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Agribusiness training - Growing Solutions Kenya - Latia Resource Center Ltd.

Growing Solutions Kenya Field Day Set to Present First Phase Results

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The fourth field day of Growing Solutions Kenya dubbedFuture potential of Dutch greenhouse technology in Kenyaprovides farmers and other investors the opportunity to utilize knowledge earned through an experience of research, development, train-the-trainers and production. The first phase centrally focused on tomato growing.

Scheduled for Wednesday – September 21st  at Latia in Isinya, the GSK field day program includes results of the first production cycle; infrastructural requirements for investment in greenhouse technology; land, energy & water utility; substrates & fertilizers for high production; potential for irrigation technology in local conditions; investment options of the GSK greenhouses; achievements & Follow-up.

The greenhouse vegetable demonstration project Growing Solutions Kenya has been set up within the frame of Green Farming. Growing Solutions Kenya aims to make Dutch greenhouse technology available for local vegetable growers. The core program demonstrates three different greenhouse growing systems adapted to local growth conditions: the BASIC, the PLUS and the ADVANCED units. The demonstration units are located at the Latia Resource Center Ltd. in Isinya, Kajiado County. Tomato, being the largest vegetable crop in Kenya, was selected for demonstration purposes. The program is supported by the Dutch government.

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Latia GSK third field day

Invest in greenhouse technology for efficient vegetable growth

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The third Growing Solutions Kenya field day on Tuesday – 7th June 2016 at Latia Resource Center in Isinya recognized the presence of precisely 77 participants including farmers, investors, students, representatives from development organizations, media, as well as, some county governments and the national government. The theme of the forum had been ‘Dutch greenhouse technology for Kenyan vegetable growers’.

Mr. Harm Maters, the President of Green Farming introduced the added value of Dutch greenhouse technology for farmers and other investors. There’s co-operation between a group of Dutch greenhouse technology suppliers and local Kenyan partners like Latia. “We have study groups and open field days to share experience, build expertise and to help us decide on a better market proposition,” he acknowledged.    Components of Growing Solutions Kenya is greenhouse-based production. It is tailor-made for the needs of the target group, SME vegetable farmers. There is business orientation from both sides. GSK is supported by the Dutch government.

“Latia regards this project for research and demonstration,” affirmed Peter Muthee, the Managing Director at Latia, “One of the lessons learnt is that there’s market for high quality products.” Secondly, suppliers of technology ought to adapt to the needs of local growers and climatic conditions, to foresee challenges that may arise during the testing period. For example, structures of the greenhouses to put up is important to note, because of these needs. Another lesson is the importance of discipline of operators who manage crop development routinely like pollination. “Farmers have invested in technology that seems not to work because those operating on them lack the understanding and discipline,” he observed.

Tuning to the plants needs for effective growth and production

Geert Nell of Bosman Van Zaal provided insights on the importance of irrigation technology especially through the use of rainwater. “Rainwater is the best for irrigation which can be harvested through gutters, stored and used in the greenhouses.” Bosman develops, manufactures, supplies and maintains facilities for producers of vegetable and floricultural crops. Their areas of expertise for multidisciplinary project solutions are greenhouses constructions, water systems, cultivation systems, heating & cooling systems, electrical systems and control systems and software. They operate from an international office in Kenya.

In his presentation on ‘Smart Environmental Control with Retractable Screens’, Mr. Philip Immerzeel of Ludvig Svensson explained the purpose of screens in greenhouses.  “The Advanced greenhouse has a retractable screen to offer more effective control of the climate within it, leading to better yield. “Light sensitive vegetables have 25% more yield.” The screens also save on the use of energy, water and pesticide. This explains why Svensson works closely with Bosman, Koppert and Hoogendoorn to provide these solutions.

Martin Helmich, the Marketing and Sales Director of Hoogendoorn Growth Management, further expounded on controlling the greenhouse climate and irrigation systems through an automation software. “The Isii Compact can be used 24-hour, seven days a week to create the optimal growing conditions for a maximum production of the vegetable crop in the greenhouse.” In the Advanced module, water and fertilizer dosage is tuned to the plant’s needs hence increasing yields and reducing pests and diseases. “When you start with quality seeds, you get quality plants through biological control and the right knowledge.”

Koppert Biological Systems provides an integrated system of specialist cultivation knowledge and natural, safe solutions that increase crop health, resilience and production. Their crop protection system is natural for healthy soil life.  Geoffrey Ongoya of Koppert engaged participants in the new developments of biological control for vegetables. “The consumption of vegetables in the country in comparison to fruits, flowers, maps and nuts is 48%,” he indicated, “Most farmers are not aware of these biological controls and we are looking to increase the current range which is at the moment still narrow.”

Latia GSK field day

Nico explains about the automated systems installed in one of the greenhouses at Latia.

Nico de Groot, the Project Coordinator of GSK observed that the Consortium had really struggled to get the system running because new technology is being introduced in a new ecosystem. “We had to get used to the climatic conditions so as to find the right settings for the systems… for us it’s still a learning process.”

Improving living standards of SME vegetable farmers

Ms. Joan Nabea acknowledged that the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock in Kiambu County appreciates that GSK field days are open to farmers as she recognized a considerable number who had attended from the County. “Every other time there’s something different or additional to learn in such forums.”

GSK Project aims at contributing to the living standards of small and medium vegetable farmers in Kenya. The project is implemented by a consortium of 11-Dutch greenhouse technology providers, in partnership with Latia Resource Center Ltd. (the demonstration site). It involves the development of greenhouse technology that suits the local production conditions for vegetables. Capacity building is ongoing and it involves training farmers through study groups and field days.

The field days target vegetable growers, market players, input players, industry regulators, media relations, government representatives, as well as, consumers.

The first and second field days took place in December 2015 and March 2016, respectively.

View the short video clip about Growing Solutions Kenya here… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OMzqbjYMInI

Read about the Growing Solutions Kenya project here…

https://latiaresourcecenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/GreenFarming_GrowingSolutionsKenya_brochure.pdf

For more information about Green Farming Growing Solutions, contact:

Nico de Groot +31 0651073548/+254 705788689 | [email protected] | www.greenfarming.nl

Third field day of Growing Solutions Kenya to be held on Tuesday 7th June | Vegetable Greenhouse Farming

By | Growing Solutions Kenya, Integrated Agricultural Systems, News | No Comments

On Tuesday 7th June 2016 Growing Solutions Kenya will host the third field day at Latia Resource Center Ltd. in Isinya, Kajiado County on the added value of Dutch greenhouse technology for Kenyan vegetable growers.

Growing Solutions Kenya_Dutch technology

GSK Project aims at contributing to the living standards of small and medium vegetable growers in Kenya. The project is implemented by a consortium of 11-Dutch greenhouse technology providers, in partnership with Latia Resource Center Ltd. (the demonstration site). It involves the development of greenhouse technology that suits the local production conditions for vegetables. Capacity building is ongoing and will involve training farmers through study groups and field days.

The Field day targets vegetable growers, market players, input players, industry regulators, media relations, government representatives, as well as, consumers.

View the video feature about the second field day for Growing Solutions Kenya – ‘Sale of residue-free tomatoes‘ here… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3ZPJ_zEXpw

View the short video clip about Growing Solutions Kenya here… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OMzqbjYMInI

Kind request to confirm your participation by e-mail to or

Latia GSK Project field day_2

Why sale of residue-free vegetables and fruits is necessary

By | Farm Produce for Sale, Growing Solutions Kenya, News | No Comments

At least 90 stakeholders gathered at Latia Resource Center Ltd. to attend the first Field Day of Growing Solutions Kenya (GSK) on Tuesday – March 22, 2016.

The day kicked off with attendees touring the GSK demonstration units where they received insights on greenhouse tomato farming under the three sets of greenhouse condition (climate, irrigation and growing media).

The theme of the day being ‘Sale of residue-free tomatoes‘, a number of presentations were made to discuss the importance of vegetable growers in producing quality tomatoes for a wide-range of consumers.

James Muturi of Latia, mentioned key things for a farmer to consider in selling tomatoes as: knowledge of market and its requirement in terms of volumes, varieties and consistency; harmonization of farm operations with client demands as one observes maximum residue levels; and, product presentation and pricing of tomato.

Benson Mutua of Corner Shop Ltd. emphasized that buyers expect sellers to present quality medium sized tomato consistently not forgetting the minimum residue levels which is the desire of every consumer.

Latia Green Farming GSK field day_1

James Muturi, Agribusiness Solutions Manager at Latia discusses about the farm’s experience in selling tomatoes.

Jack Wanyonyi of the Netherlands Development Organization (SNV) – HortImpact noted that standards set for the sale of vegetables and fruits can be either commercial or regulatory. He added that these requirements are important as they: guarantee safe and quality food for consumers; prevent food scares; build consumer confidence; ensure worker safety and health; tackle environmental issues and concerns; broaden access to local, regional and international markets.

Anthony Mutiso of Fresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya (FPEAK) discussed about certification as a future requirement to sell vegetables. He affirmed that chemical residues, microbial contamination and heavy metal traces largely affect food safety despite availability of certification enforcement standards such as GLOBALGAP, KenyaGAP, Fairtrade, TNC, KS:1758:2015, and more.

According to regulations, food safety standard envisages the following:

  • Traceability from farm to fork
  • Record keeping of all processes
  • Microbial tests of drinking & irrigation water, as well as, farm produce (MRLs).
  • Ensuring use of approved chemicals
  • Integrated Pest control Management
  • Safety of workers, consumers & environment
  • Use of scarce resources sustainably
  • Handling post-harvest facilities in a clean manner

Geoffrey Ongoya of Koppert Biological Systems considered the pros of biological control as a tool to reduce residues on tomatoes. He presented the various biological approaches available for pest and disease management as a means of minimizing chemical residues on food crops and also discouraging pest resistance to pesticides.

Herbert Stolker of Delphy BV demonstrated safe and efficient spraying technics to reduce pesticide residues on crops. He explained that scouting, selective spraying and integration of biological pest control strategies in the spray program help minimize residue levels on tomatoes. Reading labels, cleaning and rinsing spray equipment after and before another use of spray are key checklist for every farmer or the one handling pesticides.

GSK Project aims at contributing to the living standards of small and medium vegetable growers in Kenya. The project is implemented by a consortium of 12-Dutch greenhouse technology providers, in partnership with Latia Resource Center Ltd. (the demonstration site). It involves the development of greenhouse technology that suits the local production conditions for vegetables. Capacity building which is ongoing, involves training farmers through study groups and field days.

The field days target vegetable growers, market players, input players, industry regulators, media relations, government representatives, as well as, consumers.

The second field day ‘Dutch greenhouse technology‘ will take place on Tuesday – June 7, 2016 at Latia Resource Center Ltd. in Isinya – Kajiado County.

View the video feature about the first field day for Growing Solutions Kenya – ‘Sale of residue-free tomatoes‘ here… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3ZPJ_zEXpw

View the short video clip about Growing Solutions Kenya here… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OMzqbjYMInI

 

For more information about Green Farming Growing Solutions, contact:

Nico de Groot +31 0651073548/+254 705788689 | [email protected] | www.greenfarming.nl

 

Growing Solutions Kenya field day set for March 22 at Latia | Vegetable Greenhouse Farming

By | Growing Solutions Kenya, Integrated Agricultural Systems, News | No Comments

The first Field Day of Growing Solutions Kenya (GSK) Project is set for Tuesday-22nd March 2016, from 0930hrs to 1600hrs EAT at Latia Resource Center – off Pipeline Rd., 1.5 km from Isinya town in Kajiado County, KENYA.

Latia -Growing Solutions Kenya field day

GSK Project aims to contribute to the living standards of small and medium vegetables growers in Kenya. The project is implemented by a consortium of 12-Dutch greenhouse technology providers, in partnership with Latia Resource Center (the demonstration site).

This Project involves the development of greenhouse technology that suits the local production conditions for vegetables. Capacity building is ongoing and will involve training farmers through study groups and field days.

 

The Field day targets vegetable growers, market players, input players, industry regulators, media relations, government representatives, as well as, consumers

Kenyan local diversity is key in reaching out to these farmers and other stakeholders.

Map to Latia Resource Center Ltd.

Map directions to Latia

 

Contact us for more information.

Growing Solutions set for Vegetable Farmers in Kenya

By | Growing Solutions Kenya, Integrated Agricultural Systems, News | No Comments

On Friday – September 18th the project, Growing Solutions Kenya, was launched during the Naivasha Horticultural Fair. The launch was carried out by Mr. Bert Rikken, agricultural counselor, Peter Muthee, director of Latia Resource Center, the local partner of Growing Solution Kenya and Mr. Harm Maters, chairman of Growing Solutions by disclosing the Growing Solutions billboard.

 

Growing Solutions Kenya is a Dutch government sponsored program aiming to support small and medium sized vegetables growers. The program is implemented by a consortium of 12 Dutch greenhouse technology providers. Mr. Rikken during his introduction explained that with the implementation of Growing Solutions, the Dutch government intends to give a positive impulse to the Kenyan vegetable growing sector while creating business opportunities for Dutch technology suppliers. Mr. Maters stressed in his presentation that training of small & medium sized vegetable growers is crucial to the future success of the program.

 

During the training of local growers will be informed on the advantages of the technology in terms of sustainability and cost effective production of vegetables in greenhouses. Growing Solutions Kenya is currently setting up three demo-units at Latia Resource Center at which innovative greenhouse production technology adapted to the local production conditions will be demonstrated.

Mr.Peter Muthee. Managing director at Latia Resource Center (left), Mr. Bert Rikken (right), Agricultural counsel and Mr. Harm Maters, chairman of Growing Solutions (far right) disclosing the Growing Solutions billboard at the Naivasha Fair

Mr.Peter Muthee. Managing director at Latia Resource Center (left), Mr. Bert Rikken (right), Agricultural counsel and Mr. Harm Maters, chairman of Growing Solutions (far right) disclosing the Growing Solutions billboard at the Naivasha Fair

 

Training of Farm Operators has been ongoing since the Launch. This embarkment covers management and maintenance of crops grown, temperature and humidity control in the greenhouses. The next training for small farmers will take place in November. Consequent capacity development will go on during actual farming.

 

Read more about the project in the Growing_Solutions_Kenya_brochure

About Growing Solutions Kenya at Latia Portfolio

For further information about Growing Solutions Kenya please contact Nico de Groot, [email protected]dlvplant.nl, +31 0651073548/+254 705 788 689.

Latia_Growing_Solutions_Kenya(2)

There are many opportunities for growing vegetables in Greenhouses… | Growing Solutions Kenya

By | Growing Solutions Kenya, Integrated Agricultural Systems | No Comments

Investing in greenhouses is smart because they protect crops from bad weather conditions. Additionally you can plan crops for times when vegetables are scarce and expensive. Protected crops consume less water and fertilizer while pests and diseases are easier to control.

 
Three different greenhouse production systems have been designed to show the possibilities of producing high quality vegetables at high production levels. The modular set-up will allow smaller, start-up farmers to start at a more basic technology setting while offering opportunities for larger, more experience growers to invest in the next level of greenhouse production technology.

 
Being one of the most important vegetable crops in Kenya, tomatoes have been selected as the demonstration crop. Apart from improved productivity, attention is focused on safe working conditions, efficient use of input and safe and healthy food with minimal use of pesticides.

 
The BASIC module.
The Basic greenhouse module creates a good growing climate with a gutter height at 4 m and a fixed ventilation window at the top of the greenhouse. Sides are open and covered with insect netting. The internal frame is strong enough to support the crop load. The production is soil based with manual application of water and fertilizer through drip lines.

Growing Solutions Kenya

The PLUS module.
In the PLUS module the greenhouse construction is the same as in the Basic module with the option to open and close the top vent and the side walls manually. Unlike the basic module the water and fertilizer application is automated with the FertimixGo!. This will allow for the timely application of fertilizers and water according to a pre-set schedule in accordance with the needs of the plants. As in the basic module the production is soil based.

 

The ADVANCED module.
In the Advanced module the internal growing climate is fully automatically controlled by the Isii compact, thus creating the optimal growing conditions for a maximum production of the vegetable crop. The greenhouse has a movable screen to protect the plants and optimize the growing climate. Growing Solutions Kenya Water and fertilizer application is similar as the Plus module. Production is on substrate in a 50%-50% mixture of coco peat and pumice. Water and fertilizer application is similar as in the PLUS module.

 

 

Growing Solutions Kenya will show how to grow high quality vegetables in an efficient way. The 3 demo modules are set-up at Latia Resource Center, in Isinya.

 
A Series of Growing Solutions Kenya. This message has been brought to you by Green Farming Growing Solutions, a Project supported by the Dutch Government.
For more information… www.greenfarming.nl

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