Graduate creates low cost bioorganic fertilizer

A 30 year old entrepreneur has delved into fertilizer business providing affordable environmentally friendly fertilizer to smallholder farmers at a time when lack of fertilizer is blamed for dwindling yields.

Marion Atieno Moon a business graduate quit a lucrative job to start her company Wanda Organic an indigenous company that has come up with novel technologies to refine manufacturing of organic fertilizer.

The Nairobi-based Wanda Organic was among seven organizations that were shortlisted for a grant of $1million from U. S. government to help actualize their innovations and transform livelihoods of Kenyan smallholders.

“During my stay in Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines, I learnt how farmers were harvesting mammoth yields after using bioorganic fertilizer. I tested this innovation here in Kenya in 2011 and it has worked miracles,” Moon said.

She revealed that her clients are big horticultural companies since the cost of bio-organic fertilizer is too costly for smallholders. “Currently, a 50-kilogram bag of bio-organic fertilizer cost Sh3400 but the price will reduce by half once this technology is deployed at the smallholder level,” Moon remarked.

She plans to open several factories in rural Kenya in 2015 to enable small scale farmers to have easy access to organic fertilizer. “Declining soil fertility remains a major hurdle to sustainable food production in Kenya. By adopting organic fertilizer, small scale farmers will be able to produce abundant yields and expand their revenue streams,” Moon said.

The Principal Secretary of Ministry of Industrialization and Enterprise Development, Wilson Songa emphasized that youth-led innovations will accelerate green revolution in Kenya. “As a government, we are encouraging agricultural innovations to achieve food security, promote industrialization and job creation for the youth,” Songa said.

Kenya has rolled out policy incentives to ensure small holders compete effectively in the export market. “The government will partner with non state actors to scale up access to technology among smallholders. We are patenting innovations that address hunger and malnutrition,” Songa said.

He revealed that the government will establish special economic zones and industrial parks that will support agro-processing. “These industrial parks will promote value addition in various agricultural value chains,” Songa told journalists. He added that the government is committed to nurture youth-led innovations to accelerate industrial progress.

Talented Kenyan youths are harnessing new technologies to modernize farming and earn decent incomes. Ironically, the youths who have ventured into the agricultural sector are urban based and pursuing other professional disciplines.

Youth-led innovations have offered solution to challenges engulfing agriculture value chains. The Kenya Mission Director, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Karen Freeman noted that Kenyan youths have harnessed new technologies to address declining soil fertility, post harvest losses and disjointed markets.

“The youths have applied science and technology they learnt from school to help small scale farmers improve their yield and earn more income,” Freeman said.