Afya Duara Organics Demonstrates Multiple Functions of Recycled Organic Waste

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Organic waste in Kenya presents both challenges and opportunities in waste management. Representing about 70% of all waste generated in Mombasa County’s urban area, organic waste in landfills forms a breeding ground for disease-carrying pests, which can quickly become a health concern for residents, especially in close-knit informal dwellings. Organic waste also generates methane gas, a potent greenhouse-gas that contributes to climate change, and environmental degradation, leading to other problems such as low food yields.

Similar to other forms of waste, the solution lies in reusing, recycling, and keeping the waste from reaching the natural environment and water bodies. Recycling organic waste offers different products and uses, such as creating animal feed, composting for nutrient-rich soil, and even sources of renewable energy, such as biogas.

Afya Duara Organics was one of the beneficiaries of our two-year mentorship program under the Solidarity Fund for Innovative Projects FSPI program, funded by the French government through the French Embassy in Kenya. Afya Duara Organics recycles organic waste into organic fertilizer (an alternative to chemical based fertilizer) and porridge flour. Based in Mombasa County, this organic waste recycling group contributes to the solution of waste in Mombasa by utilizing the circular economy model of reusing and upcycling landfill-destined waste into new products. 

After starting to collect waste, we saw that we were throwing this garbage at Mwakirunge (one of Mombasa’s main dumping sites), and we can utilize it further,” says Hella Florence, the production manager at Afya Duara Organics.

One of the critical ideas in the circular economy model is the ability to spot an opportunity within a societal challenge and turn it into a new product that solves the original problem and even creates alternative sustainable products. Florence and her team at Afya Duara Organics had the entrepreneurial mind to see the opportunity to turn their shared problem, organic waste affecting their livelihoods, into sustainable organic fertilizer and employment opportunities.

Afya Duara Organics gets part of the food waste they use as raw material from farmers who end up with excess market waste from unsold harvests. “For the farmers who take their harvest, such as arrowroots, sweet potatoes, and the like, to the market, maybe there is no market, and their harvest will get spoiled.” Continues Florence, “We saw that instead of having their harvest rot at the market or farms, we will be taking the excess harvest from the farmers who have been using our fertilizer, harvests such as arrowroots, sweet potatoes, carrots, and groundnuts, and making porridge flour that we call Uji Swadakta.”

Florence and her team demonstrate the multiple options that can arise from repurposing only one stream of organic waste, preventing it from reaching landfills and contributing to environmental problems. This waste repurposing initiative by Afya Duara Organics goes hand in hand with the circular economy model of reducing waste to a minimum and creating alternatives to contemporary unsustainable products.

Afya Duara Organics makes this week’s #HummingBirdChallenge, as we continue to highlight those entrepreneurs whose minor efforts contribute to the journey to a fully circular economy in Kenya.

As part of the over 3,500 youth and women in Mombasa who benefitted from the FSPI Mentorship program, the Afya Duara Organics team got to elevate their entrepreneurship and technical skills.