Over 70 participants, mostly farmers and interested investors, visited on Tuesday – 7th of June 2016 the third Growing Solutions Kenya field day at Latia Resource Center in Isinya. Theme of the field day was ‘Dutch greenhouse technology for Kenyan vegetable growers’.
Growing Solutions Kenya is a project implemented by a consortium of 11 Dutch greenhouse technology providers under the flag of Green Farming in partnership with Latia Resource Center Ltd. The project aims at contributing to the living standards of small and medium vegetable growers in Kenya. It involves the development of greenhouse technology that suits the local production conditions for vegetables. For this purpose three greenhouse units showing different production technology have been set up at Latia accompanied with an extensive capacity building program. Growing Solution is supported by the Dutch government.
In his opening speech Mr. Peter Muthee, Managing Director at Latia, stated that one of the lessons learnt is that there is a high interest for quality greenhouse technology products in Kenya. He stressed the need for training and building local capacity and a disciplined way of working in order to fulfil the potential of the technology offered by the Dutch partners.
Mr. Harm Maters, President of Green Farming, pointed attention to the importance to share experiences and close co-operations between the Dutch greenhouse technology suppliers and local Kenyan partners, such as Latia, as a key requirement for the success of the project. “By adapting the technology to the local conditions and sharing knowledge and information through study groups and open field days, we build expertises that help us design and offer a better product for Kenyan vegetable growers”.
Other contributions during the field day were given by Geert Nell of Bosman Van Zaal on the importance of irrigation technology, especially through the use of rainwater. Philip Immerzeel of Ludvig Svensson zoomed in on smart environmental control with retractable screens, saving on the use of energy, water and pesticides. Martin Helmich of Hoogendoorn Growth Management focused on the control of climate and irrigation systems, using automation software 24-hours a day to create the optimal growing conditions with an efficient use of water and energy, for a maximum production of vegetables. KoppertBiological Systems specialist Geoffrey Ongoya engaged participants in the new developments of biological control for vegetables.
At the end of the field day Ms. Joan Nabea acknowledged that the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock in Kiambu County appreciates that the field days are open to farmers as she recognized a considerable number who had attended from Kiambu County. “Every other time there’s something different or additional to learn during the study group meetings and field days.”
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