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Gutters zero greenhouse irrigation costs for vegetable farmers

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Farmers in areas receiving rainfall can incur almost zero irrigation costs by installing gutter-fixed greenhouses from the Vintage Green Limited.

This is a new feature not in standard greenhouses.

Greenhouse crops are exclusively irrigated, with drip method being the commonest way. The crops are sealed off from direct environmental agents- including rain.

That means that they have to incur extra expresses in delivering water from sources to the greenhouses for the daily routine of irrigation, which is also used in application of fertilisers and other chemicals.

READ ALSOFarmers a step away from owning greenhouses on loan

The company Chief Executive Officer Elijah Njoroge said rain water can be turned useful in these enclosed farming structures, to reduce production costs for farmers.

“Farmers must start making profits by cutting back on production expenses. Piping and pumping water from further areas resources for instance feel to run engines. We have to harness the water that falls on the roof of greenhouse and make it useful to the farmer,” he said.

Part of the irrigation kit the company is supplying includes a 2,500 water tank, which is more than one and half times the ones given by most suppliers.

If it rains heavily twice week, the 2,500 litre tank can save farmers the seven-day pumping costs into an 8m by 15m greenhouse.

READ ALSO: Why you need drip irrigation for higher profits

The roof of greenhouses in made up of the ordinary net and a polythene lining from the outside to drain off the water to the roof bottom gutters.

The polythene lining covers the entire greenhouse. It can be rolled up to help regulate the temperature in the greenhouse.

“The company realised that at times it is difficult for farmers to regulate temperatures in the greenhouse. With the polythene side roll-ups, farmers can easily open or close the greenhouse,” he said.

READ ALSOProject creates lowcost greenhouses for East African farmers

The height of the greenhouse, five metres high, also helps in giving more room for fresh air circulation. Standard greenhouses are four metres high.

Besides the three year warrant the company offers farmers for the polythene cover, they also fix crop staking lines and the support frame.

READ ALSO:Fact Sheet: Greenhouse options and costs in Kenya

The company comprises 18 Jomo Kenyatta University Alumni, who are turning innovation into jobs.

PHOTO: Vintage Greens Limited Chief Executive Officer Elijah Njoroge poses outside the company’s greenhouse during the Nairobi International Agricultural Society of Kenya on October 7, 2016. The greenhouse has gutters for collecting rains water for irrigation. This can reduce costs to almost zero for areas where it rains frequently. PHOTO BY LABAN ROBERT.

Njoroge can be reached on +254706808633.

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