Sustainable technologies meet financial benefits in Kenyan horticulture

Green Farming has been running projects on efficient and environmental friendly water and fertilizer management and on the use of solar energy for electrical and thermal energy generation.

A comparative research between hydroponic and soil cultivation for rose was executed by Jomo Kenyatta University for Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), Wageningen UR and DLV Plant, together with partner Van den Berg Roses in Naivasha. The data from January 2013 up till June 2014 (1.5 yr) show that with the hydroponic system impressive amounts of water can be saved, savings can be made in fertilizer use and at the same time production results are much better than for roses grown in the soil. Based on these results the calculated payback period for the additional investment costs to grow roses in hydroponics (excluding costs for financing) can be earned back during the second year for a 6-ha production area.

 

The second project on the use of solar energy has been put into practice at Olij Roses in Naivasha and aims at demonstrating a cost-effective use of solar energy that enables a farm to operate independent of local energy suppliers and produce in an environmental friendly way.

Solar panels are installed to produce electrical energy and solar heat collectors generate thermal energy. Part of the electrical energy that the solar panels produce is directly used by pumps and motors in the greenhouse. The excess electrical energy is stored in a battery-pack from which energy can be tapped during the night. Thermal energy is stored in a heat storage tank from which part of the farm can be heated during the night.

The project partners expect a reduction in energy costs up to 40% and – through the heatingĀ  of the greenhouse- a greenhouse climate improvement and increased production and quality. Estimated payback time on the technologies for a 3-ha production area vary between 2,5 and 6 years, depending on the type of the system that is chosen.

For more information visit the Green Farming website http://www.greenfarming.nl/node/418

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