… is about as concise a way as possible to sum up our most recent round of customer testimonials. A few profiles below.
Farming Experience: 10 years
Family: Patrick has a wife and nine children, eight of whom are in school.
Farm: Patrick and his family farm one acre of land. They grow maize, sugar cane, and bananas while raising pigs, chickens, and cows.
Residence: Musamba (western Kenya)
With eight children in school, fees are a huge expense for Patrick and his family. Since the farm is their only current source of income, keeping expenses low and yields high is very important.
Patrick is committed to organic farming and was already using compost as a fertilizer before being introduced to re:char and the Rutuba Kiln earlier this year. Being the type of person who enjoys trying new things, Patrick gave biochar a try.
This past growing season he applied biochar to ¼ of his farm – to an area where he was growing maize. Last season he was able to harvest 5 sacks of maize from that area. This year, growing with biochar as well, he saw a 30% yield improvement: a total harvest of 6.5 sacks.
With that additional income Patrick and his wife, Judith, are much better equipped to put their young children through school.
He is already preparing even more biochar for this season having seen how much of an impact it can have!
Farming Experience: 12 years
Family: Jane has four children, three of whom are currently in school.
Farm: Jane and her family farm three and a half acres of land. They grow maize, beans, and potatoes while raising two cows.
Residence: Kabula (western Kenya)
Jane and her family have been using biochar since it was introduced to them earlier this year. Luckily they were able to purchase their Rutuba Kiln before the long-rains planting season. She was able to make a significant amount of biochar and applied it to the area of her farm where she was growing cow peas and maize.
To her amazement, her maize harvest improved from 9 sacks to 10! This was most impressive to her because she used no inorganic fertilizer, only biochar!
Jane was also very happy to see how much healthier and larger all of her cow pea leaves looked, making them much more nutritious as well as much more attractive to purchasers. The cost of her kiln was completely covered within one season by the combination of yield improvement and fertilizer reduction.
Additionally, she has been able to use biochar to make cooking briquettes that have allowed her to completely replace traditional lump charcoal – a major source of deforestation.
Thanks to her relationship with re:char, Jane is now committed to non-wood charcoal and organic farming practices that she sees as beneficial to her wallet, her family’s health, and the environment.
Farming Experience: 5 years
Family: Joseph has five daughters, all of whom are currently in school
Farm: Joseph and his family have a seven acre farm where they grow a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and staple crops.
Residence: Kabula (western Kenya)
After working for Nzoia Sugar (a local sugar plant) as a Field Assistant for many years, Joseph decided to commit himself fully to farming. With crops including papaya, mango, ground nuts, sesame, and soy beans (in addition to maize), he is clearly a farmer who enjoys immersing himself in a variety of experiences.
Being a very driven, ambitious man, Joseph committed himself fully to biochar production once he heard about its benefits and was able to buy his own kiln. After application he waited.
Four months later he harvested his maize and, to his amazement, he had harvested an additional three bags thanks to biochar!
He is now applying it to every crop he is growing, resulting in some very healthy looking beans, and what is sure to be another very productive maize crop.
In addition to his improved yield, Joseph also saw an 80% reduction in inorganic fertilizer use!
Like many re:char customers, Joseph brought attention to how valuable crop waste has become to him. Material that he had typically disposed of or burned in the past was now carefully collected and laid out in the sun to dry. A practice similar in care to the drying of harvested maize kernels.
With repeated successful harvests, Joseph hopes to purchase more land to expand his farming activities. This is a man who loves what he does.