Greenhouse opportunities in Kenya
Greenhouses enable year-round cultivation of crops by creating a controlled environment for fertigation, pest management and climate conditions. The Netherlands Embassy sees opportunities for increasing food production by cultivating crops in greenhouses.
Rik Martens from the Ministry of Economic Affairs is in Kenya to compare business cases for greenhouse technology in order to identify investment opportunities for advancing the horticultural sector in Kenya. He visited the Growing Solutions Kenya demonstration project together with Arnoud van Boven and Wilkins Nyanamba from Delphy, a consultancy and research firm for all plant sectors. Their knowledge and training expertise can greatly contribute to developing good greenhouse systems.
Growing Solutions Kenya is implemented by a consortium of leading Dutch greenhouse technology suppliers in close cooperation with the Latia Resource Center. The Latia Resource Center showcases three different greenhouse systems for growing tomatoes, the largest vegetable crop in Kenya. The three systems have different technological levels, thereby making a cost-benefit analysis comparison. The Basic greenhouse has fixed roof ventilation and netting on the sides and applies separate fertilization and irrigation processes. The more advanced Plus greenhouse system uses a HortiMax fertigation system, combining fertilization and irrigation in the same drip irrigation system. Moreover, the greenhouse roof openings can be opened and closed to be able climate control. The Advanced greenhouse grows tomatoes from substrate and has automated climate and fertigation processes.
The different systems also demonstrate different tomato varieties. One variety produces fruits of up to 400 grams! The plants are cultivated for a period of 8 months and grow up to 7 meters in length before they are replaced. This requires that the tomato plants are placed further along the lines used to support the hanging plants. Finally, different pest control systems from Koppert are used to demonstrate integrated pest management in the greenhouses.
Peter Muthee, the Managing Director at Latia Resource Center explained that large-scale expansion of greenhouses requires a basic greenhouse system affordable for local farmers. Biological pest control and advanced fertigation systems are important aspects of these systems.
In the case of any questions or remarks feel free to contact us at NAI-LNV@minbuza.nl.