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Two Kenyan innovators receive international attention for eco-friendly farming inputs

Published on September 20, 2017

Kenyan farmers are now able to protect their grain harvests from weevil attacks at a low cost thanks to Donatus Njoroge’s bio-pesticide innovation, the Molepse bio-resource. Donatus, who took second place in the Hub-sponsored East Africa Postharvest Technologies Competition 2017 (EAPTC2017), produced the innovative bio-pesticide, which has repellent and toxic capabilities to kills pests that come into contact with it in less than 5 minutes. It is produced from four different plant materials. 

Donatus first produced the pesticide technology in 2015. He has since tested it with over one hundred farmers and the results have been impressive. It has enabled them reduce pest infestation and take control of health issues associated with synthetic pesticides. The harvesting, drying and extraction of the oils takes approximately one week; effectiveness of the applied oils starts immediately.

Another innovator flying the Kenyan flag high is Samuel Rigua. Samuel, a finalist in the Hub-supported Young Innovators in Agribusiness Competition 2017 (YIAC2017), has developed a carbon-neutral fertilizer and soil conditioner using locally available rice husks. His technology, Safi Sarvi®, increases crop yields by 30% and annually removes at least 5.4 t of CO2 equivalent from the atmosphere for every hectare of land it is applied to. The fertilizer also lowers soil acidity and aids retention of soil nutrients and moisture, reducing irrigation by 15%.

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Samuel’s company, Safi Organics, benefits farmers by paying them for a former waste product. The fertilizer is certified organic by Ecocert and has won a number of awards. It was a finalist for the Innovation Prize for Africa award in 2016.

These two innovators were featured on the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) website. CTA is a joint international institution of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States and the European Union (EU). Read the full blog here.

EAPTC 2017 and YIAC 2016, managed by the Inter Region Economic Network (IREN) and supported by a grant from the Hub, attracted over 200 innovators and researchers from East Africa. Technology identification, promotion and investment are key areas of focus at the Hub.