Nursery being build
As mentioned in the previous update, we constructed a 390m² greenhouse on the Safi Sana premises during September.
The primary purpose of the greenhouse is to produce seedlings using the Safi Sana organic fertiliser and irrigation water. The premise is that we add value to the Safi Sana products by moving ‘up stream’. While we will sell the compost to farmers directly to help them improve their production, we also think that providing seedlings of a quality superior to what the farmers can produce themselves, can further increase production per HA. Being able to use the nutrient rich irrigation water that is a result of the bio-gas waste treatment process is also smart. Water is difficult to transport, so local use makes sense.
Water from the digester is first treated in constructed wetlands for water purification. This water will be mixed with rainwater to make sure we have a stable year round mixture and that the EC value due to salts is not higher than one. University of Wageningen is providing the analysis to ensure a correct mixing formula. They also spent a week during the first half of October in Ghana to install the greenhouse, train the Safi Sana staff and test compost mixes.
Over the next weeks various seeds will be tested. From Rucola to herbs, Tomato, Pepper, Eggplant, Cucumber and Papya. It is thrilling to see the first small plants germinate. Most of the test seeds have been provided by Ticola (East West Seeds) to ensure hybrid uniform quality. We also need to evaluate the greenhouse. We will for instance most likely have to install shading nets to manage the heat. The intention is to grow up to 900.000 seedlings per year depending on demand which will in turn influence the product mix. Many farmers use compost, but the use of professionally grown seedlings is not developed in Ghana, so the next steps will involve field tests, evaluations, and training with local farmers and development of channels.
More on that in the next blog.