Companies like ours are all about innovation and evolution. Not only was Sistema.bio born out of curiosity and a desire for change; it depends on it, even as years go by. Opening up our team to new minds and experiences is important for us because it is through them that we find new questions, new ways of doing. Such is the case for Mutuma.
He grew up in Meru, Kenya. Now he lives on a farm with his parents, both medics, and his two sisters, who are now finishing high school. He joined our team after finishing his degree in Horticulture at Nairobi University, a career he chose after realizing the importance of agriculture: “We all have to eat, and it is important to ensure that our food is produced in a sustainable way.”
Since joining our team in February, his goal has been to make organic farming a norm in Kenya, a goal that involves not only farmers but also consumers, local economies and customs. Luckily, he tells us, organic farming is bigger and more relevant with each passing day: “There has been a revolution in Kenya in terms of organic farming: people want to know where their food comes from.”
Switching our world’s farms to organic farming is a big deal. For years now we have seen how much of an impact it can have in our economies, our health and our environment. For Mutuma, this is the most exciting part of working in agroecology: “I like being a part of a team that is trying as much as possible to find organic ways of dealing with nature, of reducing the environmental effect of all the chemicals people have used for so long.”
Mutuma is our Agroecology Fellow, a position that has allowed him a great deal of exploration and learning. He works directly with farmers, talking to them about the challenges they face and the problems they encounter while farming, and applying scientific methods for finding organic solutions. A philosopher at heart, Mutuma takes his daily tasks as an opportunity for learning and improving the way things are done: “I like being able to learn from farmers and then bringing it back to my team, trying out different ways of doing things.”
Over the last few months he has become an expert and advocate for biofertilizer, the by-product of our biodigesters. Biofertilizer is, quite literally, liquid gold. Through Mutuma’s work we have been able to see exactly how much of an impact it has on our users’ farms in terms of soil health and crop productivity. Since the beginning of Sistema.bio, we have focused mostly on the clean energy aspect of biodigesters. For Mutuma, our biofertilizer is a highly useful and unexplored tool that farmers can benefit from, which is why he works so hard in experimenting with it, researching closely how it works and how our users can make the most of it: “I believe the most important part of my job is being the link between the farmer and their use of biofertilizer.”
He knows that biodigesters are a great investment for farmers, not only in terms of clean, renewable energy for their homes but also for the long-term health of their plants, their soil and their families —not to mention the economic benefits of eliminating the need for off-farm inputs.
Nature works in cycles, a truth we come across almost daily in our line of work. For Mutuma, the key to a more sustainable, effective way of farming is to make the most of those cycles, to take a step back and let nature nurture itself, reducing the human component and simply letting natural processes do what they do best: live, grow, regenerate. It’s precisely there where biofertilizer comes into play: it eliminates the need for chemical fertilizers, while providing crops and soil with the nutrients they need to fulfill their cycles. “It’s all about feeding good microorganisms to the soil so that everything is able to grow within its means, without much human interference.”
Biodigesters are, in practical terms, cycle containers. They are a tool that transforms waste into resources using nothing but biological processes. Clean technologies such as this one allows farmers to do and create everything they need right in their backyards, which for Mutuma is the true meaning of sustainability: “Sustainability comes when a farmer is able to use their waste as raw materials for something else. Animal waste feeds the biodigester, biofertilizer feeds the crops, and the crops in turn feed farmers, their families and their animals.”
Text by Elena Coll | Art by Brianda Suárez | Edited by Montserrat Cortez & Xunaxi Cruz