Swiss biological agricultural product manufacturer, Andermatt, has expanded its operations by setting up an office in Kenya. The company aims to penetrate the region with its wide range of natural solutions for soil rejuvenation, pest and disease management, and crop productivity enhancement through regenerative agriculture practices.
Located in Naivasha, Kenya, Andermatt has established a demonstration farm where it produces beneficial insects and cultivates a diverse range of crops. The purpose of the farm is to showcase how nature can be effectively utilized to improve farm productivity for both small- and large-scale growers.
At the Naivasha facility, Andermatt focuses on breeding beneficial insects, with the primary insect currently produced being the Phytoseiulus mite. These insects are harvested daily and introduced to farms across Kenya to combat the destructive red spider mite, particularly in flowers. The Phytoseiulus persimilis, which is a predator of the red spider mites, can consume up to five adults or twenty eggs per day, providing an efficient biological control method instead of relying solely on chemical sprays. The facility aims to produce up to 20 million Phytoseiulus mites weekly.
Hamish Ker, Andermatt’s Regional Commercial Manager, emphasizes the global need to address climate change and food security challenges by adopting regenerative and sustainable agricultural systems. By utilizing natural solutions, such as beneficial insects and biological stimulants, the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of pest control and plant nutrition can be improved. This approach reduces the reliance on traditional chemical interventions and salt fertilizers, leading to a more environmentally friendly farming environment with lower production costs.
Ker highlights the importance of focusing on healthy crops by introducing natural and biological stimulants. Healthier crops possess inherent abilities to resist pests and diseases, making them less susceptible to external attacks. Andermatt’s strategy involves improving the crop’s foundation—the roots—by enabling plants to develop a mass of healthy roots that can efficiently absorb nutrients from the soil. When crops feed on a balanced, organically enriched soil with a thriving microbial population, they can grow into robust plants with multiple strong stems and branches, abundant green leaves for optimal photosynthesis, and ultimately yield healthy and productive harvests.
Considering that approximately 60 percent of Kenya’s farmers are smallholders, Ker believes that focusing on their performance can effectively address food insecurity and combat climate change. Enhancing the productivity of small-scale farmers not only benefits them individually but also contributes to the country’s overall food security.
At the Andermatt demonstration farm, a variety of crops are being cultivated, including maize, sukuma, potatoes, beans, tomatoes, wheat, sorghum, sunflower, and millet—some of Kenya’s most popular crops. Through a control experiment, the farm demonstrates how mass root stimulation and soil conditioning can lead to increased productivity with minimal investment. By employing traditional DAP (diammonium phosphate) applications coupled with treatments of beneficial fungi, bacteria, and selective biostimulants, noticeable differences in crop growth and health have already been observed. Andermatt aims to showcase to farmers, policymakers, and the media how harnessing natural solutions from nature can significantly impact both crop yields and production costs.
Andermatt’s current champion seed and root treatment includes the use of Bascillus (Rhizo Vital) and Trichoderma (Eco T), along with V12 Initiate, to provide farmers with an all-in-one package of beneficial microbes and macro- and micro-nutrient starters for optimal crop growth.
By establishing a presence in Kenya and actively promoting regenerative agriculture practices through its demonstration farm, Andermatt is not only advancing its business interests but also contributing to sustainable farming practices, food security, and environmental conservation in the region.
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