Oserian Development Company has become the first flower farm in Kenya to be issued with a certificate of commendation by the Water Resources Management Authority (WRMA) in recognition of the farm’s water management policies and procedures to minimize usage of the scarce commodity.
“Oserian has been recognized by WRMA for meeting rules and regulations requiring that water is used responsibly considering that we are a water scarce country”, said the authority chairman, Francis Nyenze, who presented the certificate.
Speaking at the farm in Naivasha on Thursday, Mr Nyenze said Oserian has set a good example for other flower farms to follow as the country grapples with shortage of water.
Tapping of water from the dwindling Lake Naivasha has over the years been a sticky point in the industry, amid accusations that the sector that relies heavily on irrigation was threatening the survival of the world’s second largest fresh water resource.
Water abstraction from Lake Naivasha and boreholes is governed by water-permits in accordance with the Water Act, 2002.
Mr Nyenze added that it was important to recognize institutions that have put in measures to ensure as little water as possible is used, to motivate them, and also encourage others to emulate the good practices.
“We expect to see all flower farms following Oserian’s example in minimizing usage of water”, he said.
The company monitors abstraction and usage through meters that have been installed at all water use points. The readings are monitored weekly to ensure optimal application and sealing of any loopholes through which losses are observed. The monthly data is compiled and sent quarterly to the water authority.
Oserian’s Environmental Manager, Linda Munyao, said minimizing usage of water is in line with the farm’s green policy of taking care of the environment that has guided its operations since inception more than 30 years ago.
“Our growing operations are managed under very strict environmental management standards and activities such as waste and water management are given utmost attention,” said Ms Munyao.
She added that environmental conservation as exemplified by Oserian, coupled with Kenya’s geographical position in the Equator favoured growing under the sun, therefore flowers from the country produced less 6 per cent carbon prints than those grown in Europe.
Also issued at the same ceremony was a water effluent discharge certificate in recognition of the farm’s management of waste water. It was the first in Naivasha to establish a constructed wetland which has since become a model to emulate after the late Minister for Environment, John Michuki toured the company and got first-hand information on how the system works in pollution management by and soaking in much of the dirt and filth flowing from the sewerage systems especially from pack houses, offices and kitchens.
Bruce Knight, Oserian’s Director of Engineering, who received the certificate on behalf of the company said among water conservation measures that the farm has put in place are growing in hydroponics, and installation of rain water collection reservoirs. In addition, the employees are sensitized on the value of water and its conservation. In an hydroponic system, plants use only what they require.
Oserian has employed drip Irrigation arguably the most economical system where the number of driplines and emitter spacing is chosen in relation to the crop’s needs to ensure optimal wetting of the root-zone while minimising leaching.
In addition, Oserian has established the world’s largest geothermal heated greenhouse. Power from the geothermal unit is used to drive pumps and also for heating greenhouses resulting in saving electricity.
The farm is located at a distance from Lake Naivasha and has established a system of recycling all run-offs stopping any water from flowing into the lake.
“Naivasha is an exceptionally beautiful place and the owners of the farm have a deep acknowledgement and awareness of this and came up with the concept of Conservation through Trade”, said Mr Knight, who added that the farm grows on only 5 per cent of its land with the rest put
aside for conservation.
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