EcoGen brings solutions to help address waste management
As a way of addressing issues of waste management, energy and Agriculture, EcoGen company has brought in solutions to help households, communities and institutions to manage waste.
The company was founded in 2018 by a young entrepreneur and a Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) graduate, Clement Kandodo, who saw a need to bring technologies to address issues of climate change through waste management solutions.
Kandodo said many people throw away waste like food leftovers, animal dung and chicken wastes thereby contributing to effects of climate change.
“Once you get your waste and dump them anywhere, they produce methane which goes to atmosphere affecting climate change,” he said.
The company has come up with technologies to help waste management and mitigate issues of climate change in the country, he said.
Kandodo explained that their technology converts he waste into Biogas and Biofertilizer. “Biogas can mainly be used for cooking, running machines like water pumps and generators.”
While biofertilizer produced by the same system can be used in several ways like applying as normal fertilizers to the fields, pesticides and also making feeds for pigs and local chickens.
Normally, Kandodo said, the way this technology works is like a waste bin, this bin is designed in such a way that when you put in those waste, they are converted into energy which is biogas and fertilizer.
“This means that having this technology, you no longer need to spend money on cooking energy like charcoal, firewood and electricity because energy is available,” he said.
At the same time, he added, you will also be able to get fertilizer such that when you are into farming, you do not need to spend money to buy chemical fertilizer and pesticides.
Kandodo further said using biogas system will make life better as you will live in a sustainable way with nature.
Since the company started, he said, they have been able to install 64 systems to around 15 districts across the country.
Kandodo said his plan is to install 10,000 biogas systems by 2026 in Malawi. ” By achieving this target, we will be able to reduce number of people who are using unsustainable way of cooking.”
Currently, he said, they have opened an office and bought equipment like computers in southern region through financial support from Growth Accelerator.
“To us, this is a very good development and timely because this is the region that has a lot of customers so the office means will be able to reach out to them with the technologies in good time,” Kandodo observed.
He also said capacity building provided by the GA has helped the company a lot in business management.
As the company is transitioning to growth of its business, the technical support was timely because the company is able to accelerate its business, Kandodo said.
Kandodo plans to open a Bio-Fertilizer plant in Lilongwe to help farmers use the cheap, affordable and sustainable fertilizer that can improve their yields rather than using chemical fertilizer which is expensive and can damage their soils due to chemicals in them.
One of the beneficiaries of EcoGen technology, Patrick Jere of Clips Faming in Area 23, Lilongwe who is into farming and animal husbandry said the Biogas system has helped him a lot because he had challenges on how to dispose animal waste.
“People in the community were disturbed with the odor coming from the animal dung but I did not know what to do with them,” he said.
Jere’s farm is located within town where he practices animal husbandry like raring chickens, piggery farming as well as having an orchard and maize farming.
He heard about Ecogen and followed them up until he got a solution from waste management at his farm.
“They helped me to install a biogas system which has saved a lot of resources because waste from animals and food leftovers from the community are now being converted to biogas,” he said.
Jere said he is using the bio gas for cooking in his house, to warm up the rooms for chicks and lightening as well as extending the gas to his workers who have now stopped using charcoal and firewood.
Previously, just like other people, his family was buying bags of charcoal from vendors which he knew that somewhere trees have been cut off causing deforestation.
In future, Jere said he wants to increase his biogas and fertilizer to sell to the community so that they adopt the sustainable ways of cooking using gas other than charcoal and firewood to help address effects of climate change.
If the community buys and uses the gas, he said, then nobody will buy charcoal ad fuel wood from them and this means that somewhere deforestation will not occur as they will have nowhere to sell their commodities.
Since the installation of the system, he said, he stopped using chemical fertilizers as a result his farm and orchard uses the bio-fertilizer.
Jere said the yields from his farm have improved tremendously since he started using the biofertilizer.
“I’m now killing two birds at once, gas for cooking and fertilizer to improve my farm yields for the whole year using the natural sustainable remedies,” he said.
Jere added that when he applies the biofertilizer it also acts as a pesticide such that no pests and diseases attacks the field.
He further said he noticed that his orchard which has fruits like oranges, guavas, bananas, lemons, paw paws and other fruits are producing health fruits which are being sold in shops.
Jere supplies natural vegetables and fruits to Shops around Lilongwe from his farm though in a small quantity because it was just the beginning. “The quantities will be increased because it is my intention to increase more vegetables and fruits in the garden.”
Jere installed the system at his Clips Farm in November, 2021.