A project by a Japanese investor in Meru County is set to resolve the problem of garbage disposal and raise farmers’ yields by supplying them with fertiliser.
Meiwa, a company that converts organic waste into charcoal, has signed an MoU with the county government to implement the project through the Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA) assistance.
The project will be set up in Meru before it is replicated in other counties countrywide, said Lucy Koyama, the company’s Africa business adviser, adding that Meiwa intends to set up a biomass carbonisation plant by March next year.
Meiwa has conducted a JICA funded feasibility study on the viability of the project. It can process sludge, human waste, chicken manure, sawdust, agricultural residue, food waste and water hyacinth, among others.
Biochar is used as organic fertiliser and fuel. Because of its absorbency, biochar is a good soil conditioner, making agriculture more resilient to drought.
The fertiliser will come in handy for farmers in semi-arid areas such as Tigania East and West, Buuri, Igembe and some parts of Imenti Central. Ms Koyama said that they have carried out preliminary studies on the amount of waste generated in several markets in Meru county.
“During the study, the Japanese team assessed various types of biomass sources and potential of biochar on the growth of fruits and vegetables.
“Based on the findings, the team intends to identify the best biomass for biochar production,” she said.
“We will also conduct research on the benefit of biochar for coffee and tea, among other crops. Experts are also finalising on a report that will guide on how we will utilise sludge from sewage disposal sites. The cost of the project will also be arrived at after conclusion of these studies,” she added.
As a pilot project, the plant will be set up in Meru through a grant before being rolled out in other parts of the country where counties will be expected to allocate funds to the project.
Governor Kiraitu Murungi said the county government would facilitate the company to set up operations in Meru to help in sustainable waste management.
According to the County Integrated Development Plan 2018/2022, the devolved unit intends to address the garbage menace through public private partnerships in collection, transportation and processing.