By Nnamdi Odumody
According to a recent report from the Food and Agricultural Organization, over 821 million people are suffering from hunger globally while almost all the sub-regions of Africa are faced with an increase in malnourishment which affects their productivity as a hungry man is equally an angry one. As a result of rising temperatures which leads to climate change, agriculture and food security are under threats.
Agriculture accounts for a quarter of annual GDP in Kenya. Across Africa, it is a big contributor to GDP. The soil quality in major parts of the continent is poor and suffers from poor yield. Largely, fertilizer which is used in the African continent by most farmers is imported and not designed for utilization on the soil of the continent. Due to the high price of fertilizer, the cost of food production for subsistence farmers is high which contributes to food insecurity.
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Samuel Rigu, a Kenyan scientist founded Safi Organics to fix this friction by providing African farmers with an alternative fertilizer tailored for the African soil at a lower cost. His solution turns waste chaff from agricultural produce into an organic conditioner that benefits the soil whilst producing better harvest.
By burning agricultural food waste with a mixture of ingredients, he is able to create a charcoal which can be used as fertilizer. The Safi Sarvi fertilizer improves crop yields by reducing soil acidity thereby allowing farmers to grow more with less fertilizer. It also increases nutrient holding, improves soil retention and reduces the pollutants in runoff amongst other benefits.
Safi Organics won the Total Startupper Challenge 2016. Its innovation will help to solve the fertilizer paralysis which is threatening the efficiency and productivity of African farmers, causing food insecurity which is the root of many conflicts plaguing Africa.