Farmers can now grow crops in basements and dark rooms without worrying about sun or rainfall thanks to a transformatory technology now in Kenya that promises to open new frontiers of farming especially in urban areas and address the dwindling arable land concerns in the country.
Through A Light Emitting Diode (LED), plants are grown indoors in climate controlled rooms where no pests or hormones are required and only about 10 percent of water is required. They also consume 20 to 30 percent less electricity than conventional lights
“Commercial growers and greenhouse owners have long understood the use of additional lights. Plant grow bigger, taller and leafier, and produce better flowers with the use of supplemental lighting. Those growing fruits and vegetables find that their plants have higher yield with the use of lights,”said Inesa Limited Director Stefan Adriaensens. The group is among the distributors of the LED lights.
Plants convert light from the sun into energy through photosynthesis, but they only need some parts of the sun's colour spectrum.
“Plants do not use all the wavelengths or colours emitted by the sun. Scientists have discovered that they need red light to flower and blue light to grow,”he further said.
Though the use of artificial lighting is not entirely new, and grows have traditionally had high intensity lamps to grow gardens indoors, the traditional lights have been energy inefficient and bulky compared to LED lights.
“Some plants require 14-16 hours of daily light, yet here in Kenya we have at most 12 hours of sunlight,”Stefan further says.
The Grow Lights typically last 7 to 10 years before a farmer can consider replacing them.
According to Stefan, when selecting the kind of light one wants, the farmers should adjust the lights to hang above the plant tops by anywhere from 5 inches to 20 inches, according to the plant's size and light intensity requirements. The goal is to have the plant greens showered in light to their edges but not have the light spill or be wasted on surrounding areas where there are no plants. Height adjustment of lighting helps achieve this economy as plants grow, changing in both shape and size.
This revolutionary technology comes at a time when farmers have been grappling with reduced acreage of farming as population puts more pressure on farming land. Farmers especially those in urban areas but with interest in farming have embraced techniques that occupy less farming space with one such model sack farming become increasingly important in the slum areas.
Scientists now say the LED light growing technology is a sure way to utilize basements of many houses in the city that remain empty.
For more information on the LED Lights contact Stefan on:
Mr. Stefan Adriaensens
Director, INESA Ltd
P.O. Box 49820-00100 GPO
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