rose
rose

At Magana Flowers in Kikuyu, North West of Kenya’s capital Nairobi, hundreds of flowers, mainly roses, thrive inside huge greenhouses and in the open field.

The farm grows three varieties of roses broadly categorized as sprays, intermediates and T-hybrids.

Business24

The flowers are sold majorly in Russia, Japan, Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, UK, US, Australia and the Middle East.

Years ago, growing the flowers was not a hard task, as the weather was predictable, temperatures were average and pests and diseases were minimal.

But with the climate changing rapidly, growing the flowers has become a little harder. This has forced the farm to incorporate data technology in its production system to get things right.

The flower farm is among an increasing number of agribusinesses in Kenya that have turned to technology to boost their production amid the vagaries of climate change.

The technologies being used in particular involve use of sensors to provide daily data that helps farmers to make decisions on the farm.

Nicholas Ambanya, the chief executive of Magana Flowers in Kikuyu, said on Friday that they are using internet of things (IoT) for disease and pest surveillance, water conservation and in general production of quality flower stems.

“Thanks to technology, we have had improved disease control, increased flower head/bud and length of stem and better water conservation,” said Ambanya, noting they have placed sensors at various points on the farm including in irrigation systems to help collect data.

Mark De Blois, the chief executive of Upande, a data technology firm in Nairobi, observed that farmers and proprietors of other agribusinesses have no choice but to embrace technology to boost their production.

“The weather patterns are shifting, thus, climate variability is a fact. This brings further challenges to already challenging conditions for most farmers in Kenya and around the world,” said De Blois.

According to De Blois, it is important for one to use technology to measure all variables that facilitate a successful planting season to guarantee maximum returns during the harvesting season.

Among the things the technologies are helping farmers monitor are water flow, water level, water pressure, temperature, humidity, power consumption, soil moisture, pH and weather station.

Along the value chain, agribusinesses are also using technology to link with farmers, manage deliveries, monitor vehicle movement and vehicle fuel level.

At Twiga Foods, a Nairobi-based agro-supplies firm, technology has been deployed to manage food producers, pack houses and deliveries, among others.

“Without digital technology, we would not be able to manage farm deliveries, quality control, payment of farmers and movement of produce to ensure they don’t go stale,” Peter Njonjo, a director, said during a recent interview.

Bernard Mwaso of Edell IT Solution said that the use of data has become key in every sector, from finance to agriculture, where it is now inevitable for farmers to use it to boost their production amid the rising climatic challenges.

“Using technologies that collect data on weather, productivity, pests and diseases certainly enable farmers make evidence-based decisions. This is the way to go for local farmers,” said Mwaso. Enditem

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