• Income
Start Date:
Nov 2023

Increase farmer's income through sustainable practices

Pilot project on biochar production and utilization


Karimu was established to eliminate poverty in rural areas of Tanzania in a sustainable way. After several years focusing on building infrastructure and local capabilities to address education, health, and sanitation, in recent years Karimu is also focused on improving income generation through entrepreneurship skills training, savings groups for access to capital, and identification of commercially viable opportunities appropriate for communities that are accustomed to farming and raising livestock. 


More than 80% of the families in Ayalagaya and Arri are dedicated to subsistence farming and livestock. Sometimes left-overs are sold for income. Currently, there are few profitable uses of by-products of crops harvested like maize husks, cobs and others, as well as chicken manure. A few farmers use them to feed livestock, but most farmers burn or throw away the by-products which presents opportunities both commercially and environmentally. 


Karimu, in partnership with Biochar Life, identified biochar production as an opportunity to increase farmers’ short term income through enhanced farming yields, cost savings on fertilizers, and potentially from carbon credits in the longer term, while developing a sustainable and environmentally-friendly approach to the disposal of by-products.


Karimu and Biochar Life will work with 30 farmers in the communities of Arri and Ayalagaya on a pilot of biochar production and application. The main goal of the pilot is to validate assumptions associated with:

  • Farmer’s ability to make and use biochar on their own farms;

  • Economic trade-offs between biochar utilization (increase yields, carbon credits, savings on fertilizers) versus the current uses of biomass (animal feed, selling of raw biomass, home cooking);

  • Biochar can be produced in Arri and Ayalagaya with the processes and quality standards that will effectively generate carbon credits. 


For the pilot, Karimu will recruit the farmers, measure baseline practices and measure results at the end of the pilot. Biochar Life will provide training and follow-up to farmers, as well as facilitate the process to obtain carbon credits. Farmers in Arri and Ayalagaya will make and utilize biochar, as well as provide information on their baseline practices and results with the biochar. 


Success criteria:

  • 80% of the biochar produced by farmers can be effectively used in their farms

  • Economics of biochar are positive for at least 50% of farmers

  • 80% of farmers can produce Biochar of a quality that is acceptable by Biochar Life to receive income from their carbon credits

  • 50% of the farmers plan to continue making biochar at the end of the pilot


  • Additional income

  • Sustainable and beneficial disposition of biomass

  • Reduced smoke from burning biomass




  • $550, including materials, equipment and transportation.