New green technology to help Kenya ‘s flowers
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New green technology to help Kenya ‘s flowers

    New green technology to help Kenya ‘s flowers   By Houmi Ahamed-Mikidache It is well known Kenya’s roses, carnations and summer flowers, in particular, are renowned for being long-lasting.  Indeed, one terminal at Nairobi airport is dedicated specially to the transport of flowers and vegetables.  Therefore, perishable floral cargo can go from grower to consumer in record time.  Kenya is the third largest exporter of cut flowers in the world and is the undisputed East African floriculture champion. Flower exports have become Kenya’s third major export (after tea and tourism) bringing more than $100m in to the Kenyan economy each year. But nowadays flowers exports is under constant threat of damage by pest and disease due to climate change. ADAS Horticulture, part of UK based RSK Group, has pioneered new technology for reducing the impact of pest and pathogen attacks which cause significant crop and supply chain losses in Kenya. It will help Kenya become a leading exporter of fresh produce, according to the company. ADAS is indeed a trading name of RSK ADAS Ltd. RSK Group in the UK’s largest privately owned multi-diciplinary  environmental consultancy and one of the fastest growing companies of its kind in Europe. With operations in Europe, Africa, Middle East, its comprehensive, solutions-led consultancy services help organisations around the world conduct business in a compliant and environmentally-responsible manner.   Fighting the disease: UV technology The most problematic disease which causes crop and supply chain losses is Botrytis(commonly known as grey mould) but it is not the only problem.  Pests and pathogens are estimated to contribute up to 40% of cut rose yield losses worldwide. Standard chemical control techniques involving direct spray applications of pesticides are not always effective and their use is being constantly challenged by consumer and environmental impact concerns. To address the problem of pestilence and find a sustainable, environmentally friendly solution, ADAS has spent the last three years working  with industry and academic partners to develop new sustainable, non-contact, non-chemical technologies. The project was funded by Innovate UK. Explaining the innovative technology, Dr Barry Mulholland, Director, ADAS Horticulture, said, “We worked with a Kenyan business, which grows and exports roses back to the UK. To him, the technology comprises two strands: firstly, UV light to make crops more resistant to pest and pathogen attack and also improve product marketable quality; and secondly, UV light in post harvest environments to remove ethylene, which is known as the “silent killer” and is responsible for the accelerated ageing of fresh produce.” This is the first time ever that UV technology has been on a crop while it is growing. It has been noted by the company that the resistance goes through the supply chain. How does it work? “By removing ethylene, the ageing process is effectively suspended. By simply extending shelf life by...

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