I am Beatrice Peter, 28, a graduate with a bachelor’s degree in seed science and technology. I am a member of Kibwezi Hortipreneurs Youth Group (KHYG) formed under the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) youth agribusiness incubation programme in Kenya.
We are hosted at the University of Nairobi Dry-land Research Station in Kibwezi. This station had an abandoned greenhouse complex remaining from previous project strategically placed on the Mombasa/Nairobi commercial corridor.
The group conducts irrigated vegetable farming and fish rearing in semi-arid, lower eastern region (Makueni county). It sits along the spring-fed Kibwezi River and operates in two acres of the farm.
The group has been practising conventional vegetable production (using soil) in greenhouse. This has been characterized by high water usage for irrigation due to dry and extremely high temperature spells often experienced at the region
Due to our current conventional method, there has been a build-up of soil borne pests, diseases and nematodes.
This has resulted to intensive use of chemicals, which are often washed-off to the nearby river when continuous flooding/furrow irrigation is done to supplement drip irrigation. Leaching of nutrients and minerals is another consequence of the same, leading to high use of fertilizer and nutrient supplements.
In order to increase the production per unit area of vegetable coverage, the group intends to use hydroponic farming system in their drip irrigated greenhouses.
Hydroponic technology is the art of growing plants in soilless conditions. It has been used in addressing some of these challenges.
A visit by Prof. Njoka from University of Nairobi and some of his colleagues—initiators of hydroponic fodder in Kenya, enlightened and motivated the group to research more towards the idea of hydroponic vegetable farming.
The simple hydroponic Dutch bucket system appealed to the group for hybrid tomatoes in one of its greenhouse measuring 2,000 m2, with a carrying capacity of up to 2,400 plants.
Seedling production will be set in the nursery, a proportionate mixture of fine volcanic gravel (available around Kibwezi town), pure sand, vermiculate, basal fertilizer and compost manure (vermi-compost) will be made and wetted.
Clean plastic buckets of 40 cm diameter by 60 cm depth with 2 mm diameter reservoir outlet each prepared and placed in greenhouse rows where drips have been fixed.
A small clear pipe (2 mm) will be fixed at the outlet and then connected to the feeder pipes, which will drain excess water to main pipe leading to the collection container.
Having fixed that and drips adjusted to better height ,1/8 bucket will be filled with pure fine volcanic gravel (at the bottom) and the remaining filled with the wet mixture made up to three-quarters.
Seedlings will be transplanted, drips run over the buckets, plants are allowed to grow for a few weeks, then the remaining ¼ filled with the mixture; normal agronomic practices such as fertigation, pruning and trellising will then follow.
This process ensures maximum utilization of fertilizer, water and nutrient supplements by their containment at the plants root zone thus translating to increased yield per plant.
Excess water is then drained back to the system thus avoiding water wastage and reducing some unnecessary production cost.
Pollution will be reduced since most chemicals applied will be contained in the bucket. Weeding will also be reduced as most part will be covered by buckets. The gravel can also be washed and re-used after the crop cycle.
Success and efficiency of this project will be measured in terms of output and return on investment.
In simple calculation a plant of hybrid tomato in these conditions is supposed to yield not less than 10 kg in one cycle (six months).
With average price of USD 0.5. Population of 2,400 plants should thus give not less than USD 12,000. This technology ensures constant production and therefore two cycles can be obtained in one year, translating to USD 24,000 or more per year.
This will serve as a learning ground for the community and small-scale farmers along Kibwezi River who are practicing conventional farming techniques and therefore help reduce water pollution and make it safe for household consumption (reduce risks of some chronic diseases like cancer).
Families around Kibwezi town whose farm is nothing but volcanic rocks will have an avenue to learn on how to put their so called “useless land” into useful form and generate income.
The USD 5,000 will be used as follows:
- Invariables i.e equipment and tools (Dutch buckets, two polythene liners for compost pit lining and PVC pipes) for USD 2,700.
- Variables will include inputs (potting mixture ingredients, hybrid seeds, chemicals, fertilizer and nutrient supplements) costing USD 1,100, transport cost USD 500, labour USD 200 and contingencies USD 500.
Variable costs will be distributed evenly to cover the two cycles in one year.
This is how distribution of activities will be:
- 1st month: procurement of all materials, plant seeds in nursery and set up hydroponic system
- 2nd month: transplant tomato seedlings and carry on all the agronomic practices required.
- 3rd month: agronomic practices will continue and towards the end, first harvest will be done.
- 4th, 5th, 6th months: harvesting and normal agronomic practices will carry on and uprooting, bucket sterilization will be done in the last week of sixth month
- 2nd cycle initiated to carry on from the 7th month to the 12th month (end of year).
Blogpost and picture submitted by Beatrice Peter (Kenya): iitakibwezihortipreneurs[at]gmail.com
The content, structure and grammar are at the discretion of the author only.
This post is published as proposal #367 of “YAP” – our “Youth Agripreneur Project”.
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187 thoughts on “YAP proposal #367: Hydroponic Vegetable Production in Greenhouse (Beatrice Peter, Kenya)”
This modern farming and I’m impressed…Do this and feed Africa..
Thanks tabbs pls can they start with my farm it looks like yua yaani famine is over please do it fast
Ashford, no more famine with this technology. your corridor will be enough to supply you vegetables
Yeah! I will tabitha. Thanks alot.
Good work..we this great mind Africa is moving far
great idea! keep it up.
Very nice idea. All the best Beatrice.
great idea. i can borrow the hydroponic idea for my green houses too.
Yeah! sure you can do it and i can assure you no regrets , it is very real.
İ’m highly interested in the art of
growing plants in soilless conditions & every technology incoporated alltogether .. Pretty sure your production will be tremendous n huge returns will b realised too..
Yeah! with this technology production is highly enhanced. Justus no more dirt its time to be smart and earn from innovations
This is a really great idea…wonderful
Go on and feed people and the surplus be sold to earn a living I make a request that the piloting program be begun on my farm offer free
great technology that ensures proper utilization of small piece of land keep it up guys
Yes! Thats true McEnroe
Excellent, seems to be well researched. Looking forward to learn about this new technology. All best Beatrice n team.
Oscar thanks. we are going to do it passionately
this is exemplary beautiful proposal.
more food in Ukambani.good work Kibwezi agripreneurs
We aim to reach as many people as possible with this technology
bravo. so innovative.
Yes frankline, thanks alot.
Its real and very attractive , i’ m really impressed.
Wah…. Nice one don’t give up beatrice
I always did want to see this.. I hope it is implemented then I can definitely come and see it
The project is authentic …keep going Betty
Tis a great idea that needs to b propagated to higher notes… am really looking forward to meeting u and add more knowledge.
Thanks nzioka and always welkam to learn more “knowledge is power”
Wow! Keep it up Beatrice. Nice idea, great mind very innovative.
great work sister, give it up with fellow colleagues
Great project beatrice it shows how quick return can be obtained. all the best l will come to learn some techniques.
You are challenging people like me. Proceed and shine. You have shown us that it’s doable.
I like it.
A great idea…all the best
knowledge is wat u put in practice…go on with this YAP! Hongera
Great minds birth great ideas and innovations. This is great idea will address great number of sustainable development goals: zero hunger, good health and well-being,clean water and and sanitation. I an idea if adopted will take our country in the next level of production using sustainable ways.
Dickson thats it. Very sustainable technology socially, economically as well as environmentally.
good idea.i want to practise itï
Brilliant initiative by young motivated agripreneurs. Kudos tabz n team. Make this happen n set our region famine-free.
Benjamin thanks. With this technology that dry region will be set free from poverty and hunger.
Wow!!This is wonderful Beatrice.Go for it.
Good work,this is knowledge based agriculture for not only Kenyan but also African revolution
Good idea. I think it will be of great benefit to Makueni peoples and others by extension
Wish you good luck
I love the hydroponic technology, great mind can change the world. wish you success
that’s great.can technology work at kinangop.a high altitude area with different soil.and what is the cost of setting it up
Yes, no soil type consideration in this. it can be applied anywhere. cost is a factor of materials, space and crop type.
Good job Beatrice keep up
i need to learn more of this technology from you guys.great minds indeed
Lucy thanks. You are most welcome.
Great idea members of Kibwezi hortipreneures
guys ur realy inspiring.kenya needs young inovators like you.
Carol. we are young, energetic and ambitious we will do it. and more
am intrestd to know more about this project.i think witinformation from you i can also adapt it in my home farm.
Upon actualization i believe many people will learn from it.
A great proposal emanating from a great and determined mind. At all the levels and stages of implementation, production and harvesting; I wish you success.
hahahaaa,,, go ahead guyz. a very nice move. beat ns ulete branch ya project uko hom…
this project will impact many people postively. Our target is that if it goes through we replicate it all over the country
Great idea Beatrice. This is perfect for the area and space. Wish you all the best
Briliant idea. I like it very much
great move n a wonderful proposal.go for it
Thanks musyoki. we are moving a head and i’m sure we will make it.
impresive work.you are a winning team full of inspiration.
Thank you Dr. Judith, its true our inspiration and passion keeps us going and in this we will make it
Gteat minds puting into practice your knowledge.wish you success in this mordrn technology.its already a success.
good job guys.do you offer motivational talks to other youths?
great initiative guys keep it up
great work.wish you success
wonderful initiative young people.i suppor your move to expand production in the agricultural sector.
Thankyou wambari. This technology is key to mordern agriculture.
good intitiative guys need to challngr the economic situation of our country aggresivly as you’ve done
we have to figure out way on improving our productivity and still conserve our environment. with this technology i strongly believe we are on the right track.
kenyan youth you always shine in inovation.i slute u guys wrndrful proposal
gorgeous draft.its a great proposal.do you have a website i can follow?
I hav some youths in kericho who together can benefit from yo technology.can we arrnge for such?am realy impressd
Anita just keep in touch, this technology is real and our dream is to spread through trainings, demos and shows. we aim high.
whao!great initiative you have all my support.
Thanks alot kethi.
I like this project.
kudos jessica n team.this is awsome.
wonderful work n promising project.
Richard its very promising and indeed futuristic
i like to see this technology in practice.it realy impresses me.
Yes tinda. we offer trainings to other affliate youth groups and farmers
This is Beautiful Beaty..
I love it.. This I can do on my rocky farm.
Pleasant idea Beatrice..
You better go do it…workable..
Wow.. So this can also be practiced for tomatoes??
Yes. tomatoes do well in this.
You are far with this.
Well done comrade… Still creative as usual.
This is New technology worth embracing.
You are really a strong team… Can I join your group?
Well. please call me so we can talk on that.
Good work. Come do extension service here at busia.
Beatrice and your team are really productive..
Bravo.. I really like the technology…
This technology will really solve the problem soil diseases
Can this be practiced with any variety?
Yes any tomato vareity,can be done in this
Commentable work.. Can do it team.
Thumbs up Beaty.. You have a brighter future.
Great draft… U r a good writer.
You are focussing poverty reduction n you will achieve it.
This is the best way to fight unemployment and underemloyment.
Enjoyed reading the article.
You guys should appear on Seeds of gold…
We will try. thanks
Being a County officer, you team are making me proud of my County.
I have a small area at my urban place. N hope this will increase my yield per unit area?
I wish u all the best team.
This gonna be incredibly successful..
The Agripreneur of the year award goes to…. KHYG…
Most of the hydrophonic technology is practiced to produce folliar feed like barley… This diversion is important..
I can see, KHYG n Kenya at large is a hot bed of modern agriculture..
This is good my fellow learned friend.
Good luck Beatrice.
Nice proposal… Will pay you a visit so that we can share ideas.
Put God first n He will bless the work of your hands.
By doing this, you are transformimg agriculture which is good.
Keep this spirit.. It’s awesome.
A brighter future lies ahead of u.. Make this happen.
Trust yourself n do this. All the best.
Would like to follow you up… Do you have an active face book account?
Hey! Superb this is a great proposal beatrice, i like it
Waoh! i like this very attractive idea.
Go for it.
Oh! yes i’ve seen it work. i’m pleased for your take in it. keep up.
Great business idea.
Let it be real guys I would wish to pay u a visit some day.
Very encouraging idea. I believe u guys can do well. take heart.
Go for it Beatrice.. You have all the capability..
Beatrice i would like to be the first one to learn from u. this is very very attractive.
This technology is impossible to be equal with any other farming method..
This is the first phase and its splendid. Expect success.
This is a very convincing article.
This is a nice move focussing the MDG’s… Put more efforts n u will find yourself safe.
I like this technology. I practice it in my small farm.
If all the youths would be this ambitious, our Nation would be safe…. Keep it up.
With this our nutrition and health will improve. guys make it happen.
Glad to see that u know realize that it has come to a time for youths to engage in agriculture..
Beatrice you have what it takes to make this happen…. Best of all wishes.
A well researched proposal. success beatrice
Great beatrice. i’ll practise it with your help in training.
I’m amazed by this creativity.. U shall prosper in this.
Atleast doing this oractically at ukambani, laggards will learn n will change their mindset..
This project will scrap out the dependence of white collar jobs for youths.
There Is money in tomatoes n horticulture value chain . Nice venture
Guys thankyou so much i really appreciate your warm support in this. hope for the best. And lets continue joining hands and embrace this technology together.
You have a great mind..
Thanks Beaty for re-awakening the citizenry on the importance of agriculture in the growth and development of the economy.
Beatrice and your team.you are participating in returning agriculture in it’s rightful place..
Comrade you are making agriculture to be fashionable and acceptable by the youths.
Aggressive awareness on this technology here… Well done.
Come Beaty n make my farm prestigeous at west Kenya.
I’m proud of you seeing you embark on agriculture as a career and practice..
love the interest you have on agriculture.
After reading the article, it is noteworthy to say that the face of agriculture is transformimg.
I salute you for giving this project a thought.
Is there any other way I can do this without the use of drips?
Yes, use watering can for your small portion if you are doing it in open area you can also depend on showers from rains.
This is wise of you beatrice.
I’m so motivated to undertake agriculture as a career.
This is a proof there are endless benefits in horticultural practice.
This yield is too high…. I’m gonna try this.
Best of all wishes KHYG team.
Agripreneurship seems to be a prestigeous venture… Need to focus my interest there.
Sammy do it and you will have a reason to keep on smiling each day.
If youths engage in agriculture, they will help raise professional man power like you are doing Beaty.
The pride of a Farmer is during harvest… The photos potray good produce… Walk with all the courage
Thanks alot friends. I appreciate your comments, likes and thoughts. Be blessed.
That’s a very brilliant idea. We need such innovations in the postmodern era. If implemented, there will be a significant change of people’s living standards in Kibwezi and beyond.
The method is economical and environmental friendly.
Thanks Obadiah for you emphasies on this. we need to conserve our environment as we increase our per capita and this method is a good way to go.
Waaooo..! Great mind at work…right from ukambani to solve ukambani food shortage… great work beatrice… wish u well…keep it up….would like also to adopt this technology..
Haki bueatie c u start with my kashamba hapa matuu, nwy great ideas with great people, bravo.
Beatrice this is a brilliant idea. Keep it up and extent that technology to other dry parts of Kenya and probably in Africa as whole. Kudos