“We work with futuristic businesses because these [entrepreneurs] are the people who come up with innovative solutions, innovative either in terms of new business models or new [product] ideas,” says Mr. Chitechi. “We [supported] for example the hydroponics system operated by Minerals and Allied Ltd. What Peter Chege [Minerals LTD founder and CEO] came up with is an idea with great potential because 1) about 90% of Kenya’s agriculture is rain-fed, and 2) we have a growing population; our land remains the same so we need to look at innovative solutions to produce about 70% more food as we move forward.”
In the same week, the TV show dedicated a full episode to Peter Chege and his revolutionary hydroponics farming system. “Hydroponics means growing plants in nutrient solutions without soil […] We replace soil with water and by doing so the plant grows very fast; it takes only seven days as opposed to weeks,” says Mr. Chege.
Although hydroponics relies primarily on water, the system is very efficient in managing the resource. Studies show that hydroponics systems are at least 10 times more efficient in water usage in comparison to field farming. The higher maturity rates of plants grown hydroponically have been attributed to the fact that the plants do not have to expend a lot of energy rooting out nutrients from the soil. In addition, since the farmer has near total control over the nutrients in the water solution, plants can receive the minerals they need in the best amount and combination.
With the support of the Kenya CIC, Mr. Chege’s innovative company is growing fast in Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda. The center has provided him with legal guidance and business training to help him turn his innovative idea into a viable business.