Background: In Ivory Coast (and of course more countries with the same climate and development) the demand for vegetables is already big and will be huge because of the growing population.
Unfortunately, the production of vegetables is difficult; first of all because the climate is not ideal for growing vegetables and thereby the harvests are very disappointing.
The reason for the bad results:
- The soil is full of nematodes, bacteria’s and other diseases.
- The seeds which are for sale are often of low quality (the varieties are less resistant against diseases).
- Fertilizers are rather expensive and therefore a big cost and then much of the fertilizers is lost because the soil is often very draining and thereby the plants are in the soil so the “root volume” is big. People calculate that just 25% of the fertilizers really reach the plant (which is a loss of 75%).
- The know-how is limited and usually based on experiences.
- Because all these problems result in weaker plants, diseases and insects have a greater chance with the result: more use of pesticides etc.
A beginning of an answer is: growing in substrate (hydroponic).
This means that the plants are no longer rooted in the soil but (e.g.) in a pot with a reliable and clean substrate (locally produced coco-substrate).
The advantages are many:
- The culture starts clean; no nematodes and all kinds of diseases.
- The fertilizers can be added very precise, everything will be used by the plant and so the consumption of fertilizers is less.
- The formulation of the fertilizers can be managed in a way so that the plant gets what it needs (in the different stages) so that a better yield can be realized.
- The use of water is also limited because the root-volume is smaller.
- Less pesticides are needed because the plants start more clean and more healthy.
The steps are the following:
- The grower gives information: which crop on which surface.
- After this, he receives the following:
- The ingredients he needs + the costs
- The protocol in which the culture is described step-by-step and very precise how he should use the ingredients.
AGRIFER offers the following ingredients:
- Seeds from Rijkzwaan, one of the biggest producers of seeds for the professional horticulture, worldwide. There is a constant innovation of the quality of the seeds, resistance against diseases, viruses etc.
- The substrate for the young plants: this is a fine coco substrate which is first screened in the right fraction, after that treated with special fertilizers and washed again. This is to give the seeds a perfect substrate to germinate.
- Pots of 6,5 litres; these pots are especially developed for the hydroponic system with coco-substrate: a special bottom for a better drainage and a higher quality so more durable for more cultures.
- Coco-15; this is the substrate for these pots. This substrate is locally produced and washed in Ivory Coast. The substrate is ideal for the cultures in pots because of the good water adsorption capacity en as well it will drain out if there is too much water.
- Fertilizers: AGRIFER offers 2 fertilizers ( A and B) with which the whole range of elements, which the plants need, can be dosed during the complete culture. During the culture, the needs of the plant changes (many plants change from a vegetative stage to a generative stage) and therefor the relation between the 2 fertilizers change. This is very clear explained in the protocol. The fertilizer B is composed especially for AGRIFER so that – with the 2 fertilizers A and B, all the elements can be doses in the right amounts.
- The protocol explains the whole process in steps; the use of mentioned ingredients, from sowing to harvest. Although every culture finds circumstances with which we have to deal (climate, diseases etc.), it gives a handhold for the grower.
You can compare this concept with a recipy to prepare a meal:
You find the ingredients and the “manual” how to use these ingredients. Of course you are not immediately a big “chef” and the results can be improved but by following the manual/protocol and using the right ingredients, there is a big chance on a good result.
Another advantage: the grower will already have a good estimation of what he needs and what will be the costs. Thereby the concept helps him so that a lack of experience or knowledge will be a smaller barrier and he can start up something new with less uncertainties.
The concept INNOFER is interesting for different kind of growers:
The growers who are working with hydropnics for longer time but with not too good results. They will notice differences in results and will be able to make a good estimation of the efficacy of the concept after knowing the results.
People who own land and have some money and willing to invest but without any experience and knowledge to make a good business plan. With the concept of INNOFER, half of the business plan is already there.
Groups of people who want to start and are looking for (micro) credits for a small nursery. With the concept INNOFER, the financing company already receives a serious indication of the costs and revenues.
Finally our mission is: “Let Ivory Coast grow (vegetables)!” to achieve a good production which means: FOOD and WORK for the fast growing population.