Geothermal power is used to heat greenhouses to accelerate growth of horticultural products, including vegetables. Crops under geothermal-heated greenhouses are pesticide-free because the heat prevents fungi growth. It is also used to heat fishponds. Photo courtesy.
Farmers in Nakuru County are set to enjoy geothermal energy in their crop production thanks to partnership between Kenya’s Geothermal Development Company (GDC) and the county’s Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries department to fully incorporate geothermal energy into farming in the region.
The energy will provide local farmers in Nakuru County with reliable and cheap electricity, while also heat and steam for greenhouses and food processing.
“The national focus in the next five years will be enhancing food security. The development of geothermal energy will plug in vital support,” Gabriel Wetang’ula, GDC environment manager.
With the use of geothermal beyond electricity, GDC is planning to drill additional wells in densely populated farming areass in the region. Utilising geothermal energy direct, it could be used as a source of heating for greenhouses in milk pasteurization, laundry, leisure and recration.
“The expansion will make it easy for the firm and partners to come up with more innovative ways of using steam from the wells,” said Wetang’ula.
“Geothermal energy will be critical, especially in bolstering the twin pillars of manufacturing and food security.”
GDC is already engaged in a large number of direct use projects, including fish rearing, tomato and capsicum farming among others in Menengai. This follows several successful pilot projects on direct use of geothermal in farming.
Geothermal energy, so the article, is a great tool to boost productivity for farming by reducing diseases and pests, while also cutting back carbon emissions.
Nakuru County CeC for Agriculture Dr Immaculate Maina sees “the collaboration as paramount as it will see local farmers increase their yields and carry out viable value addition projects for their produce.” Reliable and cheap electricity is key to the dairy industry and cooperatives in the region that have struggled largely.