Flower farms in Kenya are producing high quality roses by adopting technologies that target environmental conservation. From hydroponics, Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to Sky Train flower transporting system, flower farms have come of age instilling fresh breath.
At PJ Dave Flowers, one of the PJ Dave Group farms, they have adopted ethical farming practices where conservation of the environment is key. The Group which is a family owned has built a reputable name in global flower market for their continued excellence.
Having worked their way up to be among the leading roses producer in the past two decades. The Group farms are located in idyllic landscapes and at different altitudes across Kenya. PJ Dave Flowers and PJ Dave Flora are set at Athi -Kapiti plains, Kajiado County while PJ Dave Rising Sun, nests on the slopes of Mount Kenya at Timau.
At PJ Dave Flowers, rather than burning waste from greenhouses emitting carbon, they have installed a bio-gas system; an off-grid system that generates clean energy. The system is fed with mixture of waste roses and animal waste. It produces energy which they use to pump water from their boreholes hence cutting down on electricity cost. The digested final waste removed from the system is used as manure for their flowers.
“We are at an advanced stage of installing solar panels to tap on the solar energy which will go a long way in assisting our farm to cut on escalating cost of electricity. Currently we are planning to set up 340 kilowatts solar panels at PJ Dave flowers and PJ Dave flora,” said Mr. Malai, of PJ Dave Group.
Hydroponically, roses are grown in a medium fitted with drip lines from a central place where fertigation is carried out. The crop uptakes the nutrients that they require from the drip and the rest goes back for replenishing and purification. It ensures that no wastage of water and nutrients.
Diversifying is the trend in business world. Kenyan growers have picked the trend and they are expanding unto other rewarding avenues in order to top up on their flowers sales. PJ Dave Group has not been left out either as they are diversifying to fruit cultivation with a special interest on Hass avocados and Mangos.
“We are planning to set up our avocado faming facility in Meru. We choose Meru due to its cool climate and reliable rainfall. Once harvested, they are to be transported to our pack house facility where they will be cooled, graded and packed before being transported to airport for dispatch to Europe,” said Mr. Malai.
They have set up their own marketing company in Australia and Singapore to strengthen their marketing network through improving their supply chain. “We are driven by the need to offer our customers quality service hence we ensure good delivery all year round. This has made us spend a lot of money on quality systems. All our packaging sleeves and boxes are branded to enable us be identified in the market. All our employees are professional thus ensuring we get the best quality which is our prime motive,” Malai explained.
The farm host a state of the art propagation system where all the roses planted in their farms are propagated. Having begun on 2ha to the current total 150ha for the Group combined land; they are at advanced stage of expansion with constant commercial update and varieties needed in the market.