Today is our last day in Kenya and we are back with Henry and Louise. During our last visit we did not see the microbe production and packing process so this morning Henry took us around the site.
First we saw the boiler. This heats the green houses with Macadamia nut shells.
Then we looked at the production of Phytoseiulus. This is a predatory might that is used in various applications in things like Rose production and is Real IPM’s biggest seller. To produce a predatory mite you need to first produce its prey. So the first greenhouse we saw was producing the prey which is red spider mite.
They produce the prey on beans. Interestingly they plant beans with trichoderma another product of theirs and don’t get soil disease problems with beans after beans. The next green house we went to is where they have the predatory mites. They infect the beans with the prey and once the predators have eaten most of the prey they harvest them. They get about 5 crops a year of Phytoseiulus. They produce about 40 million per week off 8ha of greenhouses
Once harvested they go to quality control
This where they literally remove all contaminants so it is 100% Phytoseiulus. Below Gordon is checking their work
Once they have been checked they are cooled down for transport. Different customers want the product in different numbers and packaged. The Kenyan market wants them in the tubes below
In each each tube is about 1-2000 predators. They reuse the tubes a number of times. They produce 7 different types of predatory mites
We next looked a fungus production. They produce metarhiziums if various types which are fungus that eat the stages of certain insects that are in the soil. This have great potential for the UK if it wasn’t for the EU registration system. They grow the fungi on rice bran
Once the fungus have eaten all the bran they are processed
They are sifted and dried
Then they are formulated and sold in bottles
ICIPE the research organisation has 300 isolets of Metarhizium which they do not yet all of their functions. Real IPM has a bioprospecting team who are actively looking for new microbes which may be useful.
Another thing they do is testing of other people’s products for the Kenyan authorities . This is why they have a green house of roses to test products efficacy.
Henry and Louise have been amazing hosts for us. They fed us, housed us for five nights and also gave us contacts to see around Kenya. Without them our visit would have been a lot harder. They are also two really dynamic people with a fascinating business. One I would recommend everyone to come and visit.
Many thanks Henry and Louise