Assessing the potential socio-economic opportunities and challenges of Bio-char adoption on small-holder farming systems
Research project in Development Geography
Project's title: Assessing the potential socio-economic opportunities and challenges of Bio-char adoption on small-holder farming systems
Project's duration: 2013-2019
Contact person: Yahia Mahmoud
Researchers on the project:
- Yahia Mahmoud
- Cecilia Sundberg (SLU)
- Kristina Roing de Nowina (IITA)
Bio-char has recently received attention in scientific and popular media for its potential to sequester C, enhance soil fertility and provide options for food preparation through bio-char. Despite the positive agro-ecological potential, little is known about the socio-economic impacts of bio-char use and adaptability. Since sustainable agricultural intensification approaches with enhanced resilience to climate change for Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) are called for, considering that SSA has low food availability per capita, this study explores biochar as a potential smallholder technology in Kenya. The overall objective is to generate evidence-based knowledge on the role bio-char can play in small-holder farming systems. Specific objectives are:
- To characterise and quantify available organic resources (OR) for bio-char production at farm level.
- To assess bio-char stoves for energy use efficiency, and quantity and quality of bio-char output, depending on OR used, compared to current uses of OR.
- To evaluate how different quality bio-char affects crop productivity and soil biological, chemical and physical processes.
- To assess and evaluate socio-economic impact of bio-char at farm level and propose optimized ways to use OR for better impacts on energy, farm-level output and soil health.
The project is a multidisciplinary one involving several researchers (engineers, agronomist and geographers) from SLU at Uppsala, the Department of Human Geography in Lund and ITTA in Kenya. The project is funded by SIDA.