Farmers Training day at Hydroponics Kenya


Video credit: Rahab

After a series of field visits to various farms and individual households, we selected a few farmers who would be suitable to pilot our urban farming pilot project. We invited them for a meeting at our main demo farm here in Zambezi Kiambu County and also so that they can get to learn about the company, the systems and also meet the implementing team that will be interacting with them though out the whole project duration.
The day stared by picking up amembers from various places the stay first person was:

Mr. Ndege_ he is the grounds man at Moi Avenue primary school which is a government institution ties the center of Nairobi, he previously tried to plant different types of crops mostly using suck garden in order to cut down on the school budget spent on buying vegetables , his biggest challenge was in water supply , farm suitable water and also soil borne diseases that have been affecting his vegetables making production capacity of not sufficient enough to supplement the school feeding program which they provide during lunch hour period.

The school is located at The CBD of Nairobi where there is frequent shortage of water which is mostly supplied by tracks at a cost of Ksh 5000 per day
Due to high population of children most of the school budget is spent on vegetables for the lunch feeding program which hinder other developments that help children
Being located in the CBD they are not able to produce enough vegetables to feed the hole school with nutritious Vegetables and at the same time have enough space for a play ground

Angela Auma _ The second person to be pick up was Madam Angela Auma she lives in Kangemi in an area called Millennium where she runs her own children which was started in 1998 as an initiative to help children whose parents died due to HIV and Aids. Every day she incurs cost of feeding them, a bunch of Kale goes for 100ksh and in order to feed her family she needs 30 bunches. Since she has small children as little as 2 years, a well wisher donated to her a small piece of land to help her feed her children but currently it eating into her income

With her small space of land it costs her ksh 2,000 per week to fill her tank of 1000 litters to water her suck gardens
Due to high population in Kangemi she has less space to produce enough vegetables for her 57 children some of whom are less than 2 years who need high nutritional value diet
Currently one bunch of kale goes for 50 shillings on daily basis she requires at least 30 bunches in order to feed her children

Anne Muthiora, _ she is a farmer in Kwangware area she currently practices farming in rural area but lives in kwangware her biggest challenge currently is transporting her vegetables daily from the farm to the market which is close to her home. She has also tried doing a suck garden but the yields were not able give her positive return that would be able to sustain her economically.

High cost of transporting her vegetables from the farm to a market near her home
Lack suitable water due to frequent sewage leakages in her area
Water shortage in Kangemi which increases her cost of producing vegetables.
She tried suck garden which did not give enough produce to economically sustain her in the long run

Felister Njeri, and Florence Nguhi_. They are neighbors in Kwangware area and have tried kitchen garden before but failed currently they shop for vegetables locally form out skirts of Nairobi

Water shortage was one of the reasons why their kitchen garden failed
Some of the vegetables they source from the local market are grown using bursted sewage lines
They used to supply some of the indigenous vegetables to neighbors but were unable to meet demand due to poor production

Ruphence Manjala , and Njuguna Njeri_ Both have kitchen gardens and want to convert them in to income generating sources where they can also source healthy vegetables for their families
Both use county council water to water their gardens which is costly since its charged at a high rate
County council water is not reliable so they are forced to fetch water from water vendors which they sale 30 ksh for 20 litters jerry can for Ruphenece she requires 5 jery cans of 20 litters to water her garden per day .

Dorothy Muthreu,_ Dorssothy is one of our curious farmers she is really interested in hydroponics farming she has had a lot about hydroponics farming but never got a chance to see it in real life, currently she is just a normal urban dweller who buys her produce from local vendors in Kangemi and would like to be converted into a urban farmer.

Being an urban dweller she is worried about her source of vegetables since most are grown along swear lines
She has been interested I doing farming but currently she has a small space and would like to convert it into an income generating activity

Wilson M. Thairu_ He is a resident of Kwangwre area in Nairobi, previously he did tomatoes currently he has stopped growing tomatoes due various challenges listed below

Tomatoes require a lot of water, with high rate of water shortage his crops did not get enough water
Lack of good quality water to water his plants
Lack of water harvesting methods to catch rain water
Bacterial wilt affected his tomatoes

Muthiora Njunguna, _ was a mushroom farmer and used to supply to local residents and hotels ,currently he wants to plant vegetable because of high nutritional value of the crops and also since they have high demand in urban areas.
Patrick Thiongo and Dominic Ondari, _ both gentlemen are from kangemi polytechnic Patrick is the club leader of the agriculture and Dominic is the patron, Kangemi Polytechnic was started by the government as an initiative to empower the youth with technical skills that can help them to make a living through self employment .

Kangemi polytechnic was started in order to help the you to sustain themselves with the hydroponics technology they will be able to learn and gain knowledge
Kangemi polytechnic is suited in the heart of kangemi , lack of sufficient water has been a great challenge to them since they have tried different types of crops

Robert k Njoroge- He is a youth leader in Kangemi area where they have been doing straw berry farming for the last 5 years, currently they are producing 20kgs per week this is not able to meet their demand.

For him to be supply his straw berry to his suppliers he buys 9,000 liters of water per week which costs him Ksh 18,000 shillings this rises his cost of production
High cost of irrigating his crops
Pests and diseases as a result of soil born diseases

Specific tasks of the day

The pilot farmers come to the demo farms to meet the implanting staff of Hydroponics Kenya
Learn about the company and what it does
Learn about the hydroponics systems and also how to maintain them once installed
Signing working memorandum of understanding(M.O.U)
Familiarizing with each other so that they can be sharing knowledge and also network with each other


After the days training, it was agreed installation would start immediately ,
First Hydroponics Kenya technicians will make site visit and make an evaluation of the place
Installation will be done immediately after technician site visit.