Biochar & Farm Profits

We’re excited to read a working paper from our friend Andrew Crane-Droesch on biochar’s effects in Western Kenya.  Andrew focuses on what matters most to farmers: how does biochar impact farm profitability?

Andrew reaches some exciting conclusions:
“We estimate that biochar increased crop yields between 20 and 40%, while reducing fertilizer expenditure and increasing farm-level profitability by 25%. In addition, we find suggestive evidence that biochar’s benefit extends beyond the first season after application, with substantial increases in maize yield and profitability over time.”

Biochar's effects on fertilizer use and maize yield

 

While also cautioning that we have a lot of work to do:
“Unfortunately, the results reported here do not represent a solution that is immediately scalable, as most farmers sampled here sourced their biochar from waste left by charcoal sellers or from partially combusted remnants from cooking fires. However, scalable approaches to biochar production – both farm-scale and centralized – are under development, and, from these results, appear worthy of serious investigation.”

You can read Andrew’s draft here.

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