Peter Chege, the founder and CEO of Hydroponics Africa which deals in hydroponic production of herbs such as basil, rosemary, thyme, mint, oregano among others for export is looking for more farmer groups to meet two tonnes monthly demand by a client in Dubai.
Currently, Chege is working with women groups in counties such as Muranga, KituI, Machakos and Kajiado to grow the herbs through the vertical and horizontal vegetable systems.
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.
“Hydroponics Kenya is the pioneer initiator and leader of hydroponic farming systems in East Africa. We enable farmers to achieve predictable and highly nutritious yields for vegetables and herbs for local and international markets,” said Chege.
“With hydroponics the farmer is unaffected by seasons and adverse weather conditions, which historically has given rise to severe food insecurity in Africa.”
RELATED CONTENT: Seed producer helping 200 culinary herbs farmers access international market for their produce
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 nutrients.
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 per cent stake.
RELATED CONTENT: International exporter contracting farmers to grow herbs
All a farmer needs work with the firm is the willingness to grow the crops, constant water supply and some investment capital according to the space available and scope of production.
This followed by contract signing between the company and the farmer and training on the modern type of production.
“We have a technical team which ensures that our farmers become the best producers of quality and quantity herbs and vegetables for both local and international markets,” said Chege.
RELATED CONTENT: Community based organization helping farmers grow herbs to benefit from an all-time stable prices
Caption: One of the women farmer groups that Hydroponics Africa is working with at a greenhouse farm in Kajiado County. Photo courtesy.
Hydroponics Africa can be reached on +254722 956647/ +254748962918