Saudi Arabia targets hiring 115,000 citizens in private sector    Saudi ROTAX Cup Challenge at FunXtreme circuit in Dirab proves a draw    Renowned Saudi writer Abdullah Manna dies    Royal Orders Issued    Crown Prince: PIF 5-year strategy to be pioneering home for new human civilization    12,000 Saudi families sponsoring children of unknown parents    SFDA is responsible for licensing vaccine: MoH 84,807 protocol violations reported in a month    Hiring of Saudis up 2.9% with 49,000 new jobs; non-Saudis numbers down by 2.6% in 2020    Fearless Hatton storms to famous Falcon Trophy win in Abu Dhabi    Global coronavirus cases hits 99.4m; death toll crosses 2.13m    Asian drug lord Lop arrested at Amsterdam airport    Health Ministry Spokesman: 186 New Confirmed Cases of COVID-19 Reported in Saudi Arabia    IMCTC Secretary General Receives Representatives of Maldives    New dates confirmed for Saudi Arabia's debut F1 grand prix Jeddah street race retains its prime calendar position as season's penultimate grand prix    Portuguese voters head to the polls amid national COVID lockdown    Saudi Stock Exchange Main Index Ends Trading Lower, at 8,829.52 Points    KSrelief Continues Distributing Winter Clothes to Refugees in Jordan    KSrelief Distributes Shelter Aid to People Affected by Floods in Sudan    KSrelief's Masam Project Dismantles 1,446 Mines in Yemen During 3rd Week of January    Saudi Falcons Club introduces program to return falcons to their original habitats    Pakistan Approves Russian Sputnik V COVID-19 Vaccine's Emergency Use    S. Korea confirms two more cases of highly pathogenic bird flu    One of 22 Workers Trapped in China Gold Mine Rescued    Al Suwailem: Hydrogen plays an important role in the zero-carbon energy system Shabaneh: The COVID-19 pandemic enhanced hydrogen initiatives around the world    Legendary talk show host Larry King dies at 87    IRENA members endorse launch of Global High-Level Forum on Energy Transition    Real Madrid coach Zidane tests positive for COVID-19    Intellectual Property Authority Seizes 11,620 Articles Violating Creative Rights, 77 Websites Violating Intellectual Property Systems During January    Saudi Ports Achieve 6% Increase in Transshipment during December 2020    SAGO Issues Tender to Import 480,000 Tons of Barley    SR40mn funding for 28 Saudi cinematic projects    Film Commission Launches 28 Cinematic Projects for Winners of Daw' Film Competition    Healthy diets ‘nearly impossible' for 1.9bn people in Asia-Pacific: UN report    SASCA in Dammam Sets a Deadline for Receiving Participations in International Video Art Forum    French Driver Peterhansel Wins Dakar Rally Saudi Arabia 2021    Rangers win Old Firm derby, 50 years since Ibrox disaster    Dakar Saudi Arabia 2021 Rally to fully Kick off for 13-Day on Sunday    Saudi Film Commission Opens Registration Doors for Digital Filmmakers' Program    Dakar Saudi Arabia 2021 Rally to Kick off, on Saturday    Saudi Arabia Names " Scales" Film to Represent it in Oscars    Council of Senior Scholars: Muslim Brothers' Group Don't Represent Method of Islam, rather only Follows its Partisan Objectives, Violating our Graceful Religion    Court facilitates young woman's marriage after stripping father's guardianship    Bahrain's top Islamic body condemns attempts to insult Muslim symbols    Saudi man accused of harassing foreign wife asked to be produced before court Court allows divorce, custody of children by mother    S. P. Bala, legendary Indian singer, dead at 74    Eid Al-Adha Prayer Performed at the Grand Holy Mosque    Pilgrims Perform Dhuhr and Asr Prayers in Arafat Holy Site    Senior Scholars Council Issues Decision No. 246 Regarding Attendance of Friday Prayer and Prayers at Mosques in a Case of Spread of Epidemic or Fear of its Spread    







Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.





How a visionary in Rwanda is growing potatoes in the air
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 01 - 12 - 2020

Agriculture is embedded in the culture of the people of Rwanda. In fact, about 67 percent of Rwandans are employed in agriculture, with arable land covering over 1.56 million hectares of the country.
But with Rwanda's population set to rise from 10.5 million in 2012 to 16.9 million by 2032, demand for food will likewise soar. At the same time, the amount of arable land is likely to diminish with the country's cities steadily expanding. Agricultural innovations, that focus on ensuring higher productivity in smaller spaces, are needed if Rwanda's agricultural sector is to continue meeting the food needs of the country. Enter a new way of growing food without soil and less water: aeroponics.
Aeroponics is a climate-friendly way of planting in which roots are suspended in the air and grow in a humid environment. No soil is involved. Instead, the plants are sprayed with water and nutrient solution. This technique enables farmers to control humidity, temperature, pH, and water conductivity inside a greenhouse.
Meet the pioneer
When Apollinaire Karegeya found out about aeroponics, he recognized that it could increase food production and do so in a sustainable way. Apollinaire comes from a family of potato farmers, who have always practiced traditional farming. But with low crop productivity due to the climatic conditions, he knew the difficulties of providing a secure source of food for his local community. Apollinaire was hungry for new skills and knowledge that he could use to improve his farm.
"I started going to government partners who were working with the farmers in the country. One day one of the government partners offered me a training opportunity in Europe. That is when I first encountered aeroponics," Apollinaire says.
"I was amazed by this soilless technology. It prevents diseases and increases productivity. After the week-long training, I was convinced that this was going to be good."
Innovation, innovation, innovation!
With further support from the government and its partners, Apollinaire began farming potatoes through greenhouse aeroponics in 2015 and has been a pioneer of the aeroponic system in Rwanda ever since. Through aeroponics, he now multiplies potato seedlings, some of which he then plants on his farm to grow potatoes, and others which he sells to other farmers to plant on their farms. Apollinaire grows about 2 500 plantlets in his greenhouse, which produces potatoes in 2.5 months.
"Since it is not rotational farming, I grow three times a year. When the nutrients are well regulated, you can be assured of the yield. This wasn't the case with growing in open fields where you're at the mercy of nature," he says.
When Apollinaire first started using this technology, he still had a lot to learn.
"Tubers grown from aeroponics are kept for four months before they can be transferred to gardens. I lacked storage facilities, and along the way, some potato seedlings would rot," said Apollinaire.
In 2018, FAO, with funds from the European Union, implemented a project to improve the livelihoods of small producers engaged in the roots and tubers value chains. It aimed at making production more efficient and linking smallholders to domestic and regional markets.
Through the project, Apollinaire was trained in improved potato storage techniques and how to work with financial institutions to boost his new business further. He learned to keep the potato seedlings in boxes when they are ready to be moved to soils so that they get enough air as they wait to be picked up by buyers.
Convincing Rwandans about the new way of farming
Growing food without soil is new to many Rwandans, so Apollinaire also faced the challenge of changing mindsets. With help and training from FAO, he began to use the media including radio, television, newspapers, and websites to spread the word.
"The training opened my eyes to use community radios to raise awareness about my business and also the aeroponics systems. From then on, the demand for my seedlings grew exponentially. I receive many farmers asking me to help them set up the aeroponics system," he said smiling.
Now, he is so overwhelmed with customers that he is trying to encourage more people to adopt aeroponic methods and produce seedlings for Rwandan farmers.
Apollinaire has also trained his 20-year-old son in aeroponics, as well as 42 other farmers in Rwanda. As more farmers hear about the new farming techniques through Apollinaire's media outreach, he believes it will increase food production. Eventually, farmers will be able to use aeroponics to grow other kinds of crops, such as vegetables.
"The Rwandan population is increasing. We have to think of technologies to increase the amount of food we produce. New innovations are changing the image of agriculture. More youth are attracted to engage in agribusiness because it's no longer that backbreaking sector," he said.
With populations increasing and cities expanding around the world, innovative farming methods are exactly what's needed to reinvigorate the agriculture sector. By encouraging more farmers to follow in Apollinaire's footsteps, we can increase food security in a climate-friendly, sustainable way for all. — Courtesy FAO


Clic here to read the story from its source.