Sistema.bio founder and Chief Executive Officer Alex Eaton is in Kenya for a two weeks tour in the country to interact with farmers and other partners in Kenya.
“Kenya’s office is one of the fastest growing offices as compared to offices in other different parts of the world,” he told the media at the Nairobi Sistema offices. He said he was motivated by the job well done by the Kenyan team and cooperation from farmers in the country.
The company has five offices in Kenya with approximately 100 employees. Other offices are in India, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Colombia. In East Africa, the company is also establishing a base in Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.
The Sistema.bio founder first came to Kenya as a tourist at the age of 18 years. He wanted to spend more time in Kenya and interact more with farmers after exploring the country’s tourist attractions. This motivated him to come back years later with the Sistema.biotechnology for the benefit of Kenyan farmers.
Alex, 40, grew up in farms in New Hampshire, USA before relocating to Mexico to assist the Mexican smallholder farmers in taking care of horses, pigs, and sheep.
He started serious engagements with farmers in 2005 and later started the Sistema Company in 2010. In 2016, he came to Kenya and introduced Sistema technology in 2017.
According to him, the demand for clean cooking energy is high as compared to other alternatives such as firewood and kerosene.
“Kenya has high potential with millions of livestock farmers, with animal waste as ready raw material for biogas production,” he said.
The Sistema biobolsa biodigester technology comes with health benefits as it enables farmers make good use of animal wastes on the farm by producing clean cooking gas and residue is used as fertilizer.
His main strategy has been building a strong brand to emerge the best in the market since there are many other biogas companies.
“Farmers trust us since our product is very reliable and they have been our number one ambassadors who have been encouraging others to buy our product,” he said.
The company aims to empower farmers by making them more efficient and productive, access financing and technology. A farmer is only required to pay 20% of the total amount for the bio digester to be installed and then the remaining amount is paid in installments for 12 months. The farmer pays for the amount in installments without being charged interest.
Sistema.bio has also launched Sistema water boilers, a hot water system that uses biogas to heat water for bathroom showers. They have also installed engines that are run by biogas on farms for purposes of generating power for lighting and running farm machinery such as chaff cutters.
The company now aims to install between 3000 to 4000 pieces to farmers this year in Kenya and targets to install 40,000 in four years. In 10 years to come, they intend to reach 2 million farmers in Kenya, reach 20 million farmers around the world and promote use of clean cooking gas for better health with a positive impact on climate change.
Mr. Cedric Todwell who is the company’s global commercial director said most farmers face economic challenges but the Sistema.bio technology has helped them cut on expenditures by offering cheap biogas for cooking and running farm machinery.
“Travelling to some remote villages during rainy reason has been a challenge because most roads are impassable but we still reach farms for installation or checking on the already installed equipment,” said Todwell.
In January 2019, Sistema.bio was nominated for the prestigious Ashden Awards for promoting the use of clean cooking gas. Ten winning energy innovators will be named in July this year at awards ceremony in London during the first London Climate Action Week.