Del Monte to make biofertilisers from June

Del Monte

An aerial view of pineapple plantations at Del Monte farm in Thika, Kiambu County. The firm plans to produce biofertilisers from pineapple residues from June 2024. 

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Fruit processor Del Monte has launched a fertiliser plant that will turn the company’s pineapple residues into biofertilisers.

Biofertilisers are substances that contain living microorganisms which farmers add to the soil to increase its fertility and promote plant growth.

In a statement, the company said the plant will use residues from its pineapple cannery to create four different types of biofertilisers for its use and eventual sale to other growers in East Africa.

The new plant, which is located near the company’s pineapple plantations, is currently running tests and will be fully operational in June, said the firm.

“As the largest single exporter of Kenyan products, we are proud to contribute to the advancement of sustainable practices through initiatives like the biofertiliser plant,” said Wayne Cook, Del Monte Kenya’s acting deputy managing director.

According to researchers, biofertilisers have the potential to provide especially smallholder farmers in Kenya with a cheaper alternative to chemical fertilisers whose prices remain high.

President William Ruto’s government has been subsidising the price of fertiliser to make it more affordable for farmers. Through the subsidy, registered farmers pay Sh2,500 for a 50-kilogramme bag of fertiliser. The market prices are as high as Sh6,500.

The input has become critical for enhanced food production amid deterioration of soil quality in many of the country’s leading food producing zones.

According to research by global agro-research firm Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), about 45 percent of fertiliser sold in Kenya is used to grow maize, which is the country’s main food produce.

Further, 16 percent is used to grow tea, which is Kenya’s top cash crop, followed by sugarcane (13 percent), beans (seven percent), wheat (five percent) and flowers (three percent). 

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