.
When it's ready, it has an early soil aroma. "You can’t believe it the smelly stuff we get from the slaughter house,” says Muthoni.
The group leader says that officials from the Kiambu county Ministry of Agriculture office came to see what they are doing and bought some of the bio- fertilizer, and one of their officials confirmed that the crops planted using the fertilizer are doing very well.
Bio- fertilizer does not contain any harmful chemicals which may kill living organisms in soil. It restores soils natural nutrient cycle.
Muthoni says officials from the ministry of Agriculture promised to build for them a storage facility for their fertilizer. “They also donated to us a wheelbarrow, a shovel and hand gloves,” she said.
“People around here and also from other places appreciate our home made fertilizer,” states Miriamu Wangeci. “It’s very good for growing food crops,” she adds.
Wangeci is one of the 21 enemies of hunger.
They now train other farmers to make their own fertilizer from farm waist and kitchen waste.
Muthoni says that plant can be grown direct of their product, pointing proudly: “see this bag contains fifteen wheelbarrows of our fertilizer. I grow sukuma on one side, Terere on the other, Spinach on the other and Onions on top.”
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