KENYA – Del Monte, a prominent Kenyan fruit processor, has unveiled a biofertiliser plant aimed at transforming pineapple residues into valuable biofertilisers.  

The firm said the initiative was a major leap forward in potentially transforming the agricultural landscape in Kenya and championing sustainable practices. 

The newly established plant will utilize residues generated from Del Monte’s pineapple cannery to produce four distinct types of biofertilizers.  

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.  

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

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. 

Kenya has been subsidizing the price of fertilizer to make it more affordable for farmers. Through the subsidy, registered farmers pay Kes2500 (US$19.12) for a 50-kilogram bag of fertilizer. The market prices are as high as Kes6,500 (US$49.72).  

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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