In an effort to supply the Turkana Basin Institute field stations at Ileret and Turkwel with fresh, locally-produced fruits and vegetables, TBI has established two hydroponic gardens. We first shared our hydroponic gardens in 2018, and since then they have been going from strength to strength under the guidance of Michael Kitumba, our Hydroponic Garden Manager. Having developed locally appropriate methodologies for cultivating leafy greens, we have expanded our capacity and now produce over 1 tonne of kale, spinach and amaranth annually at the Turkwel facility alone.
Hydroponic farming allows for highly efficient use of space and water, and also means we are able to keep crops covered and safe from pests, which have been particularly important as the region grapples with locust invasions.
In addition to leafy vegetables, we’ve had lots of success with hydroponically grown tomatoes, and more recently with eggplants and a variety of herbs.
Our terrestrial (traditional ground based) fruit trees are also continuing to flourish, we’ve had particular success with pawpaw (papaya) and guava trees, producing well over 500kg so far in 2020!
We will continue pioneering new varieties and methodologies in this region, tailoring our cultivation techniques to local resource availability and environmental constraints. What we learn and develop can be replicated in the region to benefit local communities.