Farmers use tractor smoke as fertilizer

Arusha farmers are teaching their Kenyan counterparts a revolutionary technology that helps turn harmful farming machinery smoke into soil fertilizer having introduced to them last year and recorded increased yields of upto 15 percent as the novel idea hopes to assist farmers markedly cut carbon emissions.

The technology dubbed The Bioagtive Emmissions Technology already being used in Canada and parts of America, ensures that instead of letting out exhaust fumes and smokes from tractors and other farm machinery go where they are going to be destructive, the fumes are tapped and channeled into the soil where the fumes become fertilizers.

The Bio-Agtive method involves cooling the tractor exhaust emissions then injecting the condensed gas into the air cart or directly into the soil while sowing or cultivating. When seeding with Bio-Agtive Emissions Technology (BAET), the cooled exhaust emissions are directed first into the air cart. It exposes the seed to humidity and oxidized elements from the emissions.
While, the chemistry is fairly involved, the results, according to those involved in the project, are plants that create their own nitrate, develop better root systems and have much less reliance on fertilizer.

“Soil acidity is also reduced due to the action of carbon dioxide in acidic soils,” said Gary Lewis whose company N/C Quest licenses the Bio-Agtive system. Kenyan farmers on an exchange programme to Arusha witnessed first hand how the Arusha farmers have perfected the art of mechanized agriculture, farming using machines, and how they ensure that any fumes or toxics that may harm the environment are put to good use. “The most interesting thing about this venture apart from using all the aspects of the machines including smoke, is the fact that it reduces farmers' over reliance on fertilizer and that to me is a huge lesson because that is one of the biggest problems,”said Cyrus Kimutai a wheat farmer in Eldoret who was in the exchange programme.

Gary Lewis whose company N/C Quest licenses the Bio-Agtive system, said the system had been a success right across the world. “It’s been used everywhere from Tanzania, Kazakhstan, Britain to Canada, it can be fitted just as easily to small scale tractors or top of the line equipment used in Australia or North America,”he said.
"We target at helping farmers to understand and practice a new way of Nitrogen and Carbon cycle management," he further added.

Farmers in Kenya have now appealed to Mr Lewis to introduce the technology in the country impressed by the kind of returns they have seen with their Arusha counterparts in increasing soil fertility. “ I just Mr. Lewis would come and do the massive training here like he is doing in Tanzania. We have embraced mechanized agriculture but the issue of smoke from the diesel is still our headache, am impressed by the kind of work the technology does,”said Milka Cherono a farmer in Athi River who grows cereals.