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"Martin Helmich, Hoogendoorn: "An inspiring example"

Kenya: Interplant continues to conserve water

As water is a scarce commodity in Africa, more Kenyan companies are taking actions to conserve water. So does Interplant, a rose breeder that decided to build their own closed circuit recycling system at their greenhouse operation in Kenya. "Being as sustainable as possible is their top priority and, in Africa, such companies are an inspiring example for other growers", says Martin Helmich of Hoogendoorn, who, together with Bosman Van Zaal, designed and implemented the techniques at this breeder. And also at their new 1ha greenhouse, that is currently being built, this rose breeder continues to conserve water.

Chris Alphenaar and Geert Nell of Bosman Van Zaal, Robert Ilsink of Interplant and Martin Helmich of Hoogendoorn at the IFTEX in Nairobi, Kenya.

At Interplant, it is all about sustainability. Their 3ha greenhouse, which is used for testing and showcasing their latest varieties, is situated near Lake Naivasha. Especially in this region, water conservation is a main issue. Together with Hoogendoorn and Bosman Van Zaal, they found a way to reuse their water.

The greenhouse of Interplant in Kenya.

"They collect their water from a well. So, the quantity of water is limited. The well water is desalted and disinfected by reverse osmosis. In order to reuse as much water as possible, they collect the drainwater and disinfect it by using a UV installation. The water quality is continuously being monitored. The remaining waste water, flows to Interplants' Wetland, that treats the waste water", says Helmich. "The various, well selected plants help to clean and filter the pollutants. The wetland is a very efficient, economic and ecological system in reducing all the pollutants to an acceptable environmental level. Moreover, it looks amazing", explains Robert Ilsink, owner of Interplant. "So, regarding the use of water, this rose farm is sustainable in two ways. It reuses water and also flushes the waste water in a sustainable manner", says Chris Alphenaar of Bosman Van Zaal.

The silos and UV lamps at Interplant.

According to Helmich, Interplant saves 30 percent of water and 40 percent of fertilizers. "It is a large investment, but it pays back in a relatively short period; within 2-4 years. And the bigger the project the shorter this payback period", he says.

The Wetland and greenhouse of Interplant.

At the moment Interplant is expanding with a new 1ha greenhouse. "The expansion is connected to the existing irrigation system and drain collection system. From the setup of the farm the recirculation system was already designed for this expansion. So, that means also the newly build greenhouse is fully equipped with re-use of drain water and fertilizer. This is better for the environment and it saves water and fertilizer", says Helmich. 

Cultivation gutters and vertical ventilation to save energy.

Increasing demand techniques
In general, Alphenaar and Helmich see an increase in demand for techniques. "Heating in the greenhouse, for example. One can choose to use the floor heating, but now, there are also fans that circulate the heating in the greenhouse. This results in a better climate within the entire greenhouse; the plants are more dry, and therefore less vulnerable for diseases like mildew and botrytis. Consequently, less crop protection products are necessary and the energy consumption will decrease", says Alphenaar.

The service team of Hoogendoorn and Bosman Van Zaal.

Local service
Hoogendoorn and Bosman Van Zaal have a local service office with local, well trained, employees. At the office, all the spare-parts are available to offer a rapid service. Moreover, the staff at the Bosman Van Zaal office in Naivaha is available 24/7.

For more information
Interplant Roses East-Africa Ltd.
T: +254-729 406 668

Bosman Van Zaal Kenya
T: + 254 (0) 707 00 03 08

Hoogendoorn Growth Management
T: +31 (0)10 460 80 80