Wahinya Henry @PeopleDailyK
Kenya’s leading flower grower and exporter Oserian Development Corporation plans to maintain production without compromising on natural systems or its responsibility to workers, suppliers and local communities.
The Naivasha-based company has adjusted its production systems to address ongoing changes in European Union (EU)’s environmental legislation, which has increased pressure on farm produce from EU’s trade partners. EU currently measures maximum residue limits (MRL) of pesticides on vegetables and fruit imports.
“We’re seeing developments in legislation on pesticides and bee-friendly products,” says Hamish Ker, Oserian’s Technical Director. Growers are facing a market that is increasingly getting concerned over unsustainable practices. For instance, Western supermarkets say they will only buy flowers from growers involved in sustainable practices.
As one of the largest exporters of cut roses to the EU, Oserian has adopted a champions by nature approach to flower growing. It has the world’s largest geothermal heating project for maintaining temperature in greenhouses and provision of carbon dioxide (CO2) needed by plants. To further reduce its carbon footprint, Oserina has imported seven electric vehicles from the Netherlands.
“We’re going to use them to convert our trucks from fossil fuel to electric vehicles, which we can power from our geothermal plant,” says Ker. “If the project goes well, we’ll see more electric vehicle use in the future.
Green business is good business,” adds Ker. He says Oserian hopes to save on the $500,000 (Sh51 million) it uses on diesel each year. The company utilises the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) system, hydroponics to reduce water and fertiliser consumption.The farm has also partnerered with leading IPM companies and has embraced a more environment-friendly transportation process.