Local Company signs contract to export hyacinth to the UAE
A local company has signed a contract with the United Arabs Emirates country to supply them with 9.8 billion kilogrammes of hyacinth and other aquatic weeds.
In what could be a solution to the problematic hyacinth that has occupied a sizeable chunk of Lake Victoria, the company will use the aquatic weeds to produce organic fertilisers for use in the desert country.
According to Simon Mwaura, a director at Hyaquip Company, the weeds have a glue substance that compacts sand granules together to retain water.
Mwaura said farmers in the country are forced to irrigate their crops using drips every day and that the high water retention of the organic fertiliser will lessen the need while providing the crops with the required nutrients for quick maturity.
Mwaura, a biochemist, said one kilogramme of hyacinth is able to retain 10 kilogrammes of water, which enables crops to grow with less irrigation water.
He said the Ministry of Desert and Agriculture in the arid country made the deal with his company that would see a significant improvement of their weeds with minimal water use, saying farmers only use compost.
“We will be using hyacinth, papyrus reeds and all other aquatic weeds that have soft tissue. We will also include coffee husks and pulp, maize stalks, rice husks and wheat bran,” he said.
He noted the plants would be dried and milled locally and then exported to the Jebel Ali Free Trade Zone in Dubai for the final processing.
He added that the contract provides an opportunity for Kenyans living around Lake Victoria to convert the hyacinth weed into a cash crop and earn a living from it.
“Kenyans will be receiving Ksh225 for every kilogramme of hyacinth or other plants they sell to us,” Mwaura said.
He said the five-year contract will net Ksh2.4 billion every year, which he said far exceeds the revenue generated by both coffee and tea annually.
Mwaura also added that his company wants to pilot the project in a purely desert country to show how it can be duplicated in arid areas in the country to improves soil fertility and mitigate against drought.
“We worked on a small project in a semi-arid part of Naivasha in 2010 where we planted trees using the organic fertiliser and the trees are doing very well and growing at one foot per month,” he said.
He noted that Kenyans interested in working manual jobs in the project in Dubai have an opportunity to apply for visas through his company.
“I believe this deal will bring to an end the problem of hyacinth in our lakes that has been a headache for the government due to lack of funding for its removal,” Mwaura noted.
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