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Demonstration Project ‘Water Management in Kenyan Horticulture’

In the period of July 2011 until July 2014 the Green Farming demonstration project ‘Water Management in Kenyan Horticulture’ is being implemented in Kenya. The demonstration project is an initiative of Green Farming member Bosman BV, in cooperation with Green Farming members Hoogendoorn Growth Management BV, Van der Knaap Groep, Wageningen UR Greenhouse Horticulture, Genap BV, Hatenboer-Water BV and DLV Plant BV.

The purpose of the project is to demonstrate that through the implementation of proper technology and management, water and nutrient use in protected and open horticultural production systems can be reduced and production quantity and quality can be increased at the same time. The aim is to realize this through a closed production system with fully controllable crop inputs and recyclable fertigation water. Green Farming wishes to convince the East African horticulture sector that Dutch technology, although having higher initial investments costs, on the long run will be most cost effective.

For this demonstration project a closed production system is introduced to the Kenyan horticulture sector, which comprises a complete system to collect, store and clean rain water, including bore hole water and recirculation water coming back from the greenhouse. The technologies are installed in an existing greenhouse within a rose crop on a gutter system with cocopeat substrate. All water will be cleaned with a reversed osmosis system. A fertilization unit regulates all types of fertilizer to prepare new irrigation water with all nutrients in a solution. A sensor system measures water levels and flows throughout the whole system and with this data, the irrigation computer will be able to automatically give the optimal amount of irrigation water to the crop in several servings spread over the day. The system is custom-made to east African conditions and realizes reduction in water and fertilizer use, while creating optimal growing conditions for increased production quantity and quality.

The demonstration project will be carried out at Van der Berg Roses in Naivasha, Kenya. The company grows more than ten rose varieties on a large acreage close to Lake Naivasha. The company has an international character and belongs to the upper end Kenyan rose exporters. Van der Berg roses will be willing to share all relevant data for calculating financial results and water balances.

The expected results of the implementation of the demonstration project are:

  • Reduction of the use of irrigation water by at least 30%
  • Reduction of the use of fertilizers by more than 30%
  • Reduction in running costs, through the above
  • Maintenance or improvement of product quantity and quality
  • Increase in level of sustainability of the production system

It is the aim to improve efficient use of water in the Kenyan horticulture sector in 4 successive steps:

  1. Optimizing irrigation level based on the needs of the crop (e.g. measuring drain water)
  2. Using collected rainwater for irrigation
  3. Re-using collected drain water in soil based cultivation
  4. Re-using collected drain water in substrate cultivation

During the demonstration project data will be collected and registered related to crop production, turnover, running costs and the water balance. The data will be made available after every full year. After the project all data will be presented in a report and a financial business plan will be delivered. End conclusions will be presented to the sector.

During and after the demonstration project, events and viewing days will be organized for interested growers. More information on these activities and on the progress of the demonstration project in general will be published on the Green Farming website.

A schematic overview with all project details can be found in the attachment to this item. For more infomation about the demonstration project 'Water Management in Kenyan Horticulture', please contact us at

Water Management Project Overview.pdf484.35 KB
GreenFarming Brochure Water Management.pdf3.2 MB
Project results - water management in hydroponic cultivation.pdf1.23 MB