KENYA – Del Monte Kenya Ltd., a prominent producer, marketer, and distributor of premium fresh fruit and prepared food across Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, has announced the inauguration of an innovative biofertilizer plant.

In partnership with Vellsam Materias Bioactivas, a leading producer of biotechnological solutions, and operating under the name De l’Ora Bio, the move marks a significant advancement in potentially reshaping Kenya’s agricultural industry. 

Situated close to the group’s subsidiary in the country, Del Monte Kenya Ltd, the new plant will use residues from the company’s pineapple cannery to create different types of biofertilisers for its use and the eventual sale to other growers in Kenya and East African countries.

These biofertilizers, derived from natural sources and employing beneficial microbes, hold promise in promoting plant growth, enhancing soil fertility, and offering a sustainable alternative to conventional chemical fertilizers. 

According to researchers, biofertilisers have the potential to provide a cheaper alternative to chemical fertilisers, which remain expensive, especially for smallholder farmers in Kenya. 

Recognizing the potential of biofertilizers to offer cost-effective solutions, particularly to smallholder farmers, Del Monte Kenya’s Acting Deputy Managing Director, Wayne Cook, expressed pride in the company’s contribution to sustainable agriculture.  

 “As the largest single exporter of Kenyan products, we are proud to contribute to the advancement of sustainable practices through initiatives like the plant,” Cook said.

The plant, currently undergoing testing, is scheduled to commence full-scale operations in June.  

As the largest fruit exporter in Kenya, Del Monte already directly employs 6,500 Kenyan workers and plays a vital role in the local economy.  

The establishment of the plant underscores the company’s dedication to innovation and its objective of maximizing residue utilization while meeting the increasing demand for sustainably grown produce. 

Cook reiterated Del Monte’s transformative journey towards sustainable agriculture, emphasizing the company’s deep commitment to nurturing sustainable practices for the benefit of its team members and surrounding communities. 

This comes after Kenya led the way in embracing organic fertilizers during the three-day African Fertilizer and Soil Health Summit held at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) in Nairobi from May 7 to 9 2024.

Amidst discussions on Africa’s soil health crisis, Kenya took centre stage in championing the use of organic fertilizers as a sustainable solution to decades-long agricultural challenges.

The country has been subsidizing the price of fertilizer to make it more affordable for farmers.

With the majority of fertilisers used for maize, Kenya’s staple food crop, and other key crops such as tea, sugarcane, beans, wheat, and flowers, there is a growing need for sustainable alternatives like biofertilisers. 

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