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Oserian powers flower production

NAIROBI, Kenya Jan 31 – Oserian has partnered with the Kenya Electricity General Company (KenGen) as the flower farm turns to geothermal heat to boost productivity as well as conform to internationally accepted regulations on carbon emission.

The Naivasha-based flower farm will lease geothermal energy from KenGen wells drilled within the area for its farming requirements.

Oserian is now using the mixture of steam and carbon dioxide not only to heat the water, which heats the greenhouses, but also to drive electricity-producing turbines.

Already, the company is operating a 50 hectare rose project using geothermal heat.

"Oserian has been guided by the principle that there are almost always environmentally green alternatives to its every day farming techniques and operating processes," Oserian Director of Administration Tsakiris Ruli said. These include operating its own geothermal wells, which provide steam to both generate electricity as well as to control humidity levels in its greenhouses.

Additionally, over 80 percent of Oserian\’s crops are grown using a technique known as \’hydroponics\’, which replaces soil with another medium, enabling exactly the right quantities of nutrients to be supplied to the plants.

The technique improves yields and quality, while reducing the quantities of pesticides and fertilizers used as well as enabling water conservation through more efficient irrigation.

Oserian is also the world\’s largest Integrated Pest Management Farm. This activity involves the combination of plant nutrition with bio-control agents, which are biological substances designed to prevent and combat a range of diseases that affect flowers.

A 2.5-acre greenhouse is devoted to producing more than three million Phytoseiulus persimilis parasitic mites that attack spider mites each week.

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Oserian Carnations Manager John Owles said the use of the parasites saves the flower farm €5 million (Sh556.5 million) a year on the chemicals alone.

Oserian has taken a lead in reducing carbon emissions into the environment through the purchase of carbon released by the national geothermal power station adjacent to the farm thus preventing its release into the atmosphere.

Independent assessors from Bristol University have calculated that the carbon footprint of each Oserian rose including air freight is one tenth that of a rose grown in Holland where the greenhouses are artificially illuminated and heated 24 hours a day by electricity and kerosene.

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