Saturday, 3 December 2011

Greenhouse farming technology in Kenya

Greenhouse’s farming is any commercial agricultural activity that is carried out using special enclosures. This technology is widely practiced in Israel, due to scarcity of water and land  aiming at increasing the incomes of rural households. In most African countries adoption of Greenhouse farming is in the initial stages, and it is increasingly becoming popular. This technology has several benefits as below:-
  • The system increases agricultural output
  •  Allows growing of crops not suited to the region due to climate modification.
  • Economizes on space and irrigation water
  • Improves farming income
  • Improves food security
  • The technology reduces crop pest and diseases incidences

When operated correctly a greenhouse can give fresh produce throughout the year regardless of the season. The capacity to carefully control the temperature and humidity are important advantages of this farming system. Greenhouse system enables the use of modern technology such as hydroponics which involves growing plants in soil-less media, whereby they are suspended in a liquid, which can be water infused with specialized nutrient mixes. This allows plants to grow larger and faster than normal, helping to maximize efficiency. The main disadvantage of greenhouse farming is high cost of buildings construction and maintenance, which in Africa and developing countries can be addressed by organizing smallholders into green house farming groups, in order to pool resources.

While this technology offers numerous advantages, proper techniques are necessary to realize the benefits, and avoid any of the typical pitfalls of the technology. If you manage your project well all the year round, you'll need to prepare for the hazards of each season. In hot season cross-ventilation system is required. Passive ventilation with exhaust openings cut both high and low on the walls may provide sufficient air circulation for small structures. However, most greenhouses require a system of fans to keep the air circulating during the hot season due to high temperatures. In cool weather the circulation will be unnecessary in most cases. Soil fertility management practices are vital and they include crop rotation, regular application of compost, mulching, leaving the soil fallow to improve and maintain fertility. Apply fertilizers according to the soil requirements and the crops to be grown following soil analysis report. Fumigation or entire change of soil may be required before planting to clear crop pests and diseases. Fumigation involves saturating the greenhouse soil with pesticides to control soil pest and diseases.In conclusion this is a farming technology whose time is ripe.