Peter Chege, the founder and CEO of Hydroponics Africa is one proud entrepreneur. Having recently sealed an order to supply 2 tonnes of herbs to a client in Dubai every month. The herbs which range from basil, rosemary, thyme, mint, oregano among others will be grown through the vertical and horizontal vegetable systems.
This order has brought with it the possibility of working with women groups in counties such as Muranga, KituI, Machakos and Kajiado. The hydroponic system of farming does not require soil. On the contrary, it uses mineral nutrient solutions in water thus reducing the need for soil. This modern and innovative farming technology is resilient to climate change, pests and diseases, provides superior nutritional value and faster growth at limited input costs.
High value crops such as coloured capsicum, cauliflower, sprouts, lettuce, strawberries among others have proven to give higher yields with this technology. Indigenous and local vegetables such as kales, spinach, terere are successfully being grown using the system. The minerals used in growing the crops are alkaline in nature which controls the growth of fungi. Other products that the company provides includes fodder systems and hydroponic nurients.
The systems have been widely adopted both locally and internationally at home and at the institutional level. So far two cooperatives in Eldoret have embraced the system including a hotel at the Mara. Recently, the company installed a green house in Uwendi Farm, Rwanda fitted with vertical gardens at a 50% stake.
Hydroponics system of farming is a healthier alternative to growing vegetables without the use of pesticides which cause significant harm to our health. So far the company has a client portfolio of 1,450 clients in food crop systems. This innovation may be the next big thing in farming as the company is geared towards training interested parties to adapt rather than to pass knowledge.
As the government continues to advocate for farming that uses less water and space, land for farming continues to become a scarce commodity. This presents an opportunity for the youth to grow their own crops as they are a great resource to economic development.
By Mercy Mumo