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Many invest in Reverse Osmosis and Ultra-Filtration

Kenya: Drought forces growers to save water

Water scarcity has been a major problem for many Kenyan growers this year. In order to save water, many of them decided to invest in techniques that enable them to do so. This, in turn, resulted in working overtime at Dutch water treatment company Mienis Water. "We have had a very busy year. Many growers decided to recycle their water and contacted us - as we do not have that many competitors - with requests for installing a membrane for Reverse Osmosis (RO) and Ultra-Filtration (UF) systems", says Mienis' water treatment specialist Jochum Genuit.

Jochum Genuit at the IFTEX 2017 in Nairobi, Kenya.

Recycling water
Kenyan growers had to deal with some very dry months this year and as a result, the availability of water became a problem for many growers. "After watering the plants, the water left was usually thrown away as it contains too many 'problems' like bacteria, viruses, nematodes and fungi. However, by using this water only once, fertilizers and other good components are unnecessarily being abandoned too", explains Genuit.

For over 40 years, Mienis Water has been creating membrane systems that can clean the water and treat it in such a way that they can remove the 'problems' out of the water while maintaining the good components.

What to do with it after drought

But what is the purpose of a RO or UF system when there is no drought anymore? "Improving the crop health and productivity", answers Genuit without any doubt. "Initially, this was the reason we created the first OR system over 45 years ago. At this time, surface water was not good enough anymore among Dutch growers. The salinity of the water was increasing and several elements were slowing down the growth of the crop. Only two water sources seem good enough to solve that problem; rainwater and Reverse Osmosis (RO) water. These water types are so clean that farmers could benefit from a better production and a higher quality."

Investment and payback period
Installing a membrane system is a big investment, but according to Genuit the payback period is relatively short. "Recently, we installed an RO system at a Kenyan flower grower who used to throw away 400 m3 of water. The owner calculated that the payback period would be around 8 months", says Genuit.

For more information
Mienis Water
Jochum Genuit
Email: [email protected] / [email protected]